There's a huge lump in my throat as I step on the plane.  I want to push it down but I can't anymore.  I've done this kind of thing so many times, I can't figure out why I'm being such a baby.  "Oh babe.  Just know that means you love it and are connected to San Diego.  It'll be right there for you when you get back and you get to choose when that is.  I know the feeling", my friend Katie said.  I try to spit out all the air in my lungs that smells like jet fuel but its impossible.  The cold smell of jet fuel will forever be the feeling of "leaving a beautiful life behind".  Sometimes you just have to let the whole thing just steamroller you over.  Don't worry.  You do re-inflate like Roger Rabbit eventually, and get back on your feet.  

I'm learning the difference lately, between "giving up", and "letting go".  The truth is, San Diego, and every incredible and beautiful friend I've met there, will not blow up into smithereens the minute I take off.  But it sure feels like it right now.  I hunch down and use my shaggy head of hair as a social wall between myself and the passenger on my left.  I look out the window and play the saddest song I can find on my playlist.  Might as well just let it roll. I'm headed to Washington State.  To hike in clean sweet air, under evergreen forest canopies and endless beds of spring green lush moss and boulders, embellished in beautiful tangled roots.  Then, to North Carolina to surf, snag up a new car and play a lot of music. Then to Nashville.  My old (and second) home.  I hear it calling to me again, for many reasons, I'll explain in time. 

My friends wrote me letters for my flight, that I open one by one, with shaky hands and blurred stinging eyes.  But its time.  There's just nothing like this feeling.  The emotional hike to the other side of the mountain has to be done to see what is waiting for you on the other side.  There is simply no other way.  

The bits and puzzle pieces of my life will hopefully start falling into place as I work them out in my mind.  When Katie said, "I get to choose" when I want to come back, she just meant that I am on my own journey right now.  Fueled by my own inspiration and drive.  I spent about 15 years major world tours (I know some of you know about that!) where I was instructed where to go, when to be there, etc.  In some ways, I was spoiled beyond belief and so well traveled, fed, and connected with incredible people, some of whom have become old friends.  But there was no such thing as "calling in sick" for a show, or rushing to the side of a family member or friend in need, on a show day.  That is just the sacrifice of that incredible living.  

Now, I am my own boss!  ...eek.  (Anyone out there know what that feels like?  Let me know in the comments. I'd love any tips ya got!)  It means If I choose, I can make a major life change.  I can call in sick.  I can drop everything to see my little sister if she's feeling down.  My dad, if he needs a hike in the woods with his girl.  I can also call in myself.  Yes, I can actually tell myself, that I don't have to get up and go after those things...those things that people look at me funny when I tell them I'm going to go after.  I know they don't mean anything by it, but they don't know me.  I'm about to find out whether I'm a good employee or not.  Whether I passionately dive into this job with pride, or simply just "look busy" when the boss walks by.  When I...walk by.  Deep?  Schizo?  Whatever.  Anyway, off I go.