New Year’s Resolutions are Bound for Failure

2012

The world is going to end in a year, so why bother making New Year’s resolutions?  More importantly, why use it as the kick-off for any goals?  A year is 365 days, nothing we do is measured by that number, and we Americans use the most complicated form of measuring on earth because we’re too stubborn to convert to metric!

Our own government has a list of popular New Year’s resolutions right on their official website! What’s not there is how quickly you will fail at them.  This isn’t for lack of trying though, it’s just set in our brain that we need to start on a specific time and reach a completed goal to feel successful.  The problem is, there is no metric, or systematic way of measuring most of these goals.  Continue reading »

5 Misconceptions About Veganism

I have been Vegan for over ten years but some stereotypes/misconceptions still get under my skin.  For me, choosing not to consume animals or animal products (such as meat, dairy, eggs, leather, etc.) was an easy choice.  Once I became aware of the cruelty inflicted upon animals in factory farms, the devastating environmental impact of eating meat, and the health concerns over meat consumption, the choice was obvious.

I love being Vegan.  I feel healthier, I feel like I am very aware of the food that I eat and how it affects my body, I have a greater sense of where my food comes from and how it got to my plate, I have no fear of things like Mad Cow Disease, Salmonella, or high cholesterol/heart disease, and I have a clear conscious about the ethical consequences of my food choices.

However, whenever I tell someone new that I am Vegan, I am often hit with a number of misconceptions and stereotypes.  I would like to take this opportunity to address some of the most popular misconceptions.

  • Vegans are crunchy-granola-loving hippies. I cannot tell you how many times someone has said to me, “You don’t look like you’re vegan.”  I assume that is because I do not look like a hippie.  There are a number of stylish, hip, trendy vegans as evidenced by some of the more popular vegan websites such as
  • Vegans eat ‘twigs and branches.’ Okay, this stereotype tends to get under my skin.  I pride myself on being a bit of a foodie so for someone to assume I eat bland, tasteless leaf vegetables for sustenance irks me.  I eat interesting, delicious food.  I eat out at fancy restaurants such as the Candle Cafe in New York City and I can assure you, they do not serve twigs or branches.
  • Vegans cannot eat chocolate or dessert. Again, I LOVE food.  I love dessert even more.  There are a ton of vegan chocolates including just about any brand of dark chocolate and a number of specialty chocolate brands such as Terra Nostra chocolates, Sjaaks chocolates, and Rose City Chocolatiers.  True, Vegans do not eat “milk chocolate” but many chocolates (especially high end/gourmet chocolates) do not contain milk.  As for desserts, I can assure you, I eat delicious desserts, either that I make at home or that I purchase from upscale vegan bakeries such as Vegan Treats.  My sweet tooth is always satisfied!
  • Vegans are terrorists. Lately there has been a lot of press about so-called animal rights activists partaking in “ecological terrorism,” “domestic terrorism,” etc.  This has gone as far as FBI agents ‘infiltrating’ vegan potlucks to do reconnaissance.  Puh-lease.  I just don’t see Gweneth Paltrow, Jason Schwatzman, or Ed Begley, Jr. as terrorists.  This particular misconception reeks of right-wing fear-mongering.
  • Vegans cannot get enough protein/B12/D/etc. It is very easy to eat a well-balanced, healthy vegan diet.  In fact, studies show that eating a vegan diet can lower cholesterol and reduce the risk for heart disease.  The American Dietetic Association has officially stated that a vegan diet is healthy.  Still not convinced? Check out the Vegan Food Pyramid.

These misconceptions have been the most common reactions that I have gotten from people in my own experiences.  While of course there is always a small grain of truth hidden somewhere behind some of these stereotypes, overwhelmingly, they do not describe the vast majoity of vegans and certainly do not describe me!

Sex and Coffee

There is a Hustler porn store on Sunset Ave here in LA. This is not a surprise as Los Angeles is universally accepted as the porn capitol of the United States. Its not surprising considering that Larry Flynt’s, Flynt Publications is located in LA. Its not surprising even though its in the middle of a bustling area full of restaurants, hotels and clubs for locals and tourists alike. Its not surprising considering the Hollywood walk of fame is close by and so is the Kodak Theater where the Academy Awards are held. Its not surprising that Hardcore porn DVDs are located inside. Its not surprising that sex toys including vibrators, dildos, sex swings and accessories such as condoms, lotions, cuffs are located inside. Its not surprising that lingerie and busty salespeople are located inside either.

What is surprising is that within this delectable den of carnal capitalism lies a coffee shop. Within the Hustler store there is a cafe where one doesn’t only have to fantasize about munching on carpet but also can literally munch on a delicious blueberry scone and chase it down with a freshly brewed coffee or even a double skim cappuccino.

“May i have a caramel macchiato to go with my double sided dildo please?” Thank you!!

60 days and counting

As I officially reach two months of sobriety a sense of accomplishment and bedwilderment wash over me.

Although I knew I would reach two months of sobriety it is still somewhat shocking to me. I think back to what life was like two or even six months ago. It seems like ages ago but most of all I wonder how could I handle all of that now? The things I used to put myself through does not seem plausible nowadays.

We are all creatures of habit. Some of our routines are not easy to break and take a very long time to revise oneself. Our whole lives we try to determine what will make us happy. Although we may have what seems like a great “comfort zone” it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what’s healthy and/or right for us. One of my favorite quotes by a great writer is, “Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable,” by Franz Kafka. I am by no means on a throne but when I look upon others lives including friends I hope that one day they discover what is right rather than the norm.

We do have a way of molding ourselves out of balls of wax. While we do shapeshift every once in awhile adjusting to new environments essentially we are still the same people as we were before. It’s a matter of a balancing act. If you put too many lemons in the lemonade it will come out with a bitter taste. If you do the right amount it will be balanced, sweet and tangy.

A majority of people just sit and watch from the comfort of their couches, chairs, desks or cars. There are few who do something to make a change. Whether it be something as becoming sober for a few months or seeking answers to life or just exploring what makes someone happy. I think we all need a point in our life where we decide to change instead of watching our life pass us by.

These days have not been easy. Truthfully, as I get closer to my three month mark it has been more difficult to stay sober especially with stress. The things that keep me going is determination, strength and the impact I have had on others. It also helps that I do not wake up with an uneasy feeling in my stomach wanting to keel over and die.

Creepy right-on.

I met my friend Frankie at Grape Street on one of those nights where one drink turns into leaving at 4 a.m.  I remember exactly what we talked about and it’s something that’s lead me to believe what I do today.  That night, Frankie ranted to me about astrology.

I knew I was a Virgo – even that I was a Virgo on the Leo cusp.  Compatible with Scorpios (mom, my buddy Jaxon) and water signs (John D., my first love), I critically analyze everything and enjoy doing so with people the most.  But, because I’m close to Leo, I’m also kind of gregarious and people like me.  I’m a lovable misanthrope with great hair.

I think this is how it goes, but I could also be very wrong.  I’m sure Frankie will let me know.

When Frank loves something, you know it because he doesn’t shut up about it.  You will eventually give in to at least the consideration of his ideas, mostly because of his impassioned persistence (a wonderful quality, really).  He kind of blew my mind with astrology that night, telling me things about myself that seemed entirely too perceptive for someone meeting me for the first time.  Coupled with the Jack Daniels, it was a great pick-up line, really.  I listened, completely enraptured, to qualities of my personality, the possibilities for change, and how everything really dependent on the alignment of a predictable system.

Needless to say, I’m a student of astrology now.  I believe a good chunk of it – at least that it’s an interesting way to categorize facets of life.  I read up on it and look at my daily horoscope.  Often, I’ll read it at night to see how much the prediction aligned with the truth.

Today, it’s creepy right-on:

Feeling anxious today isn’t necessarily your first choice, and it’s a challenge to calm your nerves when there is so much to do. Even if today is supposed to be a day of rest, you may be under pressure to finish a project that has lingered past its time. The good news is that you know what needs to happen and are willing to work hard until you have completed the job. But be kind to yourself along the way; take a break to revitalize your energy, even if it means that you won’t be done until tomorrow.

That being said, I have two major papers due in 2-3 weeks and I’m freaking out a bit.  Today is the day to buckle down.  Ironically, the alignment of the prediction and the truth also led to the blog post, which leads to anxiety and “pressure to finish a project that has lingered past its time.”

Frank – I blame this procrastination on you.

Tarot.com

Fat City Reprise

Clean.

I forgot about this little story and I wanted to share it.  I was showering after four days of camping, letting the water rinse out three states worth of dirt, and thinking about simultaneous cleansing of the soul, blah blah.  And I had this memory of another time I was cleansed by nature, in an entirely different – and far less private – setting.

It was the summer of 2001, the summer after my freshman year of college.  I was 18, studying Russian in Estonia for a month (weird, I know).  I took a side trip with my teachers, Svetlana and Tatyana (Sveta y Tanya in the familiar, konyechno!), to a monastery, somewhere in the Estonian countryside.  It was Russian Orthodox, literally in the middle of nowhere… I’m sure I still have my journal from that month abroad (it’s probably in the room full of boxes that I’ve still to unpack, 7 months later).

Anyway, it was a hot day.  I wore a long skirt, necessary to maintain propriety in such a holy place, but incidentally also black as to be slimming.  So I looked thin and sweaty the entire time.  My teachers led me through a field to a sacred stream to watch baptisms and cleansings.  Little did I know that “visiting” the stream would lead to my being dunked, buck ass naked in front of three other buck ass naked women, into freezing cold water.

But that’s where I was headed.

We walked into a wooden shed in a group, purposefully waiting until the women in front of us had completely clothed and exited.  Tanya shut the door behind us, leaving me with three quickly disrobing Russian women (the identity of the third escapes me now) and not nearly enough darkness for me to feel comfortable.

“You want me to do what?”
“Get een zee stream.”
“Naked?”
“Da.”

One by one the women took the plunge and one by one I stripped off another layer of clothing, relegating myself to the inevitable.  Soon enough, it was my turn.  I stepped carefully on the wooden slabs leading into the stream, which was moving faster than I expected and felt BALLS OUT COLD (I know, I’m in school for writing, I should think of a more eloquent description, but this so fits).

The women looked at me expectantly.  Now or never.

“Odin, dva, tree!”

I took the plunge.  Fully underwater, hair and all, arms crossed over my chest.

Naked.

Breathing came with some difficulty when I emerged.  Everyone was smiling.  I was smiling.  Refreshed.  Clean.  Naked in a stream in the middle of the Estonian countryside.

We dried off and got dressed, not really talking, but not ignoring each other either.  We sat in a field next to the monastery, warming ourselves in the sun.  Idyllic, yeah, totally.  But honestly, I remember feeling completely at peace in a foreign land, under the spell of a semi-foreign religion, after experiencing a foreign – and temporally unique – event.

Something tactile about tonight’s shower reminded me of that day.  It reminded me of home.

Running my first 5k race; 11 things I learned

Yesterday I competed in my first 5k race; it was the culmination of more than seven months of hard work and one more goal I’ve managed to meet along my list of happiness. Leading up to the race I managed to lose 75lbs, way more than I originally mapped out two years ago for the original list I wrote out, and now weigh in at a slim 165lbs, a weight I’m comfortable with being 5’10” tall. Seven and a half months of hard work, sacrifice and countless hours riding my bicycle on the road and gym led me to my target weight Saturday morning, Sunday was my day to prove what I’ve accomplished.

For some background, I’ve never been a runner, much less actually gone out for a run. Even in junior high I dreaded the day we had to do the one-mile run for the fitness test, I actually detest running. But, towards the end of January I started to get bored of riding the bike at the gym and the elliptical, so running was the next thing to do in an attempt to shed fat. I’m goal oriented, whether it’s to lose two pounds this week, ride 100 miles on the road or, in this case, run a 5k, they work for me. By the middle of February I was able to run 3.1 miles without taking a walking break on the treadmill in about 34 minutes. My newest goal would be a 5k in 30 minutes or less, something that any 29 year old should be able to do. Within a few weeks I met that goal on the treadmill, which felt good, but I was getting sick of being on the treadmill and wanted to start outside, since I knew it would be much different.

Luckily the weather started to break and spring came a little early and I’ve been able to get outside, so I figured why not enter a 5k race. It would give me official timing, a sense of taking part in group activity and an absolute goal date. The 1st Annual St. Patrick’s Day 5k on March 22nd would be my goal, complete it in less than 30 minutes and I’d feel accomplished. When I signed up several weeks ago, I did the math and figured I’d be really close, if not right on target to hit my goal date by Saturday the 21st, so it’d be a great weekend if I could meet two goals.

I’m happy to say, I did, and learned a lot about myself and running, here’s 11 tips & tricks learned during my first 5k:

Get fitted for real running shoes. When I first got the idea to run, I went to my local running store and got fitted. I’ve read horror stories of people blowing knees, rolling ankles and getting back pain from ill fitting shoes, I didn’t want to be one of those people, especially since I’ve already had spinal surgery. They watched me walked, looked at the bottom of my sneakers and had me try on nearly a dozen pair till we found the perfect fit. I also learned that while I’ve been wearing a size 10 since being thirteen years old, I need a size 11 running shoe.

Train outside. I didn’t have a choice, I wasn’t going to start a new hobby in the dead of a Pennsylvanian winter, but at the first chance to get outside, I did. Slight elevation changes, road surface irregularities, wind changes, they all have an effect on how you run, it’s also a lot less boring compared to a treadmill!

Wear clothing to the race that you’ve been training in. This was a critical mistake on my part, I’ve read the don’t make any changes on race day line from nearly everyone, and I did it anyway. I’ve been running outside with tech tees under cotton long sleeve shirts, but nothing I run in has pockets. I figured I’d wear one of my cycling shirts, which has a small zippered pocket in the back and made roughly of the same material as my tech tees under a long sleeve cotton shirt so I could stash my car key for the race. The key was safe, but the cycling shirt, which I bought last fall, is now two sizes too big, so it didn’t fit so well and cause chafing on my nipples. Now I know why marathon runners put band-aides on them.

Sleep well, eat well. Saturday night I was out late shooting an event till 2 in the morning. Even though I didn’t crawl into bed until nearly 3am, I didn’t have to wake up till 10am for the race, so I still got nearly 7 hours of sleep, which is what I average. Additionally, being out late and working actually put me to sleep faster when I got home and I slept better because of it. In the morning I had a half bowl of oatmeal along with some water, not too much food to make me sick to my stomach, just enough to keep me happy until after the race.

Drink twice the amount of water as you think you should. Packet pickup was at 11am, race started at 12:30, they suggested runners get there by 11am because parking would be a mess. I chugged some water before I left my house at 10:45 and figured I’d be fine, I wasn’t. Even though there was indoor packet pickup, water and bathrooms available I didn’t drink more water for fear of a side sticker. By the time it came to line-up, I was feeling dry mouthed and wishing I had sipped some more water.

The start of the race is not a sprint. Randomn3ss writer, competitive swimmer, triathlete and all around great person Lauren Libertine warned me that the start of the race could be nuts and I shouldn’t try to jockey for position, but to run my own race. I of coarse didn’t listen and got caught up with the front 40-50 runners going at a pace that left me burned out by the end of the first mile.

Don’t be ashamed to take a break. In less than 8 weeks I went from somewhat in fit cyclist to running a 5k race, from never running in my life. It’s a bit fast, but I did take two or three 10-15 second walking breaks yesterday.

Check behind you before blowing a snot rocket. While I’m proud to say I’ve mastered the art of blowing snot rockets, it’s common courtesy to look behind you prior to blowing one so someone isn’t covered in your gross-ness.

Run with someone. Another one of my mistakes. I told almost no one about doing this race, for no real reason. I wanted to do this for myself, to prove that I could do it, for me, no one else. It was selfish and I think if I could have convinced a friend to do it with me I’d not only had an even more enjoyable time and probably run a little faster. While I was running with 275 other people, it’s hard to set a constant pace without someone you know next to you.

When you see the finish line, kick! I am near-sighted, as in I wear glasses so I can see stuff far away, but I don’t run in them. When I rounded the final corner I could kind of see the finish, but the time clock was blurry. This is when I started to kick, not only to get a decent finish time, but so I could actually see how fast I was going. By the time I was close enough to see the clock, I was amazed how fast a pace I was at, especially considering the walking breaks.

Walk it out, refuel. After the run I had a block walk back to the area where the packet pickup was, the race officials and sponsors provided fruit, water, bagels and protein shakes free of charge, take advantage of this stuff! The walk got my heart rate down and the protein shake along with a banana helped ensure I didn’t get muscle cramps.

So how did I do? Of the 275 registered runners, 254 completed the 5k, I placed 183rd with a time of 28:28, well under my goal of 30 minutes and a new personal record. The sense of accomplishment, both in meeting my target body weight, how I feel and look, and completing the 5k race is beyond words for me. I’m already signed up to run another race in 2 weeks, another 2 weeks after that. Hopefully I can break into 27 minutes in one of those two races.

If you’re interested in seeing just how much training I’ve done leading up to the race, or how I continue to train, follow me at DailyMile here.

Stop to smell the roses, damnit

I admit right here in front of thousands (possibly billions) of people that I am in fact crazy. There, I said it. My mom has told me. My friends have told me. Hell, I’ve had exes tell me.

Growing up I was primed for a degree. I was taught how to make pleats in my plaid Catholic school girl skirt, how to pray to God and that abstinence was the best practice. At 25, the only thing I remember is how to make those pleats stick.  I think I’m supposed to be a doctor or something like that by now. But, I am not. I haven’t stepped foot in a college classroom in a couple of years and in reality, I don’t plan to for awhile. I moved 838.5 miles away from my family and friends. I have eleven tattoos, facial piercings, dyed my hair ridiculous colors. And you know what? I’ve done drugs.

Sure, that’s to be expected at some point in any individuals life but I am not on a straight path. I should have been done with college three years ago. I probably should be in a stable loving relationship for a few years by now. I shouldn’t be working two jobs to survive and my whole body should not be covered in tattoos.

I pictured my twentysomethings different than this. More settled, I’d say. Grounded and less like my head is in the clouds. A lot less like a soap opera composed of one unfortunate event after another. I shouldn’t complain, really, I have my life and a roof over my head. I have a handful of trusted and funny (for the worse of times) friends. I still have my mom telling me she loves me. And my brain, mostly, is intact.

Why such disdain for my life? Ok, I confess, life is good. In fact the past several weeks of my life have been incredible.

However, these high expectations were instilled in me a very long time ago. The only one to blame is me, the battle royale between myself has been bloody throughout the years. They say your worse critic is yourself and believe me, it has been.

In the next few months I am going to be mapping out my five year plan. Goals that are geared towards what makes me happy. Desires that allow me to travel, finish school, produce art, hang around kids, get more tattoos, see my family, witness great music, explore and learn more at a feasible rate. Nonetheless, goals that are vital to my survival. This doesn’t mean I will be aiming to become a doctor because that is something I do not want to become. But it means that my ass is getting into gear. Instead of being indecisive about my future, it’s time to put an anchor on me.

So far I have planned near future goals. Get a new tattoo. Attend Sasquatch. Visit home. Photograph only using film. Run at least three times a week. Decide where I will be living in September.

Not really much but I’ve been discovering that it truly is the small things that count. I haven’t been taking the time to enjoy those small moments. Like when you stop to watch the rainfall. Or witness a child smiling. Those are the things I’ve been missing out on.

Take it or leave it but I say to you, stop to smell the roses and you will find your raison d’être.

.

The road to happiness

As I cuddled up with my blankets for about the sixth movie of the weekend, I let out a sigh of relief. One because I was eating Slow Churned Cookie Dough ice cream. Two and most importantly, because I didn’t have to share it with anyone. While I was still getting used to the idea of not sharing a bed with someone, I was content. Most dire to me, I was not panicking.

Don’t get me wrong. I was by no means a raging addict. I did not belong in a Sex or Alcohol Anonymous Program.  (My alcohol intake was quite a bit but not to the extent that it was damaging my life. My liver, however, would beg to differ.)

What has been unnerving me the most this past week is my “dependency” in seeking the opposite sex’s attraction not in my other vices. The most baffling to me is that I have not been in a solid relationship for a long time and I have lived on my own for several months. There was no question that I could in fact survive on my own. I have entertained myself with myself for days on end. So, why the current need to have a warm body next to me? Is it because it’s winter? Is it because it’s close to Valentine’s Day?
I thought about the answer all week and what it comes down to really is the acquisition of my self esteem. Rather my lack of tenacity in seeking it recently. How did I let myself become a part of someone else? Their identity? Their praise?  Sure, at one point or another we all identify with our significant other. It’s the point where the lines blur and we start to share similar traits and interests.
I have become a different person in my own body. I have the same legs, eyes, hair, everything but I am a stranger to myself.

How did this all begin?

Media? Childhood? Relationships? It is all of them. I started to really channel myself into what happened in the past and how I am pushed towards a certain concept of what I should be like. My own perception has become limiting. Somehow all of the bad things in my relationships: platonic & romantic, have collected in my brain and now I have embodied all of those negative things.

Grieving is to feel grief for or because of or to cause great stress to. They say there are x number of steps to grief. If I am ready to bury my old self I must follow these steps in order to get over it. There are five: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. But how does oneself grieve oneself?

Maybe it’s because I am going through a quarter life crisis (shake your heads, you thirty plus year olds, you) that I decided it was time to do much more than just party. Maybe it’s time for me to start acting like all of my friends with degrees act. Maybe it’s not. I can’t say for certain just yet but each day is a step closer to discovering what my happiness is. Sure, the road to happiness is long, winding with twists and turns, steep climbs and huge falls to piss your pants. Some could say it’s treacherous. And although I am only two weeks deep into my re-self discovery, I know that I’ll be learning more about myself in the forthcoming weeks. I am genuinely looking forward to what lies ahead.

How to Drive 1000 Miles in One Day, Revisited

I wrote an article here on Randomn3ss on how to drive 1,000 miles in one day a while back. Since that writing, I’ve made the 2,000 mile round trip to the Midwest about fifteen times. I’ve driven through every kind of weather, every season, and maybe every emotional state possible, along with five actual (U.S.A.) states, of course.

I figured it was the right time to look over the list and see what needs updating, since I’ve decided to fly and rent a car for the next trip coming up in a couple weeks. Yes, hard to believe, but fifteen trips is enough – remember that’s thirty 1,000 mile days. (Yikes. One month of 17 hour driving days. I need a nap… for a month.) It’s safe to say I’ve experienced just about every possible driving scenario. I don’t think there is any way I can make it more efficient, can take less time, or make it much different or better at this point.

All the points in my first article still hold up, though I admit I don’t play the Alphabet Game. I’m more interested in looking for odd signs and billboards – I write them down and send them on post cards to a friend of mine. One of my favorites: Set back in a large field, a huge billboard with only an 800 number and “OUR DRIVERS ARE PEOPLE” on it. As opposed to… frogs, rocks, what? Another: A bait and tackle shop named “Bite Me!” And the “Kum & Go” convenience store is always good for a chuckle.

One important time saver I would add: Only get gas/make stops on the side of the highway you’re driving on (i.e. you will make a right turn at the end of the exit ramp). You lose a lot of time having to go over/under the highway/freeway to get to a gas station. It can be a challenge. Sometimes you can’t see far enough ahead to know which side they’re on unless you see the name of the place really high up on a pole on your side. I have my stops down at this point, but I recommend writing them down as you go, for both sides – as you’re heading in one direction, also write down what you see on the other side of the road for the return trip.

Another possibly important item to invest in: A lumbar support pad/pillow. I had to get one out of necessity after my accident (mentioned in the previous article), and even though I don’t need it as much for short little trips at home, it’s a back-saver on the long hauls. It helps you not get fatigued too soon in the trip, saves you from having a sore back at the end of the day, and helps you stay alert because it forces you to have good posture.

It is critical to take really good care of your vehicle, and have emergency roadside coverage. When I stop for gas, I always circle my car and check it all out. And I never miss my scheduled maintenance.

Stay in the right lane (of a divided highway) when you are several miles away from your next exit. Nothing is more maddening than being in the left lane only to have a semi or two come up on the right and block the informational signs, and the exit. (Especially if you have a full bladder.)

Be prepared for the time zone changes messing with your head. For me, I ‘lose’ an hour coming back east, and for some reason, it always makes the day seem so much longer, even though it’s the same 1,000 miles. It’s best to change your car’s clock to the time zone of your destination right when you begin your drive, then you won’t have to sit there to figure out what time it ‘really’ is and how much further you have to go.

Use the trip counters: If you have a car that has two trip counters, use them both. I pick one for the whole day’s miles, and the other for the current driving leg’s miles. For example, on the leg miles, when I’m at about 120-130 miles, I start planning the next stop. Then after filling up, I clear that counter back to zero. The day’s miles helps me know that I’m staying on track time-wise. It’s always great to know I’m a quarter there, then half way, then two-thirds, etc. It gives me something to do, and when I’m down to that last 50 miles and I’m on time, I start smiling as I know it’s almost over.

Pack smart: Pack so that only the essentials you must have that night and first thing in the morning are in one or two bags if you are too tired to haul everything out of the car when you arrive (and you don’t have anyone waiting to help you). This is really beneficial when there’s bad weather, too. (It’s frustrating to carry luggage in the rain, sleet or in sub-zero weather.) Some things, like food, you might not be able to leave in the car overnight depending on what it is and the time of year (think -10 degrees or 95 degrees, both of which I’ve experienced) – fruit, for example, won’t last. Of course, keep valuables in the trunk and don’t have anything visible from the windows that would invite a break-in if, both while you’re driving and if you’re parking in a lot or on the street.

I have only done two back-to-back 1,000 mile days, a long time ago, driving from Boulder, CO, to southern NH/Boston, MA area. It was brutal, and I don’t recommend it in general. My feet and ankles were swollen for a couple days, and it took me a week to fully recover. This misadventure was back before I created this 1,000 mile day system, so maybe it wouldn’t be quite as hard now. But 2,000 miles is 2,000 miles and is pretty unforgiving if you’re not prepared, car and body.

Driving 1,000 miles in a day is not for everyone. Lots of people ask me how I do it, especially after so many trips. I don’t have a simple answer. Sometimes it’s a breeze and I love it: The road is clear, the weather lovely, the is traffic light and the day flies by. Other times, it honestly is really, really hard. If I don’t get a good night’s sleep leaving the Midwest, there is nothing more grueling than hitting the mountains in western PA at night at hour 12 of driving, knowing there’s 5 more hours – and if there’s snow, multiply that hard factor by 10, and add an hour or so.

Part of my motivation, as mentioned in the previous article, is saving money, and part of it is personal, having to deal with the reason for the trips in the first place – I need to go and be of help, and so it helps me feel good about the sacrifices needed to make the traveling work. I suppose part of it is to prove a point to myself about my ability to be focused, to have the necessary driving skills, and the physical and mental strength to do it over and over. Really, I just do it because I can and because I must.

The bonus is that I still like the solitude, the countryside, the hum of the road, even after all these trips; and, I love to drive, plain and simple. Also, being pretty untouchable for a whole day ranks pretty high. Other than saying “thanks” to some service folks, I have a whole day completely to myself to think and not think, to turn the phone off, to have no distractions or things pulling at me that I “should” do. My job as I see it is to drive (safely and efficiently), and more importantly, listen to and know my own mind and heart. That is worth it for me right there.