Monthly Archives: January 2018

five years later & one week in

august 8, 2012 – when i searched WordPress and threw together my first blog post. LeGrand was an easy name to word smith and adventure was a given, so LeGrand Adventure it was.

nearly five to six years later (because time passes anyway) i’ve found myself at the beginning again. not really, though it does feel fresh, new, like starting over.

so here i am, harvesting the name from the experience and hushing the fears.

i played around with the idea of travel writing/blogging five years ago here:

in the gap between then and now, a lot of life happened. it probably needed to happen to accumulate the depth, wisdom, and motivation i’ll harness to put these words into action.

so, i’ll finally speak it. here it goes kids

in 2016, nashville became less familiar and i established new community in columbus, oh. over the course of 2017, i had fun calling myself a gypsy and living just a tad outside of responsibility – or in between nashville and columbus, often.

as 2017 rolled into 2018, situations and circumstances pruned distractions. well, i made the conscious choice to prune the distractions after taking cue from my environment.

in the small, deliberate actions, there was clarity. it was time. it is time.

you know the feeling when you’ve experienced a ton of heavy and chaos, and you can tangibly sense the lessons coming together like interlocking pieces spelling out the direction of your entire life?

no? well, i haven’t understood the feeling until now.

so at the end of last year, i made a decision. actually, i cried about not knowing what the hell to do and mid-pity party, my best friend called. now, she’s known me nearly twenty years, and she’s been witness to the biggest, hardest, weirdest (this may be it) seasons. i trust her judgement. we know each other on a heart level.

so when she called, the first thing she asked was, “what’s going on? how’s your heart?” exasperated, i flooded the phone line, “please, pleeease tell me what to do! columbus isn’t working and nashville doesn’t fit and i can’t stay in kansas city too long without feeling unmotivated. i need to move forward. i don’t feel prepared -”

“mandi, let me stop you right there…” exact words, i remember, “come live with us.”

wait what?” i’d been debating colorado eventually, when i felt more ready to kick off the mobile-lifestyle-adventure. in my mind, this was more of a march/april vision.

dana proceeded to tell me she had been reading a few days earlier and the idea hit her.

“we have a spare room and you need your people – and girlfriend we are your people too”

we were both in tears. i wanted someone to tell me what to do and she offered the next right thing on a freaking platter.

i was given time and space to think on it and we agreed we’d reconvene to talk logistics, but i already knew. this made the most sense when nothing in my current reality made any sense.

within a few days, plans were made. plane tickets bought. friends informed. with each forward step, the how became clearer.

and though i put super-intense, sometimes unreasonable pressure on myself, it’s only one week in and i’m beginning to see what this adjustment is all about –

and i want to share: 

  1. my vision of becoming a transparent author. this is it. learning, growing, sharing and over-sharing. sharing my frustrations, struggles, joys, mistakes – heartbreaks. i’ve noticed how reality and raw open up so much conversation, so much connection. and y’all – connection. i don’t know of any one thing more valuable.
  2. the tucked away dream of travel writing/blogging/ living as a responsible gypsy. because, we can all become beach bums, and then sustainability expires- what’s left? wonderful memories, of course. and my aim is to ask questions, do the research, and share how the dichotomy between adventure and stability can, do, and will co-exist in harmony.
  3. my need of reestablishment, reconstruction. if you’re healing incorrectly, it’s time to re-break and reset. and i wouldn’t say i was healing incorrectly – completely – but y’all, skipping parts of the struggle only wedges handicap in place of strength! so, through cursing the process, i still agreed to feel. it. all. knowing if i feel it all in real time, i don’t have to feel it all again later. surrender. open to taking the time, laying the foundation alone, finding me again. resilience.

“and it all starts to make sense…” -Nahko

also, i’ll be open with my vision:

  • jan – readjust, research
  • feb – repay, clear, research
  • march – see above, begin the hunt for a mobile-life-suitable vehicle
  • april & may – purchase vehicle, begin revamp adventure

sometime after may, i’ll wrap up the project and hit the road. this part is still hazy and unknown – beautiful. you’ll see the first step behind readjustment is research. this happens now, and questions are key.

pues, step one:


in brainstorming the “how-to,” travel and support yourself monetarily – what options have you found/experienced? for example, my best friend, dana, has the ability to take her life on the road via travel nursing. i could scout out new areas and substitute teach. and i want ALL the info. what opportunities make this type of lifestyle possible?

let’s begin this conversation.




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true north moment

i am taking breaks, checking facebook, in between filling out online applications for anything here in colorado. i see you were active twelve minutes ago, which is annoying because you haven’t texted me today.

this morning i woke up with a knot in my stomach. the snow falling outside was absolutely gorgeous, and my stomach was nervous enough i could barely enjoy it.

“how’d i get here?” is a question on loop in my mind.

at least some people get it, get me, in the crazy.

i survey my life and accomplishments and wonder how the same woman who won scholarship to study in south america feels on edge and lacking. looking for something, anything to make money. to pay bills. currently, i have two overdue.

the same person who has com-plete-ly paid student loans, in full, and didn’t borrow a dime from mom & dad, is struggling to find a part time job?

“what the actual fuck?” – another phrase on repeat.

at least i have friends who get me and laugh with me.

i did get an email from an adorable bookstore downtown. i’ll interview this week.

ok, life does hold promise.

it’s been an interesting few months.

i left – because i’m good at leaving – in search of my compass again. i wanted to keep moving while waiting for my true north moment.

i felt it in 2013. wow, five years ago. i felt it when visiting nashville. i knew i’d make my home there – it felt more right than i’d ever experienced right feeling.

so i’m waiting on it – hoping hope still exists. knowing i wanted to make it this way. knowing i’ll keep going to oregon and california. knowing this is part of the story. praying to God he still hears me even when i swear i was traded in with the divorce.

“at least i’m still fighting for a flame,” I think to myself in this exact moment. i never ever ever gave up, and on this alone is worth hinging all my pride.

i could have stopped trying when i felt outside-of-my-skin uncomfortable. when all the puzzle pieces no longer fit and i realized i was in the middle of a completely different game.

and i didn’t.

i kept going. when low became lower, i hung on. man, good for me.

and outside of the construction of economy and order, there are the intangibles, which i’m never ever short of – love, grace, peace, possibility.

and gratitude. forever thankful for those who color my life and give me something to write about 🙂

also – today is only day three. something to think about when i’m freaking about not yet landing a job. i have been here three days.

ha! grace.


fort collins

i feel dizzy. my friends say it’s the altitude.

however, i think life makes me dizzy

truly, have i even had balance since 2016?



the in-between

if LOST producers can develop an entire plot line focused on the in-between space – the not quite rescued, the un-arrived – then surely i can begin now. in-between what was and what will be, when I’m sitting in a health food restaurant off Mass Street, listening to live music, and filling out applications for what will be (at most) a three-week gig. defrosting and moving slowly, taking breaks to text the sweetest people. people i get to call my own. answering existential questions for fun and teasing about the future – i’m grinning. i may be cold, congested, and temporarily jobless, but i have a plan. and gosh darn it i have the best people.

leaving Columbus a few days ago was difficult. i’m so tired of trading in people. becoming close and then saying goodbye, though i did realize today – i’m not trading them – i actually get to keep them. and i get to hope and pray they will continue to show up in significant ways. i get to rest in the faith they will re-appear if they are supposed to – God only knows.

so here i am in the in-between. collecting info, making plans, continuing to push forward when i’m comfortable and enjoying this precious time with family.

an old friend quoted Alan Watts with, “the key to being unstuck is to let go of the desire to be unstuck.” and i resonate. though i think somewhere deep down, i’m holding onto being stuck. again – in this phase of life it’s comfortable. it’s familiar. and if i keep letting go (over and over) the risk of never getting [it] back rises.

so, I trust.

and when trusting is so so hard, I pray.

and I remind myself i’m learning lessons i need to learn to complete a much bigger, more beautiful picture than could be created otherwise.

here’s to the in-between