A New Chapter 

It’s been a while since I have written anything on here, and I figure this would be a great tool to use to update everyone on my current events. On June 23rd I moved to Hurricane, Utah to work for a conservation core called American Conservation Experience. I live in an old hostel that now is the home to 39 core members and crew leaders. I am happy to say I am back in my zone of communal living. I go out on “hitch” (work) for 8 days, and come back home for 6 days. 

My camping spot on hitch that is right next to a creek and a beaver dam.

    Work days consist of filling up 6 liters of water, packing enough food for a 10 hour work day, taking rain gear (storms come out of nowhere here), and putting it all in my pack for the day. Depending on the project we are on, we could be doing a lot of hiking. On my last hitch we averaged 10 miles of hiking a day, a lot of which is done with a pick in one hand and a shovel in the other. At 9,000 feet, this can be quite strenuous until you are acclimated. 

Trail views

The concept of conservation and trail restoration go hand in hand, which I understand isn’t obvious at first. The idea is that if you keep a trail well groomed and easy for people to walk on, it concentrates the impact into one area rather than trampling the whole forest. Things we do to maintain that is lopping plants that grow into the trail, building drains to lead the water off the trail, and occasionally making an entirely new trail. Although hard, the work is entirely rewarding.

A camping trip to the Unitas

I have made so many friends, in fact, I’d like to say all 39 of these people are already like family. I have already been here a month and that is so hard to believe. I wish I could fill you all in on every little thing I have done, but that would involve a weekly post. Everyday is deep, filled with adventure, spontaneous events, and love from my fellow core members. This is the life I wished for. My work is purposeful and outdoors, and when I’m not at work my home is a 30 minute drive from Zion National Park and so many more beautiful places. I mostly spend my time in a tent, and I get better and better everyday at packing my life into a bag. 

The canyon that is just a ten minute walk from our house.

I am on my way right now to Wind Caves National Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota for 6 whole weeks.  Me and 11 others are jam packed into a van, and are on a 13 hour road trip. Sorry it took so long to update everyone, also it will take me a while to get my literary voice back. 

My first visitors Kayla, Emery, and John.

Death to an Old Self

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On the Death tarot card, a skeleton rides in on a white horse, symbolizing purity. He wears armor showing his new found strength. His skeleton, is his old self, and he is riding into town as the new him.

The Hero’s Journey, is a tale we all know very well. Started by a call to action, the hero leaves the familiar to travel into the unknown. With lessons learned and mentors to help, there is a transformation. Every hero comes to a low point, a point when they don’t believe that they will make it and become very unsure of themselves. That point is generally followed by a new perspective and birth to a new hero, ready to rescue the princess.

I am the heroine in my own story. I have left the comfort of the small town and the only home I have ever known to venture off into the world to find myself, my inner “princess”. I have experienced beauty in every spot I have been, but I have also experienced hardships.

Those hardships, those are me. I felt them in the comfort of my small town back home, and I will feel those everywhere I go. This is that transformation point. I have made it to the cross road of leaving my old self behind. The death to an old self, and the birth of a new me.

I left home as just some 19 year old girl. Victoria Voigt from the Bay area who smoked a lot of weed, hung out with lots of friends, went to a lot of parties, and wanted to feel involved in the next biggest thing in the bay area. I worked my ass off, and then hung out with my friends after work, partied, went to bed and woke up to repeat it all. I didn’t spend as much time with family or invest time into hobbies and learning new things. I wasn’t sure of what I wanted out of life.

That Victoria is dead, and just like the Phoenix, I am born again. I have no time in this precious life for drama, or meaningless interactions with people. No money in the world is worth my happiness, and every dollar I make is going to go towards new travels and experiences, rather than blunts and bottles of alcohol. I will spend time with the friends that mean a lot to me, and family. I no longer care what others think of me. People can laugh at me for wearing no shoes, having no make up on, and wearing miss matched patterned clothes, but they will never take my happiness from me.

I have learned to be the author of my own book, not the character in someone else’s. This is my story, my journey, and I am the Heroine who saved herself.

Shine On

Everyday of the past 2 weeks has reminded me how many reasons there are to love life.

The South Dakota sunsets never get old

The South Dakota sunsets never get old

We went to Michigan, where we made a stop at my brothers house. I also have a niece and nephew and I haven’t see their whole family in 7 years. He welcomed the bus crew into his home and we enjoyed the rainy days with what felt like my long lost family. I used to spend summers in Michigan as a kid and there is a beauty there that cant be found in any other state. Green grass, lakes the size of oceans, and a diverse population of people. I said goodbye to my brother, hoping that I get out there sooner than last time.

I love you Bro!!

I love you Bro!!

We drove for two days straight, in a hurry to get to one of our favorite places, South Dakota. We couldn’t wait to connect with our beloved friends at the hop farm, and to also help them finish their harvest. We got there just in time, and helped them finish up the hard work. We would start early in the morning, working until late into the night. The last night when we finished the harvest, they decided that they wanted to brew their favorite hop plant. Without any doubts, we began making a huge fire, and boiling a giant 60 gallon pot of water. We took turns crushing the barley by hand with a broken 2×4, and picking hops off the plant and throughing it into the pot. On the farm, which is far from any civilization, you can see what seems like every star in the universe. At about 3 a.m. we looked up to see the Northern Lights dancing in the night sky.

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How did my life lead me to a moment as great as this?

Why am I so blessed to share these moments with other loving souls?

That night left an imprint in my heart.

Stirring the pot of beer as it brews over the fire

Stirring the pot of beer as it brews over the fire

Let me go more into depth about how truly amazing these people are. They live on a farm, have a garden to eat food from, and they all work together on the hop farm towards their dream of opening a brewery. They want to put all of their profits right back into making their farm more and more self sustaining. If everything in the world came to a halt, they would be able to keep on keepin’ on.

Weston and Jeff preparing fresh veggies from the garden for soup

Weston and Jeff preparing fresh veggies from the garden for soup

Our new friend Gradey

Our new friend Gradey

Most people think that they are crazy for chosing South Dakota as their starting point. Why not California? Or Oregon? Where people are generally more open minded to the idea of a self sustaining organic brewery. Well that’s the thing, these people want to change the world. And by starting in an environment where people have never seen anything like this in their lives, they have a possibility to change their entire perspectives. They want to hold huge events where people from all over join them at their brewery for the release of their new beers. By getting involved and inviting people onto their farm, and where their beer comes from they can show people how to live self sustaining. They say it’s not “going green” which is sorta becoming trendy, they are going back to the stone age. Unlike most commune type places, where people start a community hidden from the world, they want to bring this new idea of life into the light.

These people want to change the world.

What is cooler than that?

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Until next time South Dakota! Peace and Love

Something that Weston said to me that will stick with me forever is, “We don’t want to hide our light. We were given our light to shine on others.”

I’m As Free As A Bird Now, And This Bird You Cannot Change.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Being in big cities reminds me of home.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Being in big cities reminds me of home.

Visiting my friend Karla in Pittsburgh. It is a good feeling to see familiar faces across the country

Visiting my friend Karla in Pittsburgh. It is a good feeling to see familiar faces across the country

After staying a month in Pennsylvania working, it was time to move on. We headed to West Virginia to go Camping at Blackwater Falls State Forest. My favorite times on this trip is when we get to camp (free showers, electricity, and nature). We show up to the camp ground and everyone looks at us like we are some sort of monsters that are going to disrupt their peaceful camping trip. We start our fire to cook our food, and play classical music as we eat together like a family, proving everyone wrong. Simple moments like this that will last a lifetime to me.

Black Water Falls

Black Water Falls

There is beauty in West Virginia that words can't even describe. I wish I could be here for the fall to see the leaves turn.

There is beauty in West Virginia that words can’t even describe. I wish I could be here for the fall to see the leaves turn.

The next day we waited with excitement for Camden’s return from Tennessee. We were all so happy to see him back home on the bus. It feels complete again, like he was never gone.

The whole crew, back together once again

We plan on being back home the first week of October, the idea of going home is bittersweet. I am beggining to prepare myself. Working on a new resume, looking into the job I would like for the new me. The person who left on this trip is not the same one that will return. I have a new idea, and outlook on life. Most importantly, I found love for myself. Through the ups and downs, this journey has been worth every minute to me.

March 18th, 2015, the day I left the only home I ever knew, to experience life.

March 18th, 2015, the day I left the only home I ever knew, to experience life for what it really is.

I'm as free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot change

“I’m as free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot change” August 15th, 2015

I just want to thank everyone in my life that has influenced me to this point. My wonderful family, my huge friends group that are also my family, and my bus crew.  You guys are my “tribe”.

Follow Your Bliss

After being given a 0.01% chance of waking from his coma, Louis Torres opened his eyes. Allyson and a couple of other friends very close to Louis stayed in the hospital at his bed side for 2 weeks, being told by the doctors to say their goodbyes because they would never talk to their friend again. Despite all of the odds, Louis woke up. The doctors and nurses even called it a miracle. Louis is on his way to full recovery, given a second chance.

Everything happens for a reason, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. People from across the country came together to pray for Louis. Love unites us, and shows us that the little things no longer matter. Coming from a small town, people talk, and have drama with each other over the simplest of reasons, mostly just hear say. People care about what others think, and that has to be the worst mental prison to be stuck in. When we come together we can do amazing things. You never know when it could be your time to go, and what a shame it would be to know you wasted your life trying to “fit in”.

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” – Joseph Campbell

Allyson returned to the Chakra Bus, and we were ready to continue our journey. Camden decided to stay with his family in Alcoa, Tennessee. We miss the amazing people we met there, as well as Camden. He said he would be back in a week, and it has now been two months. I consider the people I met there apart of my family. We got really close to their friend Josh, and all decided that we would invite him to join our bus. Without hesitation, Josh packed his bags, quit his job, and hopped on the bus. We plan on helping him start a new life for himself in the bay area.

Our new member Joshua

Our new member Josh

Goodbye Alcoa!

Goodbye Alcoa!

We left Alcoa, and headed to Wilmington, North Carolina. We spend two weeks, going to the beach everyday. We had barely enough money to make it to our next destination. We mowed a guy’s lawn for forty dollars to help us get to Pennsylvania. We are now here in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania where Allyson’s family is, and where she is from. We knew we would be able to find work here, and we sure did.

Waynesburg, Pennsylvania

Waynesburg, Pennsylvania

Driving the bus one day, Allyson stopped and pointed at a man in front of a house under construction saying, “Hey! I know you.” It was Farley Toothman, the town judge, who also was a good childhood friend of Allyson’s dad, Chuck. Chuck passed away in 2007 and he was a well respected man in Waynesburg. Farley loved our bus, and put us to work the next day. We worked to restore the oldest house in Waynesburg, built in 1828. The walls are made of stone put together with mud. The house originally had dirt floors. We had to seal in all the stone walls to stop it from deteriorating, and build a deck onto the house.

Front Page of the Newspaper

Front Page of the Newspaper

The oldest house in Waynesburg, built in 1828

The oldest house in Waynesburg, built in 1828

After a week of hard work, we had no idea what to expect as payment. Farley suprized us with a very generous donation. We also have another job starting Monday to build a retaining wall and we should be set for the rest of the trip. We are now gonna be able to make a couple improvements to our tiny home. I truly believe that Allyson’s father has been guiding her along the way, and helping us come across these jobs.

Farley Toothman with the Bus Crew

Farley Toothman with the Bus Crew

“Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” -Joseph Campbell. Just like a snake shedding its skin, in order to grow, there must be a death to the old self. Sometimes unexpected things happen in life, and we must go down a difficult path, but when we stay strong we have the gift of a new perspective. A near death experience, taught not only one man the importance of life, but an entire nation. Being broke in order to learn the value of hard work and money, keeps us humble and appreciative of what we have.

Everyday I learn something new about myself, the people around me, and the world. If I would have never put myself outside of my comfort zone, I would never have got to learn these beautiful lessons. My advice to you, is to take the jump, march to the beat of your own drum, and be unique because you are beautiful the way that you are.

Follow Your Bliss

Follow Your Bliss

A Second Chance

We left Florida’s intense heat and humidity up to Blairsville, Georgia. It was a relief to have a change of terrain and to sit in the mountains and forest. I love the beach, but after going every single day, and having a bus full of sand, we were ready for the change. IMG_20150622_164919556

The downside to Blairsville, was saying goodbye to our bus crew member, Connor. He found a job in Oregon at a brewery, that was so perfect for him he couldn’t turn down. Connor was what we called our, “Comedic Relief”. He is THE funniest person to be around, always keeping things from getting too serious. He also had a huge heart, being the one to give everyone a big hug every morning. Each one of of the bus crew members brings a specific trait or evens flaws that makes them unique. We all balance each other out as a family. Saying goodbye was hard, and leaving Georgia with one less person felt weird. It showed me that this trip could end any moment for any of us. We are blessed with everyday we get to be on the bus, learning a new way of life, and a chance to focus on ourselves. This is our journey of a lifetime.

Steven, Me, and Connor 3 miles down the trail into the Grand Canyon, a moment we will never forget.

Steven, Me, and Connor 3 miles down the trail into the Grand Canyon, a moment we will never forget.

The night before we left Georgia, Allyson got a phone call that brought her to tears. Her best friend, Louis Torres, got hit by a car, and is in the ICU in critical condition. Louis is a friend of all of ours, and coming from such a small town, we all have crossed paths with him one way or another. He was going to school for film making, and after the trip he was gonna put together all of our footage and make a documentary. Allyson was heartbroken, to be so far from home in a time like this. As we left Georgia, we were stopped on the side of the road, all holding hands and saying a prayer for Louis, sending him our love. We continued driving, when we saw a couple puppies. We stopped the bus, and one little black dog stayed in the road, while the rest scattered. We picked up the dog and took it with us, it was wild and very skinny. Ally said that Louis loved dogs and that he, too, would have stopped and picked her up. In the name of Louis, we named her Louise. She is now on a journey with us, and we hope to give her the wonderful life that she never knew was even possible. When we got to Tennessee, Allyson took a flight home to be with her friend and to support his recovery. We miss her dearly, and I know she is bringing her Chakra Bus positivity and healing energy back home where it is needed. In a time of despair, our small town has come together to support a loved one. People across the country are sending Louis our love, hoping for him to awaken out of his coma. Take advantage of every day, because tomorrow is never promised.

The lovely, Allyson Fordyce, and her dear friend Louis Torres.

The lovely, Allyson Fordyce, and her dear friend Louis Torres. We are praying for you all the way from Tennessee Louis!

Lou Dog, our new member

Lou Dog, our new member

In Alcoa, Tennessee Camden had some people to meet that he had never knew existed up until he left on this trip. You see, Camden is adopted. His parents told him that his birth mom had died after his birth. He lived his whole life thinking that, and then right before the trip, his parents revealed the truth. His Mom and 2 little brothers are in Tennessee and they want to see him more than anything. We arrived here and were all welcomed immediately. It’s so crazy, it proves to us how strong genes are because not only do these people look like Camden, they act exactly like him as well. It is a great healing situation for both Camden and his mother. I really like it here, Camden’s brothers are 20 and 17 years old. Their friends are always at the house and this is my first chance to get to hang out with people my age. I just turned 20 last week (June, 24th WOOHOO) and I realized that I have only been around older people, which is fun, but I forgot what normal 20 year olds do for fun, like go out late at night and go on crazy adventures.  I have made some friends out here that I hope to keep a life time.

Camden walking up to his family, meeting them for the first time.

Camden walking up to his family, meeting them for the first time.

The present, is a present. A dog, that never saw past cold nights and eating out of trash, is now loved unconditionally by 7 people. A man with dreams and ambitions, is now fighting to live another day. A mother and her child now have a new connection, when they thought they lost each other forever. Life is a gift, we are here to love, and complete the tasks that were given to us.

Me and Arnie in front of the Gand Ol' Opery in Nashville, TN

Me and Arnie in front of the Gand Ol’ Opery in Nashville, TN

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We aren’t always here for as long as we think, no longer will I say to myself, “I will start tomorrow”, I chose to seize the day. “Life is a race, and some of us make it to the finish line sooner” -Debbie Fallon

Pay It Forward

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Pensacola Beach, where the sand looks like sugar and squeaks under your feet when you walk.

In my last post, I mentioned being bored working in the trailer park in Pensacola, Florida. I guess I didn’t see what was coming, because I would now describe the last 3 weeks of my life as nothing but magical. Sometimes you end up places in your life for a reason, even though it may not seem like it at the time. Through the times of hard work to renovate the trailers, we quickly made friends with everyone who lived there. People invited us into their homes with open doors, and open hearts. Each of these paragraphs are about different people we have met in Pensacola and what they have taught us.

The person who stands out the most to me is a  woman named Angie, who has a beautiful soul. Her life had never been easy, but through all of her tribulation she still took us in, giving us food when we needed it, and making us coffee every morning. She told us stories of her life, and how  her daughter passed away a year ago. I have no idea what that sort of pain would feel like to lose your child. I truly believe that we came into her life at this time to uplift her spirits.  Angie went with us to the beach, and the famous Graffiti Bride of Pensacola that never looks the same each and everyday. We all had an amazing time, and the next day she told us that was one of the first times she went out to have fun after her daughter died. We brought happiness to another person’s life and in return it makes us happy as well. Maybe that is what the Chakra Bus is meant to do, travel around bringing good vibes and love everywhere we go. Who knows, maybe somewhere a little girl saw us drive by, and although she was destine to turn out like her drug addict parents, saw our bus and it planted a seed of hope in her head, the possibilities are endless. I now truly understand when people say, “if you want to change the world, start with yourself.”

Angie looking at sea creatures when we woke up at 5:30 to watch the sun rise

Angie looking at sea creatures when we woke up at 5:30 to watch the sun rise

One night while staying in the trailer park we met a guy named Chris. He googled The Chakra Bus and saw my blog, due to my last post about health, he brought us salad as a peace offering. He ended up joining us for the next week on all of our adventures and fun. Chris opened up his spiritual side with us through meditation and just talking with other like minded people. Our dear friend, Kayla Douglas, took a 6 day vacation to come hang out with the Chakra Bus. It was nice to be with guests and new people. The Chakra Bus was a ten person group for a week, which was exiting and lead us doing a lot of new things. “The Chakra Bus” really is, and never will be a set number of people. The Chakra Bus is a community of everyone that we have crossed paths with because the people that we meet are really what makes this trip what it is. If you are reading this right now, or if you if believe in us and what we are doing, you too are apart of The Chakra Bus experience.

Me and Kayla watching the sun rise

Me and Kayla watching the sun rise

While staying the night at Walmart, a woman named Jennifer and her nephew Aiden stopped by the bus. Aiden, who is 13, had the idea to invite us over for dinner and Jennifer and her sister Kim made the whole thing happen. They told us to get to their house at 5 that evening. When we got there they welcomed us into their home, with the table set for all ten of us, plus the 6 of them. We stayed with them for the evening, talking, answering their questions about our journey, and enjoying all of the amazing food. It made me feel even more at home in Pesacola, everyone here has been nothing but nice to us. It is reassuring to know that there really are nice people in the world. When the universe continually is good to you, it motivates you to pay it forward. The way you treat the world always comes back to you in “The Law of Attraction”. This is karma happening right before our eyes, proving to ourselves that we create our own destiny.

Dinner at Kim and Jennifer's house

Dinner at Kim and Jennifer’s house

Every time we drove to the beach, we passed a house that had a school bus parked out front. When we passed we always looked at it and thought, “we should stop by”. Instead, the guy who owned the bus, Alex, ended up coming to find us at the beach one day. He said that all of his friends in town would tell him about the bus and when we pass by them, they had the same excitement to see us. We hung out with Alex all day, and went to his house on the beach. His bus was way nicer than ours, it had a different feel. His was more of an RV, with rooms, and carpet, while ours is more of what you would call a hippie bus. He let us take showers and chill in his air conditioned house. Alex is an activist in Pensacola, who has lived here his whole life and he works to better his community. His bus has made it to California and back to Florida. He goes with his friends on camping trips and short adventures with the bus. Alex said that him and his friends haven’t found the right time yet to break free and go for a long journey like us, but definitely plan to. Who knows, maybe some day on this trip our buses could travel together.

Alex's bus, Falkor, next to the Chakra Bus in Pensacola Florida

Alex’s bus, Falkor, next to the Chakra Bus in Pensacola Florida

This is a really difficult post for me to write, I have learned so much in the past 2 weeks, I could easily write a novel. I felt the need to include as many people possible that I met in Pensacola because they are the ones who made our time worth while. These people will forever stay in our hearts, and we will continue to pay the love forward as we continue our journey. I will always remember Pensacola as the place with the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen and some of the kindest people I have ever met. Tonight we will leave, heading down towards Tampa. It has been an amazing 3 weeks spent in Pensacola, but it is time for us to move on and experience new things.

An agate necklace that I handmade and is available on my Etsy

An agate necklace that I handmade and is available on my Etsy

etsy.com/shop/desertpeacockjewelry

^^^ All of the necklaces I make come from stones I have purchased in the bay area or Arizona. I drill wholes through stones, making my own pendants and beading the rest. All of the proceeds go into bettering this journey, in other words, it will buy food 🙂 The more necklaces I sell, the less top ramen and rice I will live off of. Peace and Love.