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First practice trip: Corvallis!

This weekend I embarked upon my first bike/train “practice trip” for my tour. On Saturday morning, I hitched up the trailer to the Brompton, with a suitcase inside, and headed down to Portland’s Union Station. The ride was about four miles, and in that time I got sprinkled on and decided to add the rain cover to the trailer (first time I’ve done that) and also realized just how heavy my backpack was. Normally, I’m one of the rare cyclists who actually prefer a backpack to panniers, but this time, with my lock and laptop in it as well as two full water bottles, my aching shoulders decided that I would stow it in the trailer for the “real” trip later in the day. (As well as, presumably, the real “real trip.” My practice-trip lessons had begun!) 

At the station, I wheeled over to the baggage area, where I soon found myself in a conflict with the two attendants about whether I would need to pay a $10 baggage fee for the trailer. When I had taken a pre-practice trip just to the train station a couple of weeks ago—expressly for the purpose of talking to the baggage attendant about all the logistics and fees of carrying the Brompton and trailer on various Amtrak trains—she had helpfully explained to me that if I removed the wheels from the trailer, it would be considered regular baggage, and I could check it at no charge. These two men on Saturday, though, insisted that any “bike trailer” was subject to a $10 fee. I told them I was willing to pay it if I needed to, but I felt frustrated because the other employee had told me clearly that I wouldn’t have to. After going back and forth several times, I agreed to pay it; no need to have a big conflict over such a small issue. As soon as I agreed to pay, though, one attendant seemed to reconsider: “Well, I don’t care that much about it. If she told you it was no charge, I won’t charge you.”

Nice!

I enjoyed the scenic train ride to Salem—a very familiar route to me from my prison-visiting days—but noted with some concern the rain that began falling soon after boarding. I really don’t enjoy riding in the rain if I can avoid it.

When I disembarked, the sky had turned to an off-and-on drizzle, and I put the rain cover back on the trailer and headed out to Infinity Room to grab the lunch I had ordered online from the train. When I arrived, I was struck that it was much more complicated to lock up my bike and go into a building with the trailer attached. I had my suitcase in it, and the trailer is not lockable by itself. For this particular stop, I trusted that it would be very quick, so I just grabbed my backpack out of the trailer and dashed in after locking the bike. There was a woman standing just outside the restaurant, and I asked her to keep an eye on it for me, which she graciously agreed to do.

Once I got in, I encountered another small obstacle: the food was packed in a cardboard clamshell, placed inside a grocery-sized brown paper bag. There was no way that would fit in my backpack, and I was concerned that if I tried to put it in the trailer, it might leak onto my belongings. I asked if they had a plastic bag available to secure the container. I avoid plastic whenever I can, and I believe that Salem has banned plastic to-go bags like Portland has, which is a good thing. But… in a situation like this, I had to admit it would be very handy. One of the employees went into the back to check, and returned with a small white plastic trash bag.

Perfect! Problem solved: I swapped out the grocery bag for the filmy plastic one. When I got back to my bike, I appreciated a new aspect of the trailer: a horizontal food package like that fits easily within it, whereas if I’m biking with just my backpack, it’s not workable.

I continued on my way, to Salem’s Riverfront Park, to enjoy the meal at a covered picnic table. The food hit the spot. (Definitely stop by Infinity Room if you’re ever in Salem: it’s the only all-vegan restaurant in town, and it’s run by wonderful people!)

After lunch, I managed to maneuver the bike and trailer into a restroom right near the table, too: what a blessing to have a restroom large enough to fit it all in (even if it did appear only borderline-sanitary.) I have definite concerns about the time, effort, and security issues involved in making rest stops along my journey.

I left the restroom—had to ask someone to help me hold the door open while I backed out the whole contraption—and refilled my water bottle.

I was ready to begin!

And then… two nearly simultaneous snafus threatened to ruin the trip before it began:

I had been looking forward to taking a scenic route out of Salem through Minto-Brown Island Park. I had visited this large nature park a couple of times before, and thought it would be a much nicer option than Hwy 22, which was Google Maps’ other recommended route. Minto-Brown connects to the riverfront park via a recently constructed bike and pedestrian bridge.

But… as I approached the bridge, I saw a barricade: “Closed for construction.”

What?? No!!

I looked through the gate toward the bridge, and saw people walking on it. Were they scofflaws? Danger seekers? Or, perhaps there was another way of accessing the bridge? Another entrance?

I started walking the bike and trailer around to see if I could find another entrance. I thought I did find one… but it was similarly barricaded.

Ugh!! Was I going to have to take extra time to make it over to Hwy 22 now?

But that soon became the least of my worries. As I turned the bike and trailer around after seeing the second barricade, my trailer came unhitched.

What? How does that happen? This seems dangerous…?

I tried to reconnect the hitch. I couldn’t, because it had somehow become twisted around such that the connector wouldn’t fit on the ball on my bike.

Stymied.

Stress level rising.

A group of adolescent boys who had been talking nearby walked over, and one of them kindly offered to help. I appreciated the offer, and showed him my rig (he was duly impressed) but he left just as stumped as I was. He apologized for not being able to help, and they walked on.

I felt a twinge of desperation, but then found myself remembering a recent conversation with a dear friend, who has been following my adventure while taking one of her own. She had recently encountered a seemingly scary, “stuck” situation while on the road. She consciously chose to take a moment to relax and center herself, trusting that things could and would work out somehow. And as if by magic, as soon as she did this, her seemingly hopeless situation did indeed resolve itself quickly.

I thought, This is the same thing for me. I’m going to relax a moment, and count my blessings. (The sun has come out! I still have plenty of time. My hosts, Judy and Jeff, have made me a standing offer to come and rescue me in their car if I need it.) Then I will brainstorm solutions. There are always solutions.

I texted Judy, to let her know about these two apparent obstacles and the resulting delay. She reiterated her offer to pick me up. I thanked her, but declined: No way was I going to just quit this journey before even starting! If the situation turned more dire, I could reconsider.

My next step was to call Freedom Folding Bikes, in Boulder, Colorado, from whom I had purchased the trailer. They are the sole US distributor of the Dutch-built Radical Design Chubby trailer. Chuck, the store owner, answered the phone immediately, to my relief. I told him I was in need of some “tech support,” and hoped he could help. I explained the situation, and he seemed to immediately understand. He asked if I was calling from an iPhone.

Yes.

“OK, let’s switch to FaceTime, and I’ll show you what you need to do.”

Whoa, the marvels of modern technology!

We switched over the call seamlessly—no need to even hang up—and he flipped his camera to show me his in-store demo model of the bike, trailer, and hitch. He showed me what I needed to do, which was to twist the bar to partially unscrew the end of it. I hadn’t even realized the end screwed in; I thought it was connected permanently, immovably.

Sadly, I didn’t appear to have the strength to twist it effectively. But he assured me that this was the only solution, so I thanked him, hung up, and surveyed the scene to find someone stronger to help.

My eyes fell upon a young couple in the parking lot straight ahead of me, unloading their bikes from an SUV. I tentatively approached them and asked if they could help with a bike problem. They agreed, so I sighed with relief and showed them the situation. The young man seemed to barely lay his hands on the connection and immediately loosen it. I was somewhat mortified, in a pickle-jar kind of way, but mostly, jubilant about this progress! I thanked them both profusely, and told them I was on my way to Corvallis as a part of a larger bike journey around the country.

The young woman’s eyes lit up. “Corvallis? That’s where I’m from! My whole family lives there!” She insisted on giving me her phone number: “If you need anything at all while you’re there, my relatives would be happy to help!”

I was so touched. This is the magic of the road, the journey, isn’t it? People really want to help if they can.

I handed her my business card with my blog’s URL on it in case she wanted to follow the journey (Rachel, if you’re reading this, thank you and your sweetie again!) and we parted ways.

I hopped on the bike with the now-attached trailer, and slowly began pedaling toward the other side of the park, where I could connect with Hwy 22.

Except! As I passed the barricaded path again, I saw that just beyond my previous field of vision was the actual entrance to the bridge. Hallelujah!! Those two barricaded gateways were actually leading to a very specific area of the park, adjacent to the bridge but not the path to it.

Like magic.

So I scaled the ramp, took a photo of the silvery bridge, and rode off into a beautiful field of wildflowers at the entrance to Minto-Brown. It was the perfect way to finally begin the journey.  

The rest of the 38-mile ride was mostly beautiful. The early sprinkles gave way to sunshine and mild temperatures, and although I didn’t appreciate the slight headwind that seemed to keep me company for most of the trip, the scenery more than made up for it: lush pale-green fields and early-summer trees, including many beautiful oaks.   

At long last, after four hours and 45 minutes, as the temperature was starting to drop and the light just starting to wane, I pulled my spent body and rig into the driveway of Judy and Jeff’s beautiful house and garden.

They were lovely and gracious hosts, and I enjoyed a relaxing shower and a wonderful home-cooked meal, and managed to stay lucid enough for a couple of hours of conversation about bicycling (they are avid cyclists) and traveling, before turning in to a comfy bed for a good night’s sleep.

The next morning, Sunday, we awoke in a leisurely fashion and enjoyed some oatmeal with a dizzying array of toppings, then hopped in their car for a brief tour of Corvallis, including First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op for some food and treats for my return trip (I always love to visit a local co-op wherever I travel) and a lovely small island that felt very reminiscent of Sauvie Island, just outside of Portland.

After I bade them farewell, my 13-mile bike ride to the Albany train station went smoothly, with more beautiful scenery along Hwy 20. I serendipitously avoided a brief rain shower toward the end of the trip by pulling over for lunch on a rock under a tree in a wooded park just before the train station. The boughs of the large old tree managed to shelter me entirely from the rain, much to my delight. I hopped back on the bike just as the rain stopped.  

At the station, the attendant cheerfully checked the trailer as no-charge baggage, without incident.

This first practice trip was exactly what I needed: Enough beauty, pleasant weather, and warm conversation to remind me why I want to do this for a year, and enough challenges to keep my expectations realistic and give me some opportunities for learning and growth.

Next month: Seattle!

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a fairy godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)

Our dreams for ourselves, our dreams for the world

May 30, 2021

I’ve been thinking lately about what it is for me to live my optimal life.

That’s a big part of what this bike journey is about for me: I want to live the best possible life I can live, on my terms.

And, one of my biggest values is caring about the world, too. Basically, I want everyone—individually and collectively—to be living their optimal lives. Everyone has a different vision for what their optimal life would look like.

But can you imagine that? What that world might look like? Feel like?

Of course a lot of it would include basic things like food, shelter, health care, and basic human rights, justice, and equality for all.

On top of that, though, it would include joy! Pleasure. Creative expression. Vibrant physical and mental health. Pursuing our unique intellectual or artistic curiosities and endeavors. Having the interpersonal connections that feel just right to each of us.

Do you know what your dreams are for your own life? Do you have a clear vision in your head—and a corresponding feeling, in your heart—of what it would look like for you to live your optimal life?

Do you have a vision for what your optimal world would look like, for all of us?

That’s what I want this journey to be. Me really living into my best life for myself, and connecting with others about theirs. I’m already having wonderful “magical meetings” with people by phone or video chat, talking about their dreams for themselves. I am so excited to keep doing more of those as I begin to travel (and in person, too!) And I also enjoy connecting with people who maybe don’t yet have a clear vision for their own or the collective optimal world, but they know they want something other than what they now have. I love listening deeply to people, holding a space for them to begin to get clear on what’s most important to them, and what brings them deep joy and satisfaction.

If you know what these answers are for yourself, and you’d like to share them with someone who cares and is making a “mental map” of all these dreams… please message me, and let’s set up a time to talk about it! Or if you don’t know, and would like the space to explore and get clearer on it, message me to set up a time for that! No charge for a one-hour, no-strings talk. If we end up doing more, we can discuss payment or trade or donation. My goal is to talk to as many people as possible who resonate with, and/or are inspired by, my journey, while also manifesting the funding for this trip. I’m confident and comfortable that those two goals won’t always intersect. I’m fully trusting that all will unfold as it needs to.

Today was the midpoint of the Memorial Day weekend here in the US. It is the unofficial start to the summer season. In three months, it will be the Labor Day weekend, which is the unofficial end of summer, and also my intended start time for my bicycle journey! I am spending this weekend relaxing and really feeling into the flow of this journey: today I spent time on my bike; relaxed in a park enjoying the beautiful weather; gave away some possessions to lighten my load; and wrote this communiqué to all of you. This is how I intend for the trip to look and feel, so I’m starting now. I trust it will flow smoothly as it continues to unfold.

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a fairy godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)

This summer’s three bike trips!

You all, I’m so excited! Everything keeps falling into place, and it’s reminding me how powerful it is for me to hold a beautiful vision—strongly yet lightly—and to allow the pieces to put themselves together, with just a few gentle nudges from me.

As I’ve been preparing to embark upon an entire year of bicycling around the continent… and thinking of how my current bicycling practice consists mainly of a 3-mile-each-way commute to my workplace four days per week… I’ve thought it would be a good idea to do a few “practice trips” this summer, to give myself more time in the saddle, more experience with the trailer, more practice with loading the bike and trailer onto different kinds of transit vehicles, and more outreach to potential hosts.

So, this past week I have put together two such practice trips, and the magic of my vision has been showing up in spades!

One wonderful serendipity: Amtrak’s 50th anniversary, on May 1st. To celebrate, the company offered 50% off fares for one week, which was perfect for me. I booked two trips, both splitting my time between bicycling and Amtrak: Corvallis, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.

I have a wonderful and amazing friend in Corvallis who had offered to host me, not just on my actual trip in September, but on a summer practice trip as well. I’m so looking forward to spending a couple of nights with her and her partner, both of whom are avid cyclists (and recently vaccinated). And, I’ve never spent any time in Corvallis, save for a two-hour evening event at Oregon State University a few years ago, so I’m looking forward to exploring and experiencing a new city, as well. I’ve heard great things about Corvallis.

My sister and her partner, also both cyclists, live in Seattle. (Several years ago, they spent the whole month of May bicycling around a very rainy Germany.)

I had initially thought to bicycle the whole 200-mile distance to Seattle—over the course of four days—and then take the train back home. However, I realized that would take more time than I wanted, and would be more physically rigorous than even my main trip will be, with 50+ mile days every day, and no rest in between. As I searched for lodging hosts all along the way, too, I ran into some gaps.

I reminded myself that a key part of my vision for this journey is to gently challenge myself while prioritizing ease, flow, beauty, and joy. (Some bicycle tourists are motivated by pushing themselves physically. I am not.)

So, I realized that I could use the train to make things more pleasant and joyful.

I will take the Amtrak Cascades train to Olympia, Washington, and then bicycle from there to Tacoma, arriving mid-afternoon, just in time to visit one of my favorite restaurants, Quickie Too. (If you ever find yourself in Tacoma, please do yourself a favor and stop at this restaurant! They are a wonderful Black-owned vegan sandwich shop, and their food is truly amazing. In fact, when I found out they were closed on Thursdays, I moved my whole itinerary back a day to make sure I wouldn’t miss out!)

I needed a place to stay in Tacoma, so I made my first outreach to a Warmshowers host. I searched the map, and found four hosts within a few blocks of the restaurant. They all sounded like interesting people, but I was especially drawn to one particular house of vegetarians. I sent a message explaining my trip, and received a prompt warm welcome of a reply from the host, saying they would love to have me on that date! I had been a bit nervous to reach out to strangers on this new-to-me platform, so this was a wonderful reassurance that I was on the right track.

I needed to continue on to Seattle, and I looked at Google Maps bike directions to puzzle out my best route. During this time, I talked to my sister on the phone, and she checked with her partner, who had recently biked between Tacoma and Seattle. He strongly suggested going through Vashon Island, rather than paralleling I-5; the scenery would be dramatically better, if I could stomach a few more hills.

I have never been to Vashon Island, but this recommendation reminded me that I have another incredible friend who lives there. I had been out of touch with her for some time, but I reached out with an email to see if she might like to meet up for tea.

To my surprise and delight, she also replied almost immediately, and insisted that I stay with her and her husband for the night! I had been contemplating whether to try to find lodging on the island for the night, or to press on and try to make Seattle in one day. Her offer made my decision easy, and I think I will appreciate it, given all the hills between Tacoma and Seattle.

That friend—who has not owned a car since 2008, and who told me she has biked around Europe three times(!) picking up litter all along the way(!)—said she would meet me in town and give me a bike tour of the area, before we headed up to her house for the evening. I’m so excited!

The next day, I’ll take the ferry over to Seattle, and head the rest of the way to my destination with my sister and her partner. I’ll spend two nights and one full day with them, and then leave on the Amtrak Coast Starlight train back to Portland. The Coast Starlight—unlike the regional Cascades train I’ll take on the way up—is a long-distance, Superliner train. It is more luxurious, and I love taking it any chance I get. It runs daily between Seattle and Los Angeles.

Taking both types of trains will give me an opportunity to practice loading both the bike and the trailer into different types of luggage compartments. In fact, I plan to take a pre-practice trip just to the Amtrak station in Portland sometime soon, with my bike and trailer in tow, to talk to a baggage attendant in person and ask how best to prepare for this. (When time is of the essence on a trip, there is little margin for error or uncertainty. I don’t want to be stressing about missing a train or having any luggage snafus.)

The Corvallis trip is in June; Seattle is July. I also have a third “practice trip” planned for August, this time without any trains except perhaps our municipal light-rail MAX train: I will bicycle across the west hills of Portland and out to Stub Stewart State Park, along the Banks-Vernonia Trail, where I have rented a cabin to stay for the night and do some wandering in the woods.I

love how things are coming together to make this all wonderful: my vision, my friends and family, Amtrak, and the wonderful network of Warmshowers hosts.

I’ll write about the magic as it unfolds on each upcoming trip. Thanks for following along!

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)

Stepping into a wonderful network

Wow, what a great response I’ve had, all over social media, for my last post about my route! It’s been wonderful to connect with so many like-minded people all around the US and Canada, many of whom have offered me lodging or meetups when I reach their areas. I’ve also done some Zoom calls with some of you about your wonderful ideas and projects. (If you’re reading this and you feel drawn to a Zoom or phone call to talk about your dreams or projects, please comment or use the green “contact” button above to schedule something!)

My newest step forward on this journey, which I’m excited to share with you all, is that I just finalized my Servas.org membership. I love talking to anyone who will listen about Servas, because I find that very few people seem to know about it, and it is an absolute gem of an organization. It’s a global peacebuilding nonprofit, founded in 1949 in the wake of a horribly destructive world war, and run entirely by volunteers who support its mission. I first learned about it a little over a year ago, from a friend who had had a great experience with Servas hosts when she was a traveler, moving to Oregon from the Midwest many years ago.

Servas is similar to couchsurfing.com in that it is a way for travelers and hosts to find each other and connect. It differs in that it is a nonprofit organization, and explicitly aiming to foster deeper human connection. Therefore, joining is a bit of a process: you submit a letter of introduction, which is reviewed by Servas volunteers. You answer several questions—such as whether you wish to join as a traveler, a host, or both—and fill out an online application. Then you do an in-person interview with a local Servas volunteer in your area (or, in the era of COVID, a video interview) and then you pay your annual dues. As a traveler, I paid $98.

Once you join, you gain access to connect with more than 12,000 other members worldwide. (About 1000 of these are in the US, and another 300 in Canada.) When travelers and hosts connect, the “standard” stay is two nights, which is perfect for my intentions. During that time, travelers and hosts share at least two meals, and engage in meaningful conversations, with the underlying belief that connecting meaningfully with strangers all around the world can lead us to greater intercultural understanding and, ultimately, a peaceful world.

This vision—and this way of moving toward it—is 100% aligned with my personal vision, and more specifically, my vision for this bike journey!

Between Servas, Warmshowers.org, couchsurfing.com, friends, family, and friends of friends, I’m so excited for all the amazing personal connections I will be able to make on this journey. I’m honored to do whatever I can to support each host in bringing about their ideas and visions for themselves and the greater good.

If Servas appeals to you, as a traveler or host, please take a look and consider joining!

  • To schedule a one-hour session with me to talk about your dreams or projects, use the green “contact” button above!
  • To be notified of future blog posts, use the green “sign up” button to subscribe
  • If you support my vision, I also welcome financial support to keep it sustainable! I am seeking to manifest $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a fairy godfunder (thank you to all my patrons and supporters!)

The route takes shape!

Happy spring, everyone! (Or if you’re in the southern hemisphere, Happy autumn!) Are you feeling it? Have you been out to enjoy some sunshine, warmth, blossoms and new growth? I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the glimpses of it we’ve been getting here in Portland, with the cherry blossoms along the waterfront and everything else that emerges in this season.

And… I’ve been working on my route for my trip, and I’m so excited! I’ve had the general idea of where I want to go for a while, but I hadn’t had the skills yet in Google Maps to draw it, with a wide enough swath to allow the “wiggle room” I’m definitely building into the itinerary. But the other day I watched a tutorial, et voila!

The map above shows where I plan to go. My intention is to head south from Portland this September, and make the loop until the following September. Most of the journey will be done on my wonderful Brompton folding bike, with my awesome Chubby trailer. Certain sections will be done by Amtrak trains (one of my other favorite ways to travel!) Some short segments may also be done by city transit or other buses, or in a few cases, “road tripping”/carpooling with friends in a given area.

But, mostly by bike! I’m so excited to see all the natural beauty around the continent; to visit national parks and natural areas I’ve never seen (such as the redwood forests, Yosemite, Niagara Falls, and Glacier National Park); visit new-to-me cities, including but definitely not limited to San Antonio, Atlanta, Quebec City, and Toronto; and connect with people: friends, relatives, and lots of inspiring people I have not yet met!

As the trip draws closer, I am putting together a rough list of people who may be willing to host me for a night or two in their homes. The purpose of this trip—beyond physically challenging myself and enjoying the natural beauty of the land—is to give myself a chance to connect with inspiring people, and co-create as much magic as possible. I am seeking opportunities for in-depth conversations and connections about people’s dreams, ideas, and projects for making the world a better place, so that I can help them to hold those visions, spread the word about them, and network like-minded people together as I travel, so that they can all be more effective in manifesting this magic!

So, rather than camping or relying mostly on impersonal lodging such as hotels, I am seeking ways to stay with people for one to two nights at a stretch. I have several websites/organizations in mind that are well suited to this purpose: couchsurfing.com, warmshowers.org, and servas.org. (If you’re not familiar with that last one, take a look—it is a gem of a global peacebuilding organization, founded in the wake of the Second World War.)

But, as I discovered on my 2019 epic cross-country rail journey, I found many wonderful human connections through my friends-of-friends network. I am looking forward to more of this on this (extra!) epic journey, so if you’re reading this, I humbly request that you consider whether you or someone you know might be willing to host me in your/their home for a night or two when I come through your area. I do my best to be a gracious guest, and my goal is always for anyone I stay with to be happy that we had a chance to connect and talk about what’s important and meaningful to us. If you know people on a similar wavelength, along my route, I’d love it if you would put us in touch!

The blue pins on the map are places I’ve been offered to stay so far (thanks so much to everyone who has offered already!) but I’m always open to having multiple connections in any given place, so please feel free to reach out even if your city is already marked. Also, regardless of hosting, I would love to meet up with like-minded folks to talk, perhaps in a local park or café. The more connections, the better!

And, if you do want to connect either just to talk, or to host, I’d love to “meet up” beforehand, to have a phone or video chat to get to know each other a bit, and talk about dreams and projects. We can do that at any time—the sooner the better!—so that we can have a great jumping-off point for the conversation when we meet in person.

I’m so excited. Thank you all for following along with me and supporting my vision!


To schedule a one-hour session with me to talk about your dreams or projects, use the green “contact” button above!

To be notified of future blog posts, use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

And/or, you can support my work financially with a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a fairy godfunder (thank you to all my patrons and supporters!)

Offering pro bono support for dismantling -isms

If you’re reading this, I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the latest tragic American mass shooting in Atlanta. Gun violence mixed with racism, sexism, and classism, with predictably horrific results. You’re probably also aware that anti-Asian violence has recently been on the increase.

The United States—and much of the world—has a serious, entrenched problem with racism, as well as sexism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of “othering.” If you’re reading this, or if you follow any of my work, I trust that you wish to do everything you can to help dismantle these –isms, so that we can all live lives of safety and thriving interconnectedness.

Some of the best ways to do this:

1) Read and listen to voices of marginalized people

2) Make financial contributions to organizations working on these issues (especially organizations led by the affected marginalized people) and

3) Speak out and speak up on behalf of marginalized communities, whether through writing or social media posts, or in conversations where you hear people making statements that could harm others.

I do my best to do all of the above, but I also want to use my particular skill set to help. So, at this time I am offering one-hour phone or video sessions on the topic of dismantling –isms. These sessions are free of charge, because I want to make them as accessible as possible. (Although I encourage you to make a donation to an organization working on these issues, if you are able.)

I am hoping that a number of people will take me up on this. Topics you may wish to discuss could include your own experiences of various –isms, whether on the receiving end, or times you felt guilty for doing or saying something, or failing to do or say something, and what you’d like to do differently going forward; co-brainstorming about ways you’d like to contribute your own time, energy, skills, and/or money to work toward dismantling these structures; or any related topics. Perhaps you have an idea for an art project, educational effort, or political campaign to address these issues, and you’d like to talk about it and flesh it out, or get re-energized to work on it?

Whatever you wish to discuss, I will listen supportively, without minimizing, judging, or questioning your experiences. Schedule a session by messaging me at maren@dreamintochange.com.

Committing to 15 minutes a day

When we have a dream to work toward, it can be so exciting! Especially at first! All the good ideas are flooding our brain. We’re talking to friends about it! Maybe we’re posting about it on social media. We might make to-do lists about specific steps we’ll need to follow to manifest the dream.

But… after that initial excitement phase, sometimes we can fall into a rut. The buzz wears off in the chemistry of our brain. Most of our friends already know about our dream. There’s nothing new to post about it. Fears and doubts may begin to creep in. (“Oh, what about this aspect of things? I hadn’t thought of that.” “Is this really realistic?” “Do I really have the time or energy to take on a new project?”)

Day-to-day tasks and other priorities can start to crowd in, too. And before we know it, a month or two after we got lit up with Such An Exciting Idea!!… it can start to fade away.

Does this pattern sound familiar to you?

One strategy I have used effectively to combat this is to dedicate 15 minutes per day to my dream.Actually, to be fair, it’s kinda 30 minutes. But still totally doable. Here is what it looks like:

After my workday at my “day job”, I need to shift mental gears. So, when I get home, I sit down and dedicate 15 minutes to emptying my mind. I turn off the ringer on my phone, and set the timer for 15 minutes. I sit on the couch and mentally review the day so far. I reflect on what has happened during the day, and how I felt about those things at the time—good and bad—and how I handled things. I notice if I am proud of how I responded to a challenging situation, or perhaps acknowledge if I didn’t handle something as well as I would have liked. In either case, I note the event and my emotions and responses, and then let them go. (I sometimes find this to be a helpful gratitude exercise: often I remember cool little things that happened during the day that I would have forgotten if I hadn’t taken this time of reflection.)

By the time the ringer sounds, I feel more grounded, and the second half of my day is ready to begin.

Then, I set the timer for another 15 minutes. This time, I focus on visioning toward my dream. I think back briefly on the day again to see if anything has moved toward the fruition of my dream. (Did I contact someone? Did someone contact me? Did I write something? Did I get a new idea and jot it down?) Then I spend some time just smiling, and enjoying what my dream is. I imagine how it will feel as it unfolds. For example, since my present dream involves bicycling around the United States and Canada, I might imagine how I’ll feel while riding through a beautiful national park or a redwood forest. I allow myself to fully enjoy the feelings of a dream well manifested.

Then, I let my mind gently float toward small, manageable actions I could take to move toward it. Is there someone I could contact? Is there some topic I could research on Google or social media? Is there something I could write? Generally, without much effort, one or two such action steps float easily to me, and I make a mental note of them.

When the timer goes off, if an action step seems easy and quick enough, I might do it right then. If it will take more time or energy than I have at that moment, I’ll instead write it on a to-do list for later.

Fifteen minutes is a magical length of time. It seems small enough that it feels manageable. Yet, in the brain it is enough time for substantive forward motion to happen. I even use the 15-minute “trick” to do various other kinds of tasks in my life. Maybe I’m struggling to do an ongoing chore, or to read a challenging book. I can tell myself, “Hey, just set the timer for 15 minutes, and see how much you can do.” Sometimes I get a lot done in 15 minutes. Sometimes by the time I invest that time, I have built up enough momentum to continue on with the task. But I know I don’t have to, and that is the key.

If you haven’t tried this, I urge you to give it a go. (It doesn’t have to be in the early evening, either; it can be at whatever time of day works for you. You can break up the two 15-minute segments and do them at different times of the day, too, if that works better for you.)

I have spoken with many of you about your dreams. Can you set aside 15 minutes of each day for visioning them into fruition?

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What is your dream?


If you are reading this: What is your dream? Do you have one? (Maybe you have more than one?) Have you had dreams in the past? If so, did you manifest them, or not (yet)?

I’m hearing so many inspiring dreams these days as I talk to a wide range of folks. A few trends I’m noticing:

Many people dream of living a mobile-home or tiny-house life in some way, either traveling around, and/or living in one place, with a smaller footprint.

Many people dream of joining (or even creating from scratch) intentional communities, with like-minded folks of different generations and family sizes living together on shared land (possibly also in tiny houses) and possibly also farming the land together to be as self-contained and sustainable as possible.

Several people dream of opening up healing centers of various kinds, to support people with various physical challenges.These are just some of the dreams I’ve been hearing about.

What about you? Does one of the above call to you? Or perhaps something else?

This past year has been incredibly trying and challenging, for nearly everybody I’ve encountered. Many people I’ve been doing magical meetings with have incredible challenges in their lives, which can drain their energy.

But I find that when I talk with anyone about their dreams—whether they have tremendous challenges in their current life or not—their energy changes. They light up. They open up. They see possibilities, and get excited and motivated to begin taking action steps toward manifesting their dreams.

I myself am a perfect example of this. This past year for me included a flood of my living space which displaced me for three months; the sudden end of a 7-year romantic partnership; and a pandemic which brought up deep fears for me, of illness and my own mortality, fears for the health and lives of people I know and care about, and financial/income-related fears.

All of these challenges felt crushing upon me, for months.

But when this dream of the round-the-US solo bike tour came to me—complete with offering my gifts of emotional and strategic support to others to help them manifest their own dreams—my energy shifted drastically. Even though I have continued to face big challenges (such as losing all my lower teeth a few weeks ago, and knowing that the uppers will be next) I have been filled with a joie de vivre underpinning it all, because I know that I’m living into my dream. I visualize it, and work toward it, every day. It has absolutely changed my life.

So… what about you? What is your dream? Please feel free to comment here about it, and/or message me privately. If you’d like, I would love to support you with one or more “magical meetings” about it, via phone or video chat. Imagine if we were all living from this generative energy, moving forward toward beauty in our lives, even during times of pain or hardship. That’s the kind of world I want to live in!


To schedule a one-hour session to talk about your dreams or projects, use the green “contact” button above

To be notified of future blog posts, use the green “subscribe” button

And/or, you can support my work financially with a one-time or monthly contribution (thank you to all my patrons and supporters!)

“Brokering” good in the world

I’ve always resonated with the concept of a “broker.” Even though this concept often exists within fields that don’t resonate with me, such as the stock market or the insurance industry, I find the idea itself appealing. An insurance broker once helped me to find a good health insurance plan for myself. Real estate brokers help suitable buyers and sellers to interact in mutually beneficial ways. A broker is someone who learns thoroughly a complex field that an average person can’t be expected to understand… and then helps the average person to navigate that field. Ideally, everyone benefits within this model.

Of course, I have never “fit” within conventional models of pretty much anything, so my current take on brokerage is different.

What I am envisioning right now is that I would like to serve as a broker between people who have great ideas and projects, and great drive (and often great expertise) but who lack the funding to bring these ideas and projects to fruition within our existing economic and social structures… and people who have plentiful financial resources and want to support such people and their projects. (I have written about such “fairy godfunders” before, and I expect I will continue to do so.)

As regular readers will know, I am seeking one or more fairy godfunders to underwrite my work as someone who will travel the nation by bicycle, offering emotional and strategic support to people with great ideas and projects to make the world a better place. My intention is to manifest $50,000 by July 1st, so that I can take this trip for a year, from September 2021 to September 2022. (If you are reading this and you know someone who might want to “godfund” this for me, please feel free to put us in touch!)

But I don’t want this only for myself. As I have written before, there are many, many people who are extremely hardworking, intelligent, and creative thinkers, but whose ideas and work to make the world a better place are not easily funded via conventional means. I want to help these people to do the work they want to do, which will benefit countless people (arguably, all of us, collectively, in some way.) I know that there also exist many people of means who would  like to help these folks, and would like to do so in a very simple way, such as writing a check to a trusted individual, rather than going through an established nonprofit, for example. (Nonprofits are wonderful, but for a person with a great idea, they take an often-insurmountable amount of time and effort to set up, and the person’s time and energy could be better spent actually doing the work they would like to do. In fact, the prospect of setting up a 501(c)(3) nonprofit is such a barrier for some folks that it overwhelms their ability to simply do the work, from which we could all benefit.) 

I envision myself working discreetly, since I expect many fairy godfunders would prefer to remain anonymous. Therefore, I am currently envisioning/working toward a praxis in which I identify a cadre of such funders, while keeping their identities under wraps. Meanwhile, I am holding “magical meetings” with as many people as possible—people who have ideas and projects they are either just discovering for themselves, or on which they have been working for years. I am thrilled to be able to already be doing this powerful work—around the globe—before I even hop on my bike for my tour, but I expect that when I do get on the bike, I will meet even more such folks. I want to be prepared to help them financially, if and where appropriate. (I’ve been taking some inspiration from Leon Logothetis and his “Kindness Diaries” series.)

So… consider this post a combination of food for thought/conversation starter, and a direct request for contact with folks who might wish to participate in my vision as fairy godfunders for myself and/or others. Anyone interested may contact me at maren@dreamintochange.com, and I promise to keep identities private unless the person wishes otherwise.

Let’s make some magic happen this coming year!