C’mon, man – It’s California!

One of the reasons why I’m so happy to have my blog is because any time I think I’m not making progress in a certain area of my life all I have to do is look back at posts I’ve written since its inception and I am amazed – sometimes even floored at how vastly different my life is than it was three short years ago.

When I began writing I spent a great deal of time sharing personal things about myself, from a lowered sense of self esteem to my fear of regaining the weight it took me so long to lose. It was probably no secret to many of you but I didn’t realize how many decisions were made based on anxiety or fear. What driving forces those two were, just enough of a presence to dictate whether or not I had the courage to experience things that might actually enrich my life.

Three years ago I created mini ‘comfort zone challenges’ to push me beyond my safe little world which would force me to deal with the uncomfortable, sometimes stomach-churning feelings that went along with them. My goal was to increase the level of risk while learning how to coral those teeth-clenching feelings so that I could then accept bigger challenges and ultimately realize that I am capable of living a rich, fulfilling life that doesn’t have to be driven by fear.

While my online challenges were written about less frequently as time passed that does not mean I gave up on them. Actually, I’ve made great strides since eating solo at a restaurant (2010). This past week I journeyed to Los Angeles so Craig and I could spend a week with my friend Teresa and her family.

Taken near the Le Brea Tar Pits just outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. These trees will most definitely end up in a future painting.

Traveling has always given me anxiety. Going somewhere by car isn’t so bad because I can adhere to a schedule that I’ve created, stop when I’m tired and most importantly, get out and tend to my back when sitting becomes a problem. While those are all great reasons to take a road trip, it’s also why I can no longer do them; it takes forever to get anywhere and my back simply won’t allow me the luxury of sitting for hours upon hours while slowly making my way across the state or in this case, the country. But lets face it- an artist…well, anyone for that matter needs experience to draw from. Without it, there is little room for growth, so when there is a will, there’s a way.

A sign outside one of the many quaint shops in the city of Vetura.

 

In reality, I met some incredibly fantastic people there, enjoyed beautiful weather, spent time listening to the ocean lull me to sleep at night, viewed fine art from Picasso to Rembrandt and visited with my dear friend in person instead of talking to her on the phone while walking my dogs at the park.

This photo serves as yet another reminder that I was simply not meant to live inland.

 

In a way, I feel like my week was spent at Creativity Camp. Teresa is a multi media artist, her husband is a brilliant writer and their daughter Em is filled from head to toe with the kind of imagination That Dr. Seuss himself would have envied. Trust me, I’m scoring no brownie points by my description of these three; it’s all true. I feel grateful that my own creativity was put to good use by finger paints and Hello Kitty watercolors :)

Me and Em out at the gourmet food trucks by the blvd.

 

Craig and I decided on the way home that we need to make a point of traveling more, especially now that we are both currently healthy (knock on wood). Even an introvert/homebody deserves to be exposed to new things once in a while and since we don’t have children, we really don’t have many excuses not to make that happen.

Teresa and I sitting under those magnificent trees.

 

This week was a much needed break for Craig and I and we’re grateful for such wonderful hostesses. Now it’s back to work so I can prepare for some exciting things happening in the studio. More on that later. I hope all of you had a good week.

Are there any places you’ve wanted to visit but haven’t quite worked up the courage to make it happen yet?

 

8 thoughts on “C’mon, man – It’s California!

  1. Sharon

    Wow, I can’t believe it’s been three years. I remember those challenges like they were yesterday particularly the one about eating solo in a restaurant. That made me chuckle as it was something so comfortable to me after years in a career which required it frequently. I had to dine with people I didn’t even know so often that I was THANKFUL for an opportunity to eat solo! But some of your other challenges weren’t so comfortable for me and I learned a lot about challenging myself through you. As for places I’d like to visit, that’s a big yes. I’d like to return to Europe especially some of the far flung places that are not so easy to get to. Sadly, I’m fearful of those long flights and air travel in general. It’s changed so much! I don’t want that to prevent me from some in-depth exploration of places I haven’t been.

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      Doesn’t seem like it to me either, Sharon! You and I have been friends about that long too, haven’t we? :)
      I’m getting a bit more comfortable in the flying part – it’s the getting to and from that wigs me out. Especially really busy hubs like O’Hare. Talk about anxiety! Short layovers I can do without, too. Heck, why don’t we just scrap the flying all together and get somebody on board in creating a teleporter!

      Reply
  2. Kyra

    For me, I actually HATE driving. So there are all sorts of places all around me I want to go, and haven’t because it’s a drive. I’ve been to more places far away that I have to fly to than the local stuff I have to drive to. Although, I think I’m going to make it my goal to book it down to Salem and actually see it. I’ve lived here for 14 years, and haven’t made the effort! GAH!

    What a nice trip you had!

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      Driving is certainly not one of my favorite things to do anymore. The whole idea of traveling and wasting entire days getting from point A to point B just bugs me. Whether flying or driving, if it’s anything more than 4 hours, the whole day is a bust for me. It’s just tiring! Today I’m trying to readjust to the three hour time difference and it is not going well! lol

      Reply
  3. Grace

    I love to travel but Hub has been in no condition to do much of it over the last few years. That’s why I’m finding our trip this weekend to be so exciting and enjoyable. Like you, I think we need to experience everything we can while we are able. I’m so happy he is talking about going here and there and everywhere! So I don’t know where those places will end up being…but I’m ready to go!

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      I hope you have a great trip this weekend, Grace! Even if it isn’t too far away, sometimes just having something different to look at once in a while is enough to make life interesting. Maybe with this trip, your husband will find that he really enjoys it!

      Reply
  4. didi

    Have you figured out what kind of trees those are yet? The twisting bark will look great in one of your watercolors.
    I’m glad you two got to do some traveling, and you got to hang out with a fellow blogger.

    (I completely agree with you one hundred percent- I can’t be an inland girl either)

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      I’ve heard someone comment that it might be a banyan tree or a cypress tree. It kind of looks like a cross between the two, actually. I do love those twisting trunks. So cool in person and I’d never seen anything like it before. So good to hear from you, Didi! I’m glad you’re blogging again :)

      Reply

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