Tuesday, August 3, 2010

realities of make believe

Telling people I'm going on a road trip, across the United States and back, by myself, has made me incredibly cool. Strangers I meet are suddenly offering to host me and show me around their hometown or new city. Elders and family acquaintances suddenly feel the need to share their personal post-grad journeys. And friends, not even only those that are particularly close to me, are suddenly impressed with me, nervous for me, and excited for the unbelievable experience that lies ahead. It really is quite the conversation starter :) and it never ceases to amaze me that no one seems to understand that although there is very little chance that I won't go through with it now (I'm too emotionally invested at this point), what is driving me to go is not my daring independence but my innermost, unsettling confusion and fear about the future. I am a self-motivated go-getter, I've been lucky enough to have made friends wherever I've gone, and I've enjoyed it all to the fullest, but I am far from put-together--physically, emotionally, and mentally--as my confident appearance may promote. Does that make me a fraud? Oh no, I like to think not. Otherwise, my pretending to have life somewhat figured out has been a lifetime show.
Speaking of, Road Trip USA, let's continue with the Travel Tuesday posts, shall we?  Please, please, please share any suggestions or tips you may have, and if you're from the area, definitely let me know... we should hang out :). My first stop in America's Northwest is the city of roses, Portland, Oregon.
I'll be there for an overnight before heading north (this was a last-minute decision, told you I hardly know what I'm doing!) to Seattle, Washington for a two-night stay. In this beautiful city, known for it's rain, I'll be staying with my friend's mom in her big empty house and meeting up with some amazing friends, new and old. But before long it'll be time to start driving back east. I'm on a schedule, remember? Have to be back in 'Cuse for homecoming weekend!
Following the west coast, and heading deeper into October, my trip becomes even more unplanned. I'll be in Spokane, Washington (photo source is appropriately from a "Off the Beaten Path" travel site) for one night and afterwards heading into a state that I have only dreamt about...
Montana. I don't know what it is about the "Big Sky Country" but I still hold on to a romantic dream of volunteering on a farm and working with horses there. Not sure where that comes from :). No matter, I'm still ridiculously excited to experience it with my own eyes, even if I am only in Bozeman for 48 hours.
From there I'll be on my way through the natural beauty that is Sheridan, Wyoming, Wounded Knee, South Dakota, and Sioux City, Iowa. By the way, unless otherwise specified, every single travel photo is courtesy of the gorgeous travel section of the New York Times.
I have hardly any expectations for these four days of stops. Not because I share the  naivety of the New York-centric mind regarding lack of value or significance in lesser known regions of the U.S., but because I really just don't know anything about them and as such, I want to let the experience teach me, not guide research.
And that is it for now! I'll post about my last few excursions and then wrap it up with a before-the-unkown perspective right before I leave. Am I excited to depart in a month? Hell yes. My brother is leaving for college (!) and my sister will be starting her junior year of high school so I'm going to be dying to live something exciting. The funny thing is though, I don't really feel like it's happening yet. Maybe reality won't set in until I hit the road.
Until then, I'm making the most of comforts at home like NYC nightlife and my Mom's Weight Watchers Soup. Balance, baby ;). The weather is temperate not cool, the entire family is hardly dieting, but none of us could keep from gobbling up this low-calorie bowl of nutrition last night for dinner. In case you're interested, here's our recipe to save for a rainy (snowy?) day:

Zero-Points, Immeasurable Flavor, Cabbage & Vegetable Soup


2 medium garlic clove(s), minced   
1 medium onion(s), diced   
2 medium carrot(s), diced   
1 medium sweet red pepper(s), diced   
1 medium stalk(s) celery, diced   
2 small zucchini, diced   
2 cup(s) green cabbage, shredded   
2 cup(s) Swiss chard, chopped   
2 cup(s) cauliflower, small florets   
2 cup(s) broccoli, small florets   
2 tsp thyme, fresh, chopped   
6 cup(s) vegetable broth   
2 Tbsp parsley, or chives, fresh, chopped   
1/2 tsp table salt, or to taste   
1/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste   
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, optional   
+ 1.5 cans of garbanzo beans


  • Put garlic, vegetables, thyme and broth into a large soup pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer, partly covered, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley or chives; season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Yields about 1 cup per serving.


  • If you like thick soups, consider pureeing this recipe in the pot with an immersion blender. Add or leave out vegetables to suit your taste.

  • One thing I am sure of? In the past few months I've become secure with myself, and thats is a very tangibly good thing.


  1. um, i have no idea what the heck i'm doing with my life either, i just like to pretend i've got my shit together by going to grad school, working and interning, leaving little time to over-analyze these small matters. let's start a club.

    reading about your future travels is so exciting! i've only been to a few of those places you mentioned and can't wait to read about the others. :)

    aaand my mom has been making that weight watchers soup for as long as i can remember. it's a good appetizer, i'd say, but it doesn't fill me up very well!

  2. glidingcalm: My lips are sealed :) but in side, butterflies are going crazy!

    crunchygranolagal: Ooh, let's! Secret password and hand shake too? Boys allowed or not? We must meet to make this official. I can't wait to post about them, I've hardly been to any as of it! And about the soup, yes it is light, which is why I added about a million chickpeas to my trio-serving bowl... and may or may not have had a few of my brother's leftover sweet potato fries after :).

  3. Haha, I happen to be preparing a very similar soup for dinner at this very moment! I hope it's as tasty as the one you featured here:)

  4. I've been meaning to comment on this post for days! I have never been to ANY of these places, so I am rooting for ya :)

    Thanks for sharing the recipe, too. It's freezing here in San Fran, and zero point, tasty soup sounds right up my alley!


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