6 Weeks of Vagabonding in California

 

www.bartnikowski.com

www.bartnikowski.com

There’s no way to not fall head over heels in love with Mount Shasta!

It has gorgeous lakes, pristine air, and the freshest water I’ve ever tasted.

Lake Siskiyou, www.bartnikowski.com

Lake Siskiyou, www.bartnikowski.com

And another thing I loved was Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist not for profit, Abbey that rocked my world and made me see that I need a sangha, a group of masters who study, live, and teach Zen Buddhism, meditation, and how to deal with everyday life, that is the best part of the practice.

Shasta Abbey, www.bartnikowski.com

Shasta Abbey, www.bartnikowski.com

Seeing Mount Shasta every morning, noon, and night soothed my soul and the sweeping and meditation helped too. They don’t have leaf blowers so one day I swept around the temple for 2 hours. That is called work meditation.

And boy did I see work differently after sweeping so long. And it felt good.

I was contributing by doing a simple task that I enjoyed. And I paid attention to each brush of the broom so it leads you into a meditative state. And there’s no sitting.

And I re-connected with my dear friend Jim.

www.bartnikowski.com

www.bartnikowski.com

He’s a pure mountain man. Love him.

Stewart Hot Springs, www.bartnikowski.com

Stewart Hot Springs, www.bartnikowski.com

I will go back to Stewart Hot Springs, the oldest hot springs in California as soon as I can, dunking into the river was invigorating after sweating in the hot steam room stoked with a giant wood stove inside the bath house.

Mount Shasta is not an easy place to leave. It’s slow, snowy, and sensual with the change of seasons, and the smaller population, only 4500 residents.

Shasta Abbey, www.bartnikowski.com

Shasta Abbey, www.bartnikowski.com

My favorite job other than walking at the lake was dusting the golden boxes of ashes of the dearly departed at the Abbey.

The temple was my favorite place to be other than staring at Mount Shasta.

We weren’t supposed to talk so I did a lot of staring.

Shasta Abbey Temple, www.bartnikowski.com

Shasta Abbey Temple, www.bartnikowski.com

Another cool thing was re-connecting with my wonderful friends and clients. My clients became my friends so I am eternally grateful for the strong the connections and love that I feel here in California.

Mary and Lisa, www.bartnikowski.com

Mary and Lisa, www.bartnikowski.com

One of my favorite moments was surprising Lisa at her house when she didn’t know I was visiting.

Showing up on a dear friend’s doorstep, highly recommend it.

I did manage to eat a lot more than I usually do and will get right back into swimming and eating barrels of fruit as soon as I return to Kauai.

I feel heavy.

Eggs Benedict, St. Helena

Eggs Benedict, St. Helena

But these eggs were yummy, thank you Dan!

Loved Dan’s living room that looks out onto a sweet fountain to greet you when you arrive.

St. Helena, www.bartnikowski.com

St. Helena, www.bartnikowski.com

Didn’t think I’d see a castle in California but here it is just north of St. Helena.

Winery in St Helena, www.bartnikowski.com

Winery in St Helena, www.bartnikowski.com

And a poetic looking fire engine in Calistoga.

Calistoga, www.bartnikowski.com

Calistoga, www.bartnikowski.com

Indian Springs has the oldest pool in California but it was closed for renovation. They spiffed up the grounds and added a new restaurant, Sam’s Social Club. Great wine and food, check it out.

 

Indian Springs, CA, www.bartnikowski.com

Indian Springs, CA, www.bartnikowski.com

Whole Foods, www.bartnikowski.com

Whole Foods, www.bartnikowski.com

One thing Kauai doesn’t have is a Whole Foods store. But here in California Whole Foods is everywhere. Love the flowers, the food, and the people watching.

Tomorrow I go back to Hawaii! I’m ready to get back in my bikini and get to work.

Shooting, writing, and teaching. Yes!

Grateful for my life, friends, and family. Blessings to the world, all of us, and new ventures on the horizon.

Half Moon Bay, www.bartnikowski.com

Half Moon Bay, www.bartnikowski.com