It’s only been week and so much has happened that I feel like I have been going forever! Haha. Fortunately, it’s all great! 😀
Part I: The In-between time.
After returning from abroad, I was home in Baltimore for a little while. I returned to Charm City Yoga, now fully YogaWorks, for their Mysore practice, I spent a good bit of time in DC hanging out with my sister and some yogis I met abroad, I went to an O’s game with a really good friend from Middle and High School and Boy Scouts who I hadn’t seen in ages, and I spent a lot of time with my family. It was a wonderful time to recharge and prepare.
As my departure time approached, I acquired road trip food supplies including large quantities of peanut butter (smooth AND chunky), a big ol’ bag of apples, an assortment of nuts and dried fruits to make lots of trail mix, a 3lb. loaf of bread, dates, and I made myself some granola and cookies. The bread, fitting expectations, is the only one to show problematic wear so far – it started to mold and stale about a week in. Everything else remains in excellent condition (knock on wood). I’ve also brought a tent, a hammock, a sleeping pad, and a sleeping bag, a bag of clothes, a bunch of books, my laptop, and all of my yoga supplies. Road entertainment includes podcasts on my phone, music CDs, and several audio books on CDs. So far, from the Audio books, I have been trying to enjoy Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” and greatly enjoying assorted readings from David Sedaris.
With my car (Toyota Highlander ’03) loaded, I left Sunday evening to deliver my sister back to DC and the plan to leave from there in the morning. Which is exactly what I did, after one last Mysore practice with YogaDistrict.
Part II: Chesapeake, VA – The Young Family
Most of my stops on this road trip are aimed to help me meet people who I have become acquainted with through Instagram (IG). When getting to know people through social media, I have found that most of the time we tend to view them as if they live in Narnia, basically. They’re far away and inaccessible. So, I am very excited to pull these friends out of the wardrobe, so to speak, and be able to view them as real people in real places who I can hang out with.
My first stop was in Chesapeake, VA, just outside of Norfolk. Here, I met a man who I have become fairly well acquainted with through IG. (I will refer to him as “M”.) We’ve both been involved in a number of the same challenges and he has shown himself to be a very kind soul and dedicated yogi. We are about the same age and he has a wife “S” and two incredibly lovely children, “E”, a boy who will be entering kindergarten this fall, and “L” an ~18 month old girl. Luckily, wonderfully, beautifully, they both decided to like me very quickly and I spent a delightful two nights with them.
Much of that time was spent entertaining the kids around the house – favorite TV shows and movies (I don’t know how many times we watched Transylvania Hotel 2, but it was at least 3 times), toys, toys, toys, iPad games, and lots of pretend. E has a powerful imagination that he puts to good use all of the time, adding story to whatever we’re doing. We played with his toy cars and transformers, largely, pretended we were driving my car somewhere, drew with chalk, played with water guns, and lots more. On Tuesday, one of the first beautiful days in the NE in a while which turned into a beautiful week, we all went to pick strawberries at a farm nearby, which was lovely. Next door to the strawberry patch was another farm with some animals. It was closed, but nobody stopped us walking around and looking at the chickens, horses, goats, ducks, and pigs. L is beginning to get a grasp on some words and very affectionate, not to mention totally adorable, and thus is impossible not to love immediately. She is becoming a little addicted to using the iPad for videos and games and is shockingly adept at using it.
I practiced Ashtanga with M both mornings that I was there and did a little yoga play after. M is very tall and long of limb, and while it is always interesting to see how other people practice, it is especially interesting to observe people at the size extremes. On Tuesday night, M, S, and I spent some time flying and working on various Acro things, which was great fun!
Part III: OBX, NC – First Flight
From Chesapeake, I made my way to the coast of North Carolina. All of the way to the Outer Banks. This was a late addition to my itinerary, the result of some last minute shuffles, and hearing that one could try hang gliding on the dunes there. Writing from my third beach town on this trip – there are a lot of similarities between them. If you ever been to one, you know what someone means by “beach town”. Sure, there are some differences based on the income bracket, but they’re mostly the same.
Hang Gliding was a great experience. (Hang gliding is where you hang from a pair of wings with a little cross bar to steer with.) Before going about flying, obviously they have some introduction course and video to show you so you can hear the same basic words about how to fly a hang glider several different times. Like any new skill, it is tricky to pick up at first, and, lucky for us, when we started trying to fly the conditions were such that you really had to know what you were doing to take off in them. They were light, and not coming straight at us. After a few tries in that wind, it shifted enough that we could take the glider to a different dune and try some more. Here the winds were much more favorable and we found some solid success. We only flew several feet off of the ground for a several seconds, but feeling the rush of take-off and the excitement of being able to move yourself in the air, even just little bit, not to mention the thrill of succeeding at a new challenge, is frequently enough to bring many people back. I would certainly give it another go! The day was bright and clear, and the sands were soft and hot, couldn’t ask for much else.
That evening I faced a little challenge figuring out where I would stay. It was the middle of the week before Memorial Day weekend and I was in a community where people have enough money that they don’t really want nomads just hanging around, even if it is just for the night. Additionally, all of the campsites are designed for RVs and there is little to no shade anywhere. Fortunately, I found a little space to hang my hammock and was not disturbed between arriving and leaving early in the morning. And I even caught a beautiful sunrise.
I made the debatably poor choice of driving all of the way down the Outer Banks to the south end in the morning to ride the ferries to get back to the mainland. Boy did that turn out to be way more time consuming than expected. I probably spent three hours on the water between the two of them. On the upside, it was a great opportunity to nap after a not so great night’s sleep. Back across the Intercostal Waterway, I struck out for the “Research Triangle” and promise of yoga and Acro.
Part IV: Carrboro and Chapel Hill, NC – Franklin Street Yoga
I traveled to Carrboro to meet another IG yogi, we’ll call her “K”, who’s Acro practice has drawn my attention quite a bit. Previous to meeting, we had not talked and acquainted ourselves as much as I have with other yogis, but she welcomed me in with incredible warmth just the same. It turned out just fine that I spent so long on the ferries, because I arrived just around the time she got off of work. We met up, swung by the Weaver St. Market to get food for after yoga, then went to class at the Franklin St. Yoga Center.
Before K’s AcroJam class, one of the FSYC teachers was leading her last class before moving several states away. The class was packed, the vibrations were high, and flow was just awesome. She was all about encouraging everyone to take their practices where it needed to go that day, take the variations you need. Her sequencing and words were absolutely on point. Then, after 75 minutes of that, it was time to fly.
About ten to twelve people showed up for the Jam. (So, an AcroJam, as opposed to a regular class or workshop, is not led and is just an opportunity for those who are interested to show up and play and work on what they want to work on in a supportive environment.) We warmed up, although those of us who had just been in class did not need too much warming, did some partner drills, and then got to work, trying whatever we wanted to. One of the challenges for a person like myself showing up to an AcroJam is that you have to be able to just go up to someone and ask them if they want to fly or base or work on X or Y. Fortunately, it’s getting easier the more I do it, mostly because Acro people are always absolutely thrilled to work on whatever you want to work on. It was a ton of fun. I got to base and fly with several different people, worked on a variety of moves and postures, and found a lot of success! It was a very good time, and a lot of time. K and I ended the AcroJam session (having been yoga-ing in various ways for 4 hours by that point) by exchanging some Thai Massage, which is really the best way to end Acro.
All cleaned, up we went back to her abode to eat our food and chat about yoga and life. The next morning I was up with the sun and on the road to Atlanta. I decided to take the long way around so I could pass through Asheville, which I have heard so much about. I took a little walk in a park and got a yummy salad, but did not get to spend as much time as the town deserves. Then, south I went.
Part V: Atlanta, GA – Hot-lanta
I rolled into ATL in the late afternoon, just in time for my host, “D”, to get off of work. D is another IG yogi who I have become very friendly with through the social media platform and talk to regularly. She introduced me to her 3 month old kitten – a voracious predator of hands and fingers – and helped me settle into her apartment before we headed off to the evening’s activity.
“G”, another IG friend in ATL, who D had not met in person yet, told me about an AcroJam at The Space – a circus and movement center in the Atlanta area. The three of us met up there and had an absolutely incredible time. Definitely the largest bases who I have met in person were there, and a number of very skilled folks were there to play, in addition to some younger, new players. I base and flew all kinds of poses with a lot of different people and worked on hand balance for three and a half hours! It was amazing and beautiful. The most incredible part, for me, was being flown in hand to hand for the first time and taking it into one of the most open hollowback handstands I’ve ever hold. It was a magical night. Totally worn out, it was home to bed so we could start early on Saturday.
We began the next day with a “slow flow” class at D’s preferred studio, which, while slow, was still definitely challenging – plenty of plank holds and the like. But it was definitely needed after two nights of AcroJams for me. After Yoga, it was off to G’s apartment to play and take pictures. You see, G has a pole and enjoys pole dancing for at least the physical challenge of it (which is very substantial) and probably many more reasons. She tried to give D and I some lessons on how to climb it and pose on it, but learning is hard! Plus, only dry skin has much of a chance of sticking to the chrome-coated pole, and my hairy legs and sweaty palms are excellent excuses for poor performance. We also took some group pics in a variety of poses.
Exhausted and hungry, the three of us headed downtown to the Beltline (a foot and bike path under slow construction to connect the city) for culture and food, but mostly food. We ended up choosing ice cream and Mexican food. It was all great. Plus, it was really good to see a lot of people out walking around on such a beautiful day. Well fed, but with muscles very sore, D and I returned to her apartment to rest and recuperate – play with a kitten, watch movies, and foam roll – quite frankly a good end to any day.
Part VI: Hilton Head Island, SC – Tropical Storm Bonnie
Sunday morning started early as well, D and I drove across Georgia to get to Hilton Head Island to see another IG friend, another “K”. To get there, we had to drive through at least some, but what felt like very large portions, of Tropical Storm Bonnie. It was a rather wet driving morning. Arriving late morning, we talked with K for most of the afternoon and interspersed our conversation with some acro play and posing, mostly more therapeutic options, but some fun flying shapes, too. In the later afternoon, D made the trip back to Atlanta to care for her kitten and I spent the night on the Island with K and a lot of conversation.
Tune in next time to see where I go next! And follow me on IG @fullybakedyoga to see pictures from my adventures.