Bonnaroo Is My Neverland (Part One)

(I swear I clicked publish on this the other day, and it didn’t go anywhere! So since this draft is just sitting in my dashboard, I figured I may as well go ahead and share it now…at least the beginning.)

I know, I have been a horrible blogger in recent days, but in my defense I have absolutely been all over the place. So, you know how I’ve gone to several concerts lately? When I was at the Phoenix show back in May in Orlando, I made a new friend. I got his number because he wanted to buy my Postal Service ticket at Hard Rock a month later. We kept in touch over this time, becoming fast friends, an epic long phone conversation etc. One of the first things we talked about at House of Blues with people surrounding us in the crowd was Bonnaroo. At that time it was a distant dream, a someday bucket list check. (Because the original group I knew who wanted to go, then had a wedding to attend and bailed. And you know? I’ve planned all these other quick trips lately, and it didn’t seem as feasible anymore.) So, I would stare at the line-up online and we would discuss hypothetical, if you were going what would you see and compare scenarios. Then I went to Athens, and we were in this cool little bar and all of a sudden Bonnaroo came up. And we were drinking, so of course excitement escalated. One of the guys had been the previous year, so he was completely gung ho, and in joking I was like hey! tickets aren’t sold out yet, we could still go. So he started corralling people, and being like wanna go to Bonnaroo?! Of course, they thought we were crazy. Then a few more weeks passed, and it got closer and closer and the itch got stronger, and I was like hey! we could seriously still do this. I weighed the pros and cons of irresponsibility? How crazy was it, to up and go to Tennessee with like less than 48 hours notice? And some people spend a whole year prepping for this, and I was gonna do it in the window of time after work in two days? But I kept thinking of two Christmas breaks ago when I got invited to the Keys and I turned the offer down, thinking I can’t just run away from work like that (even though I had vacation time.) Then I sat at work with absolutely nothing going on during the holidays and got sent home early and I was kicking myself because I could’ve been on a boat in paradise! So, I vowed I wouldn’t let opportunities like that pass me by again. And here it was staring me right in the face. Plus, then James threw out the:

“You’ll never be in your 20s again! You’ll turn 30 next year if you don’t go to Bonnaroo!”

Which were like the magic words.  Hello, he’s right! I’d been saying the whole time, I wanna go while I’m young! The years are going by, and you’re not always at the place in life where you can just throw crap in a bag and road trip hours away on short notice to spend four days camping and concert watching on a farm in the middle of nowhere. (Think of all my married friends with babies?!) So. I posted a Facebook status inquiring about adventure partners, and one of my original adventure partners from growing up responded – Kaela. And she was in. So, she just had to work out the details but since I knew it was a giant possibility, I couldn’t sleep that night. I knew if we were going, we’d have to be prepared in some way so I started scouring the Bonnaroo Survival Blogs for tips and advice, and what to pack. Plus, James started passing on his Veteran knowledge, and a few other friends who’d attended in the past. That night, while I told my roommate there was a chance we’d go, but I didn’t wanna get my heart set on it – she was so super encouraging. So I had James with the you’re only in your twenties once spiel, and I had myself with my encouraging, no day but today story! Then Alex, who pulled out her photo album from the Woodstock anniversary concert, and her tales of awesomeness, and she was like YOU GUYS HAVE TO DO IT! So basically my heart was set on it, so there I was 4am, reading blogs on my phone while I couldn’t sleep. The next day Kae was like yeah, we need to do this – we have to do this. So, we bought tickets. Then that night, they sold out. So obviously, it was meant to be. That night, and the following day were a whirlwind of trying to pack and scrounge up items we would need (and I’ll probably do a blog post on a crash course of how to pack for Bonnaroo in 48 hours,) which included a zillion trips to Walmart/Target/Sams Club, lots of photo text messaging, and pure adrenaline that broke concentration on anything else.

Wednesday night, (I had returned to the house for a Voice watching break, and to scan the inventory) before I ran back out again. I sat surrounded by clothes and miscellaneous camping items, and food scattered throughout the living room, with re-runs of Freaks and Geeks playing in the background because why not? This was too exciting of a situation to be stressed, but there’s always an open door for some giggling in my life, and so what if I know that series by heart? Kae was driving from St.Augustine, and got there late. We hadn’t seen each other since November of 2010, so of course we needed a little catch up time! (Though we were gonna have a 7.5 hour drive to take care of that in a few hours.) But first things first – beast mode with the packing! Successfully threw four days worth of stuff in my car. Then we chatted, then we nodded off for about three hours, and then grabbed some last minute things from the house (including coffee of course,) and hit the road! We had a few stops, gas stations and bathrooms. A random exit in Georgia where we happened upon a Walmart, picked up some supplies, and later we stopped somewhere outside of Atlanta, (I think Marietta maybe who knows) and went to that Willy’s burrito place? One last hot meal in air conditioning! Yeahhh.

We were getting kind of anxious as we followed the live tweeting of #BonnarooTraffic and expecting to be sitting in the lines for hours. We might have played a little chinese fire-drill off some abandoned looking mountainous exit, so we could trade drivers and neither of us would throw up in the high altitude condition swap. Plus, we got mixed directions of driving to Coffee County High School to get our wristbands, or to just go to the tollbooth. I called customer service again, they sent us to the toll booth. We’d both read the warnings of not entering the grounds without a full tank of gas, but we were kind of out of luck on that note, not realizing exit after exit would be closed with cops guarding the ramps! So, all of a sudden there was the flashing sign and it was time to turn off! So, on we went with a half tank. And whoulda thought?

We got in, in like less twenty minutes! Though watching vehicle searches was definitely entertaining. (I have a feeling some of the people wandering the parking lot with vests on and no shirt weren’t actually volunteers, but just wanderers.) When it was our turn not much happened other than them throwing all the tampons out of my glove compartment everywhere, and some koozies from the console? Realll intense search, guys. Then we went to this trailer, got our wristbands and first they didn’t activate so we had to go back, THEN we got sent to park in the GA camping section! Dun dun dun! Since people had gotten there on Wednesday before the gates even opened we were thinking this parking situation could get interesting, but the Bonnaroo Guru was correct in telling us that it kind of works out for the later crowd because they get parked closer to Centeroo. We were thinking we were gonna be out miles away on that 50 minute walk (but next to the $1 grilled cheese.) Literally we were like a ten minute walk away in Pod 6 Camp Zoolander (holla!) right next to an RV lot. Our campsite neighbors were a couple from North Carolina who go to college in Boone, and then a crew of kids from Hudson, Florida (land of the youth soccer tournaments down in Central Florida near Tampa.) And a large group of southern kids behind us who were a constant source of amusement with their stories.

We started setting up our campsite, and of course in came rain. But we were smart and went ahead and got the canopy up, so we could work under it. Good thing Kaela is an expert outdoorswoman (first time setting up a tent,) or I would have been laying on a tarp on the ground with the tent in a pile. We got it all set up in less than thirty minutes, and bam! We were done. So we changed clothes, checked out our surroundings, and went on our way to check out Centeroo (where all the stages and tents are.)

Then the true adventure began. I don’t think we knew what we were in for, (and I mean that in the best way possible.)

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The Magical Land of Bonnaroo

I’ve been attempting a text post for Bonnaroo, and it is just so hard. There are too many words, and simultaneously – not enough. I can tell you this: Bonnaroo is like Neverland. My Neverland. It is this complete judgement free zone, and no one cares about anything. Worries? They got dropped off somewhere on the interstate. Anxiety? Poof. Self-conciousness? Yeah, right. You’re on the middle of a 700 acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee where the temperatures near 100 and the sun blazes down on you, no one cares what you look like. The happiness will radiate out of every inch of your skin. There are miles of glowing happy people, all coming together for an ultimate common bond – the music. Ever since I can remember, (like seriously elementary school you guys,) I have felt like I was born in the wrong decade. My own parents, my best friend’s parents, have all agreed that somehow I ended up here, but I was made for another time. Well, it turns out that even though it’s 2013, even though we live in this crazy land of technology and nonsense, and stupid boxed in desk jobs – there’s this place carved out from the rest of the world. A mecca for the flower children. Once we arrived, I never wanted to leave. Who cares that you camp in a tent for four days? That you don’t take conventional showers? Um, no one because we’re all on the same page. Honestly this was the most blissful state of mind I’d reached since my study abroad stint five years ago. And this is different because then? There were things I was trying to escape still, things that I was happy to have a freakin’ ocean and continents between, but now? I am happy with life, I am content, my heart is full and bam it overflowed. To share this experience with one of my oldest friends of life? Priceless. The memories we made, the music we jammed out to, the strangers who became friends? They’re all irreplaceable moments that I turn over in my mind hundreds of instances a day. I felt like I had, “found my people” you know? Now, the withdrawals are real. We got back to Tallahassee early Monday morning, after driving through the night post Tom Petty show, and the pangs haven’t dissipated. I just wanna throw a bag in the car, and runaway and be a gypsy hippie. Plus, sleepovers are one of my favorite things (up there with grocery shopping with boys,) and I miss my adventure partner. This was definitely one of the best life decisions we could’ve made!

So now, is the perfect time as any to share a few photos with y’all and eventually even if they’re a mess I’ll just post the texty entries, so you can see my words, hear my thoughts:

Throwback Thursday

Heyyy! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Throwback Thursday post, but since today I am going to be reunited with one of my favorite friends at her new home in Chicago I figured I’d throw out a few flashback photos!

Lauren was always down to go to crazy free stuff on campus with me, like this 90’s night where we watched old Nick Cartoons on big screens on the green sitting on inflatable furniture, and decorated fanny packs!

Sporting 3D glasses for the Mae concert at Club Downunder!

Or our epic adventure for the free concert Weezer put on at the Civic center! (Where we wound up in their music video for like .4 seconds!)

We were audience buddies at multiple CHS graduations

We rode to school together everyday of my senior year (her freshman year) where I constantly talked about the weather and played the same mixed CDs over & over.

Hanging out during freshman year Christmas break!

FSU Football games 🙂

And then reallly it doesn’t get more old school than this:

So how about that for some randomness?! Yeahhh, well I like to take lots of pics so don’t be surprised if I appear with a post again soon from this weekend. So excited! Hope you all have a terrific Thursday!

Throwback Thursday Returns

Hey guys! Bet you didn’t expect to see a few flashback posts from me,  hmm? It’s been awhile and I scrounged up a few I figured I could share:

Sophomore year (I think?) we went to Outback in April to celebrate Buffy’s birthday. How fitting was that coaster? (And the fact that it’s April – FIVE YEARS LATER, now. What?!)

Andrew McMahon playing piano with his feet (like a boss.) This is from the Something Corporate Reunion Tour of 2010 at House of Blues Orlando. In SIXTEEN days I’ll hear that lovely voice once again.

2010 was a good year for concerts. That’s me and Lauren at the (FREE!) Weezer concert at the Civic Center. I GET TO GO VISIT HER IN CHICAGO IN A MONTH!

It shows up dark but I can’t tell you how filled up with light I am in this picture because my heart was probably about to explode. One of the first shots from study abroad in London. I was watching The Exotic Marigold Hotel last night and I got seriously heartsick for London.

Toga social sophomore year? Next week I get to frolic in Tennessee with this girl. Looooong awaited reunion. EEK!

This is from almost this time exactly, last year. (April 6th? which is Saturday haha.) It’s raining right now, but I can’t wait for pool days and sunshine.

Springtime Tallahassee is this weekend, and this photo is from a few years ago (ok more than a few like five.) AND I get to see this pretty girl (my big sister, Hailey) GET MARRIED at the end of May! ahhh

Okay that was a quick one, but obviously a few of these years have a lot in common with the next coming months for me: good concerts, great friends (reunions!), and fun in the sun with my great family! Looking forward to it. Have a wonderful Thursday everyone!

Friday Favorites

Just dropping in to share some of my favorites from this past week!

Watched Country Strong with my housemate on Wednesday night. Loved it.

The VMars Kickstarter campaign (because it means THE MOVIE IS COMING!) So, let me just share one of my favorite scenes of all time.

The Shamrock Scurry 5K last Saturday was probably one of my favorite races yet. (I got a new PR!) It was definitely a challenge, that hill in mile 2? Ouch! But awesome. And there was a free pancake breakfast with Bradley’s sausage afterwards, and so I hung out with some of my friends from the Springtime Training group. Also, it was down the street from my house so I could jog there for a warm-up and walked home. That was about the coolest thing ever.

My parents are dog sitting Brody while Larry is on spring break in Cali! We took him for his first trip to the beach. (I drove over to my parents after the race Saturday and my brother went too. We had a great day walking on the beach, eating good food, laughing and enjoying each others company. It was one of those days I wish I could freeze in time.)

This little one is always callin’ shotgun.

I took Monday off of work. A rainy, windy, cloudy day at the beach beats a day anywhere else!

Tonight I am seeing Lisa Loeb perform live for the first time! I’ve wanted to do this since like middle school. And I get to spend the weekend with one of my favorite friends since middle school, Beth. The weather is supposed to be good and we plan on brunching (and hopefully beaching?!) and we’ve signed up for a St.Patty’s Day 5k on Sunday! Looking forward to a fun weekend.

Fifteen Again.

The rain is really coming down right now. So much for my late night run, I’ll just save the energy for the morning, though I’m sure the downpour will still be happening. Funny though, I just got back from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It was playing at the Student Life Cinema on campus, and Jamie was going so I figured why not? Of course the movie gave me about nintey million feelings, and there were so many things I wanted to tweet but I think it might be too much, so instead I’m here and you get an unusual late night post from me.

First of all, I shouldn’t be surprised in the slightest that the night commenced in rain soaked Converse. Apparently this is the week for the fifteen year old self in my heart to thrive, and that shoe choice in this weather makes the most sense. It seems I’ve got a thousand memories from a decade ago of my life swirling through my head right now.

The moment when Ezra Miller is standing on the front porch as everyone departs from the Christmas party? He screams out I love you while his friends walk to their cars? Each time this scene reminds me of every high school Drama party I ever left. They always said I love you and to drive safe. Each time I would leave, regardless of what other angst was charging through my heart, feeling like the luckiest girl in the world, safe and comforted by the warmth of friendship. It was like a human security blanket being tossed over your shoulders. I always felt like, wow – these are my people. They care. (This memory always makes me think of the Jimmy Eat World song that goes “I fall asleep with my friends around me. The only place, I feel safe. I’m gonna call this home.”)

The last time I saw this movie in the theatre there were less than five others. I cried almost the whole time. I felt impossibly connected. It was like, hypnosis therapy and I was reliving events before my eyes. Except I was awake. And this was a fictional world. I left that theatre, albeit extremely happy about the movie – I thought I might explode with the insatiable desire to communicate face-to-face with another human being about all of it. This time was so different. Any movie at the SLC is interactive, and this was the same. The awws, the howls, the gasps, the applause – it changed the tone of things. Though, I didn’t sob this time, but I could still feel my eyes tear up.

And I still couldn’t help but feel each part of my life it makes me draw connections from.

As for the old 15 year old in my heart thing? This week, I listened to Something Corporate’s “Hurricane” in my room, thinking about life. Today I purchased a ticket to see The Postal Service. I watched Perks. Just typing this blog entry is characteristic of my fifteen year old self. Maybe typed out they don’t seem like much, but mentally the parallels feel enormous. I can’t help but think of monumental crushes. First real kisses. Mixed tapes. Endless numbers of days with friends. What it used to mean to hang out. Listening to music. Eating pizza. Doing absolutely nothing. Staring at the ceiling, talking about things felt tragically deep.

Some of it’s here, but it’s not all here because I’m not going to type all night. And I want to finish reading Ask the Passengers, and this rain will probably lull me to sleep soon.

Throwback Thursday #12: MySpace What

If any of you are anything like me and get sucked into marathons of TV shows that you’ve already seen before, than you’re probably aware of MTV replaying The Hills on “Retro MTV.” (The fact that enough years have supposedly passed since I was in high school, that shows that aired regularly then can be considered “retro” is bizarre to me, btw.) Nonetheless, like I’ve explained with the random TLC shows I get sucked into, I’ve found myself watching episode after episode of The Hills, again. In my defense, a lot of the time it’s on for some background noise while I’m cooking in the kitchen. Otherwise the house is just too creepy quiet. Also, is it just me or are LC’s story lines relatable no matter when you watch them? And I wish I’d paid closer attention  the first time I’d watched, and remembered some completely awful character traits *cough*Spencer*cough* (or JB even,) and committed them to memory to complete avoid people who displayed any of them later in life. Alas, I didn’t and now in retrospect I can see these trends of behaviors in people I spent time with and I just think to myself…what exactly was I thinking?! See, I could’ve learned a lesson! But you know, like Audrina says somethings we have to learn for ourselves, so it might not have been that helpful at the time anyway.

Ok, longest tangent ever to get to the point that in season one, when Spencer and Brody are actually checking their MySpace accounts and bragging about friend requests, I got the urge to check out my own dated profile. I haven’t been on there in forever, and here are some of the photos I dug up (some of these weren’t even taken on a digital camera…):

JD and I, I think we were sixteen? Hanging out at Lauralyn’s house. Probably making s’mores on the chiminea.

My hermana Kirsten and I at the Jimmy Eat World concert at House of Blues, meeting Tom! (Either 10th or 11th grade for me, I think January of 10th.)

Oh man, this pic is old. I think I was sixteen at the time (because I used my video camera I’d gotten for my birthday to take the still photo) on the train in England. Even older flashback? This was my LJ icon for forevvver.

With Ali, Kir’s roommate at Stetson. I’d never gotten ready to “go out” anywhere. Between the two of them they had about nine thousand and seventeen MAC eyeshadows, and they did my make up for the night.

With JD August of senior year, during the week we did AIM club activities, getting the incoming freshman ready to start school. I remember how several people commented on this photo thinking I looked like Lo (Bosworth) at the time. I don’t really see it.

My awesome pen pal Katherine made me that shirt! This was on the trampoline at my cousin’s house in Tallahassee, with my brother one football weekend.

With Theresa and Sunni at a bonfire at JD’s house.

Hanging out with Nate the summer of my senior year.

Another photo from Stetson, lounging on the floor with Asha in the dorms the weekend of a Jack’s Mannequin concert.

Oh man, we were such dorks. I remember this night, Luke Matt and I were hanging out watching a Beatles special on CNN (seriously.)

This photo is so random. It’s at my work (now,) where we tailgated when I was in high school. This was the weekend of the UF/FSU game. I don’t know if we were playing hide and seek or what.

With Kirsten and Parker, dress-up random photo shoot in my room after we were finally freeee from the AP English test!

With Lauren on the last day of school, my senior year her freshman year of high school.

My little bro and I one of the last weekends before I left for college.

Caption reads “P4L” which means pirates for life. Charlie, Kyle, me, Brad.

“What’s a friend? A single soul dwelling in ten bodies.” (Asha’s caption for this photo.) What’s better than a pile of friends?

Girls at the bowling alley. Classy.

Wedding table at Erin & Jon’s wedding!

The height difference is outta control.

Ok, here’s the thing – other than these random random photos with friends, there’s something else myspace is full of. (It appears the kids on Instagram are calling them “selfies” these days.) Photos of yourself, taken at totally unnatural angles, and lighting. So vain and ridiculous, but not unusual at all at the time. Sometimes your arm is stuck in the shot. A lot of times they’re zoomed in. It’s a wonder we remember where and when they were taken in the first place.

I think this was taken on the beach in Destin one night when my family was on vacation. This is such a “myspace” pic. Ugh. (Also, the captions on almost all of my photos are song lyrics. These were from Spoon “And we believe in the sum of ourselves. That’s the way we get by.”

I loved that tiedye shirt. And the caption to this was “Your voice was the soundtrack of my summer.” (from Boys Like Girls “Thunder” song.)

And The Decemberists “If you don’t love me, let me go.”

Or a My So Called Life quote: “Like your life just figured out how to get good. Like, that second.” Ohh, Angela Chase.

Myspace was the perfect spot for vain pictures of your new haircut.

Or quoting The OC while wearing a Jack’s Mannequin shirt. “In order for two halves to be whole, each half must be whole on its own.”

My albums were frequently spammed with playground photos. (And captions I probably felt so connected to at the time, like “You look like the songs that I’ve heard my whole life, coming true.”)

Or ones where you’re actually doing something (like I caught that fish with just that line at Cooter Pond that day!) But also, I’m pretty sure this is the day I started crying on the dock about prom. Sum up high school much?

What happens in college when you go social costume shopping at WalMart with your best friend.

My Blow Pop shirt! And another favorite song lyric “Not even chapped lips will stop me from kissing your sunburned cheeks.”

“Love just leaves you bruised” and actually managed curls, I probably took this before walking outside at all that day.

“You grew up and you sparkled, why don’t you care?” (Some favorite SoCo lyrics from “Walking By”) in one of my favorite formal dresses, ever. Oh you know just having a photo shoot in my Converse shoes in my living room. (Everything and nothing is normal about this.)

Shake my head…black and white, angles, sunglasses inside. Typical.

Sweet Duke, and I.