Tag Archives: writing

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: https://legrandadventure.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/what-do-i-desire/

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:

sustainability.

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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legrand adventure – the only kind to have

truly, madly, deeply is playing right now. is that the name of it? i know it’s by savage garden – ha. and i remember vaguely hearing this song at the grocery when i was a senior in high school.

god, that’s so far away.

even yesterday feels distant.

so i’m taking deep breaths and doing the next right thing. because that’s what oprah says to do. and the next right thing is another deep breath and allowing myself grace.

grace because i was only divorced three months ago, and i’ve been transient for over a year, and i’ve been freelancing during this time, and i broke up with my boyfriend and popped my tire in the same week. this week. today.

and i went to california and italy this year, all while transitioning, and new friending, and falling in love again.

i moved here and i moved to nashville and i moved back here again.

i said goodbye to my puppies.

action, movement, motion.

almost poetic as we transition into winter i’m finally pausing.

finally breathing.

finally acknowledging – damn, amanda – a break down is not weakness. in fact, it’s healthy.

a trauma research study stated divorce, moving, finding a new job, and losing pets all in the highest category of stress and life change.

so…

another deep breath. and two more.

this life is truly, incredibly beautiful. i see opportunity. possibility. growth. transformation. empathy. power.

i also see a trampoline down here at rock bottom. (i’m teasing, this doesn’t feel like rock bottom)

deep sigh, exhale, SMILE –

and move.

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These Words Changed Me

I truly meant to have this one up last night, however, I was floating and my eyes were heavy after Benadryl. (You’d think I’m on staff as much as I talk about taking these meds, but really my allergies rule most of my life. Relief is soon, I hope).

So, there were two books I can without a doubt refer to anyone and everyone. These two books changed me when I read them in July; and when I say changed me, I’m not throwing out a catch phrase. I mean, seriously, honestly, tears streaming down my face, time-to-move and rearrange my life type of change me.

The first is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Everyone around me kept referring this book and I’d been rolling my eyes. I thought, “yeah, I know – consistent effort over time makes a difference.” If I haven’t mentioned already, I’m such a prideful person. It’s sad, really, and one personality trait I am working on. So after I beat down my ego, I started on TCE, and wow. Darren talks about our habits and setting goals and becoming a better human being because if you’re not actively becoming better, you’re actually becoming worse. I’m serious, he says that. Not in those exact words, but you’ll get the point. I used TCE to set a purpose for my bootcamps and actually scripted every post for each camp within a few days after devouring TCE.

Without revealing all of the content I use in my camps (you have to be there), I’ll share a few of my favorite quotes:

“If you’re not making the progress that you would like to make and are capable of making, it is simply because your goals are not clearly defined.” I’m pretty much a goal nazi. That’s my only comment for now.

“95 percent of everything we feel, think, do, and achieve is a result of a learned habit!” Your habits define you. So, who are you?

“Never seek advice of someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places.” Ooo, this one. Raise your hand if you’ve been listening to everyone else’s opinion your entire life, and when you take stock of who you are learning from, you realize you would never want to be that person or live their situations. I’m raising both hands. Most often, those I’ve let weigh in heavily on my own life decisions  were on the outside of what I actually wanted to do – who I actually wanted to be. Their advice was an echo of their own thoughts and feelings, whether those feelings were fear, hesitation, cynicism, none of them were mine and none of them mirrored the type of person I wanted to be and would become…!

The second text was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but that doesn’t matter because I’m telling you my own personal opinion and reflection on Strayed’s book.

I’ve found I naturally gravitate to works by artists who are not afraid to be embarrassingly raw. Those who put the fear of soiling their reputation aside and instead rip it to pieces themselves. These artists aren’t hiding a damn thing. They’ve destroyed the filter that stops them from voicing something that Grandma wouldn’t read. They pour all of their life experiences in their art and then unleash it to the public.

I felt for her as she described the trauma that surrounded her numb attitude toward life. Many times, I cried and cheered for her with each step toward her own self discovery. Gah, reflecting on it makes me want to reread it right this minute. I’ll be right back…

Serendipitously, at the start of the year, I’d set my intentions on vacation in Oregon. Many parts of Strayed’s book take place in and around Oregon, so as I finished Wild the week before we arrived in Portland, I felt a strange closeness to her and all of her experience. (This happened again when I began to read Into the Wild and he finds himself in the same area Strayed discusses. All of our stories will always overlap).

While I loved every single bit of text in Wild, it was the few quotes on page 175, Part Four that changed me:

“When I had no roof I made audacity my roof.” Robert Pinsky The idea (for me) of living audaciously was born the day I read this page. I renamed my coaching team “Audaciously Alive,” and will be soon be launching a business self-titled Live Audaciously. Thank you, Cheryl, for this quote and planting the idea in my mind of living bigger and more on purpose as an adult.

“Never never never give up.” Winston Churchill Forever and always, keep going. You were given this life to live it and bring all of your gifts into it.

So there it is. A brief reflection of the words that changed me this summer. These words forced me to ask telling questions. These words pushed me to run away from everything easy and obvious, and start living like the person I truly am inside.

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November 29th

In the midst of (unsuccessfully) studying for my CPT exam next weekend, I’m thinking about next year. Anyone else guilty of the same type of mind flow? I start a lot of projects and feel successful when doing them all at the same time. It drives Nigel crazy.

So, I’m thinking of next year and how I am going to launch a 100% health overhaul. I’ve mapped out posts to keep myself on track, and beginning December 15th I’ll be reflecting on this year and prepping for the next. But right now I need to study. Cannot wait to share all I’m learning!

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Current Adventure

So, I moved to Nashville. This isn’t news, really, it’s been almost a year and a half since we packed up our small Independence Square apartment and moved into an equally small West Nashville condominium.
In reflection, I have so many experiences I’ve collected in this past year. When we moved here last May, we came without much furniture or money. We maxed out my bank credit card and lived off of my retirement money (yikes) while I conquered this unpaid teaching fellowship program over the summer. As everything does, it worked out and we are still comfortably living in our West Nashville condo. Nigel has a job he enjoys enough and is playing in a band he enjoys even more. I am still teaching the sweetest little pumpkins in the world. We only had to make it 14 months on an air mattress and then my parents gifted us a bed. Life really does work out – you either find your own way or you have rich relatives. I think both scenarios are true here.
In the beginning, the transition was difficult. I was beyond stressed and secluded by my new (and extremely beautiful) surroundings. For a few months I had a hard time calling any place home. We no longer were a part of KC but didn’t quite feel it here either. Fortunately, this didn’t last and now as I sit here at 5:00 am on my balcony I couldn’t feel more at home. In fact, every time I make the trip “back” I find myself giddy excited at the thought of coming home to Nashville.
My mind keeps recalling so many other adventures I want to share but I’ll save those for another day. Stay tuned for thoughts:
-on waterfalls
-on Providence
-on teaching
-on 29
-on writing
-on traveling
-on fitness
-on my balcony
-on fear
-on Nashville nights
-on living in my own skin
-on growing out of things, or people
-on dreams and passions
-on ADVENTURE
Too much?
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What’s in a name?

Life events overlap sometimes. Common themes began to appear. A friend called it synchronicity.

Either way, I’ve found the dilemma is not knowing what to write about, rather, owning what I write. I hold back because I don’t want friends or family to knit my writing to me, to draw conclusions about me because of what I have written, or to be disillusioned by what they comprehend.

One by one, lots of happenings began pointing me toward something that would allow me the freedom to bleed: a mask, a name, a pen name.

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth. -Oscar Wilde

Dr. Suess; Mark Twain; William Shakesphere; George Orwell; Pablo Neruda; Voltaire – to name a few famous pens. Now to creating my own. What an adventure this will be!

 

 

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Secrecy

Oh, I can’t explain. When I like people immensely, I never tell their names to any one. It is like surrendering a part of them. I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvelous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it. When I leave town now I never tell my people where I am going. If I did, I would lose all my pleasure. It is a silly habit, I dare say, but somehow it seems to bring a great deal of romance into one’s life.

-Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Week Two

To be vs. to do – an update on my recently, purposefully un-busy life.

So far, since I have put to rest the driving force of the acquisition of money and the desire for productivity, I have been able to savor the tranquility hidden in the act of being versus the act of doing.

I’ve put focus on a holistic, healthful approach to intake and time consumption. I’ve lost five pounds, lost a nasty head cold, lost the headache and pressure of a rigid schedule.

What have I gained?

I have gained the time and space to pursue relationships. Time to wake-up and feel thankful and alive. Time to appreciate my husband for all that he is and how hard he is working as I reflect and recoup. An appreciation for the now, each moment…an appreciation for all that God has created: the raw, the community, the inspiration, the quality, the transfer of energy, true joy, perspective, semantics, knowledge, wisdom, beauty, potential, art in all of it’s forms, love, the ability to love.

Mostly, I’ve gained a deep appreciation for the ability to live. To live imperfectly but fully with everything I’m given at every moment.

 

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Possibility

11: the number of days remaining at my current job. 0: the number of jobs I have lined up after this one.
This makes me feel alive for some reason. It makes me feel free. It makes me feel like I don’t have to be tied-up to some responsibility to survive. I feel like my options are wide open and my future can be etched with my own pen.

Realistically, this is very stupid. However, it doesn’t stop me. I technically have a job substitute teaching, but need to register my fingerprints to be “official.”

I’d like to work in a warehouse or bar-tend or do something completely random, for fun, just because.

Ideas?? Suggestions?? Dares???

Image

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What do I desire?

Hi.

Perhaps the grandest of adventures is in the making. My loans will soon be paid (well, we’ve paid four in one year. I am extremely STOKED about this) and my full time job will be no longer as of December 28th. It’s funny. I wanted full-time work so badly and now I’m running as fast as I can toward change. I believe I served at CFCA for the appropriate allotted time. As mentioned previously, I successfully depleted four different student loans with one remaining. My attitude toward the final loan is to not focus on it, let it disappear more naturally. I’ve learned a great deal about working in the non-profit world. It truly is fulfilling, but so are many other things. I know I can do anything I would like to do. Some things may take more time and effort, but it’s the risk I’d take given wanting to do that particular thing.

What is my dream job? I’m not really sure. My Facebook news feed provided me with the most interesting video.

What would I do if money didn’t matter? It’s so hard to say…we are so trained to search for something that earns us money, not fulfillment. But how do we pay the bills if what we want to do doesn’t currently earn us anything? It’s really a hard, heartless, vicious cycle.

I want to write. I want to travel. Could I become a travel-writer? My current worldly answer is…I can teach. Only sometimes am I passionate about teaching; however the answer is acceptable and the pay check is real, not imaginary. Would I love it? Probably not…would I enjoy it? Yes, sometimes.

Right now, my husband and I are looking for work in Nashville and Chicago. I’d like to move. I’d like to do something interesting and mobile before I’m 30.

Perhaps it’s all so overrated. Thoughts?

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