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Facebook, my bridge to incredible friendships, IA, IL

Google Maps welcomed me to Iowa. At this point, I also realized I am in a different time zone, another sign that I am heading east.


For many years, I disliked Facebook. Posting wasn't my thing, funny, right?. Today, Facebook is my bridge to incredible friendships.


Many states have diverse landscapes, but Nebraska and Iowa seem like one vast space with big skies. I like that I can find beauty in flat land. It reminds me to give a chance to all the beautiful things in life.


The second book I am listening to is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. I am trying to expand my understanding of why there is so much hate in this world. There is too much suffering floating around our planet today. It makes me wonder why humankind doesn’t share my belief that we all have the right to equal happiness and joy.


I am far from being an expert on the subject of trauma. Still, I am wise enough to know that it is the source of our collective sufferings. The more I work on uniting myself with my past trauma, the more I understand the correlation between each individual's responsibility to heal themselves and world peace.


One needs to understand and experience the beauty of earning a peaceful heart to be able to extend a peaceful hand.


After eight long hours of driving, I reached my destination. My second exciting visit!


Julie and I started conversing at the beginning of my journey last year. I commented on one of her posts in one of the Facebook travel groups. She was about to travel to Israel and was very excited about it. I offered my two cents about traveling to Israel. Since then, we've been Facebook friends.


I remembered Julie's invitation to stop by if I ever traveled through Iowa, so I reached out to see where she was located. Perfect! Julie lives right along my route. Tonight I have the privilege of meeting her off the screen.


Now we have time to let our friendship grow, and I have the honor of hearing Julie's story in person. She pretty much knows mine, as she's reading my book for the second time.


There is a tornado warning for tonight. How wonderful. Julie is letting me know she's keeping the front door open in case there are warning sirens during the night (I am sleeping in my "vanpartment").


At 1:30 a.m., I wake up to what I can only call gentle music in the air. It takes me a few seconds to realize it is the sound of the sirens. It takes another second for the skies to open up with buckets of rain.


I got a text from sweet Julie, who is concerned about my well-being. After all, I have minimal experience with tornadoes (and I want to keep it that way). After my terrifying windy night in Texas, I gained a better sense of respect for the wind. The wind right now isn't strong enough to get me out of my cozy bed.


Good morning, sunshine! Was the storm last night a dream of mine? Except for the wet sidewalks and my clean car, you wouldn't know about the stormy night.


I have another long day of driving ahead of me, but I take my time to spend a bit longer with Julie.


I Google Map a rest stop 310 miles away, which will be perfect for my home tonight.


By early evening, Google Maps welcomed me to Illinois and another quick storm. As I entered Illinois, I spent most of my drive on a quiet country road, which I enjoyed.


I have a busy day before meeting Alice later. It's time for a haircut. I also need to stop at a post office to mail my taser back home. I will be entering Canada in a few days and want to make sure I comply with Canadian rules.


The haircut is shorter than I usually get, but that’s okay, I'll get used to it. I also kind of like it. It will make life a bit easier, as I have a feeling I'll need to use my faucet system to wash myself as I travel through Newfoundland.


What a delight to meet Alice!


I am visiting Alice for the next four days. I have a few more final details to take care of before entering Canada. That includes buying travel insurance, downloading my area maps on Google Maps, and downloading the hikes I plan to take on my AllTrails app.


What an incredible treat it is to shadow Alice in her studio. When Alice emailed me back in September, her email included a link to her website (http://www.mcleanbronze.com/). Of course, I had to check it out. Right away, I was blown away by her style and unique creations.


Even though her work involves using heavy machinery and chemicals, I am able to help with some simple tasks.


I forgot the enjoyment I get from holding a paintbrush in my hand. I am back in my artist zone, and it feels like home.


I help Alice with three bronze dory boats, brushing the patina to the inside. Now, there is one dory signed by both of us, and I am honored.


I love her Bronze Wall Tiles. What attracts me to her work is the way she combines materials, colors, and textures.


Alice let me use my creative mind on one of the Wall Tiles and create the composition with the beads on the shelf. I go into my la la land with so much joy and so many beads from which to choose.


Yes, working alongside Alice in her studio was the highlight of my visit. It allowed me to get to know the artist in her. Joining her yoga classes let me get to know the spiritual Alice. I love how she includes poems in her yoga teaching. And the hikes we take let me get to know the outdoors Alice, who still hikes and car camps.


I love spending time with Alice. Although I am usually a solo chef in a kitchen, cooking with Alice taught me how fun it is to share the love of cooking.


The four days in Illinois will forever be special to me. Thank you, Alice, for letting me be part of your world.


It is time to pack my van again. I am super excited and a bit anxious about the next portion of my travels. Traveling to big cities like Montreal and Quebec is a bit intimidating for me. 


Since I learned about Newfoundland's icebergs, I am all pumped up. That is the only reason I am traveling in June. Even though I know the temperatures are still on the cooler side, I hope the still-cold temperature will help me avoid the notorious mosquitoes.




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