three decades of home.

february march april may june july august september october november

we moved to honolulu ten months ago.

in ten months, i have not written a single word about hawaii on this blog. i have not spent a moment of time reflecting on this next chapter. why?

you know why…

who sits and stares at their laptop writing when it is 85ºF and sunny outside? when the surf is overhead and breaking perfectly? when the tide is low enough to climb the oceanside rock arch? when there are fish to be caught and beach bonfires to be had?

yeah, no one.

so here i am. ten months later. finally finding the time.

where did i find the time?

i am alone on an airplane. surprise surprise!

i wonder if all travelers write their blogs on airplanes. if they sit and reminisce about their last adventure while on their way to planning the next.

or maybe they are more disciplined and make the time each night to update their followers like i did when i was traveling around india for a month. it is better that way. the details are fresh. you are not summarizing several weeks or months into 1000 words. you are just decompressing. unloading the day to the page just as you would to your spouse over dinner.

so instead of trying to sum up ten months in one blog post, i’ll digress…

i turn 30 near the winter solstice. the longest night of the year.

every day i fluctuate between wanting to sleep through it on the beach by myself and wanting to plan an epic string of activities including everyone i’ve ever met.

some days i want to be in chicago with my family and lifelong fiends. i want to see a new release picked by my brother with my family at cantera. i want my sister to take me out to sing karaoke with a live band. i want to play dance video games against my cousin. i want aisha to magically appear. i want brian to serenade me. i want to eat fresh baked cookies at the grays with kritsin and jackie. i want to sip wine with katy and nadine. i want cooper and pat and the whole gang to give me a run for my money on some empty dive bar dance floor. and i want kayla and kristina and katina to make sure i don’t fall asleep before the clock strikes midnight on december 22.

but some days i want to be in michigan. i want to pretend i was back in college and stroll down main street all bundled up. i want to end up at the blind pig with becca to shake myself straight out of my 20s. i want jonathan to sit with my in the arb for hours. i want to bask on the santoro’s pier. i want lainie and kelly and lea to cook me an amazing feast followed by another feast from sue. i want to start the next morning with a cheese danish from wealthy bakery. i want to go sledding and skinny-dipping in lake michigan. yes, skinny-dipping in december. marlee will be there dancing in the snowy sand.

other days i want to be in portland. i want to wake up to a private yoga class with nathan. i want to spend all day at loyly sweating in the sauna and getting a facial from heather. i want paloma to lend me something cool to wear and get our dance on at mississippi studios. i want anna to order for me at andina and make me remember why i love ceviche. i want lisa to be my rope gun at smith. i want zac and lauren and ethan to unite with me for some witty banter and endless laughter. i want to find ian and give him a hug. i want to hang out in the noto office just for fun. and i want miles to share his coffee with me and introduce me to my next favorite album. autumn, you’re invited too.

most days though, i want to use all the frequent flyer miles i can muster to fly everyone straight to me. i want to turn yokohama into my own private beach. i want the people that have made the first thirty years of my life so amazing to spend december 22 surrounding me with their absurdities. i want to hug them and love them and never let them go. and i want to go home with  ryan and fall asleep in his arms. night after night after night.

hawaii is home for thirty. but my thirty is made up of three decades of homes. three decades of relationships that have challenged me and molded me into the woman i am now and the woman i will be in the future. cities and faces that stay with me wherever i go.

thank you saint charles and ann arbor and grand rapids and portland. thank you for being my home.

hawaii, it’s your turn to shape the next decade (or at least the beginning of it), and you’ve got a lot to live up to…




television coworkers.

the experts say you have to write everyday. sadly, between my work writing, journal writing, letter writing, email writing, social media writing, and imessage writing, my blog writing seems to have lost its title of champion. i have a list of topics that i think of in the moment, jot down to come back to, then return to them thinking: what the heck was i planning to write about this?

this morning i was tempted to delete the whole list and start anew, vowing to always sit down and write the dang story when it pops into my head. but alas, there are some gems in the list, so i figured i’d better just pick one of the random ones for now and get on with it already.

i’ve been back in the midwest for almost two months. away from australia and catching back up with my life. of course, doing so always involves explaining what i have actually been doing down under.

it is an explanation that has led me to some startling discovers about myself. namely, my extreme need for human interaction.

i get it now. the need for companions. working in an empty house is not for me. i need others. they don’t even need to be friends. strangers in coffee shops will work. travelers rushing to catch their flights in a crowded airport hallway will work. anyone will work. i sit in my home office, alone, in the middle of a small desert mining town where everyone else is on the job 12 hours a day, leaving me to fend for myself when it comes to entertainment.

daytime television all makes sense to me now.

studio 10’s morning band of hooligans were my gang each morning as i ate breakfast and started work on my laptop in my pajamas.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.33.35 AM

the term coworkers doesn’t mean they have to be physically in your presence right? they were working. i was working. therefore, we were coworking. and coworkers.

when you’ve reached this state in life, every character of every major television series you watch starts to be your friend. the crappiest soap opera becomes your lifeline. something you know. something comfortable. a cast of friends to keep you company while alone for endless hours.

television takes on the meaningful role of human interaction in a town desolate of places to sit with strangers. places with a proper seat, electricity, and wifi don’t really exist. so i have to work from home…everyday…all day. i am not complaining about the ability to work from home. we all want that. i love that and am very grateful. but when you have to work from home, it’s just like having to work from an office.

i have watched more television in my time in port hedland than in the past several years of my life. it is the first time i have even owned a television since 2009.

it’s crazy to me. but it makes sense to me. i am not a hermit. i like my alone time, but usually only when i am writing or painting or reading. all other moments of my life are traditionally filled with activity and people. people i know. people i don’t know. people i want to know, but don’t.

yes there are those people in the desert, don’t get me wrong. i understand that i could leave the house and seek out some faces to fill my social quota, but i do actually have to get my work done once in awhile. i can’t be going to hang out at the yacht club or ymca for hours on end soaking in one human interaction after another. i need people while i work.

and so i have developed a new gratitude for public spaces. generous clients with extra desks and spacious libraries and bustling coffee shops and random parks with wifi, you are a gift to us officeless entrepreneurs. you are the reason i stay sane. i cannot wait until you find your way to small australian desert mining towns. or i find my way back to you.

but i am also grateful for my television coworkers. their stories unfolding in an one-sided, effortless conversation as i click clack away on my keyboard. without you, i would probably do so much more with my time. yet, i am still glad you are my friends. see you in a couple weeks as i return to the summer desert heat for a couple more months of love.

the airport test.

it’s been almost a month since i wrote. anywhere. in my journal. on this blog. the words have not been there. the ideas have, but the words seem to be enjoying a bit of a vacation as i frantically soak in my settled surrounding. i jot the ideas down on my ever-growing list of stories i want to tell. themes that seem like they need exploring within my head.

i’ve been back in portland for a month. stopping for a month to regroup before becoming unsettled once more. taking up occupancy in an old hippie woman’s hawthorne home while she travels throughout spain for a month. the space is special. lived in but open and inviting. complete with two chickens, an infinitely affectionate cat, endless shelves of cookbooks, and a robot vacuum that comes alive three times a week. it feels good.

it feels good to be back in a space where things are steady and familiar. to slip right back into routine. yoga. climbing. cross fit. office life. coffee shops. catching up with the community i spent the past two and a half years cultivating in this city.

during the stationary moments that speckle my transience, i always find myself immersed in the idea of community. surrounded by the relationships that have imprinted my twenty-seven years.

it’s interesting to watch the evolution of your friendships. see which ones stay with you. which ones drift apart. which ones flow in and out of closeness.

every time i return from an adventure, i am immediately faced with an evaluation of my relationships. the thought spiral starts with one simple question:

who do i call to come pick me up from the airport?

for most people, you only have to ask yourself this question every few months or years even. but currently, i am faced with this question at least once a month. i scroll through my phone and think about who i know that i want to inconvenience.

i have deemed this process “the airport test.”

we have all kinds of relationships and friendships, but we don’t have too many people that pass the airport test. or at least i don’t.

the simple task transcends into an overflow of questions and judgments and a pretty complicated view of your investment in those surrounding you.

it’s a weird thing how we invent the responses of others. i would pick up almost anyone from the airport. someone i met last week or someone i have known for years. case in point: i offered to drive the lady whose house i am staying in to the airport if she didn’t have a ride. yet, when i landed in portland last month, i took a cab to my car because the three people i normally rely on were working.

now i know several people in portland. many of them would have picked me up from the airport i’m sure, but from my side of things, the comfort level was not there. so instead, i paid $40. i paid $40 to a stranger because i was too uncomfortable to possibly inconvenience someone i called a friend.

this simple friendship test presents itself in several other situations. who would you call to drive you to and from chemo? who would you ask if you needed to borrow money? who would you not have to bribe to help you move? who do you not care about inconveniencing? not because you don’t care, but because you know they care. you don’t assume, you fully know.

and those are the only people i call to pick me up from the airport.

they are the same people that i cannot wait to pick up from the airport. the ones that i want to park and go all the way inside for. stand at the exit point with a big hug and smile waiting for theirs in return.

i have been accused of throwing around the terms “friend” and “best friend” and “favorite” too frequently. everyone is your “best friend” sara.

i get it.

and all it takes is one scroll through my contacts in a moment of need to remind me how grateful i am for the people in my life who pass the airport test.

guest blog: if this plaid shirt could talk

sometimes i think about all the things i would do if i went and adventured in a foreign country for a year unemployed. but, after hearing all the stories ryan had to tell from his year abroad in north america, i don’t think i will ever be able to match such an epic collection of tales. i might be able to make some money writing his biography one day though. i think it will be titled, if this plaid shirt could talk: the tale of one unbridled bloke.


i have never known someone to get into so many sketchy situations and come out alive, but i’ve learned it’s apparently a grant family trait to always land on your feet. and this little filly is glad that he does.

in honor of ryan’s recent departure from the states back to australia, i am posting a special guest blog. written by the one and only ryan grant.

– – – – –

If I had a blog it would go a little something like this:

I’ve seen bears, heard cougars, hit deer, chased off coyotes, been bitten by spiders, stung by bees, had stare downs with venomous snakes while belaying, and stood in dog poo.

I’ve slept on the ground, in cars, on roofs, in hammocks, in tents, in the snow, in the dirt, on the ground, on couches, on cliff faces, on summits, in the occasional cheap hotel room, and oh, i forgot to mention on the ground.

I’ve marked my territory across a good portion of North America. I’ve peed off cliffs, on cliffs, on cars, out of cars, out of tents, but never in the tent. I’ve even peed in toilets from time to time, like actual flushing ones. I’ve peed on glaciers, into crevasses, into the wind (lesson learned), with the wind, into bottles, plastic bags, the desert, the snow, rice cracker boxes, and laughed so hard on several occasions I think I’ve even peed my pants.

I’ve been trad climbing, sport climbing, aid climbing, big wall climbing, alpine climbing, simul climbing, speed climbing, short fixed, French freed, soloing, rappelling and bouldering – fuck bouldering – sky diving, snow boarding, skiing, snowmobiling,   mountain biking, surfing, slacklining, canyoneering, high lining, spelunking, rope jumping, and I got to fly a plane.

I’ve rolled ankles, strained finger tendons, damaged hip flexers, consistently lost skin from knees and ankles, broke ribs, removed toe nails, ripped holes in the soles of feet, lost copious amounts of skin from back of hands (hair will probably never grow there again), almost frostbitten toes, snapped AC ligament, stitches in leg, wind burn, sun burn, cock burn, and rope burn. I’ve suffered altitude sickness, dehydration, and malnutrition more commonly than you’d think. I’ve hit the deck, missed ledges, hit trees, and dodged too many falling rocks to ever consider multi-pitching without a helmet.

I’ve lost cams. I’ve founds cams. I’ve torn gear loops off harnesses, taken core shots to ropes, and now have a helmet that would no longer pass health and safety standards. I’ve lost sleeping bags, snapped tents, snapped a snowboard, cracked bindings, put holes in every single item of clothing I own, wrote off two cars, drowned a laptop, fixed then smashed said laptop, punched crampons through back pack, melted slings, snapped sunnies, blown through three pairs of climbing shoes, and just as many thongs.

I’ve had run-ins with the law, seen the changing colors of Autumn leaves, and spent more money than should be considered reasonable for someone unemployed this long, but I’ve meet the best people in the most amazing locations while having the funnest adventures. I’ve had my attention drawn by a local filly, and now a piece of America may be coming back with me. I’ve scared myself so often that my adrenal gland has now grown larger than both my balls. Oh, and I’ve showered at least a dozen times in the last seven months.

Best. Year. Ever.

a profile: tim and diane

i just started to write this blog three times. i’d write two sentences and then immediately delete them. try again. fail again.

what do i want to write about? where did i leave off?


when i was in college, i attended a spring semester program through university of michigan called the new england literature program. it was six weeks of living in the woods of maine reading the transcendentalists. we had to keep journals about everything. we were graded on those journals. and although those grades hit my gpa harder than i would have liked, those journals were something special.

one of my favorite sections of my journals was a week where i wrote short essays of all the people that caught my attention. i even sketched a horrible portrait of them at the top of each page.

this time, i am going to substitute photos for horrible sketches. but since it’s the people that keep making this trip make and break my expectations, i am going to go back to writing about them just like i did seven years ago in maine.

tim and diane. (sadly i don’t have a photo of them)

you don’t get to choose your campsite neighbors. they get assigned a number and you get assigned a number. some stick to their plot and never stray to find out what’s happening next door. some you wish would have stayed at their own site. however, tim and diane were definitely the type you wanted to stay up with all night long.

by the time i arrived, colby had already befriended tim and diane and another couple they were traveling with. i had been told of their awesomeness before meeting them. colby wanted to get back from salt lake in time to cook them dinner for their last night in maple canyon. apparently diane doesn’t like to fix fruit in food, and colby was determined to change her mind with some butternut squash and green apples.

we land back at maple and meander over to our neighbors’ campsite. a small buddha statue sits on their grill platform covered in orange lights. tim and diane are bundled up sitting around their fire. their faces immediately light up as they welcome colby back from his day long adventure to salt lake to retrieve me from the airport.

i am sucked into their hugs as they tell me that they have heard all about me. you never really know what that means when people say that. you always reply in some form of, oh, i hope it was all good. and they usually reply with some form of, for the most part.

tim is zipped up to the neck in a black puffy. a puffy is an outdoor living essential, and a normal part of most campers fireside attire. but tim had an added something special. sitting atop his black puffy coat sat a gold chain. the kind of thick gold chain that you would purchase for your dope kanye halloween costume. juxtaposed against tim’s calm demeanor, this chain was pure hilarity.

the gold chain goes to the biggest whip (fall) of the day or to the person who spills their cocktail.

i don’t know why tim got to wear the chain that night, but i would not have had it any other way.

diane complemented tim’s quiet perfectly with her obsession with tequila. no was not a word in her vocabulary when it went to trying her three different types of tequila. we started with the best and worked our way down.

tim and diane are what us youngins would call an older couple. they had so many stories. diane told me about her morning tent yoga routine and how she tried to integrate pranayama into her everyday activities. colby had previously informed me that tim was the “tim” in the book into thin air. he apparently was the guy to save them off mt. everest.

we ate colby’s delicious dishes and convinced diane that eating the apples with butternut squash was not that bad. well, actually, that is was a downright amazing combination. she may or may not have been convinced.

colby has a special gift when it comes to bonding with people over fifty. i think it comes from his years and years of playing golf. or maybe it’s the fact that he likes yanni and andrea bocelli. either way, he had already won his way into tim and diane’s hearts. it was clear.

when they were packing up the next morning, the gold chain reemerged.

it was now in our possession. it was our responsibility to continue the legacy.

it was now colby’s turn to look absolutely ridiculous when meeting strangers. his visor and polo shirt complete with gold chain.

hopefully we will get to stop in aspen one day and say hi to tim and diane again like their goodbye note instructed us to do. maybe they will even come on down to vegas and climb with us. but whether i see them again or not, their story is here.

our story starts here.

a reminder.

the past few weeks have been filled with people. people that have been a part of my life from a very young age. people you don’t realize you miss as much as you do until you see them. people that even though life has sent you in very different directions, it only takes a few minutes to fall right back into your groove.

Blessed Mistakei was sitting in a ten-year-old’s bedroom in morganstown, west virginia. her walls are teal, and her shelves are lined with books and board games and photos and accents that show her personality. i remember when she didn’t have a personality. when she was a baby, and i would make her my subject for my high school photography class. and now, she is ten.

i have known her mother since second grade. spent all of second, third, and most of fourth grade with her standing alongside as i played my part of queen bee. in the middle of fourth grade, she moved away.

that is when it began.


cherishing people.

no matter how far away they were.

in fifth grade, i boarded my very first airplane all by myself and flew to columbus, ohio over christmas break to see my friend. not because my mom suggested it, but because i knew it was a relationship worth making an effort to keep.

sixteen years later, and i still cannot help but board a plane and see my friend.

she returned to my school in sixth grade, and we finished out middle school with big boobs and even bigger attitudes. after graduating eighth grade, life took us in different directions, but i could never let the roads drift too far apart. airfare is a small price to pay to feel laughter that you know is real. to have shared memories that have shaped you both. to be reminded that distance cannot erase a bond.

it is known amongst my friends that i try my best to stay in touch. it might only be once a year that i get a chance to fly across the country to see them, but they know that i will always make the effort. but does a visit once a year, a birthday and christmas card, and a few phone calls here and there really equal a meaningful friendship?

in college, i had a friend who called me out on this. he was upset with me because i referred to him as one of my good friends yet didn’t really see or talk to him more than a couple times a month even though we lived on the same college campus, minutes apart from each other.

it was my senior year of college when we had this conversation. this startling realization that although most people praised me for flying to visit them in idaho falls or los angeles or indianapolis or austin or jackson hole or new york city, here was someone in my local community telling me that i was not investing enough. i was spread too thin. my past relationships from childhood and high school were impeding my ability to create those types of bonds with my college friends.

that thought has stayed with me for the past four years, but once again it is starting to take on a deeper meaning.

i have been on the go for the past seven months. traveling, yes. but more than traveling, seeing the people that are meaningful to me. the only travel i have done that was for travel sake was my month in india. the rest of the time has been spent cultivating and celebrating my friends and family.

time and distance tend to separate us, change us. the people that were close to us in high school, might not be the people that we want to hold close to us now. the people that were close to us in college, might not stay in contact as they get married and have children. i am learning to morph into the shifting roles of my relationships. i am also learning which ones continue to change who i am. those are the ones worth keeping. the mutual growth and love.

1001459_10102690002180883_1705205925_nwe hung out by the pool in her west virginia townhouse community and had girl talk. i had not seen her in three years and had maybe talked to her once a year on the phone in that time. we both delved into our successes and challenges of the past few years, and i had a moment where i thought, why didn’t i know all this? why didn’t you call me when this was happening?

a reminder.

she is always a reminder for me in my life. she has been since the day i met her in second grade. her lack was a reminder of my plenty. her cynicism was a reminder of my optimism. her responsibility was a reminder of my freedom. our consistency has always been a reminder of love. the kind of love between sisters. we fight. we make up. we laugh. we cry. we talk each other down from the ledge or push each other when it’s time to fly. but we are on different paths in life. i am grateful that i have always had someone in my life to remind me of the differences we face in life. she is also a reminder that some bonds don’t dissolve regardless of time and distance.

two close friends got married while i was home. one on a farm in the middle of nowhere michigan. one at a golf club in the suburbs of chicago. a perfect representation of the juxtaposition of the people that fill my life. both weddings were perfect for that person and their loved ones.

i was honored to be in the bridal party of one of them. a mutual friend of ours and i got to talking (as most unmarried girls do) about who we would put in our bridal party. it’s always an interesting exercise. who are those females who mean the most to you? the ones you would want to stand next to you for support as you make one of the biggest decisions of your life.

944426_10102677628762313_1988261844_nshe stated that even though i was faraway and only saw her a few times a year, i would definitely be there by her side. i felt the same. i have known her since i was six, and like my time in west virginia, my time in st. charles reminded me of the close relationships that have made me who i am and continue to do so.

thank you for that reminder.