It’s up to YOU! #NewYork, New York

🎼 If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere!

New York, in my mind, is the epitome of manifesting your dreams. Like starlets to Hollywood and guitar pickers to Nashville, the brazen are drawn to the struggle, the hustle, and the nearly impossible odds of New York City. Madonna Louise Ciccone was 19 years old when she moved to New York with only $35 in her pocket. The iconic move was a revered theme in fantasies of my own.

New York is where the serious get serious. When you come to New York, you are telling the universe you are ALL IN. It has a mystique about it, grit and glimmer at the same time. It was a place I personally never dreamed of. It was too big for me – too bold, too daring, too audacious.

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And yet I found myself here, just by following my feet.

I think it is fitting that the universe would take me into the heart of Manhattan. As big a dreamer as I have been, I was afraid to go *too far*. I was afraid to be too gutsy, too defiant… too reckless. I wanted more from my life, but New York was over the top. I was content to settle for professional, the daily grind, careful to be grateful for every little scrap that came my way.

I was mouse, nosing around in the kitchen, scurrying for the crumbs, staying hidden in the corners, making my nest in the walls. I had the smallest, squeaky voice that was rarely really employed. I dreamed big dreams, but they were always confined in some way, unable to grow beyond my whiskers and my little nose.

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But this mouse somehow found herself in New York City, as a driver even!, in the company of an artist, a fashion designer, a performer, and a producer. I felt the heartbeat of ambition in my bones. The grit and glitter fluttered in my belly. Sultry pulses sweat through my skin in the heat of the night. I dared not, but destiny drew me anyway, whispering it is bigger and sooo much better than you let yourself imagine. And you are welcome.

I strode the streets and drank it all in. I saw roots that broke up the concrete and buildings that scraped the sky. I saw beauty and grime, drive and despair, and I loved it all. I was a mouse among the masses, eating my cheese. Not just any cheese either – Raclette.

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This all began with a single decision – to strip myself down to the barest essentials, seek out wild places, and uncover the primal truth of who I really am.

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Just another #travel book?

My 50 states travel project for 2017 was born from a crazy, burning desire to write a book. I have always dreamed of being a writer. I know what it is like to feel a deep yearning inside that keeps you searching for an answer. This deep longing finally drove me to give myself the time and space I needed to actually respond. I was excited, and more than a little nervous.

  • Have you ever been in a place like this? Where you felt a deep desire to do something more creative in your life? Responding to that deep desire feels a little crazy, but not responding is kinda making you crazy anyway.

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So I embarked on my epic road trip. My journaling went great! Every day I filled three pages in my notebook with stream of consciousness writing. I was getting a blog post up about once a week. I even sent out a few fun newsletters.

But every time I sat down to work on my book, it just felt totally wrong. I had no idea how to do it. Do I just tell my story in chronological order? What is the point I want the reader to take away? The travel was changing me, freeing me, and I really wanted to write about that, but I didn’t want my book to be just another travel adventure story.

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As the weeks went by I became more and more frustrated. I was not satisfied to just put words on a page. I wanted to produce a quality piece of work, something of true value, something that could really make a difference in the world. (surprise, surprise :)) As mid-year approached, I grew seriously concerned that I would get to the end of the year and have nothing to validate my efforts. Plus, I was running out of money faster than I expected. I finally realized I could not do this on my own. I needed help.

  • Have you ever heard the old proverb, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear?”

I was meeting so many fascinating people on the hiking trails and in the campgrounds, even at the gas station. I started praying that I would somehow, someway cross paths with someone who could help me write the book I dreamed I could write.

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Then I met Dr. Angela Lauria, and I knew my prayers had been answered. Angela has been helping birth books since 1994 and has coached dozens of authors. She is highly selective about the people she works with, and with my application I was asking, Am I good enough? Is my idea strong enough? To my delight, I was one of a handful of candidates selected for her program, a kind of book boot camp that will help me produce a completed manuscript by August 1st!

<dramatic pause for applause> I know, right?!?

What a relief. I didn’t hesitate. I said yes to the call I could never quiet inside me.

I have heard the heart cry of so many other women who have also felt the Call of the Wild. Through this crucible I have discovered that the deep yearning to write a book was actually divine gift, and that I had an opportunity to use this gift in a much bigger way than I had ever imagined.

  • What is it that drives a woman to brave the dangers of solo travel? What is it that stops her? Would you ever choose to hop in your car and drive into the unknown? I am developing an idea that will help us answer those questions.

I am thrilled to say that one day very soon I will be able to share my finished book with you. Better yet, I will have a budding business in the creative arts that will allow me to support myself and other women as an author who makes a difference.

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Facing #fear

Today’s post is in response to a question I received via Facebook messenger from Sunni in Spokane, WA. Sunni was kind enough to give me permission to use her question on my blog, so that my reply might benefit a larger audience. Thank you, Sunni!

Hi Sonya, Well, I just saw your firepit post, and hope you are staying cozy!!! So, I would actually like to take a long road trip, too, mainly to see some of my favorite places around the country, and friends & family along the way. I would probably write & post a journal or blog, too. Its just kind of a fuzzy idea right now, but at 64 years old, I am thinking about ways I can realize some of my still unmet dreams while I am still in good health and energetic. So, I have been wondering how you are financing your trip, and how you feel about driving and camping in remote places by yourself. I would hate to have a breakdown in the middle of nowhere. I used to take road trips around the NW and camp by myself. Not sure if I am feeling as brave anymore… Anyway, when you have a little time, I would love any insights you can share with me. No rush!! I’ll thank you in advance, and hope your trip continues to be the awesome adventure it seems to be!! Btw, now that you are in Branson, where is your next stop in MO? Anyway, happy travels!!! ❤ ❤ ❤. Sunni

First of all – you GO woman!! #girlpower It tickles my heart to hear my friend describe herself as being in good health and energetic, thinking about ways to realize some of her unmet dreams. Too often we speak poorly of ourselves and sell ourselves short. We should be proud of who we are, and we should believe in ourselves enough to reach for our goals. I applaud any woman who is strong enough to pursue her desires, whether it is a solo road trip, a new career challenge, a greater level of fitness, what have you.

I’m going to answer Sunni’s question in two parts, the first being how I feel about taking this kind of journey by myself. The second, how I am financing my trip, I will address in a second post soon.

How do I feel about driving and camping in remote places by myself?

This question proceeds from a place where fear dwells. So let me tell you how I feel about fear. Yes, I am dealing with fear issues during my journey. I am well aware of the dangers that attend this challenge. It is possible that I may face danger from an animal. It is possible that I may face danger from a human. It is possible that I may face danger from mechanical failure, accident, weather, etc. These are all things that could happen, and these are things that I cannot control. I refuse to let fear of these things rule over me.

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Honestly, facing danger is just a part of living. I know a man who came face to face with a Florida panther in his quiet neighborhood, and he was just stepping out his front door for work that morning. Tornadoes tore through dozens of homes the Midwest a week ago, just a few miles from where I slept safely in my campsite under cover of the very same storm. Can we ever construct a life that is safe, or even safer, by making one set of choices over another? This is not to say that we are to behave in a way that is reckless or irresponsible, only that fear should not be the driving force behind our decisions.

There is a danger I give credence and deference to. I believe it to be a more clear and present danger than anything else that could happen. It is the danger of living a life below my ability because I was afraid of what might go wrong. This is what I fear most. It is the danger of regret. This is a danger I can control, and I summon all that is within me to do so.

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I made a decision long ago that fear would not be my master. I acknowledge that I have fears, and some of them are based on legitimate dangers, but I don’t let those fears call the shots in my life. If ever a fear tries to bully me, I face that fear head on and put it in its place. For example, I had a debilitating fear of heights. So what did I do about it? I took up rock climbing. I pushed myself, shaking and trembling, higher and higher until I rang that bell. I do it over and over again. I ring that bell in the face of fear. I stand up to that bully until fear is the one cowering at my feet.

That is how I handle the fears that are being uncovered during this journey. I do not pretend that they are not real. I do not pretend that they do not represent a legitimate, possible danger. I am not reckless nor irresponsible. I simply face them, acknowledge them and receive information from them. I treat fear like a consultant and allow it to tell me what it feels I need to know. Fear informs my decisions, but it does not control them. I am the master of my own destiny.

Fear is powerful! Employ that power in your favor.

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