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It took a week-long road trip camping adventure beginning in Portland, passing through Tillamook, ducking in and out of the trees of the Olympic National Forest, experiencing the Twilight folks in Forks, entering Indian Reservation territory stretching up to the most northwest point of the continental U.S.—Cape Flattery—until we finally waved goodbye to the Pacific and turned towards Whidbey Island, through Snohomish, over bridges and creeks and rivers to Seattle, and finally our last day experiencing the thrill of the Mt. St. Helens National Monument and returning to Portland to realize… among various other priceless things… that my diet is a tad privileged.


Passing through what felt like a million cow towns in which seeing a Safeway felt nearly as exciting as spotting the Sasquatch himself taught me that “Wendy food” is anything but “normal.”  And it’s especially not easy to come by.  I am so unbelievably spoiled to have Mother’s, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Henry’s, etc. to choose from when it comes to buying food for myself.  Not to mention all the options once you step foot into these stores… I don’t think I’ll ever see this rich life I live in the same way again.

Our adventure gave me a really amazing outlook on my life.  It made me appreciate (and miss, oh my gosh, MISS SO MUCH) the seemingly endless heads of organic pristine, fresh red and green leaf lettuce that I get to eat every day.  It also made me realize how much I love and cherish a good breakfast of over-easy eggs, flipped with love by my handsome, adventurous co-pilot.  Finding veggie burgers at these truck-stop burger joints we stopped at in Forks and Packwood was almost the most shocking thing I’ve ever seen.  Sure, in Orange County, we’ve got a thousand vegan restaurants and meat options, but you will NEVER find one of those in a fast food place.  I give these sweet little towns major high fives for accommodating their vegetarian visitors.

I saw so much that made me smile, from the “bikini baristas” working in the drive-thru espresso stands that lined one highway, to the sweet old thrift-shop owner in Wheeler who sold me a cute hawaiian shirt for a steal, to “Cathy,” the girl who tagged the side of a building in Portland “Go Vegan! <3, Cathy.”

I’m blogging today as a different person than I was when I boarded the plane to Portland last Saturday.

Jaybird, thanks for driving.  Thanks for making veggie burgers with me two nights in a row, thanks for making my eggs just the way I love them and for keeping me safe from the bear cubs, the cold weather, and other imminent dangers.  Thanks for teaching me football routes that I still can’t remember the names to—mostly because I was so excited to play that I couldn’t pay attention to the words.  Thanks for the humor and the honey and for holding my hands away so I couldn’t scratch all the bug bites.

What an adventure.  Priceless, truly.  Soo…. where are we going next?

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On the last night of our vacation in Carmel, California, after indulging in a few Whisky Sours, Mom and I walked to the Safeway across the street to pick up some more lemonade.  On the way there, we tried to decide what we were going to have for dinner.  We’d eaten at restaurants every night of our trip, and we both just wanted the comfort food that we were used to eating at home.  Something simple, light, and guilt-free.  We agreed to pick up some stuff to make wraps.

It quickly became a game-show of sorts, as we realized that we’d only brought a ten dollar bill.  (Our original plan when we left the hotel was to just grab a carton of lemonade!)  So needless to say, we were SO stoked that we made it out of there with everything we needed (and the lemonade!) just under $10.  Here’s the photo montage of that crazy night, along with a list of what was in our super salad wrap.

I brought these items from home in the hopes that we’d be able to make food in the hotel room (cheaper and healthier, win win!):

+ground flaxseed

+sesame seeds

+sunflower seeds

+liquid aminos

+apple cider vinegar

+olive oil

+raw oats

+Mom’s favorite crunchy chow mein thingys

+a carrot shredder, a knife, a cutting board, a big bowl, and two forks

+a bottle of spices

So luckily when we arrived at Safeway, we knew the dressing situation was taken care of.  All we needed was:

+a box of spring mix lettuce

+tortillas

+one avocado

+one carrot

+a can of black beans

+green onions

+and, of course, a frozen block of stuff to make lemonade, because it was the cheapest and easiest option.

I kinda want to make a whole blog dedicated to weekend adventures buying amazing organic dinner ingredients for just under $10.

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Wandering Carmel, California with my Momma and loving every minute of it.  Tonight we found veggie pizza with vegan mozzarella only steps from our hotel.  Drank enough whisky to make it worth the walk.  Don’t judge me, I’m not from around these parts.

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I finally have a day off work.  Last night I convinced myself I was going to get away today, for the sake of my sanity.  I told myself I would book a room for one night in a strange hotel just outside Joshua Tree State Park, or a cheap, pretty spa in Palm Springs, or some random place in Santa Monica.  Just to be in a new town all by myself, cooped up in a lonely hotel room, reading and writing to my heart&#8217;s content, with no distractions.  I told myself this is the vacation I needed: to put miles between me and this place I work too hard in, to drive on a stretch of road and let my mind wander, to walk some strange downtown street at night, beneath yellow lanterns, through a cold February wind, clutching my arms across my chest and feeling lost. I told myself this was the only way I might get any perspective on my day off.
Then I woke up today and decided to give myself a vacation right here, in my apartment complex.  I cleaned the bathroom, and it felt good.  I made myself an english muffin breakfast, and it felt good.  I did a series of stretches with the large glass patio doors as my scenery, overlooking the stream and the trees and the birds.  I made three cups of matcha tea.  I cut oranges, and it felt good.
I&#8217;ve needed a day away, and I&#8217;m getting it.  Without even getting into the car.
Sometimes I wonder if my frequent desire and need for self-reflection, perspective, and newfound goals is what everyone else my age is doing.  Then I try to look back and I realize that this isn&#8217;t even normal for me, really.  I have always been thoughtful and a sucker for daydreaming, but this feels different.  Every morning, I wake up with an intense hunger for self-reflection and deep thought about how I can live the life I want to live.  How to create and spread happiness.  I just have come to really love sitting with myself, wondering about my intentions in living.
I read Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk a while back.  I thought of this passage just now:

&#8220;&#8216;Every breath you take is because something has died.&#8217;  Something or someone lived and died so you could have this life.
This mountain of dead, they lift you into daylight.  He says, &#8216;Will the effort and energy and momentum of their lives&#8230;&#8217;
How will it find you?  
How will you enjoy their gift?
Leather shoes and fried chicken and dead soldiers are only a tragedy
if you waste their gift
sitting in front of the television.  Or stuck in traffic.  Or stranded at some airport.
'How will you show all the creatures of history?' he says.
How will you show their birth and death were worthwhile?&#8221;

Morbid, but beautifully written.  It&#8217;s a unique way of saying something that has been said a thousand times before, in a thousand ways.  &#8221;Today is a gift, that&#8217;s why it&#8217;s called the present.&#8221;  &#8221;Don&#8217;t throw away today.&#8221;  But I think it says something more.
I am beginning to realize that I want my life to have more intention than just to be a good person, walk a straight line, and smile.  To love.  To worry less.
I want to &#8220;justify the dead,&#8221; in a way.  

"What will you do today?  How will you justify it?  That mountain of dead animals and ancestors on which you stand."

Yesterday, my coworker asked me if I&#8217;m still a vegetarian.  He asked why and how long I&#8217;ve been eating this way.  We went to high school together and I&#8217;m sure he can recall me joining the carpool headed to In n Out after a long rehearsal.  I started rambling off the same answers I always give, like how I started dating someone a few years ago who was very interested in veganism and after watching documentaries and reading books, it just sort of stuck.  But then I found myself saying something more.  I told him that if I&#8217;m honest, I probably would have gone back to eating whatever food is around after this guy and I broke up, just because it was easier and what everyone else was doing&#8212;except that something really significant happened in my life right after I learned about veganism.  My aunt&#8217;s colon cancer progressed to a point in which she was given a few months left.  I visited her a lot with my mom, and on certain nights, stayed awake in &#8220;shifts,&#8221; as we called them.  Mom would stay up for a few hours while Uncle Rick and I tried to sleep, then I would wake up and let mom and Rick try to sleep.  Then Rick.  And when my aunt woke up and needed to go the bathroom, Mom and I helped her.  I remember sitting on the bathroom floor for nearly an hour one night, waiting for her to finish things, even though nothing was even happening.  She was responding to an urge that no longer functioned.  She was in a state of confusion from morphine.  She didn&#8217;t make sense anymore.  I remember changing the bandages that held the colostomy bag on her back.  I remember the paper thin of her skin, the smell of her hair, the sheer fragility of my aunt, who was such a small woman now, night by night blowing away into the wind.

"Every breath you take is because something has died."

I find myself now, two years after I approached veganism, two years after my aunt passed away, two years after my first experience with a new kind of hurt, the kind that happens when someone you love leaves your life before they should have.  And I realize that I want the way I live now to do her justice.  To be a testament to all that I&#8217;ve learned about how living any lifestyle has consequences, good or bad.  My aunt inspires me and keeps me going on this path of intention and trying at all costs to avoid disease.  I love her, I think of her every day, and I think she would so love to sit on my couch with me, at 22 years old, chatting and drawing with pastels and burning incense.
Today I&#8217;m getting away.  My vacation is in my mind.  And I&#8217;m finally able to sit here and really process these intense, passionate thoughts.  It has been raining for over an hour now.  I&#8217;m headed to the jacuzzi.
&lt;3

I finally have a day off work.  Last night I convinced myself I was going to get away today, for the sake of my sanity.  I told myself I would book a room for one night in a strange hotel just outside Joshua Tree State Park, or a cheap, pretty spa in Palm Springs, or some random place in Santa Monica.  Just to be in a new town all by myself, cooped up in a lonely hotel room, reading and writing to my heart’s content, with no distractions.  I told myself this is the vacation I needed: to put miles between me and this place I work too hard in, to drive on a stretch of road and let my mind wander, to walk some strange downtown street at night, beneath yellow lanterns, through a cold February wind, clutching my arms across my chest and feeling lost. I told myself this was the only way I might get any perspective on my day off.

Then I woke up today and decided to give myself a vacation right here, in my apartment complex.  I cleaned the bathroom, and it felt good.  I made myself an english muffin breakfast, and it felt good.  I did a series of stretches with the large glass patio doors as my scenery, overlooking the stream and the trees and the birds.  I made three cups of matcha tea.  I cut oranges, and it felt good.

I’ve needed a day away, and I’m getting it.  Without even getting into the car.

Sometimes I wonder if my frequent desire and need for self-reflection, perspective, and newfound goals is what everyone else my age is doing.  Then I try to look back and I realize that this isn’t even normal for me, really.  I have always been thoughtful and a sucker for daydreaming, but this feels different.  Every morning, I wake up with an intense hunger for self-reflection and deep thought about how I can live the life I want to live.  How to create and spread happiness.  I just have come to really love sitting with myself, wondering about my intentions in living.

I read Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk a while back.  I thought of this passage just now:

“‘Every breath you take is because something has died.’  Something or someone lived and died so you could have this life.

This mountain of dead, they lift you into daylight.  He says, ‘Will the effort and energy and momentum of their lives…’

How will it find you?  

How will you enjoy their gift?

Leather shoes and fried chicken and dead soldiers are only a tragedy

if you waste their gift

sitting in front of the television.  Or stuck in traffic.  Or stranded at some airport.

'How will you show all the creatures of history?' he says.

How will you show their birth and death were worthwhile?”

Morbid, but beautifully written.  It’s a unique way of saying something that has been said a thousand times before, in a thousand ways.  ”Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”  ”Don’t throw away today.”  But I think it says something more.

I am beginning to realize that I want my life to have more intention than just to be a good person, walk a straight line, and smile.  To love.  To worry less.

I want to “justify the dead,” in a way.  

"What will you do today?  How will you justify it?  That mountain of dead animals and ancestors on which you stand."

Yesterday, my coworker asked me if I’m still a vegetarian.  He asked why and how long I’ve been eating this way.  We went to high school together and I’m sure he can recall me joining the carpool headed to In n Out after a long rehearsal.  I started rambling off the same answers I always give, like how I started dating someone a few years ago who was very interested in veganism and after watching documentaries and reading books, it just sort of stuck.  But then I found myself saying something more.  I told him that if I’m honest, I probably would have gone back to eating whatever food is around after this guy and I broke up, just because it was easier and what everyone else was doing—except that something really significant happened in my life right after I learned about veganism.  My aunt’s colon cancer progressed to a point in which she was given a few months left.  I visited her a lot with my mom, and on certain nights, stayed awake in “shifts,” as we called them.  Mom would stay up for a few hours while Uncle Rick and I tried to sleep, then I would wake up and let mom and Rick try to sleep.  Then Rick.  And when my aunt woke up and needed to go the bathroom, Mom and I helped her.  I remember sitting on the bathroom floor for nearly an hour one night, waiting for her to finish things, even though nothing was even happening.  She was responding to an urge that no longer functioned.  She was in a state of confusion from morphine.  She didn’t make sense anymore.  I remember changing the bandages that held the colostomy bag on her back.  I remember the paper thin of her skin, the smell of her hair, the sheer fragility of my aunt, who was such a small woman now, night by night blowing away into the wind.

"Every breath you take is because something has died."

I find myself now, two years after I approached veganism, two years after my aunt passed away, two years after my first experience with a new kind of hurt, the kind that happens when someone you love leaves your life before they should have.  And I realize that I want the way I live now to do her justice.  To be a testament to all that I’ve learned about how living any lifestyle has consequences, good or bad.  My aunt inspires me and keeps me going on this path of intention and trying at all costs to avoid disease.  I love her, I think of her every day, and I think she would so love to sit on my couch with me, at 22 years old, chatting and drawing with pastels and burning incense.

Today I’m getting away.  My vacation is in my mind.  And I’m finally able to sit here and really process these intense, passionate thoughts.  It has been raining for over an hour now.  I’m headed to the jacuzzi.

<3

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Hana Farms - Home to some award-winning Macadamia Nut Banana Bread and tons of beautiful fruit!  Apparently they have “pizza nights” on Fridays & Saturdays.  Don’t know how they work that one out, but what a treat!