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  • Writer's pictureanja frydendal


Before I get started, I want to dedicate this blog and post to a bright young woman by the name of Alexis, who I met at Valley View Hot Spring this past weekend. She and her boyfriend (whose name I'm not even going to try to spell) were staying in the top bunk next to mine, and we had some good conversations throughout the day on Saturday. Alexis, I really appreciate everything that we talked about, and (obviously) I'm taking action on putting the blog into effect. I hope you read this and I hope you're well.

As some of you may know, and others may have noticed, I have been on the road since July 24, 2017. It started with a trip to Tacoma, Washington for Birankai's Annual Summer Camp. It was my first aikido trip of this caliber, and I found it to be an exciting learning experience - emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

The Path to Aikido

I felt so honored to be able to take part in this experience, not only as an aikidoka (that's the actual Japanese word for "a person who practices aikido"), but also as a healer. I had the opportunity to offer my services as a massage therapist to the various people who wanted and/or needed it, and I was also able to sell my salves at the Birankai Summer Camp Store. It was a good experience all around, and I am happy for the work I was able to do as well as everything I was able to learn.

After a wonderful experience at camp (I always wanted to live in dorms for a while, and this was finally my chance!), I took the time to stay with my parents, who live about 40 minutes away from where Camp took place. I was able to reconnect with a number of friends, but I feel like there is never enough time to do all the things and see all the people that you want.

Quirky things you see at the Shady Spruce Hostel in Missoula

My travels next took me to Colorado, by way of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. I stayed in a lovely hostel in Missoula, Montana, and at a campground in Yellowstone. Again, there was not enough time in my schedule to do and see all the things I wanted. However, I was able to enjoy a night of camping all alone (amidst several hundred other campers) and see the Grand Prismatic Pools of Yellowstone.

From Yellowstone I continued south and east through Wyoming - that area of Wyoming as just about no reception, at least for Verizon users. Something to keep in mind, if you travel that way - to Crestone, Colorado, where I stayed from August 10th-September 29th.

Many good things happened in Crestone. I set up my first vending booth every - first, selling salves, and then selling salves and providing massage. I updated my website and sold salves online. I observed the solar eclipse (partial, 90-something percent) from the warmth of a natural hot pool. I participated in the monthly Sampai (chant) at the Shumei International Center for two months in a row, and was able to speak in Japanese with several of the hoshi from Japan that were staying there. I house-sat for a family friend and maintained plants and made friends with her cat. I encountered a bear through the sliding glass door.

I feel so lucky to experience all these things, but now it is time for me to go home. It is still a journey. I just arrived at a (the?) hostel in Moab, and am planning to tour Arches National Park tomorrow. After that, I go to the Grand Canyon, where I will camp for two days and hopefully do some hiking. From there, I hope to visit Joshua Tree National Park and the Pasadena Shumei Center before finally driving north to my husband, my home, and our bunnies and dog.

I wish everyone health and happiness. I have given myself the ritual of reciting mantras to myself, to manifest those things I want in my life. I will leave you with one such mantra tonight:

"May we break free of unnecessary and unhealthy patterns. May we forgive ourselves. May we forgive each other. May our days be filled with gratitude, happiness, and prosperity."

Blessings on you all, and good night.

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