Category Archives: Hannah Hylen

Day 22: On the Road- Nick Jonas Week Part 2

Jan 30, 2010 Berkeley, California.
Last concert of the NickJ winter tour AND Hannah’s Birthday.

Happy 17h Birthday, Hannah!!!!

By arriving early, we had six or seven hours to hang out and explore. Berkeley was a place I had read about for years. I had always wanted to hang out there.  It was a dream come true to be here!

It was gorgeous, sunny weather and there was lots of time to walk and explore the city. The street vendors brought back memories of being 13 again. Same jewelry: leather hair pieces, shell jewelry, metal chokers with beads. Was time standing still or was it a turn on the wheel? The same fashions from the 60’s and 70″s back in fashion again!

In my exploration of the town, I found a restaurant called Indian Palace with a buffet of Indian food; a coffee shop in one of the buildings on campus; and a study hall in the student union area with a diverse group of students, homeless people and Jonas fans. It felt like this was a community where anyone could be anything they want to be. We were all welcomed onto campus.

I saw so many people I had met at Jonas Brothers concerts over the last two years. I ran into Mikey and Michael from the Verizon Wireless recording studio on wheels.  I hadn’t seen them since last August when they joined another music tour. Nick had requested the studio bus for the day in Berkeley. He had been writing music during this tour. Maybe he was recording the song Stay that he first introduced in DC a few weeks ago.

I can’t remember the names of everyone I saw in Berkeley, but there were conversations, hugs and memories and connections. I met some new people and we shared our passion for Nick and the Jonas Brothers and the Administration.

Hannah tweeted a ticket request for me on twitter. I did not have a ticket when we arrived and the box office didn’t have tickets yet. She found someone who sold us a ticket for $20. Thanks to the Jonas fan with the extra ticket!

The venue was really cool. It reminded me of the Meyerhoff in Baltimore where the Symphony orchestra plays. There were tiered seats on either side leading up to the balcony areas. I always felt like royalty when we attended the school programs at the Meyerhoff. Susan Gardener, a friend, would arrange for group seats for the home schoolers and we would sit in the tiered seats.

My seat at this concert was all the way at the top. When I arrived at my seat, there were two girls sitting together. One of them was in my seat. I recognized them because I met them earlier in the day.  They wanted to sit together and asked if I would switch seats with one of them. Of course! I was more than willing to do that. I gave one of the girls my ticket and she gave me hers.

The usher helped me find the seat. Well, surprise, surprise! Her seat was 15 rows closer and in one of the tiers. What a gift! The seat was at the beginning of a tier and there was no one in front of me! I felt like I was dancing with the band all night. THANK YOU JONAS FAN!

Side view across from my seat. I love the tiered seating! :

My view of the stage:

NickJ on guitar:


NickJ on piano

Tommy Barbarella, keyboard (Prince’s New Power Generation band):

Sonny Thompson, lead guitar (Prince’s New Power Generation band):

Michael Bland, drums (Prince’s New Power Generation band):

 John Fields, bass guitar (music producer for the Jonas Brothers and many others and multi-instrumentalist)- this picture was on Jan 29

The Administration gathering with NickJ for an official last photo with Rob Hoffman, the Jonas photographer.

This was the last show of the tour. Here is the difference between this show and the last night in Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, the last night was the celebrity extravaganza. The Jonas Brothers on the stage together. During the week there were stars showing up every night. The Honor Society. The stars of Camp Rock 2, the movie, the Jonas Brothers filmed last fall. The stars from the JONAS TV show. Celebrities and stars and the celebration of this winter tour with family and peers from the entertainment industry. 

In Berkeley it was a celebration and closure for NickJ and the Administration band with their fans. They had been on a journey together. It was an evening of warm moments. You could feel the heart connection of the band. They looked at each other and hugged each other as this journey came to an end. They played music from their hearts. They played and joked with each other. They sent love out to the fans.
The concerts were all great on this tour. Tonight you could feel like they were a family at the end of a family vacation or reunion who were saying goodbye to each other, for now. This was a side project for all of them. 
I am grateful they took us on this ride with them

Day 18: On the Road- Nick Jonas Week Part I

January 26-29, 2010

It took one year to the day to get here. One year ago, on January 26, I left the Freedom Formula Experience in Los Angeles with the intention of flying home to Baltimore and clearing the stuff out of my house. With each room and each step, it became clear that we would sell the house and move to LA.

One year later…Here we are!


We spent the first four nights in Los Angeles at the Wiltern Theater on Wilshire Boulevard with NickJ and the Administration. Arriving in LA and seeing Jonas fans and NickJ as the focus for the week was fun and familiar.

Here is an overview with some of my pictures:

Jan 26, 2010

The weather on the first day at the Wiltern Theater on Wilshire Blvd was pouring rain. I was looking for parking when Hannah found the “stalking” spot with a gathering of Jonas fans and asked to be dropped off in the rain.

As I drove around, I saw the Verizon Wireless store where we had danced to the Honor roll dance and had a free meet and greet with the Honor Society in August 2009. Hannah and I won a soundcheck with the Jonas Brothers that day. It was right across the street from the Wiltern . On that fun summer day last August, I had seen the subway area, the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on the corner but I hadn’t noticed the Wiltern. Another opportunity to see new things in an area that is becoming more and more familiar.

I met a family in line at the ticket booth. It is always fun to see the looks on people’s faces when they find out I love the Jonas Brothers, too! I am not suffering. I enjoy the music, the concerts and the people who go to the concerts. It’s fun!

I had seats right next to the girls from the ticket line. It was fun singing with them and I enjoyed my new found love of tweeting a few details and pictures during the concerts. There are people all over the world who enjoy the concerts via tweets and videos. Isn’t technology amazing?


I sat in Level 2, Row F. Here is the view from my seat.

I think these are really good seats. The only challenge is how everyone in LA is so tall! In this section, people were sitting down during Diane Birch’s set, but when they stood up for NickJ, I had to bob and weave to see between people and take pictures. It didn’t stop me from dancing and singing!

Nick had a different look in Los Angeles. The first night I called it casual James Bond. He wore a light brown leather jacket. He has such a sweet smile of happiness in this picture.

This is another one of the hometowns for the Jonas Brothers. Los Angeles is where they record music and film their show Jonas. They live and play here. There is a sense of comfort and hanging out with their friends and family. It happens in NYC, too.

Every concert is great wherever they are.

Jan 27, 2010

Beautiful weather today. I started the one thing I have been dreaming about for months. Long walks in nice weather. Today I walked about 40 blocks. While Hannah waited for the band to arrive, I walked to the bank and took in all of the sights and sounds of the city. I love LA!


Diane Birch is the opening band on this tour. My favorite song is Valentino. High energy dancing with lots of audience interaction. My favorite lines are:

My tears don’t show, but oh, honey they flow

Here are two links to this song, if you haven’t heard it.
The first one has the words and the singing:

This second one has a ton of newspaper clippings, pictures of Diane and quotes:

She loves to take pictures of the audience in the middle of the show and posts them on Twitter.

NickJ came on stage with an LA style suit and wearing glasses. After two songs, he was so cute when he told everyone that he didn’t need them, it was for fashion and then took them off. Thanks for keeping it real Nick!

Cool staging:


The Administration:

Tommy Barbarella, keyboard (Prince’s New Power Generation band)
Sonny Thompson, lead guitar (Prince’s New Power Generation band)
Michael Bland, drums (Prince’s New Power Generation band)
 John Fields, bass guitar (music producer for the Jonas Brothers and many others and multi-instrumentalist)

The band is so good. The talent and experience of the band has really made this concerts special. Here is a link to one of the songs to give you a flavor of the difference in the music.

Jan 28, 2010

Hannah and I went to The Jay Leno Show on this day. We arrived at 8am to get in line for stand-by tickets. Hannah received a text from a friend of hers, Blaise, who thought a friend of hers had tickets for both of us. The friend who had the tickets wasn’t there waiting with us in line, yet. There was a lot of waiting around.

Finally around 1:30pm, a group of girls behind us said they had a ticket for me and Hannah got a ticket with Blaise and her friend.  (Sorry to Hannah’s Jonas friend, Daryen for changing the driving plans for today. Still figuring out the driving and logistics in LA)

Learning another part of the LA scene. How to get tickets to TV shows!

When we entered the studio, I felt a little bit like a traitor. I had been on Team Conan during the Conan-Leno craziness! I have to say that Jay Leno is really an amazing performer. He was warm and it really felt authentic. The taping is an hour. It is a live show with no retakes.

I think the Conan-Leno thing was an NBC behind the scenes problem. NBC wanted to lock in Conan and made Jay go to the earlier time period. It was crazy from the beginning 5-7 months ago. Okay, on to the show.

The guests on the show were Massachusetts Congressman Scott Brown, Bill Paxton from Big Love (one of my favorite actors) and finally NickJ and the Administration. I was ushered to a floor seat near the TV show band. Hannah was taken to an area right in front of the stage for Nick Jonas. Once again, I do not fit the “profile” of a Jonas fan. They put me with the group that supposedly didn’t know Nick Jonas. Ha! Ha! If they only knew…

I had a really great seat tonight. Level 2, Row 2. There was filming in the venue that evening, so the section to my right had all of the seats removed and a camera with a swinging arm. Maybe they were recording the song, “STAY,” a song Nick wrote while on tour. Here is the version he sang on Jan 27:

Nick wore this suit on the Leno show, too.


I am immersed in Los Angeles and loving it.

Jan 29, 2010

We connected with Daryen (the Jonas fan from Florida) in Manhattan Beach today. She was leaving a hotel there and staying in a hotel in Burbank so she could be part of a group who were interviewing Garbo, the Jonas Brothers bass player, the next day. Hannah and I were leaving for Berkeley after the concert tonight or we would have invited her to stay in our hotel.

We were stuck in a traffic jam for hours but finally arrived at her hotel, dropped off her suitcase and headed to the Grove LA for an Honor Society meet and greet.

Tonight was an ending of the concerts. You could feel it in the energy of the band. It is the end of the whirlwind, the interviews, the national TV show events and the end of concerts in a town that is one of their homes, Los Angeles, California.

Berkeley is the true last concert but tonight was a celebration of the whole tour and all of the people who had supported Nick in making this dream come true.

I have to bring up the alien story. At every concert, Nick was trying to fill some of the time with a conversation on stage. He used joke books and now this alien story. He wondered why the audience didn’t really react when he said he met an alien. Okay, I want a show of hands. How many of you secretly believe that maybe there is life on other planets or galaxies. “It could happen.” (quote from Angels in the Outfield)

All we really want to hear about is his day. He doesn’t need to be funny. I want to tell Nick to let go of the joke books and the alien stories and tell us about the details of his day. Talk about the Jay Leno show experience or what you had for breakfast! Be yourself and share the day to day stuff. That is all we really want to know.

Nick rocking it:

On this last night, I was on the aisle seat. Section 3. Row 1. Across the aisle, right next to me were JONAS stars Nicole Andersen and Chelsea Staub and Chelsea’s friend who is a musician.  Their friends and TV stars were coming all night long. Security had to sit next to them and shoo people away all night. The picture taking was out of control.

Nicole and Chelsea:

Chelsea and her friend, the musician (I will look for her name)

Joe and Kevin and Nick and Frankie came on stage together. This is perfect. They are all here in Los Angeles getting ready for the Grammy;’s and then the filming of JONAS, their TV show.

Singing their songs together and Nick’s songs. It was fantastic!

Here is a video of them singing Who I am. Sound is a little rough. Hannah was so close to the speakers, it was hard to record this. I love how Joe didn’t know all the words and they improvised some of this. A glimpse into how a show comes together. They were all so happy. It was a great way to end the tour in LA.

And Lovebug:

After the concert, we drove to Fresno for the night. Halfway to Berkeley and ready to celebrate Hannah’s 17th birthday and the last concert of the tour.
FYI: My Food places for four days:

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf- free wireless, great direct trade coffee and food, a place to connect with Jonas fans. A haven from the rain.

Bagel works-Satisfied my bagel craving. Missing my East Coast bagel shops!

Jamba Juice for a carrot juice with a shot of wheatgrass juice.

Ralph’s grocery store for after the show sandwiches and sushi and snacks.

Day 13: On the road: The gifts in the delay

January 24, 2010

I am a girl of action. I love to do, do, do. I love to-do lists and checklists and planners and goal setting. This leads to the true life-long learning process of my world. Patience and the Art of Being. Any other Doers out there who struggle with their ability to BE?

I remember the first time I consciously prayed for patience many, many years ago. The next week was filled with delays. I was stuck in traffic jams and long lines at the bank. I got it! Pray for patience and you actually have to practice it. It is not a gift that is given with a snap of the fingers. It is something that has to be experienced.

For my latest journey, why am I surprised about the many gifts in the weather delay of staying in Phoenix for 5 more days?

First gift was the time I had with my daughter, Liz. We set boundaries and created space in the apartment working through the initial stress by communicating more and finding ways to support each other. When Liz was gone all day, Hannah and I fed the dogs and took them for extra walks. I worked at the table and sat in the chair that is her usual workspace. On the day she was home all day working on schoolwork, I went to Border’s with Hannah. I loved the Seattle’s Best coffee, the great wireless connection and really comfy chairs. It was very cocoon-like. I started writing again and revising the book draft I worked on a year ago,loving the flow of ideas and words.

Liz and I had a few deep, thoughtful conversations. One day she made a delicious polenta and tempeh sandwich to share with us for breakfast. It was a mock “Egg McMuffin”. A delicious dish that became the background for more discussions about food. She has made some remarkable, inspiring changes in her diet. I had questions for her which led to more connections. How do we eat consciously? How do I find healthy, ethical choices on the road? How do I nurture my body? How do I function in society when I am hungry and don’t have healthier choices? We could have talked on the phone, but there is something about having the conversations while we cooked and ate a meal together.

Liz is a senior at Prescott College. Most of the classes are independent study and then a senior project. One day we went to Paradise Cafe together. She was revising and rechecking the requirements for her degree plan. I was clearing out my e-mail inbox. While I sat there, an e-mail arrived from the Omega Institute in New York. I asked if she had ever considered going to the Women’s event in September. It would be a perfect fit for her degree and would tie in with her senior project. We talked about this for an hour weaving the details of a road trip she is taking with her grandmother, my mother, in the fall. The journey will be a part of her senior project. Two generations connecting and sharing on the road.

Gift #2 was the beginning of taking walks again. Every day there was an opportunity to walk and appreciate the landscape of cactus and Gambel’s quail. The first time I saw a Gambel’s quail, I felt like something magical had crossed my path. They are so beautiful, colorful and energetic. I breathed as I walked and let the ideas flow through me. I felt more connected to myself. There was time.

Gift #3 was the time to connect with my cats. We had time to settle in and cuddle and adjust to all of the travel and changes. I had the opportunity to watch them adjust to Liz’s apt and the dogs and a new routine. I knew that they would be alright in the foster home.

Everyday something new appeared that helped me to enjoy the time and practice the art of patience.

I encourage you to look at where you are in your life right now Really take a look at the things you have wanted and by waiting or redirecting your course, you are surrounded by gifts.

Day 8 On the Road- Quantum Leap

Quantum Leap starring Scott Bakula, as Sam Beckett has been my winter TV obsession. I have been watching re-runs of the 1990’s TV show for free on on my computer.

Sam is a scientist and a genius who creates a way to leap into different time periods. It is science blended with spirituality. He refers to “God”, ‘Him” and points to the sky. This is always in reference to how the different time periods and situations are selected. Sam enters into someone else’s body and lives as himself in their life and body until it is time to leap again.

Another character played by Dean Stockton appears as a hologram who gives Sam data on why he might be in this particular time period and body. Always the question is, “what am I doing here?” Dean’s character, Al, uses data from the future and the two of them discuss infinite possibilities. These come from listening to their hearts.

One of the things that inspires me is wherever Sam leaps, he does his best to bring love, compassion, honesty and integrity to the situation. He wants to make a difference and make it better than when he arrived. There is always a period of adjustment. Who am I? What am I doing here? How can I make a difference? This is always a balancing act. Where to influence and where to support.

I can relate to Sam and the Quantum Leap. I feel that I have lived most of my life as Sam. Leaping in and out of lives, time periods, and situations. Connecting passionately and with an eagerness to learn about why I am there and what I can do to make a difference. But, there is something in watching Quantum Leap right now that is calling me to go even deeper. Calling me to awaken to something else.

I have had a few extra days in Arizona to watch a few more episodes and to reflect on the message in Quantum Leap.

My last Quantum Leap was into my friend, Kate’s house. Kate offered a place for my daughter Hannah and me to stay as we were completing the sale of our house. She was also in a transition.

The first week, Kate cooked and nurtured me. I watched the morning routine as her daughter got ready for school and watching the feeding and care of her dogs. I assessed the situation to see how I could bring me into the situation. It is about opening to the routine that is there without any judgment. It is about seeing where you can help and allow who you are to emerge. The second week, Kate had terrible back spasms which required a trip to the emergency room. I picked up the routine. I helped Molly get ready for school, fed the dogs, grocery shopped and cooked dinner.

Kate and I supported each other in our lives for two months. She helped me as I made decisions on my house and cats and moving to California. We shared dream journals and holiday fun. She was there the night I started my first Ustream show: Open to Inspiration, recorded from her kitchen. And I know that by sharing myself and listening to Kate, we both transformed. (Molly and Hannah and the cats and the dogs were also impacted. Lots of good stories and memories!)

On one of the Quantum Leap shows, Sam Beckett says, “When I leap, I get to see what it’s like to walk in another man’s shoes.” Everyday I am open to the life that is unfolding in front of me.

Flood watches, wind, rain, tornado watches still happening in California. Every day I am open to the life that is unfolding in front of me.

Day 6- On the road: A weather delay

For weeks the weather forecast in Los Angeles area had been sunny in the 70’s and 80’s. Gorgeous warm weather calling me from the harsh winter on the East Coast. Hannah and I drove for four days to make it to Scottsdale, Arizona. The plan was to visit with my daughter, Liz for two days, take a breath and then move on to California.

On the first day in Arizona, I took time to write a blog, visited with a friend, Sherryl Haldy, cheered the Ravens on to…defeat, instead of victory! at a local sports bar and to assess the situation with the foster family for my cats in Santa Barbara, CA. Ready to move on now.

But, there is a delay. A weather delay. The initial feeling was frustration. My daughter lives in an apt that is the perfect size for she and her boyfriend, Ari and their two big dogs, Mac and Morrie. Add a mother (me) on an air mattress, a sister on the couch (Hannah) and 2 cats that the boyfriend is extremely allergic to and watch the stress mount. Ari, the boyfriend, is working in Los Angeles. He is out of town for a few weeks and agreed to have us stay there while he is away. Liz is going to do a major cleaning after we leave.

But the stress of staying here. Should we go to a hotel? Is there a way for us to communicate and find a way to work things out in the apartment?

I know that everything is Divine. Every delay, every leap, all of it has been perfect. I really believe that even when I don’t see it in the moment. So, what is the opportunity in this delay? What is the gift? I am listening and awake as I watch the opportunity unfold.

Day 4: On the road: The Adventure of the Open Road

One of the blessings and joys of sharing this journey with you is that I get to hear your stories, too. I am grateful for the spirit of adventure, the willingness to embrace change and the cheer leading from the sidelines. It makes the adventure of life even richer. (I would love to hear about some of your favorite travel moments. Write about an adventure in the comment section)

As I drove from East to West over the last four days, I was flooded with memories. I was born to drive cross this country, a calling. (I hope to see more of the world in the future by plane and train!)

When I was a child, my family moved from California to Minnesota to Virginia to Texas to Minnesota and to Pennsylvania. If you count all of the different places we lived in each state, I moved 12 times by the time I was 15 years old. (My Dad worked for Pillsbury. A promotion meant a move and my parents loved fixing up and selling houses during the real estate boom of the 60’s and 70’s) In between all of the moves we traveled to many states to visit family, friends, and for business. We traveled with a cat and a dog in a station wagon.

Two favorite childhood memories:

A trip to Denver, Colorado and somewhere in Wyoming. I was nine, my sister, Joanne was 7 and my brother, Rob, was an infant. We went to a trade convention in Denver. I remember being fascinated with the cooking instructions on the side of the cake mixes, listing high altitude baking differences. I loved the lights, the demonstrations, and the samples. There was so much passion and enthusiasm in the convention. I remember trying different “astronaut” food. In Wyoming, we saw a rodeo and were dressed in cowgirl attire. This was awesome because my sister and I loved watching re-runs of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Now, we were really cowgirls!

The other childhood memory is visiting my grandparents home in Eastham, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. My grandparents moved there as newlyweds and built their home, one room at a time. Tables folded up into the wall, like a boat because the first room was the kitchen and the bedroom! It was the one home that was consistent in my childhood and the memories grew over my lifetime. Collecting shells in Cape Cod Bay during low tide, lily pads in the pond and learning to row a boat, eating buttered toast with quince jelly, my grandfather’s stories and my grandmother’s rock tumbler which was used to make pieces of quahog shells shiny for jewelry making.


Moving on to adulthood, travel in the U.S continued. When I was homeschooling my children, a friend, Karen DaGrava, started a club called Celebrate the States. We were studying the states in the order that they entered the Union. Living in Maryland, it was easy to drive to another state for the day and bring back goodies to the club once a month. Delaware. Pennsylvania, New Jersey. When we came to Georgia, a group of us decided load up 2 cars and go on the road, visiting historical sites, the Coca-Cola museum, CNN, a puppetry museum and Stone Mountain.

Here are two of my favorite memories of travel with my kids during that time.

An afternoon spent at a laundromat in Mississippi. I was on a 7 state, 15 day trip with two of my daughters, Liz and Hannah and their friends, Erica and Katie. We spent the morning touring Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home in Tennessee. Our afternoon mission was LAUNDRY!! We drove until we found a place just over the border into Mississippi. Rainbow Laundromat. The woman who was running the laundromat had her two children with her that day. The children were curious about our travel. We took out maps and pictures and shared the journey with them. As I focused on the laundry, the children taught us some hand games and we played for hours. We all shared our lives that day and I felt richer for the experience. You can find people to connect with wherever you go.

The other memory is an afternoon at the Portland Open market in Portland, Maine. It was a cold, rainy day in March. A quick trip to the Portland Head Light, a lighthouse, and then we looked for a place to get warm. We rearranged a few tables and filled them with math books, postcards, coloring books, markers, pencils and pens. Karen DaGrava and I spent the afternoon with her children, and my daughter, Hannah, surrounded by delightful smells, hot chocolate and coffee, warm food and a friendly environment. We had time to talk about the trip and share laughter and stories.

Now on to travel in the last few years. In the last 2 1/2 years, I have driven over 85,000 miles. The odometer on my Toyota Highlander is proof of that. As we crossed the country, I was flooded with memories of the last few years. Going to the Columbus Zoo on one kid trip, seeing the Jonas Brothers last summer at the Nationwide Arena, cheap tickets from a scalper, and filming girls playing Bop-it.

St. Louis. How many times have I seen the arch? My heart still does a flip flop of joy when I see it. The Gateway to the West. I reflected on the summer I saw 20 fireworks displays from the top of a hill encircling the city. The magical day last summer when we won free Jonas tickets, won meet and greets for Honor Society and Jordin Sparks and met so many great people.

Oklahoma City. Another Jonas memory, our radio interview in 2008 and the two days I spent at the Oklahoma City peace memorial writing.

And the list goes on and on. I can list the museums, the food, the places we have stayed, the people we have met and the details of all the trips. Underneath all of that is the passion I have for the land and nature. Over the last four days, I have seen hawks lining the road. They have been on fences, in trees and flying overhead as we drove through the MidWest and the West. The hawk messenger encouraging me to dream and listen and live. The land and nature fill my soul.

I am awake to life and open to the adventure one mile at a time.

A Heroes Journey Part I

Here is Part I:

Follow Your Bliss

Joseph Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 31, 1987) wrote a book called The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949).

His work is summarized with the words, “Follow Your Bliss,” or “The Hero’s Journey.

When I began to share the idea of going to Jonas Brothers concerts with Hannah this summer and the ups and downs of selling my house, several of my friends told me that I was on a Hero’s Journey; the kind of journey Joseph Campbell talked about in his books. I resisted this idea and pushed it away. How could this be a Hero’s journey? I wouldn’t even consider what they were saying. This was Jonas Brothers concerts! This is frivolous, fun, carefree.

Hadn’t I already been on the hero’s journey when my son was born with a congenital heart defect and died 19 months later? Hadn’t I been on this journey when I had an autoimmune condition and fought my way back to health? Hadn’t I been on the hero’s journey with my husband’s illness and death. Come on! How could this be a hero’s journey!

All I can say right now is they were right. When my house didn’t sell and then there were delays, it was a blessing. Finding resources, placing myself in this situation, continuing to follow the guidance of my heart instead of the logic of my head opened me to new ideas, new places, and new experiences. If I had had all of the tickets and hotels and a planned itinerary, I would have missed the true journey of discovery.

If you haven’t heard of Joseph Campbell or the Hero’s Journey, here is a very, very brief description. If you want to know more, here is a link to one summary:

1. Adventure: You are called to an adventure that you resist.

In my situation, I wanted this adventure with my daughter, but when the sale of my house fell through, I resisted. It didn’t make logical sense. It would have been easier for me to deal with illness or death than to allow myself to go an adventure labeled fun.

For someone else, the adventure might call them to get a full-time job, but for me who had a life of responsibility, it was a call to freedom, to release myself from this life and to find a bigger world.

By entering this stage, the person shows their willingness to undergo a metamorphosis, to die to him or herself.”

Going on the summer trip meant I was risking everything. My house, my life, my reputation and opening myself to receive support in a way I had never allowed before. I spent the whole summer “asking and receiving.”

2. Initiation: This is a series of tests or trials that the Hero must go through.

If you have been reading the blogs all summer you have watched us with our money struggles and with the discovery of resources to make it to the end.

There was a point when I arrived in Florida for two concerts in August. As much as I truly love my family, I knew that if I were to stay in Florida with my sister or my parents, it was all over. The learning, the opportunity for a breakthrough had not arrived. I was out of money. I had to find a way to continue. I thought about giving up and staying there with them. It was safe and comfortable. I could have waited for the settlement of my house on Aug 28 and quit this crazy concert thing I was doing.

Under different circumstances I would have loved to hang out in Florida for a few weeks. But, on the hero’s journey, sleeping at a rest stop for several weeks was more desirable. That is where the breakthrough to freedom would happen, not in the womb of childhood. I felt at that time that all I needed was enough money to fill up the gas tank and drive as far as I could, then wait for the house to sell.

At that point, a good friend loaned us $300 and Hannah and I decided to commit to the next three concerts. We had over 1,000 miles to cover for those three concerts. It was a quest at this point that stretched us to find free or really cheap tickets, sleep in the car, and look for free food.

In Atlanta and Nashville, we received free tickets that would have been discarded, and we slept in the car on our way from Atlanta to Lexington, Kentucky. We ate free ice cream for lunch in Nashville at an Honor Society event. A free hotel room in Kentucky. Ask and receive. Ask and receive.

It was after sleeping in the car, as a conscious choice, that I found the deepest level of freedom I have ever felt. I can’t tell you why it happened that way. I only know that I felt it the next morning. As I watched the sunrise that morning, I thought to myself, I can do anything, go anywhere, or be anything I want to be! And it was the feeling of that truth that helped me expand into a fuller person.

3. Return: the return to your life.

We are back in Baltimore. I am writing again from my favorite Panera restaurant in the world. I am sleeping in the one bed that is left in the house. I am asking myself questions.

Is that why the house has not sold? I had to return to the place I have lived and grown for the last 28 years? The challenge at this level is to retain the wisdom and to use it in life without falling into the old patterns.

There are 17 in-depth steps in the Heros journey and I have reduced it to 3 brief sections. There is more exploration for me. It may come to me in a flash or it may come to me 10, 20 years from now.

More thoughts in a few days… The journey continues.

Concert 45: Ottawa, Canada

Concert 45: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
August 31, 2009
We made it!

The last day of the concert tour. We woke up in Toronto at the Hazelden. It is an exclusive, expensive, well-secured hotel in Toronto. A friend gave us the room. This happened three times in the last week. One night we slept in the car and then three amazing hotel rooms from someone who follows the blog. Now, I really felt like a groupie and a roadie. I have not figured out how to tell that part of the story. You may have to wait for the book for these details.

The important part for right now is that we had a hotel room at the Hazelden and it was a gift. Hannah, Rosie and I shared the room.

When we entered the hotel, bedraggled in appearance and with clothes in cloth grocery bags, I guess we looked a little out of place. We didn’t know the location of the elevator, the room and the Do Not Disturb sign was on. The staff walked up with us and led us to the hotel room, questioning us at every turn.

I opened the door with the key, walked in and closed the door behind us. No worries. If they posted someone outside of our door for the night, we never saw them because we did not leave the room until the next morning.

We found out later that the suspicion may have been because JB were still at the hotel. With rows of JB fans outside waiting for a glimpse and our appearance at the hotel, we may have looked like the stalking groupies that we are!

We wanted to get an early start on Aug 31. Our final concert on this summer adventure.

The streets were empty, not quite ready for the busyness of a Monday morning.

On the road to Ottawa, I stopped at Tim Horton’s. I had a Canadian morning routine after four days here. It was a large cup of coffee from Tim Horton’s, a B.E.L.T. (Bacon, Egg, Lettuce, Tomato on a Bagel) and a raisin biscuit for a mid-morning snack. This would keep me going in case we did not have lunch or dinner until late. Hannah and Rosie slept almost the whole way there (5 hours)

I headed to the downtown area of Ottawa. It was the first day we did not have the name of the hotel for the JB band. We missed connecting with our “informant” and Rosie was the only one of us using phone service in Canada. Our connection did not have service either.

As I said, we were headed toward the downtown area of Ottawa when Rob Hoffman, the JB photographer, sent a tweet about looking out his bedroom window and seeing a castle. A clue! This was so much fun! Rosie started tweeting and making phone calls to people she knew.

We looked around and saw three castles. I saw the Westin Hotel next to a castle and started to head that way. A fan tweeted confirmation to Rosie. A group of fans had been outside since yesterday and , “yes,” they had seen the band at the Westin.

JB was still in Toronto and flying in later. More information for why we were escorted to our hotel room the night before.

I dropped Hannah and Rosie off at the Westin Hotel and went in search of parking. Driving around I heard the song, “Tonight’s Going Be a Good Night.” I opened the sunroof, turned up the music and sang it at the top of my lungs. YES! It was time to celebrate. We made it to 45 concerts. I was giddy with joy and amazement!

It took me 30 minutes to find parking. Walked through a flower mart. Eyes wide opened, enjoying this day. With toiletry kit in hand, I walked to the Westin Hotel, found Hannah who directed me to the Mall bathroom. 15 minutes later, I felt refreshed and ready for the concert.
By the time, I put everything in the car, the first JB band bus was pulling away from the curb. Miguel, and Garrett and Ray, three of the Horn players were standing with the girls and I got several pictures.

Time to find the venue again. It was really a night of good-byes. Although the World Tour continues in Europe beginning Oct 31 in Germany, this was the end of the North America tour. We are not sure which bands are going to Europe. I think the band is the same but you never know. Things change so much.

At ScotiaBank Place, the arena in Ottawa, Hannah had the band signing her US/Canada map. I was walking around and around the venue. Not sure what to do with myself on this bright, sunny day. No Verizon Wireless bus with The Wonder Girls and the Honor Roll. No Burger King Apple Fries, No Mike and Ike’s trucks.

I had been saying goodbye since Atlanta. Six concerts ago. First the Verizon Wireless recording studio, then the Mike and Ike staff (James and Sean), then Burger King and the rest of the Verizon staff. Said goodbye to Jordin in Ft. Lauderdale.

The Wonder Girls gave us comp tickets in Ottawa, Hannah and Rosie and me. It was a thank you for all of the times we handed out flyers, showed up to do the dance, wrote about the love we have for them.

After seeing the tickets, we decided to splurge on a front row ticket for Hannah and Rosie bought one for herself. They were good tickets, but they were too far away to interact with the band. They decided to give the comp tickets to someone who had the top seats in the arena. And that was fun to share with a mom and daughter.

In the concert, I sat alone and there was really no one to talk with on that night. I could feel the expectation rising inside of me wanting this to be the best concert ever and the afternoon and the evening felt flat to me.

I was not a part of this inner circle. Hannah had created with the band. I kept my distance to give my daughter the space to have her own experience without her mother tagging along. I am a 52 year old woman who is traveling with the youth. I reflected on how I was feeling out of place this evening. I was thinking that I was in the same place that I started in Dallas.

Then two girls called out to me during the break between Jordin Sparks and the Jonas Brothers . Kelly and Julia. I looked around and realized that yes they were talking to me. I took a picture of them and thanked them for saying hello. They broke my pity party and the melancholy that had been creeping into the evening.

I made a conscious choice in that moment to enjoy the concert. And in that moment, I remembered that it truly is the journey and not the destination. I had flashes of all the amazing things that had shown up this summer. I remembered the moments when I felt connected. I met so many amazing people along the way. I feel like I have a new group of soul sisters: Lauren, Shelly, Susan, Abbie, Jen, Sandy and more. My younger soul sisters are Nicole, Kelley, Hannah, Stephanie and so many, I can’t even think of everyone’s name in this moment. You made the summer such an amazing journey.

And the people who kept me going on this journey, Laura, Karen D., Marty, Shelly, my parents, my aunt and uncle, Christina, Christine, Patty, Rob and more…

You all touched me along the way with your hearts and your support and encouragement.

With that transition, I appreciated every Jonas Brothers song, prank and dance move. I sang and danced until my feet hurt and my voice was hoarse. (Thanks Kelly and Julia!)

(Hannah will blog about this but here were some of the pranks:

-Jordin’s whole band coming on stage and doing the Honor Roll during the last Honor Society song
-Rachel and Leah, back-up singers for Jordin had a pretend fight scene during SOS and chased each other all over the stage (this was the funniest moment for me)
-Tape with some words on the back of Jordin’s dress
-Kevin’s piano on the stage was a miniature and he sat down and played it
-Nick reading signs to himself and not out loud.
-The whole crew coming on stage at the end with shirts about Big Rob Being For Real)

At the end of the evening, I danced in the aisle by the Wonder Girls during their meet and greet lines. They know me as Mama, the affectionate name they call me. I was embraced by all of them and by Woo and Moon and David and Hanna. It had been a wild ride for all of us.

I am not the same as when I started. Anytime you climb a mountain to reach a goal, something inside of you shifts. I will write about the Heroes Journey this weekend and give you a few more details.

(More blogs about specific concerts next week)

More to come…

Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes. Last stop before we headed back to Baltimore.

Hannah and I arrived back in Baltimore, Maryland late last night!

The car is so dirty, I was asking a few people if you can powerwash the inside of the car! I have cleaned it four times since June 16, but this is the worst. Who knows what is hidden under some seat, creating that smell!! I am determined to find it later today.

Even with bill paying on-line, the mail is piled high. I have a contract on the house and we are in the process of working out the settlement date. I am cleaning out the last of the closets and the storage unit. Still need to find a home for my two cats, Cooper, age 15 and Playful, age 8. Life and all of the details.

In the next two months, Hannah and I are going to post blogs about the concerts and the summer journey. We are also going to post questions we have about Europe, like the best way to get from one city to another. Or things we should know before coming. Or what would YOU like to know when we are in Europe?

All I know about the possibility of going to Europe is that we would like to do this. You have been a part of leading us down this path. We want you involved with the details. It is a journey we want to take with you by blogging, answering your questions, and creating vlogs and videos of the concerts. We will share the journey of selling our house, finding sponsors and advertisers, and going to the 16 concerts in Europe.

Two months ago, I had enough money in my pocket to go to three concerts-Dallas, Tulsa and Denver. And somehow, one step at a time we made it to 45!

The inspiration of a dream happens one step at a time and right now the dream is to continue this journey in Europe. We want to share this from a fan’s perspective and want you all to be a part of it. (I have Jordin Sparks song playing in my head right now. One step at a time, there’s no need to rush, it’s like learning to fly and falling in love… Now switching to the Jonas Brothers song, Fly With Me…)

During Sept and Oct, I will be posting 3-4 things per week. A blog, pics, videos. The best way to get all of the information is to SUBSCRIBE to the different accounts: (Andrea) (Hannah)

If you have questions about any of these, write them in the comments and I will answer your questions.

Looking forward to our continued journey

Concert 39-Lexington, Kentucky

Thanks to MaryAnn McNeely for sponsoring the blog this week.
She makes beautiful jewelry and is a life coach.

Check out her website:


As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Concert 39: Lexington, Kentucky
August 23, 2009

The day really began with the night before. In order to save money and make it to the next concert, we decided to sleep in the car. Hannah and I looked at this as part of the adventure, another story to tell, nothing to be upset about. It was the thing that was required to continue the journey.

On Facebook I posted the message: What are willing to do for your dream? Last night we slept in the car.

Since San Antonio, ten days ago, we knew that continuing to move forward and to follow our dream was a quest. Our love of the Jonas Brothers and the music and the family of bands, vendors and the community that were a part of this summer were pulling us forward. Hannah and I were looking at our resources differently. The daily question had changed. It had become: What would it take to make it to the end? We are looking at the money, the distance, and the details of what it will take to do this.

Driving from Atlanta, Georgia to Lexington, Kentucky last night, I passed a great rest area in Georgia and felt that I could drive for at least an hour. I assumed there would be rest areas in Tennessee.

The first rest area in Tennessee was the Welcome Center and there were signs posting a limit of two hours for parking. By the time, I checked directions, went to the bathroom and checked a few things on the computer, I had 90 minutes to sleep. After that, I pushed on and drove and drove and drove. The next rest area was closed and then there was nothing.

Imagine my surprise at 3am when Clifford, the red bus that carries the Honor Society and their staff sped by me. I was driving slower than the speed limit. It was such a dark, remote area with no lighting and I did not want to hit an animal that might cross the road. I was still going 60 mph, but not the 70 mph speed limit.

Hannah was asleep next to me, but I talked to the bus. “Hey Clifford! Great to see you, is the Honor Society on the bus tonight? Sleep tight Mike, Andy, Alex, Jason, Janice, Kat and Gio and whoever is on the bus tonight, maybe Ned. See you in Lexington!”

It is moments like this that bring a feeling of community into my heart. I pass cars and buses and trucks every day. I don’t know their story. I do not know where they are going or where they have been. But, when it is someone you know, there is a moment of recognition and connection. As the bus continued on the road, a slow smile parted my lips and I felt that connection. I knew the people on that bus, in the middle of the night, outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee and I knew where they were going.

Tonight, I knew where I was going.

Two hours later, I found a rest stop in Kentucky. It was full of cars and trucks and buses. There were lots of people snoozing here. A few hours later with the rising of the sun, I felt my heart singing with joy. We slept in the car last night! We were willing to do whatever it took to fulfill our dream. We are going to make it to the end.

I felt this rush of adrenalin and I felt more freedom than I have ever felt in my life. I had a feeling of, “I can do anything, be anything, and go anywhere I want to go.”

Deciding to sleep in the car was about empowerment and choice. The choices we make are the freedom. It is not what is happening to you. It is what you choose to do with it. We cannot control the behavior of other people, or even all of the circumstances in our lives. We can only choose our thoughts, our actions, and change our perspective.

This was a choice. We were headed to six more concerts. One concert at a time.

With Hannah still sleeping in the car, I drove to a McDonald’s for breakfast and coffee and electricity for the computer. I watched sleepy people dragging in to McDonald’s as I worked there for the next hour taking notes for the blog, posting on Facebook, checking on my house. Funny, everyone entering looks like they slept at the rest area and came here to go to the bathroom, wash up and eat breakfast.

We arrived at the venue around 11am. There is a different energy at this hour. It was a Sunday morning and not a lot of traffic. The trucks had arrived with Apple Fries, and Mike and Ike’s. The merchandise table was beginning to set up. People were moving slowly. They were drinking coffee and standing around viewing the location, talking about set-up, and laughing about life and stories they were sharing.

Hannah and I parked and headed to the Hyatt. The whole block was connected, Rupp Arena, Lexington Center with a food court and stores and the Hyatt Hotel. We heard that the Jonas Brothers were staying at the Hyatt. There were already small groups of girls gathering in the lobby and outside the building.

I changed my clothes and washed my face in the Hyatt bathroom and then found a spot to sit with my computer. I wanted to write the Atlanta concert blog while it was still fresh in my mind. I have been really lucky to find “office space” all over the country.

I talked with a family who homeschool their 5 children. The mom and the girls were going to the Jonas brother’s concert and the dad and the boys had their own adventure planned.
As I sat there typing, Garbo entered the building. I did not have a picture with him yet and I was running out of time, only six concerts to go. I have had so many girls request pictures of Garbo that it became a part of the list in my brain to get a picture with him! He was so sweet. He had been sleeping in the bus and came inside to take a shower and go to his room. He very patiently talked, listened and looked at a scrapbook. He has really grown in his interactions with the fans this summer. He slowly turned the pages and looked at the pictures in the scrapbook. He posed for pictures even though he hadn’t even brushed his teeth yet.

Here is a link to a video. Samantha is a fan and this is on her Youtube account. I am the first one with Garbo in the beginning and then Hannah and then a number of other fans.

Later in the day we were in the food court and someone on the tour had seen Hannah’s tweet about sleeping in the car. This person had been following Hannah on twitter, inspired by our journey and gave us a hotel room at the Hyatt. There is a really juicy back story, but to keep the confidence and anonymity of the person, I will just say that it was a gift. It was great to know that we had a nice room to head towards at the end of the night. (If anyone knows the story, please keep the confidence for now.)

It is funny how different every place is on the tour. In Lexington, there were hardly any people who came to the venue early. I was hoping to film some crowds for a future video montage, but the lines were so short. There was a small crowd waiting to see the band members or get a glimpse of the Jonas Brothers.

Around 6:30 pm, we bought two $90 tickets from either a Dad or a scalper for $25 each. He said that he was a Dad and he bought extra tickets for his daughter’s friends and they let him down. It is a possible story, but someone around us said that he was a scalper.

In the arena and settling down, I looked around to see who was sitting with us, took pictures of the stage, and observed people. I saw a woman standing up facing a group of kids and signing. She was an ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter. I have watched ASL at meetings and events, and have taken some classes. But, I have never seen someone signing a pop-rock concert. When Jordin started to sing, the interpreter was signing and acting out all the movements on the stage. Jordin Sparks sang SOS and the interpreter put “attitude” into it. Here are some of the words from the song:

“What’s up girlfriend, something’s going on.
You got a look about you, tell me what’s wrong.
Is that your boyfriend, dancing with the girl on the floor?”

And there is finger pointing, body shaking, facial expressions, an attitude all the way. I had so much fun watching the interpreter, move her body, scrunch her face, shake her finger. She kept signing and then looking at Jordin and the back-up singers, Rachel and Leah as they moved to the music. Then, she would turn back to the group in front of her and sign, sing and dance.
I watched the interpreter all night and kept glancing at the stage and doing my own movements of dancing and Attitude, that’s right, attitude with a capital A.

Jordin and her band are on moving on to perform with Britney Spears as part of the Circus Tour. It is a great opportunity for Jordin and reaching a new audience. We will miss her and the whole band in Nashville and Columbus. She will be back for Cleveland.

At the end of the concert, Hannah and I grabbed a few things from the car and headed up to our free room at the Hyatt. Our friend left some snacks for us. It was a luxurious room and a great contrast from the night before.

My Facebook status tonight: Freedom. Last night we slept in the car. Tonight a free room at the Hyatt.

Ah, the mystery of life.

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