Travel Light. These words are the signature to my correspondence whether it is a blog, email or a letter. People often ask if I offer tips for how to pack luggage lightly when preparing for a trip after seeing these two words. That can definitely be one interpretation, but not my intention.
While on the road traveling for work over a five-year period, I am grateful to say that I have explored my fair share of cities. There were periods that I was in the same place for a few months, sometimes only a week and more commonly a day. With this active travel schedule and long work days, I thought I would create a blog so I could share photos and stories with friends and family while on the road. I decided on BohemianBabeTravels.com as the name of the site. Bohemian because it seemed to be the perfect fit for my unconventional lifestyle and Babe as a reminder to always find something to be in awe of in the world around me.
When I set out on the road to organize events, I had two storage units and more household type items at a friend’s place where I would stay when coming home for a quick family visit and to swap out luggage before hitting the road again. I had enough stuff to comfortably furnish a three-bedroom house at this time. While living as a road warrior, I came to appreciate and be content with the two suitcases of belongings I had. It was an adjustment but taught me how to live in a more simplistic way.
While managing an event, I met a nine-year girl who began asking me a ton of questions like curious children often do. After talking for a few minutes and attempting to understand my current lifestyle, she asked, “You mean you don’t go home every night? Where is all of your stuff? What do you miss the most?” As basic as these questions might have sounded, it stopped me in my tracks and I paused before answering. This child was referring to a material object and I couldn’t think of one thing that I actually missed. Not one. At that moment I couldn’t actually even think of one thing I owned that was back at my home base. The list I missed that popped into my head was game night with my family, holding my puppies, going out with friends, celebrating birthdays, holidays, life events together, and seeing faces, hearing laughter and sharing simple moments with those I loved. I came to realize that although I had accumulated all of this “stuff’, none of it held meaning for me nor made me happy. Creating memories with my tribe is what I missed the most, not material belongings.
Through my travels, I met a lot of different folks. I am the person that others refer to as, “that girl has never met a stranger.” I will pretty much talk to anyone. It is my babe view on the world; my lust to learn, and knowing that everyone has a story to share. Some of the most prolific moments in my life came through “random” encounters with “strangers.” I learned more in these times than any formal classroom could have ever taught me. There is much to gain in practicing presence and simply listening. I am grateful for the chance to have connected with people from all walks of life and the things I learned along the way. The stories people shared, the advice they gave, the dreams they aspired to achieve, and the hardships life presented them with were all pivotal in shaping the person I am today and essential in preparing me for the road that lay ahead.
The buzz phrase today is “being present.” This can often be hard to achieve when we go through the motions of our routines. We get comfortable in doing what we know and less willing to adventure outside of that safety zone. Even if people are unhappy, they will at times choose to stay where they are just because it is familiar. This is fine, but it can lead to getting stuck. When we aren’t moving forward, we become stagnant and cease to grow. It is easy to say “break out of the routine, hit the road, and discover yourself.” Please know while this is a dream for most, it is also not always practical and not at all what I’m saying. I would like to invite others to recognize the world – with those babe like eyes and get your bohemian on – by choosing a different approach to your routine. Break out of that comfort zone and allow yourself to view the world through a new lens. Perhaps it is something as simple as going boho by taking an alternate route to work that day, or being a babe by walking outside during your lunch break to establish a connection, whether it is within a flower, a cloud in the sky or even someone passing. Recognize the essence and beauty of its being. Traveling light doesn’t require a trip anywhere except within yourself. Let go of the stuff that doesn’t serve you. When you choose to hold onto it, it is really holding onto you. Let go and grow. Just breathe and be. This is the discovery of something awe striking when you align with your own divine light.
Christina Grozik (Bohemian Babe) has spent the past five years on the road traveling. Her journeys allowed her to meet extraordinary people, immerse herself in unique cultures and partake in amazing experiences. More importantly, she discovered lessons that would change her life forever. She has combined her roles as a Kent State University professor and media specialist with her wellness background. She is a Certified Vibrational Sound Therapist, Integrated Health Coach, Yoga Teacher, Polarity Practitioner, Energy Worker, and Reiki Specialist. With these modalities, she aims to help others find presence and balance. While she is known as a teacher, she also considers herself to be a student of life and pays gratitude to each day that allows her to be a part of it. She is currently working on a documentary about the impact of sound and believes in practicing good vibes only. GoingOmFilm.com
While thinking about writing this blog, I started looking back to the many opportunities I have had to travel over the years. I have been to 6 countries and all but a few states.
I didn’t grow up traveling. My dad was a truck driver and the last thing he wanted to do was go for a “Sunday” drive with mom and 5 kids piled into our small car! Vacations at my house were when dad and mom went away for a week and we stayed home with a babysitter.
My first bus trip was on my Senior class trip to NYC. I had never stayed in a hotel or seen so many different people from all over the world. I loved the lights and excitement of the bustling city. As an impressionable 18-year-old, that was my first peek at the world and I was hooked!
In general, my approach to life has been to be prepared, ie. fix things when they break, get things checked before they breakdown, make sure I have the right equipment for the weather (snow shovel, blankets), etc. When planning to travel, I want the appropriate shoes, gear, clothes, maps and always several flashlights. I become motivated to train to get into shape and stay healthy. That being said, I am now more flexible and accepting when things don’t go as planned.
In 2017, I had the opportunity to backpack across Spain on a 1,000-year-old pilgrimage trail called the El Camino de Santiago. My friend Anne had been wanting to do this walk for a few years, so she asked me to go with her. When sharing the possibility of walking the El Camino, a friend told me that although opportunities to travel may come up, most people do not take them. I realized that I have often “jumped right in” when I got the chance, even though I am NOT a brave person and I didn’t always realize all that would be involved. My trips have been hard sometimes, but amazing!
What I have learned from my travels so far, is how these trips change me. When I return home and am looking at pictures and sharing my experiences with others, I realize how much I have accomplished and how much I have grown spiritually. I have been able to meet new people, extend myself mentally and physically, and definitely function out of my comfort zone! I know that I can live out of my backpack, carrying 18 pounds for a month, do better when I don’t have expectations, can live in the moment, and that we humans are more alike than different.
So, when you travel are you your same self, someone else, or your real self? We certainly can see ourselves in a different way when meeting new people, in new settings, or even when traveling with people we know.
HAPPY TRAILS! BUEN CAMINO! BON VOYAGE!
Originally from NW Ohio, Ruthie has lived in Mansfield for 44 years. She has worked as a sign language interpreter for the deaf for 34 years and is now mostly retired. She has two grown sons, one daughter-in-law, one granddaughter, and one great-granddaughter. Ruthie loves to cycle, hike, read, sing and TRAVEL!
I am very honored and humbled to be your guest blogger and assigned, “embrace and inspire” as the topic. I was assigned this almost a year ago and I had many thoughts and ideas cross my mind. To me creative ideas and concepts are just as important to me as breathing. The idea needs to be embraced and inspired. Usually the original thought is good but it needs a sounding board, i.e. a litmus test. The idea needs wings to fly or to fail. Ideas need to be shared, with friends and with people you don’t associate with.
A good idea is… well, a good idea
It can be more when it is not just received by a small majority or only your group of friends. A good idea can be universal, and when it embraces you and won’t let go until you nurture it, care for it, raising it until it can stand on its own two feet.
The easiest way to nurture an idea (for me) is to poke holes in it, tear it apart and reassemble it, and see if it holds up. I like “what if …?” questions, because asking this question can lead to other questions or new ideas.
I wrote a play over twenty years ago, or so I thought
I wanted to write a romantic comedy, so I asked myself what Hollywood considered to be the stereotypical romantic setting, and came up with two lovers at sunset on the beach. I don’t know if it was serendipity or what, but as I was playing with this thought, The Incredible Mr. Limpet with Don Knots worked its way into my thoughts.
The first premise for the play was:
What if there are two lovers on the beach, and they think they are alone?
What if these humans are at the beach but they are not alone because there is fish in the sea.
What if these fish come to this beach to be entertained by the humans? Can actors play fish?
I wrote the first act draft like a man possessed, the muse flowed through my veins, the second act draft took ten years. So, from the first idea in 1998 the complete first draft wasn’t completed until 2008. This is probably a good place to point out I hate to edit. While the Fish play, which in 2008 or later, eventually titled Reflecting Pond, probably as a part of the editing process.
In the meantime, I co-wrote two other plays. I wrote one with my best friend, Mark Jordan, Comedy of Eros, about Shakespeare reincarnated, and The Great Equalizer, a play about restrooms and the differences of men and women. I started coaching high school soccer and then life took over and Reflecting Pond sat in the back of my mind, poking and prodding
I needed to embrace my muse and be inspired
Remember when I said I needed to share my ideas? I shared the first idea, and the first act with anyone who would read it, I needed to know the concept was good, I needed to be embraced and inspired; this was my baby. I needed to know it was not ugly or malformed. Two people, two playwrights, my good friend Mark Jordan and my Professor Ralph Hunt, both questioned my play, my baby, my life? They prodded at it, poked holes, questioned concepts, like overly critical uncles.
Professor Hunt just kept saying, “play around with it, see what you come up with.” Mark on several occasions corrected my spelling and grammar, most of which I ignored. They were supposed to love my play and just say “nice things.” Don’t be critical of my baby!
But they were right, I had not done the hard work and I had not asked myself the hard questions. Oh, sure I had found inspiration, my muse and I had a torrid love affair, late nights where she would come and visit me, whisper sweet nothings, leave me wanting and then just vanishing for days and months on end. She had left me with our child, our play, and it was my job to raise it. Me and two critical uncles, Three Men and A Baby!
After many years of not listening
I finally embraced what they were telling me. They had taken the time to listen to me and my concept, they had seen my baby, my play for what it was, a good start, an infant, that needed fed and nourished, so that one day it, Reflecting Pond could stand on its own.
When Professor Hunt said, “Play around with it and see what you come up with,” he was not trying to placate me, what he was saying was, “is there more? Can you take this further?” And Mark, God bless him, he never gave up. He continued to encourage me and inspire me and push me to be a good parent.
These two playwrights helped me put my play out into the world. They asked me, those, “what if” questions and my child would have been a bucked tooth baby had they not.
This past June, Reflecting Pond was accepted at the Columbus Arts Festival and at the Ohio State University at Mansfield. I got to direct my best friend Mark in the play, and on several occasions, cried.
(Scenes from Reflecting Pond— Scene 1, Scene 2.)
To embrace and inspire
For me to embrace and find inspiration, I needed to be embraced and inspired myself. I think at times we view the artist somehow separate and not a part of the group. I know I need the group, for the group is where I find inspiration. I have worked in community and economic development for over eight years and artistic development for over thirty, there are many common elements.
- Share your ideas.
- Embrace your ideas (they are not dumb)
- There is no I. Create a support team
- Poke holes. Have others poke holes.
- Reassemble. Make it better.
- Let your idea live. Put it out in the world!
- Inspire others.
Bryan Gladden is a lifelong resident of Mansfield, Ohio. He is the Arts Community Liaison for The Richland Academy of the Arts. Besides work and writing, he is active part of the Richland county community, coaching soccer, acting, directing, serves on several boards. He is always willing to help and collaborate to make Mansfield a better place to live and work.