Not Quite in this World

This month, two years ago, Keith and I were in the final countdown to our epic adventure. We were close to leaving our jobs, prepping our house to rent, and making little checks next to items on pages of lists spread all over the kitchen counter. 

Fast forward from 2015 to 2017. Traveling changed us. We're not the same inside even if we look the same on the outside. We're committed to consciously reshaping our lives in a way that allows us to have more adventures. We're exploring this new world, doing our darnedest to align our work and home with our future vision. 

Reshaping our lives can feel like blasting off to another world. 

Sometimes I feel like a kick-as pioneer, boldly going where I've never been before and other times, I'm lost in a black hole of doubt.

Here's a video update...

If you're in Boise, and ready to change the shape of your own life, I'm offering a workshop on Reshaping Your Life

In the spirit of learning!

 
 

What's Next

We’ve been asked versions of “What’s next? and “What’s it like coming home after being on the road for so long?” from lots of people. I’m ready to take a crack at sharing some answers!

Here’s the current status: After traveling for 562 days on our motorcycles, we returned to the U.S. on February 23rd. We’re still traveling as we visit family and friends, and doing our best at taking our time to consciously re-shape our lives.

What’s it like coming home after being on the road for so long?

My moto, waiting to be put back together again in the U.S. Customs warehouse in LA.

My moto, waiting to be put back together again in the U.S. Customs warehouse in LA.

We’re having strange experience after strange experience. The first one happened when we boarded the shuttle bus to take us from the LA airport to our hotel nearby. It was early evening and dark, the shuttle bus was full and loud, it seemed like every person on the bus was talking — and here’s the weird part — we understood them! We realized that for 19 months, the conversations surrounding us were simply white noise. We got used to ignoring everyone. We only paid close attention to what someone was saying in Spanish if we really needed to understand it. Later, when we arrived in the privacy of our hotel room, we talked about what an ass the guy behind us was being to the woman with him (presumably his wife), and that we wanted to turn off the volume on everyone.

Here's one of the next things I noticed. I felt like buying new stuff, and yet when I was shopping, I was repelled by the whole experience. Everything in the store seemed to be shouting, "Buy more, more, more!" I didn’t want to replace my holey underwear (4 pairs were such tough troopers the whole trip) or my hot pink lightweight, long-sleeved Icebreaker shirt (you know the one, you’ve seen it in many of my photos), or my secure, can’t-be-cut-with-knife, purse with the broken zipper (quite worthless when one’s purse gapes open all the time).

I’m slowly muddling through this process, surrendering to the need to replace unfixable stuff. However, I still needed that slightly broken stuff because we continued traveling for about a month in the U.S. We visited friends and family in the southwest as we gradually adjusted to our new “home” culture.

I arrived near our hometown on March 27th. Here’s my journal entry:  “Holy shit, we’re home. No, we’re not home as in living in our home but we’re home as in being in the area we called home. It feels like a loop has been closed. I’m ready to trade my moto riding clothes for my fun, “old” clothes.”

And speaking of clothes…I thought I would hyperventilate when I started going through my clothes in storage! Since we’re still not living in one place, I had to select some (not all of them!) to take with me. My heart raced in anticipation. I climbed on and leaned over into all the boxes marked “Jalene’s Clothes.” I made piles of possibilities, oooo’d and ahhhhh’d when I found something I loved and had forgotten all about. I took them all to our friend’s house in which we were staying, tried them all on, laid out good combos, washed the mothball smell out of the chosen bunch, and returned the unlucky ones back to storage. I love having more clothing choices. Superficial? I think not. My moto rider, Tomboy look is fun and so is my creative, professional, spunky look. What I wear on the outside influences how I feel on the inside and how I’m showing up in the world. Does that make sense?

We continue to have strange and “first time since we’ve been back” experiences. It’s an adventure for sure.

Here we are now, celebrating Easter with Keith's family in Tacoma, WA.

What’s next?

We’re still in the process of deciding where we want to live. Most likely it will be in Oregon, within a day’s ride of our family located in Boise and Tacoma. It depends on where Keith’s work takes us. My work is no longer dependent on our location.

While we were traveling, I tapped into my mind and heart to decide what I wanted to do next. I knew that I wanted to combine my 35 years of work experience with my master’s degree in education and a lifetime of fascination with personal development. My choice to be a solopreneur, aka business of one, is feeling more than anything, like me. The best way I can think of describing it to you, is to share what I wrote on my website:

I help women who want to get their spine-tingling ideas done and are struggling with doing what it takes to make them happen. What does that look like?

It looks like kick-ass women who want to make a difference, want to grow personally and professionally, and dare to be all in.

It looks like us working together to develop your leadership styleenergize you with self-care rituals, and accomplish your ideas that excite (and scare!) the hell out of you.

We start where you are now and work together to fulfill your desires in the areas that are most important to you. Is this you?

This backyard image reminds me of the dynamic new growth of spring, and our inner wisdom, always nearby, patiently waiting for us.

I'll be teaching, facilitating, and coaching with individuals and groups. Plus, I'm embarking on my certification as a professional coach and am in need of practice clients for the next six months. So far I have witnessed and led coaching sessions in which people make choices for actions that are life-changing. Seriously. I am in awe of coaching.

I would greatly appreciate you thinking about those friends and family members you believe could benefit from my services. My practice clients will be given a significantly reduced rate during my training and the first session is complimentary. Please send me their contact information or, give them mine: 541-272-2337, jalenecase@gmail.com.

So now, (in true solopreneur spirit!) I have a question for you. What’s next for you and how can I help you get there?

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

 

www.jalenecase.com | 541-272-2337 | jalenecase@gmail.com

Swinging Forward

Our process for returning home has begun. Yes, we’re still in South America but truth be told, we’re not entirely here anymore. We’re traveling less now, and the exhilarating and terrifying idea of going home is more than merely creeping into our minds; we’re making arrangements, lists, and decisions to re-enter the US. It feels like swinging. Remember the last time you sat your grown-up butt in a good solid swing and let yourself feel the child-like sensations of swinging? I did it recently at our hostel in the tiny town of Malargüe, Argentina.

The swing-set is just to the right of our countryside Eco Hostel.

I settled into the swing, stuck my legs out straight forward, leaned my body back, and fell into that familiar pumping motion that would take me as high as I dared. I stayed there for a good while, sensing the butterflies in my tummy as I experienced a fraction of a second of weightlessness at the apex, feeling simple joy. I took in the tranquil countryside in front of me, felt the wind against my body, my hair blowing in the breeze, smiled. Ahhh…I hope I remember to give myself these simply pleasures in life more often when we return home. Eventually, I was ready to move on. I stopped pumping my legs, sat fairly still in the swing, let the momentum gradually slow, gaged when I felt comfortable to let go, and let the slower momentum of the swing propel me forward to stand on my feet. If I let go too early, there was a high probability of falling and hurting my happy 53-year old body. If I held on too long, until I stopped entirely, it would have been boring, no fun at all to step away from my delightful adventure. That’s exactly how this transition feels to me.  

Like any time of big change in my life, I recognize the familiar feelings of exhilaration and terror. I’m excited to reshape my life and, at the same time, I’m mostly afraid of the money aspect. I know from past experience that staying in touch with my feelings and gathering information will energize (rather than paralyze!) my forward momentum. Keith and I have been sharing our hopes, fears, and feelings, and to learn more about the process, we watched an online program called RELAUNCH! by Cate Brubaker. (Thanks to my friend Christine Martell for this hot, timely tip.) The fifteen presentations and interviews led us to discussions from perspectives we would have never come to on our own. My favorite parts were hearing other people’s stories about their challenges, fears, excitement, etc., working through some exercises to get a grasp on our own feelings, and the ideas for actions to make re-entry smoother.

My tried and true way of understanding my thoughts and feelings is journaling. Recently, I noticed two familiar patterns related to change showing up. I tend to get uber-focused and let all the fun slide right out of my life. Focus is a good thing, in moderation. Right? The other thing I noticed is that I tend to rush toward the next shiny thing/experience/plan and forget to be where I am now. My response to seeing these patterns is to book a wine tour and take a motorcycle ride out into the countryside of Mendoza -- ASAP!

So now, less than a month away from our departure date, we’re traveling less, giving ourselves time in Mendoza, Argentina and Santiago, Chile to prepare for our step out of travel, and into home and working. Exact answers to the question of, “What’s next?” are still evolving. So far, we have a pretty good idea that we’ll live in the Northwest and some ideas for what we’ll do to make a living. We’ll share that adventure as it unfolds. For now, we know that we’re flying ourselves and our bikes to Los Angeles on February 23, 2017. From there, it’s one baby step at a time, the same way we made it 38,000 miles away from our home in Newport, Oregon.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

P.S. Here's a snippet of our ride to Mendoza.

(To enlarge the image, click on it then hover over the bottom of the photo to see the complete description.)

Reaching Our Goal

After 508 days and 35,595 miles of riding our motorcycles...we reached our goal! We arrived in Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, the afternoon of New Year's Eve 2016. Holy moly...we made it!

I wanted to share  what I noticed with you using a stunning Patagonia backdrop, but there were two problems with that idea. First, there's a lot of wind down here, which is not good for recording a video. Second, it took me some time to wrap my head around it all. A week has passed and I'm ready to give it a whirl.


Here are a couple photos from the entry to Ushuaia.

We just arrived on 12/31/16 with our traveling buddy Florian (from Germany) and Stephan (from Italy) who we met that morning.

We were really happy to be there!

Here are a few photos from the very end of the road.

Beyond here, there are only tiny islands before Antarctica. 

The GPS says that we're at the "end of the road." Wow.

Our friend Florian posing -- he's so cute -- plus, you can read the whole sign.

In the spirit of celebration!

Jalene

P.S. My friend Sandra wisely shared that what I'm noticing about this trip will be unfolding for quite a while to come. I'm sure she's right. Accomplishing big goals in our lives have a ripple effect.

Curiosity & Desire Retreat

Hola!

As of today, we've been traveling for 481 days. It's hard for me to get my head around! I've had a job since I was 14 years old and we left on this trip when I was 52. I know how to do work. Traveling, on the other hand, has been a challenge in many unexpected ways. I have a doosey to share this time.

But first...the backstory...

We started our trip with a Horizons Unlimited Traveler's Meeting in Nakusp, BC in August 2015. Our plan was to attend another one in Argentina in December 2016. It was the perfect bookend to our trip and located on the way to our end goal of Ushuaia. When the time came, we found ourselves 750 miles away from the event. To make matters worse, the event was no longer "on the way" so it would need to be a round trip. That's 1500 miles out of our way for a 2-day campout with about 20-30 fellow travelers. I seriously hated to miss it but I didn't have it in me to do an extra 1500 miles.

New plan. Keith, and two men we met during our travels, rode together to the event while I stayed at "home" in Puerto Varas, Chile. After some pondering about what to do with 10 days dropped in my lap, I decided to design what I call my Curiosity & Desire Retreat, a combination of being an artist-in-residence and a woman on retreat.

Some of you will think this is cr-azy

and some of you will think it's co-ol!

Here's the thing...we're in the last phase of our trip and seriously talking about what going home will look like on multiple levels. There are big frickin' changes coming! This total break from traveling is a deep, expansive, juicy time for me to wonder and be curious about who I am now, and what I want next. Maybe you've had this feeling. We want to know what's next but can't quite put our finger it or, more likely, we know what it is but it scares the hell out of us, and we wish we wanted the safe, easy thing. That's where I am.

There are way too many details to share everything with you but I want to share the essence of it. I'm six days into it with another four to go. Its been strange not having Keith around all the time, humbling to flail between what I think I "should" do and what I "want" to do, frustrating not to see a clear path to my next phase, and freeing to play, learn, and wander down any rabbit hole I wish.

My goal is to answer the question of whether I want to pursue finding a job I love, or starting a business I love, when we return from our trip. The bonus question is, if I want to start a business, what would the focus be? To approach these questions from different perspectives, I built a structure to inspire wonder, thought, and creativity. 

The basics of my Curiosity & Desire Retreat:

  1. I set aside precious time and space for me.
  2. I set up a written foundation for my time with what I want to do daily, how much time I will spend doing it, and a place for me to check off that I have done it, so I can celebrate with funky, happy-dance moves. 
  3. I gathered inspirational material such as poems and quotes.
  4. I set the intention of listening to my body’s needs, my heart’s desires, and my mind’s knowledge + eating healthy, exercising, and resting + being willing to be surprised through showing up, wondering, being curious, and doing the work.
  5. During my Curiosity Retreat time, I'm working with a whopping 34 questions by hand-writing my answers in multi-colored markers, and taping them on the walls so I can see the themes and patterns emerging. I research topics of interest to learn more.
  6. During my Desire Retreat time, I do whatever I feel a desire to do. The photos at the bottom are some of my creative work. It's my first attempt at a mandala! Ha!

I made a one-minute video to show you my crazy, cozy, creative space.

If you feel like you're in transition and would like to talk with someone, I'd love to hear your story. Email me. I appreciate the work it takes to make our big choices in life, and know it can be a tough, lonely time. I don't have the answers however, I love meaningful conversations about struggles and possibilities, gremlins and muses, realities and dreams. 

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

I realized that you might like to read the poem so here's the full size image :)

The Dips

During a particularly deep "dip in our trip," I made this 2-minute video to share about it. (Pardon the occasional wind noise.) Little did I know, it was going to get a little deeper before I made my way out of it.

Here are the links to the books I mentioned in the video: 

The Dip: A Little Book that Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin

Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future by Peter M. Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers

The vast simplicity of the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is one of my favorite spots.

Back to that dip I was talking about. It continued until we took a longer break in Santiago, and I dug deeper into my basic needs to understand why I was so off-kilter. 

Like cream rising to the surface of fresh milk, letting go of everything I know to take this trip has allowed my needs to rise above my wants. By letting go of my house, job, friends, family, exercise routine, relaxation rituals, stores I like to shop in, restaurants I like to eat in, closet full of clothes and shoes, jewelry...you get the idea...I've had a chance to distinguish between my needs and wants in a new way.

Here's where I am now. I've let everything go. We're still traveling so I can't put my whole life back together again but, I can make choices about my basic needs. That's where I'm focused. I'm identifying my "minimum requirements for self care" (a term used by Jennifer Louden) so I feel like myself, comfortable in my own skin. Louden's writing prompts have helped me to get at the topic from some new angles.

For example, some of what I've learned is that time alone on the bike isn't enough for me. It was easy to get time to myself at home but on the road, I have to let Keith know that I need a few hours to myself with no interruptions. This is hugely important for my sanity and I wasn't giving it to myself! Another example is what I've started calling stretch projects, in which I challenge my mind or body or heart. The time I spent creating my ebook, Journaling Whys & Hows, fed my need to share about a topic that's super-important to me and to be visually creative. As a "thank you" for reading my blog, I'm giving it to you for free! Use the promo code thankyou.

I'm pretty sure I've made it through the dip in our trip. I've learned more about my basic needs, am in the midst of a 2-week (or more!) break in Santiago, Chile at an awesome hostel with other motorcycle riders, and Keith and I are laying out the next to last leg of our trip, which will take us to our goal of Ushuaia, Argentina. We haven't quite figured out the last leg involving how or when we go home, yet.

Whew. Who knew there would be so much to learn when we left our house 443 days ago!

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

What do failure and extraordinary have in common?

Peru's Colca Canyon wowed Keith and me. The canyon is known for its Condors, and as soon as we spotted our first ones, with their graceful, delicate gliding style, we wanted to stay longer in the expansive grandeur of the canyon. But, we couldn’t. For the first time in a year, we were on a schedule. We had tickets to Machu Picchu on a specific date the following week so, we set out to make the most of our time in the area.

With two different visions of how we wanted to explore the canyon, we decided to go our separate ways. Keith took off on a ride to the canyon bottom, and I hiked down to an oasis spot called Sangalle. Let’s just say, it wasn’t quite what I expected. Click on the video below and come along with me.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

Living With More Heart

Sunrise on Lake Titicaca.

Hola!

We're 13 months into our adventure and I'd like to share with you how traveling is opening my heart in a new way.

I’ve been practicing a couple of new-to-me concepts, which are changing how I understand the people and places we’re visiting, and what I believe is possible for the future.

From our hotel balcony, I’ll share a bit of what I’m experiencing, and in the background you’ll hear sounds from the shores of Lake Titicaca and the small town of Copacabana, Bolivia. It's a touristy town near the border with Peru so don't be surprised if you hear a very recognizable song in the end :)

If your curious about the book, here's a link to it: Untethered Soul 

From my heart to yours, I send you love.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

 

Travel Tools

When we left  home just over a year ago, I did my best to pack everything I thought I'd need for two years of motorcycle travel. Some things I got right. Some things I shipped home, tossed, or gave away. And some things, I didn't realize how much I needed until I tried to live without them for several months. Strangely enough, roadside stretching, in the photo, is connected to one of those things. 

 

In this video, I talk about the tools I've discovered that make travel way more fun. Surprisingly, they're more similar than different to life at home.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

Experience-ing

As we rode from Moyobamba to Yurimaguas in Peru, deeper into the hot, humid Amazon region, my helmet time was consumed with thoughts about the word experience. How is it that Keith and I can technically have the same experience and yet, come away with different interpretations? The answer came in the form of a poem that I tried to catch before it disappeared.

Experience-ing

 

A super-verb!

Containing within it,

our lives,

our stories.

During,

and after an experience,

our outer and inner worlds,

collide.

And, poof!

A new story is born.

New meaning is made,

to change our lives,

either,

in an un-detectably minor way,

or,

in an un-deniably major way.

 

Our experiences infuse meaning,

into our lives.

What you see,

what you notice,

what you pay attention to,

how you interpret, story-tell, make meaning,

of your experiences,

emphasizes shadow or light.

 

Like a star,

no two alike,

zillions of them,

illuminating and energizing our lives.

 

by Jalene Case, Yurimaguas, Peru, July 21, 2016