Around The Next Corner – 1939 Miles

When my recruiter asked me “Hey Cathy, how’d you like to go to North Dakota?” Several things flashed through my mind. First? Not too sure even where North Dakota is. Second? I’m in Arizona, isn’t it uber cold there? And third one of my favorite quotes, “If you risk nothing, you gain nothing and go nowhere”, After I was assured I could drive there and not fly, I agreed. Took about a minute, so no, didn’t really think it through. But I had just agreed to work in North Dakota for the  next three months, and I was gonna drive there. My recruiter arranged for me to have a new Mustang to drive (never had I done that), I mapped out a route, booked places to stay, bought snacks and drinks, packed one suitcase and a carry on plus a back pack. Made sure I had my camera and left Tucson Arizona for destinations waaaaaay north.

I25 miles later I stopped in Phoenix to have lunch with my daughter, drove another 125 miles or so and had dinner with my son. Grabbed some sleep at a motel and woke up the next morning ready to go. I had never in my life driven north of Flagstaff so it was all going to new to me. Every time I changed directions

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or would go around a curve I would see something spectacular like this above. For me? This is inspiring. I thought if I was going to drive a couple hours north of Mexico clear up to a couple hours shy of the Canadian border, I was gonna grab it for all it was worth.

I had always heard so much about Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park in Utah, so I didn’t go the usual (and shorter) Denver, Casper route, I headed up to those places and so glad I did! To say it was breathtaking would not do it justice.

Utah Idaho 2014 007Utah Idaho 2014 100Utah Idaho 2014 032I spent an entire day there just driving without a true direction. It was peaceful, majestic, mysterious and overwhelming to look at.

As I headed north through Salt Lake City and onward, I became keenly aware of these wide open spaces we have in this great land. Untouched earth with the natural beauty of all of my surroundings was definitely awe inspiring. I kept going north and next big adventure was Yellowstone. I was truly not prepared for all the things I saw there. This is one place that should be on EVERYONE’S bucket list!

Yellowstone 2014 114Yellowstone 2014 118 Yellowstone 2014 105 Yellowstone 2014 072 Yellowstone 2014 087 Yellowstone 2014 058 Yellowstone 2014 035 Yellowstone 2014 055 Yellowstone 2014 005I wasnt’ quite prepared for the snow, but I had made a pact with myself that I would not let a little weather stop me so onward!! To try to describe this is literally impossible. I found myself getting out of the car often with a camera and a pencil and small journal I always carry with me. So many thoughts you tend to be able to be aware of when you are away from the hustle bustle of everything and can just calm and quiet your soul. Inspiration for writing something new is overwhelming.

I continued on through Billings, Montana and had to drink in that wonderful state. So much wide open land!  I eventually made it to my little biddy town in North Dakota where I will be working for the next three months. (post on that will follow soon). I have begin to venture out and see what is around this state and to be honest? I totally misjudged it. It is beautiful and it has renewed my respect for the American Farmer of which there are many here.

The point of this post is simple.

If you risk nothing, you gain nothing and go nowhere. And? You simply do not know what is around the next corner. So experience it! Quit making excuses!

1939 miles later I arrived. I traded in the Mustang for a 4WD so I can drive home in December. And I’m excited as I will take a different route to get there.

Healthcare is different on an Indian Reservation (yep, another post!) I have a few “rants” that will be in upcoming posts as well, plus another amazing road trip that I must share!

Winter is Coming. Be prepared for some humor from this Arizona girl that was raised in UK. I have never done a winter like these people describe……stay tuned.

You never know what’s around the next corner.

Until next time, Be kind……all the time.

Cheers,

Polley93

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Barges, Books & Pivotal Moments

For every one of us there are those “pivotal moments”. The moments that perhaps are unexpected that can literally change your life. The moment may be good, such as falling in love, the birth of a child, surviving a storm or something like that. Or? The moment may start out being catastrophic, such as an unexpected death. The pivotal moment for me, was the latter.

For people who write, you can usually trace your path back and discover what your pivotal moment was. The event that happened that you decided you “just had to write about”. Whether it was directly after the event or not, this was the catalyst to propel you toward that great endeavor of writing. Writing a book. My pivotal moment was all about my Grandad. It is the reason for my passion for writing, it is the reason I have been “Polley93” for years, and it’s the event that would change my life.

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I grew up in England, as my father was Military and my mum is a Brit. I had the luxury of having a sort of “bipolar” heritage but for the most part the first part of my life was in England, in a town called Ipswich. I remember fondly many things and the house pictured above was indeed one of them. 23 Halifax Rd, the home of my Nanna and beloved Grandad. I spent the majority of my childhood here as I recall, or perhaps this is where my memories lie, I’m not sure.  I won’t go into too much detail here or this blog post would go on for days. Without a doubt however, some of my fondest memories were of my Grandad and traveling on the majestic barges that he made his living on and had done for his entire life. The barge trade went on in our family line for generations. I didn’t realize it when it was happening, but those times would help create the person I am today.

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The barges were majestic vessels as you can see. Grandad would sail up and down the River Orwell, the River Thames over to Felixstowe and Harwich and London. Memories flood my mind when I think of it. Being held captive on the North Sea due to storms, (Yes I thought I would die), believing I traveled with pirates, sitting at the head of the ship for hours waving to all the sheep farmers out with their herds. As  child I had no idea that these images would be the subject matter of a literary effort.

And then. The moment. That pivotal moment that changed your life. A simple phone call and two words from my mothers shaking voice.

“Grandad drowned”.

The world stop spinning for me that day. We were in London the next day. I learned many things and can honestly say that this changed my life. I learned that we don’t always have tomorrow and started living that way. In the moment. I started writing, because my Grandad always told me that a story deserved to be told. I decided I would write his story and have researched, interviewed and photographed ever since slowly saving up what I would need to do his story justice. I have learned far more than I had expected to, and this legacy of my family goes back for generations.

It was February 19, 1993 when the phone call came.

His name was William Polley.

Hence; Polley93

So? It is time to really begin to write this book. I have plans to go home to England next year for 2-3 months to do that very thing. I know every time I go there that writing about this is easy and flows very well. But coming back here to write it is a struggle. Go figure. So I have started planning now and will be there late next summer or early fall.

My point here is this; pivotal moments. We all have one. The moments that cause us to stop and reroute our direction. They are stories worth telling and do not have an expiration date.

Until next time……..be kind, no matter what.

Cheers,

Polley93