LA traffic is no joke. I've heard this before. I've read about this LA traffic situation but I was not able to fully comprehend it until I was on my eleventh hour of cross-country travel in an airport shuttle on the 405.
Or was it the 105?
Let me back up.
For five years I had a small creative handmade business selling natural soap, lip balm and more. I loved creating and sharing these products. But what I really loved was connecting with other makers, hearing their stories and how things unfolded for them. (Now I utilize writing and astrology to excavate these stories. It's always been about. the. stories.)
During that time I enrolled in a small business conference that was to take place on the beach in California. A colorful gathering of creatives and artists sharing ideas and collaborating...it sounded like a dream!
It was scheduled for April 2020! Wait, what? When?
Yeah, so that never happened.
Finally, two years later, the event that I'd planned for, paid for, bought airfare for and more...was actually happening.
But, I still went to craftcation anyway. Here's the top 10 highlights:
- Have you done 7am yoga on the beach in California? Bring coffee to hang back alone and savor. Wow.
- The Marriott Ventura Beach. Palm trees, snuggly beds, friendly bartenders. What's not to love?
One-on-one chats with fellow makers, many of whom were mothers, about life, family and pursuing our interests. Like the amazing Kerry Burki, who taught the yoga on the beach and introduced me to Human Design!
- Something interesting happens when you're asked to name and channel your alter ego and describe their qualities. And then perform all that for a lovely stranger. That's oddly enjoyable! Ana of Your Hustle Takes Heart was an inspiring speaker!
- The event that lit me up the most was being a part of a small discussion group led by Marlo Miyahsiro. (I loved that this was in the "Secret Classroom.") We each brought our biggest challenge and she guided us towards the next step. This Think Tank reminded me of so many times I've circled with encouraging women and how those gatherings are life-altering.
- A curious exchange with an older woman in a used bookstore regarding astrology. We held a similar opinion but for completely different reasons. Made me go hmmmmm.
- Publishing workshop with Bridget Watson Payne. Hilarious speaker, full of knowledge AND willing to share it freely. The BEST kind of leader!
- The Art of Henna Workshop by Natasha Monahan Papousek of Crescent Moon Designs. Natasha was such a kind and patient teacher who had a contagious passion for all things henna. Did you know henna has antifungal properties and binds to the keratin in your hair to make it stronger? I LOVE my new henna art (of course I drew a sun, moon and Saturn on my leg!) and can't wait to do more at home.
Solo adventure afternoon. I walked the beach trail to Ventura pier, had a beer MadeWest taproom while I watched the waves below. The pier was a little scary for me, it went really far out into the turquoise water, but I felt like I had to do it for some reason. An older man in a tie-dyed t-shirt slowly rolled by and reminded me in a slow and silly voice to, "Waaaatch the biiiiiirds," as I dodged bird droppings periodically. He had a Ram Dass-ness about him and made me laugh.
- Last but not least, the best part of my cross-country adventure was spending time with my younger (and wiser) Aunt Laura!
Laura and I have so much in common, it's almost laughable. We are tied together through family (my grandfather was her dad) Laura lives in California and we have never really spent much time together.
Here we are being silly at dinner. We went to Rumfish!
She is one of those people that even if you haven't seen in years, it feels as if you have been together everyday.
We talked, nonstop, about life, family, ideas, hopes and dreams. We laughed a lot and I marveled at how her being with me settled my deep homesickness. Laura is most definitely family but there is something deeper between us. I wonder if our connection spans lifetimes.
I missed my kiddos and Sean. I missed my quiet morning ritual at home of meditation, then coffee and books. I felt out of my comfort zone by being oh-so-far from home and jet-lagged.
Even though my trip was bookended by gridlock LA traffic on a shuttle ride that took hours, all I could do was look at the palm trees and smile.