My Road Trip West: Getting Comfortable with Uncertainty
We sat in front of the Pony Express Motel at 3 am (mountain time), slightly shell-shocked from having drove through dimly lit roads with no phone signal for over five hours.
The entire town was booked for the night except for this sketchy motel. We considered sleeping in the car, but our bodies were sore from several long days of driving and our legs were desperate for the opportunity to stretch. We decided to take a chance on the Pony Express, and made our way through the icy rain, carrying our shivering Frida, and walked up to check in.
I did not originally want to go on this trip. It was my husband, John, who really insisted on it happening.
"We don't have a lease, and both of us work from our computers," he said. "This is the only opportunity we will ever have to roam the country." John was really passionate about this trip, and has been for a long time. He wanted to take this trip sooner, but when my residency in Puebla, Mexico came up this past June, he very sweetly put his dreams on hold.
But now it was time for me to compromise.
I was a BRAT for weeks leading up to the trip, especially the day before we were scheduled to leave. John had planned the destinations and the schedule, but I am the classic planner in our relationship. I was not looking forward to this trip because I felt that the responsibility of making sure we had hotel accommodations (and ones that were dog-friendly) would fall to me, amongst the other "adult" logistics that would make a trip like this work.
I was especially frustrated by the knowledge that I would not be able to truly paint on the road. I could set up a small studio in hotels, but I wouldn't be able to paint wildly, and I definitely wouldn't be able to paint from the passenger seat of a crowded hatchback.
Some of my fears came true - like the situation described at the top of this blog post. But overall, I have actually enjoyed myself greatly on this trip. And I've learned a lot.
See, as a creative entrepreneur, you have to get comfortable with uncertainty. You might make a collection that doesn't sell right away. You might get a licensing deal that you never imagined while totally blowing one that felt like it should've been a slam dunk. And don't even get me started on the ups and downs of social media.
But if I had not allowed myself to become comfortable with uncertainty, I would've missed out on these amazing adventures.
I've had to remind myself constantly throughout this trip that no matter my environment, my schedule, the people around me, the weather, the cell service - all of these things - I am the one thing that I can be certain of.
If I truly want to make something work, like laying down shower curtain liners until my hotel room looks like a scene from Dexter, that's what I'm going to do if it means that I get to paint.
If I want to succeed as an entrepreneur, and I lose cell service in a snowstorm in Montana, then I'm going to write blog posts in my notebook and use my planner to schedule out my next tangible steps toward gallery representation or webinars for artists.
I'm not even going to let sleep stop me. We drove from Yellowstone in Wyoming to Seattle in 17 hours. If we can do that, then I feel like I can do anything necessary to make my business work.
I also was reminded of something that inspires me - geology. I am truly in awe of mountains, and the west is loaded with otherworldly scenes that show us how small we really are. I plan to incorporate this into my art, drawing from grounded layers, tangible and rigid texture, and the depth and mystery of these stable rocks that have outlived us all.
Stay tuned for more of my journey through the US. We are heading down the Pacific Coast next, then flying to New Orleans for VenturePOP Conference. After that, on to Mexico for Puebla part 2.