The Fiji and Jasmine Bond

Fiji growled at me for the first time ever today. I am sure it feels worse to hear a child say, “I hate you,” but I felt like my child said I hate you. I was putting ointment on a wound she has from playing in the chicken coop. The wound must really hurt for her to have said such hurtful words to me. I corrected her and she got on her back to apologize. But I still feel a bit sad. Some people don’t understand the bond owners have with their dogs. They really don’t understand the bond I have with Fiji. I remember when we went through the Paw Paw Tunnel. Nothing but darkness and the sound of dripping water. It was a long walk; I was on the left side of the bike and Fiji was on the right. I shined the flashlight down to check on her. She looked into the light, eyes wide and terrified. But she kept pace with me. It’s like there’s nothing Fiji would not do as long as I was there with her. I felt proud to have her with me, and I picked up my feet a little more, so we could make it out of that tunnel, not for my sake, but for her. She didn’t growl at me when we slept next to train tracks (a train passed by every hour, shaking our tent like an earthquake), when she tore a muscle after running too long, when we rode through flood waters and her trailer was full, when we were caught in the subsequent mudslide, and I had to walk the bicycle through the mud. She kept sinking into the mud, and I walked at one mile per hour because of the weight of the bicycle and trailer, sinking into the mountain side. She didn’t protest when we entered new homes, new situations. She didn’t whimper or lose energy when we would be on the road until the wee hours of morning. I remember starting at 4am one day and not making it to our next destination until 1am the next morning. She didn’t get sick. She smiled and wagged her tail the whole day. When I took showers in strangers’ homes, Fiji would lie next to the door and growl and bark at anyone who approached it. When I went into portable potties or gas stations, Fiji would growl at anyone who approached the door or came too close to our gear. When I felt frustrated and wanted to give up, Fiji, full of energy, would pull the bike and speed us up. She’d jump up and lick me. She’d do something comical.

So excuse me if I’m a little bothered by her words. I know it happens. Dogs do that. It’s the only way they can express when something is wrong or when they don’t like something. She didn’t show her teeth, and even as I write this, she is snuggled next to me. But I still feel like I got into an argument with my best friend.

Indianapolis and Musical Dreams

Yes, I am in Indianapolis, pursuing my dreams. I announced it on Facebook and other social media, but not here.

Anyone watch the movie Legally Blonde? Well, there’s a scene where Reese Witherspoon walks into her academic advisor’s office and declares that she’s going to Harvard Law School. Her advisor wears a grin of disbelief and says Harvard is a top 5 law school, “What are your back ups?” Reese, without a beat, replies, “I don’t need any backups; I’m going to Harvard.”

Well, let’s just say I feel like Reese’s character right now. I have big dreams. I need to work hard to achieve them. Maybe impossibly hard… But that’s not going to stop me from trying.

For the people back in Columbia, I will be home to visit my mom, so we can still connect. For the people all over the country who helped me successfully make it across the U.S., I salute you and thank you with all my heart. Please message me and let me know how you’re doing!

jbrzr3@gmail.com

I am going to write again tomorrow. I am going to start with Pennsylvania and take you from State-to-State. So many magical, scary, and fun things happened on my trip.

BTW, Fiji is settling in well. She is a bundle of energy!

Home to Home

Today, my nerves, from brain to toes, jumbled from one location to the next. My interview with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra went super well. Of course, I thought that about the job in San Diego, but I did make some key mistakes with them. I don’t think I missed one beat with the ISO opportunity, no pun intended.  Most people don’t know this, but while in Los Angeles, I met my father, aunts and uncles and siblings, some for the first time, and others for a second (but I was way too young to remember those encounters). So, it was like the first time for me! They all turned out to be quite nice, and they accepted me into the family as if I had never been out of it. They wanted me to settle down and not take on “these crazy adventures” anymore. My paternal grandmother who is blind (I cycled for eye research, so it coincidentally hits close to home) wanted me to stay and live in Los Angeles. While LA is a vibrant place, I could not see myself there. I wanted to go back to Indianapolis, the city that stole my heart. I said goodbye to my family last week with plans to hitchhike back to Indy. Instead, I spent three remarkable, tiresome days with Emma, the cellist, in her old pickup truck, Fiji sitting on my lap for six hours at a time, while Emma and I took turns driving.   We stopped in Colorado, stayed with friends I had met on the road, and headed on to Missouri the next day to stay with my mom. We  stayed in Missouri from 4am until 11am on Sunday, and hit the road for Indy. Of course, we received a ton of calls because we were apparently driving in the path of tornadoes. We missed them, but I am so sorry about the people who didn’t. Emma received a cancellation text from someone else she was supposed to pick up. “My house was hit by a tornado. I am not sure I can go,” he said.

I arrived in Indy late Sunday evening where I am staying with a war veteran and fellow cross country cyclist. I said my adieu to Emma, and closed the door to my new bedroom and home for the next several months.

Last night, I had a wonderful dream. It was quit symbolic of what’s been happening in my life lately, and the decisions I’ve made. It started with me looking in the mirror. It was me. Usually when I have dreams, I am always someone else, a better version of me. I had a suit on, and I looked confident. I walked out of the restroom, and saw my father and uncle, two big guys, waiting to escort me somewhere. Apparently, it was a job interview at some liquor store in LA. While my relatives stood outside, I met with a very nice lady who managed the most upscale liquor store I’ve ever seen. I don’t know why, but we sat on couches in the middle of the store and interviewed while customers passed by and looked around. I put on the charm, told her about my travels and goals in life, and answered her questions. After hearing about salary, I was quite sure I could do the job, and I wanted to. At that moment of resigned resolution, my eye caught sight of a famous violinist. She was browsing the products with a few burly men following her–bodyguards??? Suddenly, I found it quite hard to focus on my interviewer, and I rudely kept looking at the violinist. In her, I saw opportunity, greater than the one in front of me. Maybe not with the highest salary, but doing something I love, being in the environment I am passionate about–that of music. As the violinist exited, I stood up. “I’m so sorry,” I said, running towards the exit. “Hey, where are you going?” My father said who stood at the front of the store. I ignored them and ran towards the pickup truck (it resembled the one I had just driven from San Diego to Indy with Emma) and stopped it before they drove off. I proceeded to tell the violinist my aspirations, and how I always wanted to be a manager or secretary of a touring violinist, getting to see the world and simultaneously learning about and being immersed in the world I adore–classical music. I was talking super fast, and she looked at me with some enthusiasm and interest. However, I woke up. I don’t know the outcome, but the dream was representative of my real life, and that outcome hasn’t been revealed as of yet.  The liquor store and my father represent the opportunities and people I left behind, and the violinist represents Indy and the ISO and every other adventure my life will dish out in the future. Going down the road less traveled…  I am so excited to make my mark in Indy, to now take on another challenge–becoming the violinist I want to be. I figure if I can pedal 14 hours a day, I can practice five hours a day. Really, after cycling across the country, facing adversity, never giving up, meeting beautiful people, I feel like I can conquer anything, at least what I’m passionate about. I’ll find out in a few days if my career in music starts or not. I’ll let y’all know.

BTW, Fiji has settled down in her new home. However, she still expects a 20 mile bicycle run each day. No slacking for me!

Value

People keep asking me how cycling across the country changed me.  Well, living off three pairs of clothing for the last six months will definitely alter one’s perception of material needs.  The fact that I lived simply on the kindness of others, the little possessions I could fit in my panniers and a visit to the thrift shop once in that time shows me it’s not the materialistic contents of life that matter, but rather the itinerary.

Never once did I feel embarrassed about my situation because, even so, I was doing something worthwhile. You can have the least amount of money in your pockets, the least amount of clothes in your closet, only a bicycle in your garage, or hey, maybe you don’t have a garage; at the end of the day, it’s what your schedule looks like. When you choose to spend time with the people you love, when you get to go to the job you love, when you get to hug and kiss your adorable doggy, when you get those fleeting moments to just gaze up in the sky and admire the beauty of the tiny galaxy we call home.

With that in mind, I think I can cut my expenses, and double the value of my time left on this planet exponentially.

With that in mind, I want to take chances, try new things, do fun stuff and make spontaneous decisions with a level headed heart.

That’s why I’ve decided to stay in San Diego and pursue a job opportunity near and dear to my heart. I will also be continuing my studies in violin here. Welcome to California, Jasmine! Your journey has just begun.

But, don’t exit scene, yet. I still have a ton of updating to do, and I will give you all more details of my possible relocation and transition soon.  Also, instead of writing a book, I plan to write an in depth report of my journey right here on the good ol’ blog.

 

Miss You

I know it’s been a while. Hold on to your eyeballs! I am now in California.

I have tons of recapping to do which I plan on doing in the next several weeks. So, please come back to my blog for updated stories from the road. However, the journey doesn’t end here. I don’t know as of yet, but I have some big news to announce…or not. It really depends.

So for now, a tale from the farm will have to suffice.

In Grand Junction, CO, we stayed with veteran cyclist, Marie N. She had several animals on her small farm, including goats, cows, ferral cats and baby cows. Fiji was unruly. She chased after the cats, and barked and growled at the cows. She also tried to jump into the goat pin!

Fiji stares at the goats moments before trying to jump over the fence.

Fiji stares at the goats moments before trying to jump over the fence.

Fiji barks at and runs after cowns through fencing.  Cows leap off.

Fiji barks at and runs after cows through fencing. Cows leap off.

 

I decided it needed to stop. I took chase after Fiji, screaming, “How do you like it?” I looked like a crazy woman. Fiji could tell I was mad, and came up to me with her tail between her legs. I began to train her in proper farm etiquette.

 

I teach Fiji to sit whenever she sees a cow or other animal. Cats are a no-go. She will also take chase.

I teach Fiji to sit whenever she sees a cow or other animal. Cats are a no-go. She will also take chase.

Baby cow and Fiji.

Baby cow and Fiji.

Progress...

Progress…

 

Success!

Success!

 

I hope to upload my news in a few days. Be on alert!

Also, please send any donations to Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation. Be sure to put “FiJaBAM: Jasmine Reese” in the donation comments box, so they know the donation came through my referral.

 

 

 

Begin Again

Today, my journey restarts, but I’m feeling a little down. I will miss small town Coolidge and all the people who came to my aid. What a great group of people (excluding the horny old guys)! Tomorrow, it’s back to the unknown. Where will the road lead us? Will we have enough money for the week? Will anyone take us in? Who will we meet? What will we see? Some days are full of worry, and other days are filled with awe-inspiring sights, sounds and persons. I am excited for road life again, but as I look at the clouds on the Horizon and realize they’re actually mountains, will I be able to make it?

Welcome to Colorado!

Welcome to Colorado!

Celebrate good times, come on!!

Celebrate good times, come on!!

By the way, Fiji’s friend, Max, found a forever home in Garden City, KS. Fiji was so happy and took several  dives into the Arkansas River in his honor.

We hit the road today. After our two week stay, we’re a little tapped out on cash. We appreciate any personal donations! http://www.gofundme.com/FiJaBAM

Save Fiji’s Boyfriend

Fiji made a little friend while in Coolidge. His name is Max. He came by everyday to ask if Fiji could come outside and play. He’s about 6 months old or less. Unfortunately, his wandering ways has landed him in the town pound. He will be euthanized on 9/16 if no one claims him. I told his owners, but they do not seem interested in paying the fee to get him out. Fiji is so sad about her friend. She misses him! If you want a doggy, please give Max a forever home. He’s super sweet and a little dopey, but trainable. :) Email me at jbrzr3@gmail.com if interested.

Max comes over to play with Fiji.

Max comes over to play with Fiji.

Max is a tough little one who takes all of Fiji's punches.

Max is a tough little one who takes all of Fiji’s punches.

See more photos here:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.619322538099209.1073741827.100000644051693&type=1&l=9251bbcf68