Growing My International Comfort Zone

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September 24, 2014 (2 years ago in Miami Beach, Florida USA)

It’s amazing how quickly my comfort zone is expanding.  I am no longer afraid or self conscious about saying hello.  It started with a passing stranger, a quick “good morning” and a smile.  The return smile enhanced my day, the returned shocked “hello” even better.  It’s funny how many Americans here are shocked by the pleasantry that is displayed in the South, even here in Miami.  Sure, there are upper class people, some of whom look like they are scared to be infected by poverty, just by acknowledging a blue collar person, but for the most part, people are friendly, and will return whatever is projected to them.  Yesterday I entered the W hotel to find an ATM machine.  I immediately felt out of place with the obvious wealth of the place, and fort knox, security guarded entrance.. the one of a kind cars parked in the front, and various other “toys”.  As I walked around, somewhat lost, it was my own self conscious, “less than” thinking that separated me.  I eventually had to ask for help locating the cash machine, and was treated quite pleasantly, guided to the machine and wished a healthy day.  Another encounter that I discovered a new path to self worth.

In the hostel, I am meeting some amazingly beautiful people from all over the world.  Last night I asked Jette and Yana if they’d like to join me in a walk to a little spot i’d found the day before, where the Miami skyline looked quite beautiful.  I wanted to see it at night, and take some pictures.  Ironically I forgot my camera with all the talk while getting ready.. I forgot all that is involved in getting ready for girly girls. 🙂

I should’ve known when Jette (from Denmark) let me know that she is traveling to celebrate her weight loss, and how beautiful she is, and feels.  She is a princess who loves Pink (which i noticed as she picked out every pink travelers guide from the tourist rack).  Yana (from Israel) hasn’t  claimed to be a princess, but definitely wins the award for the most time spent in the bathroom of the 12 of us.

As we walked, we found a limo, and wanted pictures of us infront of it.  As we rotated and snapped the camera, the limo driver lowered her window and offered for us to climb inside, so of course we did!

 

We spent about an hour at the waters edge, watching the building repeat the dancing lights girl on the side of the building, and admiring the reflections of lights in the water.  The breeze was very welcomed as it was particularly humid last night.   It was “a romantic spot” Yana kept saying as she played with an Old English sheepdog, out with his owner.  We laughed as we each three talked about our own cultures, and the differences in them.  I listened tentatively as they exchanged travel stories.  Mexico certainly made it to my list while India became ruled out for me.  The way the culture was described sounded way too touchy feely towards women, especially if traveling alone.  Maybe one day I will face that fear, but no time soon.  Yana added it to her list, but only if she traveled with a group.  Maybe that had been an invite.. I’m not sure.. my Passage to India was already closed.
This morning I met someone who arrived in the night from Sidney, Australia, tho we didn’t talk long enough to exchange information.  I’m sure we will fix that this evening! Then I met Vecchiato, from Venice Italy.  🙂 She was very friendly, and thought she knew me from a previous hostel stay.  One day I will meet this twin of mine.  We exchanged information right away as she invited me to visit her when I travel Europe.  I look forward to getting to know her more, as she seemed really cool, and laid back.. knowledgeable about traveling.
Tomorrow Jette and I are leaving for the Keys.  I’m a little nervous about having a travel partner as I have learned I enjoy my space and freedom, and struggle with using my voice to achieve my goals rather than cater to others.  I’m feeling under the weather, full of a head cold, and camping on the beach, and being in the water may not be the best idea for me.. but then, maybe it is a good thing I won’t be traveling alone?  Universe… I’m sure you know what you are doing.
Well, time to clock in for work.. need to stack the bank account a little as funds are beginning to slide the wrong way.  I’ve been having technical difficulties with the app that dispenses the deliveries to me, and stayed pretty laid back about getting it fixed.. the result has been a decline in income, but I’ve still profited each day I have been here, so I can’t complain.
MAKE IT A GREAT DAY EVERYONE!!!
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Once Upon a Subway 

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​”So many people and no one talks?” I muttered, on a packed subway train in NYC.  
He was about 55, dressed in a suit, and slid over to let two women sit down.  “What’s that?” He asked, nodding towards the tattoo on my arm. 

 “A monster coming out” I told him.  

“Is it you?” He asked…

I nodded, “it was when I got it, but not anymore” I felt the shame come over me, as I always do, when anyone points out my mess of tattoos.  He saw the flight tag still attached to my backpack and asked where I was from.  He shared his experience with New Orleans, and talked about his brother dying and how he still cries.  He said I had something but he didn’t know what.. I just talked in return and told him his brother has moved on to another amazing life and how I believe if he lets go of the “should” that he “should still be here”.. He will experience knowing he is .. Just in a different light.  He told me about a time that he almost drowned, and how peaceful he felt in that moment, and then his brother pulled him up out of the water.  I told him about how I’d spent years suicidal, trying to die, and then had to fight cancer.  I told him how I’m now traveling on blind faith.  I never know fully how I will make it from place to place, but I know I’ll survive.. I always do.  
We got off at the same stop, 157th street.  The stairs had two exits so we took separate ones.  I wished I had taken his picture.  At the top, he rounded the corner and called “Storme.. How are you funding your travels?” So I told him artwork., frugal living and faith” he handed me $40 and said “thank you, you are beautiful” he didn’t want his picture taken, but his name was Jim.  I thanked him. 
He told me “have some

Fun with that while you’re in NY” and I told him I wanted to see the last Yankee game of the season against the Red Sox.  He said he is a sox fan so I agreed not to root ☺️

Thank you Jim.  It is you who is beautiful, I just listened, and in listening to a complete stranger open up without being asked to, I felt so completely filled with human love.  So thank you.  I wish I could tell you that in person.

The first packages arrive

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​When you’re unpacking and airing your tent out and you come home to the boxes inside.. and the n ups and FedEx pull up for the ones outside… #stormesshelters is well under way .. thank you God for allowing me a chance to be outside when they got here so that I could communicate what’s going on directly to them and give them access to bring the packages inside for when I am camping in Louisiana. You’re always planning the parts I haven’t even thought to plan yet.  Sure decreases the stress. 💖


I pray that once I start sharing the stories right there from ground zero.. and the world can see that these donations are going directly to some seriously desperate situations in Louisiana.. that word will spread and the calvary will come.  


Two more neighborhoods will have a way to shower by tomorrow, without entering their mold infested homes.  My goal is take care of the needs that lead these families back into the mold .. and give them another option. 


If you’re moved to help from near or far.. please take a look at the wishlist.  Thank you! 

https://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/19LD0QWFOOAWZ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_an_wl_o_ftS6xb7Z8ANRY

Stormes’ Shelters

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20160830_224251What’s on my mind?

Stormes’ Shelters – There’s a reason I spent a year backpacking and camping.. and THIS IS IT! It was to have the understanding of basic needs in survival mode so that I could be used to help people in survival mode. (and I thought it was just for me to see the world lol)

This might be a lot of reading but bare with me.

 

This is Mrs Emma’s tent sitting beside the pile of what used to be all her belongings.  She is a 79 year old lady with COPD who was living in the trailer that flooded. She couldn’t get anywhere because her car flooded and she has had a knee replacement.  Her story has continued to inspire me throughout the last 4 weeks.

So.. having said that.. I have spent a good amount of time in Louisiana with people that cannot afford to leave their homes.. despite that fact that being there is literally making them sick.. ‘but what else can I do? Where can I go?’ They ask me.. and I haven’t had an answer.. until now. I’ve spent the last couple of hours rearranging my wishlist by priority. Highest priority are tents.. shower tents.. tarps.. cots.. shower heads .. special laundry camping bucket.. camping toilets.. extension cords.. means for cooking.. pack and plays (so everyone can sleep without fear of a toddler running away!)

If you read my comments on each item you’ll get to see the picture that I’m manifesting. Mrs Emma told me that 7 people from her neighborhood come to her house to shower each day as her water heater miraculously started back up (thankyou Jesus!) but for many neighborhoods that isn’t the case. A hot shower is on many people’s lists of ‘needs’ and some haven’t had one since before the flood. I have ordered the means for one shower tent so that I can delegate times of the day to neighborhoods and transport it around to offer showers.. as more are purchased from my wishlist I’ll be able to leave them in neighborhoods.

Tents purchased .. self explanatory. My initial goal is 100 but I know the need is far greater.

Adult bikes – for many, these are the only means of transportation.

Shopping Carts – many are walking to their local gas station to purchase food items and walking them back in the heat. The carts will help increase how much they can carry.

This was taken on September 19th .. 5 weeks after the flood.  In some areas the water didn’t go down for a month. 

My overall goal is to supply the basics for camping so that people can stay put of the mold infested homes with the least amount of inconvenience. These communities are coming together to share their resources. Love is growing abundantly in this time of need.

There are also other items on my list that aren’t high and highest priorities .. toys.. Kids bikes.. linens etc .. initially the housing is priority but these things will be needed too.. the toys really just help to bring smiles.. and give the kids something to do so the parents can catch a break. For those parents put there.. imagine if your kids didn’t have any toys or things to entertain them.

I plan on documenting as much of this as possible to share the stories with you all. I’m not sure yet if amazon allows me to see who purchased items.. but my gratitude is overflowing to everyone who has and will.

I’ve been informed that collecting donations in this form is something I need to have a nonprofit for so that the IRS doesn’t come after me for taxes on all these gifts. While I could probably research it myself and get it filed.. that would be time away from the cause and people have been waiting long enough. If anyone out there can take care of that.. it would be GREATLY appreciated! I have faith in God that I’ll be okay.

Up until now I’ve been driving 4 hours round trip each day that I go out to the devastated areas. My heart says that camping with the fine folks of louisiana will only help me understand their needs so we can meet their needs.. so I’m thinking that’s what I’ll be doing.

How appropriate is it that I was named Storme? Now I know why. To donate to Stormes’ Shelters please visit the wishlist

Stormes’ Shelters for the Louisiana Flood victims – click here!

Thank you God.. we love you and we praise you for all that you are doing.. for giving me the burning desire to travel on little or no money so that I could learn the ways of the camping world. I thank you for everything you took away during Katrina so that my heart could be pulled the way it is today to help those affected by the floods. God, I know that the seeds of love and hope you are allowing me to plant in these hearts will flourish and bloom in years to come.. and create multiple testimonies of the time faith was restored. Please bless all those who are affected.. whether it’s the victims or the volunteers for we are all being imprinted on in these days. Lord we love you and we thank you.. in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thank you everyone.