When making big life decisions some days we feel lost and unsure but other days we feel clear and focused. I guess that when you just go for it and make a decision the clarity comes and uncertainty flies out the window. Excitement and inspiration take over. That was how I felt back in August when I decided to head back east to work and save up money to get myself to Hawaii this winter. I found myself riding my bike around Portland, plunking myself down in parks and writing for hours until all of my thoughts were down on paper. I was putting myself out there in the World but so far nothing clicked. I was unsure of how I was going to support myself, where I wanted to be and what I wanted to be doing. A day later I got a call from Hawaii and things became clearer. A spark. I knew I wanted to go but what did that mean – luckily for me my boss from back home needed some help and offered my old job back for the fall. Next… would I be driving solo or would I need to find a cross-country accomplice? The idea of driving solo didn’t really appeal to me especially since I’d be camping out. So, much to my hesitance I posted it on Facebook… “anyone have a week to drive across country?” The first to respond – Ms. Danne Dzenawagis.. and an hour later she bought a ticket – we were to meet on September 1st in Portland.. just a few weeks from when I decided that I was going. Neither one of us had time to think.. it was all about just doing it.
Danne is an old pal of mine that I worked with through high school at Country Gardens. We both share a love for plants and other related things so it kind of made sense to be traveling across this great continent together. Recently, we had reconnected because of our current place in life – for the past year she had been doing her Twelve Months of Lent – where each month she would dedicate herself to new practices, lifestyle changes etc… creating a greater balance in her life leaving herself with 12 new, positive habits. I thought it was awesome and she really like the idea behind my trip across the country so we would write to each other every so often over the spring and summer. I was excited to see her again on the west coast and really get to know her better. It’s not very often that we get to fully open ourselves to people for an extended period of time without any distractions.
So on September 1st Danne flew into Portland and we had a few days to enjoy the fine, fine city of Portland, Oregon before we took off on the 4th. Little did we know that The Stash Sistahs were about to be born. Previous to her coming we had joked about how Danne and Jess could be interchangeable with men’s names. I suggested that maybe we should make mustaches to wear across country – I didn’t think that Danne would actually like the idea but it stuck. We began to plan – I decided on the name Ted – Danne didn’t seem convinced with the name Bill but the name that did come up and would later stick would be the obvious choice for this adventure. I thought wearing a stash leaving Portland would also help me balance the weight of leaving the life I had begun to create on the West Coast. That if I felt sad I could just look up in the mirror and see the stash and remind myself that everything was okay and to laugh.
One of the days in town we ended up at a really unique costume shop that had plenty of fake hair to choose from. I went for the reddish-brown and Danne wanted to get a blonde color close to hers. Unfortunately, the blonde was more of a yellow/orange color so she opted for the white/blonde. It wasn’t until we were back home and Rory was constructing our fine mustaches that we realized just how white it was. It was in this moment that ‘Danta’ was born – pure perfection.
The morning of our departure I began to feel a clenching on my heart. My heart strings were being tugged. I knew it was normal to feel this way. Rory came into the room and asked me if I was ready for my stash – Danne had just been transformed into Danta.. now it was time for Ted. I said that I’d be out in a minute. I had a deep breath and let go. My wet tears began to stop and it was time. I sat down on the couch as Rory applied the spirit gum – it was cool against my skin and hot when my sweet stash was attached. I still wasn’t sure how I ended up here exactly but I had to go with it. Life was about to change for us all in very big ways… somehow it made sense to be celebrating it with a fresh mustache.
We were about to find out the stash was about to mean something much more than what it was outwardly… it was a feeling, the inspiration and outward reflection of the trust and understanding of oneself. That it can be serious and funny at the same time. There is a balance. That a trip like this that was about to change all our lives could be balanced out with the comical relief and spirit of Ted & Danta. I was ready for this journey.. to prove to myself that I could take care of me and live my life however I wanted to live it. So as we drove down Carlton Street with our windows down, stashs on and music blaring Ted and Danta were born as we headed east hitting the open road with very open hearts (and of course, our very sweet mustaches).