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Gem and Jam Festival

In 2023 I had applied to Gem and Jam Festival in Tuscan, Arizona. I was accepted, but unfortunately due to some adult responsibilities I was not able to attend. I had vowed to myself that if I was accepted in 2024 I was going no matter what. It was a long time dream of mine to offer my services in a healing sanctuary at a music, yoga and art festival. I love the community and want to share what I offer with others.

In November of 2023 I was asked if I was able to offer my services at the 2024 Gem and Jam and I said yes and paid for my space immediately. I was going to honor the commitment I had made to myself. I didn't know how everything was going to work as I was in some major transitions in life, but I was going. Almost immediately I needed to get marketing material and the festival added to my Reiki Insurance. After completing these tasks I put the trip out of my mind until January. My next task was to make it through the holidays and all that came with that!

January came and so did the trip planning! I had known from the beginning that I was going to drive to Arizona. Even though I had asked a few people if they were interested in going, no one was joining and I was planning on doing this trip alone. I didn't need much in the way of camping gear as I have most of it already. What I did do was upgrade my sleeping mat from a single person light weight inflatable pad to a full size Japanese sleeping pad and an EZ Up to have over the general camp. Everything else I have.

Photo Credit: Adrian Adams (Photo 1&2: Japanese Sleeping Mat)

The overall plan was I would leave the Monday before the event. I would take the southern route from Massachusetts to Arizona to dodge as much weather as possible. My first stop was New York City to see a friend for a night. Then I would continue on to Arizona making it there for Thursday. The plan was to stay in a hotel room in the colder states and then sleep in the car in the warmer states. I would then enjoy the festival for the weekend. The Monday after the festival I was going to spend the day at Saguaro National Park. Then I would head back the same way I had come with the same sleeping arrangements.

As we know nothing ever goes as planned!!!

What Actually Happened

Four days before I left, my friend in New York City had made the choice to get in the car and come along for the ride. My solo trip now included another person and a dog. Thankfully she was a medium sized dog and she traveled really well. Back to the beginning though. Picking up friend in NYC, my friend packed lightly as I already had everything. She really had to only pack what she needed and the pup needed so it was super easy to add to the car.

Photo Credit: Adrian Adams & Kei Michisaki

We had to stay in hotels every night. There was no way we could all stay in the car and have our personal stuff, booth set up, and healing items in the car. Having another person made it so there could be longer days driving allowing us to get there on time. Having a dog made it so we had to make sure we stopped frequently but provided unconditional love and endless entertainment.

Photo Credit: Adrian Adams & Kei Michisaki

We did make it the the event site by Thursday and the first people I saw were some friends of mine running box office. I really needed to see my tribe so this was a great start to an event for me. We proceeded to do a basic set up of the booth in the Topaz Healing Sanctuary and then we set up our regular camp. We set up in the back corner of vendor camping in hopes that we would get some sleep and give the pup a break from the chaos that we all love. We were also hoping that this space would not flood as it was suppose to rain Thursday night and part of Friday.

Rain isn't even a good description for what we experienced Thursday night. It was like a tropical storm in the middle of the desert. We had also picked the worst spot to camp as it completely flooded by mid morning on Friday. The next morning we moved camp and as soon as we were done setting up it started hailing! We had no words for what we were experiencing so proceeded to smoke a bowl!

Photo Credit: Adrian Adams & Kei Michisaki (1st photo: first campsite after flooding, 2nd photo: new camp, 3rd photo basic booth set up, 4th, 5th and 6th photo: final booth set up)

Once all the weather was over it was beautiful! The sun was out and even thought it wasn't super warm it was still beautiful. We had clear sky's and could see the snow covered mountains in the distance. I was blessed to offer Reiki to whomever was open to receiving it. I also had body work done by Sarah Antonucci and it was life changing! She put my body back together when I didn't even know I needed that. If you are ever in Colorado go and see her. The art gallery was absolutely amazing as well. My three favorite artists were Kirstie Connon, Autumn Skye, and Human Shaped Animal.

Photo credit: Adrian Adams (1st photo: Kirstie Connon, 2nd photo: Autumn Skye, 3rd photo: Human Shaped Animal)

The top three things though that really had me glowing from my soul outwards was the first the music. I was back in the community and felt safe to shine and groove with my walls down! I was in my safe space and I got lost in Maddy O'Neal who put on a mind blowing performance. I also got to see Daily Bread and A Hundred Drums, both of whom I have been dying to see. At the local stage I heard musicians that I think we will all be seeing on some main stages in the next few years. I wish I had caught the names of them because they were amazing. Second was the community, my community. I was blessed in making new connections with people from different parts of the country. I also got to see people that I love and enjoy that I haven't seen since before the pandemic, including my friend that I was traveling with. Lastly I over came a fear and taught a workshop. I talked into a microphone and lead a meditation and didn't forget what I was saying or trip over my words which I was convinced I was going to do. I was living what I was put on this earth to do. Share what I love, share some healing, share myself in all that is, and create space for others to show up authentically as well. I ended up facilitating two meditations that weekend. I am blessed.

Photo Credit: Adrian Adams & Kei Michisaki

The Trip Back

After an amazing weekend and two servings of In-N-Out (if you know, you know), the weekend had come to an end and it was time to pack up and head back. We did not end up going to Saguaro National Park because we didn't have enough time to do the day and that was something I was firm about in my original plans so instead we went to White Sands National Park in New Mexico. We got there at sunset and it was breath ta-kingly beautiful and was so happy that we got to walk one of the main boardwalks there and take a bunch of awesome photos.

Photo Credit: Adrian Adams & Kei Michisaki (White Sands National Park)

From there it was continuous driving. My friend had to be back by Thursday to make sure she got her school work done. It was long driving days and short nights sleeping. Funny story about one stay at a hotel. It was the last one we stayed in and they guy was being combative about the pup being a service dog because he had had people with service animals come and their animals had gone to the bathroom in the room. We told him we hadn't had any problems. What happens, she poops on the floor! We couldn't believe it, all this time with no problems. Then there was a guy cleaning the room next to ours, specifically vacuuming at 1:30 in the morning! I had to eventually ask him nicely to not. Then at 6:30 am I hear swishing and after a moment realize the dog is drinking out of the toilet. I definitely used the mom voice and received no kisses that day!

We made it back to NYC at like two in the morning on Thursday. I ended up driving back to Mass that morning as well. I had to sleep at one point for a few hours and then made it back to the house around noon. It took days to to unpack and clean everything but it was so worth it. This trip made me realize some things,

1) I really missed my partner, well now ex-partner. I missed traveling with him, calling him, sending the cute or naughty pics you send your partner. I missed my person and let myself really feel that loss and my friend was there holding more space than she thought she was going to. 2) That I have faced more parts of myself than I could have ever imagined since moving back to the east coast and have healed a lot of them. I have also mourned parts of myself that are now gone. 3) I am embracing the new version of myself and rediscovering myself and what I would like to do in these new chapters. 4) That I have lived a beautiful life and will continue to live my life out loud and in a beautiful manner fully living the human experience. 5) That I will be going to Tennessee to explore more as the state park names were epic. 5) I have missed traveling more than I knew.

This was a trip that was extremely needed and I am so blessed that I had a travel partner!

Travel Pictures

Photo Credit: Adrian Adams

Extra Gem and Jam Pics

Photo Credit: Adrian Adams

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