QRST Party: The Quest (Q, Part 1)

by iren monkey

i know i promised in the last blogpost that i would have my 2-part QRST Party update posted that week, but it’s been such a whirlwind of a two weeks!

other than starting my new contract at a new hospital, i’ve had random visits from family, semi-family, friends, and semi-friends.  i haven’t really had the time to  sit down and clear my head, much less, write.  so i decided to postpone the posts until i knew i could actually formulate the proper descriptions to give the week the justice it deserves.

i would like to think it’s never too late to address anything that was transforming for me.

after all, it is still my birthday month 😉

the week started with THE QUEST for what i wanted to to do for my actual birthday to celebrate.

there wasn’t a shortage of comments from family, friends, and coworkers who urged me to do it big this year, but i was honestly at a point where i felt like i was getting way too old for celebrations.  a few of my friends have already jumped the 30 milestone and they all said it was way too big to ignore.  my dear friend and co-podcaster Kayla even expressed her regrets for not doing anything for her 30th and she didn’t want me to feel the same. thus, the pressure was on to make this the best birthday i’ve ever had. y’all know how i am —

if i’m gonna do something, it can’t be remotely half-assed.

I’m just not wired for mediocrity.

my roommate Ashton was suggesting that i plan for everyone to go to Catalina Island with me.  he said that i would be able to ride the ferry for free on my birthday and everyone who’s already been there told me it’s really a nice place to spend my day.  it was a tempting idea because i kept envisioning the scene at the end of “Step Brothers” where Will Ferrell performs “Por Ti Volare” while John C. Reilly plays the drums during the Catalina Wine Mixer.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR6Z6q8RjBs]

i think i giggled a couple of times out loud just thinking about it.  unfortunately, i would have to go on my actual birthday in order for the free ferry ride to apply, and that would just be the complete opposite of my desire to be alone.

i also toyed with the idea of renting a beach house in Newport all week.  i wanted to spend a few days to write in peace then having a good old-fashioned BBQ come the weekend for my friends to join me.  i hadn’t barbecued by the beach in a long time…as a matter of fact, i think the last time i had done that, i was still a carnivore!  and furthermore, Newport Beach is a complete 180 in comparison to the toilet bowl that is Galveston Island.

i checked it out a few weeks ago when i went to Orange County with my friend Kristal to visit my friend Linda. i kind of fell in love.  if you were ever a fan of “The O.C.”, “Laguna Beach”, or “Newport Harbor” — the water was so much better in person.

i remembered on the way home that Kristal mentioned how beautiful it would have been if we just rode scenic Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) earlier that day instead of the faster inland route.  it was already dark when we made our way back home so we didn’t really reap the benefits of the view so we had planned on the latter idea for the next time.  i thought about my birthday being that next time.

another option was to spend a few days camping at The Redwoods in Yosemite.  i had thought about making that trip for a few months now since my homie Elliot suggested it last September.  he and i had considered it on our way to San Francisco from Sacramento so we could reflect in peace after losing Roy. unfortunately, there were just too many stories online about dangerous wild animals that i quickly deleted it from my possibilities.

needless to say, i was starting to feel quite dejected.  to my dismay, the fear of aging was drastically compounded by my fruitless search for “doing it big”.  as exaggerated as it was, i felt like i was running out of time…literally and figuratively.

i thought to myself —
“it really is downhill from 30…..”

thankfully, the universe wouldn’t allow my depression to last very long.

during downtime at one of my shifts at work, i randomly decided to google all the stops i could make on the PCH just to find out what else i could discover in my new home state.  also known as California State Route 1 (SR 1), i had absolutely no idea that what the locals affectionately refer to as PCH is one of the best roads to travel solo in America!

the lighbulb turned all the way on 🙂

i read some great articles on notable sites like National Geographic and Travel Channel, and found plenty of rave reviews everywhere else on the interweb.  i asked my coworkers and other locals if anyone has ever made that trip before just in case they had any recommendations for pitstops.  i was surprised to hear that not very many people have made that trip alone!  i suppose it’s more of a tourist attraction and locals tend to veer away, but i still couldn’t fathom how such a beautiful drive could ever be as overlooked as NASA back home.

by then, the mystery added more to the allure.

i was doing it.  point blank.

it was only a matter of which combination of stops i would decide to make in my personal PCH trip before i went on my way.  i spent Sunday the 6th and Monday the 7th planning where i would start.  since it was a straight shot up and and down the coast, i decided that all i really needed to plan was where i would lay my head for two nights.  after all, there were just too many options to choose from and if anything —

it wasn’t necessarily about my destination,
but more-so about my journey.

moreover, the coast is just too beautiful.
i couldn’t possibly screw it up if i tried.

as if it was fate, i came across many blogposts that mentioned Monterey, CA.  
i flashbacked to 8th grade when i first came across John Steinbeck‘s literary works.  a distinct memory was when i first read The Pearl” and participated in a verbal literary critique round-table…it was only a first of many in the English Honors/PAP/AP curriculum.  I remembered loving Of Mice and Men” and “Grapes of Wrath”…he became kind of my obsession because although “Cannery Row” was only on the summer reading list, i was so fascinated by his writing style that I read the book anyway.

it’s pretty safe to say that he’s one of my greatest influences when it comes to my own writing style:  melodramatic yet honest, sometimes preachy, and definitely controversial.  my papers became so intense that my sophomore English PAP teacher, Ms. Comer pulled me aside and told me i was truly a gifted writer.  that was when i realized that maybe writing wasn’t just for fun or for school anymore…i could actually do it for a living.

it became quite a dream.

fast-foward to 0800 on April 8, 2014.  i booked my hotel on Cannery Row and packed my things. after all, i came out to California to chase that dream…

why not pay homage to what started it all?

my birthday’s finna be big.