We traveled across the US to Raise the Roof for Autism and meet 1025 Guru V People along the way. Below are the pics of 'hippietrip' 2012.
more about what a hippietrip is and where they have taken us below...
There have been many, what we call, 'Hippietrips' over the past 10 years. I call them hippietrips, because living the adventures of autism is a very calculated and often challenging experience. For example, for a simple 'spontaneous' camping adventure, we parents must think of every detail regarding dangers that most parents don't ever have to consider once their child is over 2 years old. Considerations like water proximity, traffic, family bathroom access, escape routes (as in 'how will my child try to escape?"), how close are we to help? how close are we to other campers in case the middle-of-the-night screaming begins? who will watch my kids while I set the tent up or have to cook? and can we really have a fire without my son throwing all of our belongings into it? A camping trip to the Oregon Coast with a bestee of mine, Jaima in 2003 was my first attempt. Jaima had been my kids' caregiver for three years and I wanted to try a 'hippietrip' or to be more specific,
a completely spontaneous camping trip to the beach with no camping reservations, no laid out plans and not a lot of financial resources. I wanted to feel free and enjoy the unfolding of something very risky and at the same time, potentially full of family moments and stories we could enjoy later and continue to build on. I wanted to see if we could do what the other families do...but with our own compulsive twist.
Check us out on Cannon Beach - Hippietrip 2003------->>>>>
Luckily, although it was definitely not easy, we considered it
a great success. And by success I mean, we lived thru everything and laugh about it still. Somehow we got hooked even though on that first trip we ended up:
-sleeping in the explorer in a parking lot in Cannon Beach, (bri woke the next day and asked, "can we sleep in the car again mommy? That was fun." Jaima who ended up sleeping in her sleeping bag outside under the side of the car on the pavement, and me, the tall girl crunched and kinked up from being in a bucket seat snuggled up to a steering wheel, simultaneously laughed out loud at her pure and adventurous perspective, and said "Nope. Not tonight." Even though, at that moment, we still weren't sure we would find a campsite.
-driving to Hebo and back (Hebo is a real town on the Southern most end of the Oregon Coast Highway...really, we didn't make that up and the phrase 'to Hebo and back' is used to evoke a familiar phrase and association we feel was appropriate between another four-letter-place that also begins with H and Hebo.
-having Jus's first bee sting on the tip of his nose while hiking around a giant lake. We were half way around the lake when he was stung and he had so many allergies at the time that I flew into a mommy freak out and sprinted with him on my back about 2 miles to some runners on the other side with a first aid kit. He was not allergic...phew.
Our first hippietrip was so addicting that we now take them whenever we can. In 2009 we took one across the country to live in Western Massachusetts for awhile (album on the right).
I realize that the assumptions regarding the term 'hippietrip' can run wild, and some may consider us more edgy than those hallucinogenic trippers of the 60s because we seek to be fully awake and chilled at the same time by pushing the envelope and living life fully. I believe everyone should experience a high on life like we do, without extracurricular substances. And those who are bored with their existence and feel the need to seek out superficial highs should join our adventures for a few days. The adrenalin rush associated with being awake and appreciative of every little moment and milestone is likely better than any synthetic 'hippietrip' I could imagine. So no, I am not 'that' kind of hippietripper, but I do consider myself an 'outside-the-box' mama who identifies with many sixties movements...especially Free LOVE. If you want it, pay attention and free love will be all you'll see.
The only way we differ from the kids in the sixties who were labeled hippies, is that our drug of choice is LIFE.
Why Zen Jen?
Well, flying by the seat of my pants as a single-mom of two autism adventurers is a calculated and meticulous walk on the 'razor's edge of Now.' Likely why my friends nicknamed me Zen Jen and because I called my first 8 x8 patio space in Amherst, my zen jen garden, because it was my transformational space.
Ironically, one of my very favourite books by Eckhart Tolle defines our life, as Zen.
"The whole essence of Zen consists in walking along the razor’s edge of Now - to be so utterly, so completely present that no problem, no suffering, nothing that is not who you are in your essence, can survive in you. In the Now, in the absence of time, all your problems dissolve. Suffering needs time; it cannot survive in the Now.
- Eckhart Tolle, The Power Of Now
On the razor's edge of Now is where we live. There is no time for dwelling, feeling sorry for yourself, holding grudges or simply relaxing in complacency. We have no room for suffering because life is ON 24/7 with my kids. And...believe it or not, I believe that this teaching they offer, is valuable to everyone. So my vision is to not hide away and be bound by autism, but to use autism as a vehicle to live life with the excitement it was intended to envoke...naturally. I hope we inspire others who do and don't live these adventures to push the envelope and live their vision and take their hippietrips...whatever they may be.
Since 2003 we have embarked on many outdoor adventures and hippietrips across the United States. Back in '98 when the kids were originally diagnosed with autism, even I, the forever hopeful Zen Jen, wouldn't have believed the amazing moments we have shared as a family and the things we have endured and at the same time, enjoyed.
The album above and on the right is the kids and I on our way to our new home in Massachusetts, back in 2009, with only what fit...very snugly...into our Subee Blue Wagon. I researched the country for autism resources and chose Mass...our most publicized hippietrip.
There is so much more to the story and Guru V People is here to inspire you, make you laugh, cry and most of all, learn the joy of being present...IN THE MOMENT. There is no other choice when you're with my kids. I believe that is why my life is so beautiful.
PEACE AND LOVE.
zj and the gurus
More stories and videos our exciting adventures on Zen Jen's Guru V Blog.
^^^^Oregon Coast in 2003^^^^