Indianapolis and Musical Dreams

Yes, I am in Indianapolis, pursuing my dreams. I announced it on Facebook and other social media, but not here.

Anyone watch the movie Legally Blonde? Well, there’s a scene where Reese Witherspoon walks into her academic advisor’s office and declares that she’s going to Harvard Law School. Her advisor wears a grin of disbelief and says Harvard is a top 5 law school, “What are your back ups?” Reese, without a beat, replies, “I don’t need any backups; I’m going to Harvard.”

Well, let’s just say I feel like Reese’s character right now. I have big dreams. I need to work hard to achieve them. Maybe impossibly hard… But that’s not going to stop me from trying.

For the people back in Columbia, I will be home to visit my mom, so we can still connect. For the people all over the country who helped me successfully make it across the U.S., I salute you and thank you with all my heart. Please message me and let me know how you’re doing!

jbrzr3@gmail.com

I am going to write again tomorrow. I am going to start with Pennsylvania and take you from State-to-State. So many magical, scary, and fun things happened on my trip.

BTW, Fiji is settling in well. She is a bundle of energy!

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Home to Home

Today, my nerves, from brain to toes, jumbled from one location to the next. My interview with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra went super well. Of course, I thought that about the job in San Diego, but I did make some key mistakes with them. I don’t think I missed one beat with the ISO opportunity, no pun intended.  Most people don’t know this, but while in Los Angeles, I met my father, aunts and uncles and siblings, some for the first time, and others for a second (but I was way too young to remember those encounters). So, it was like the first time for me! They all turned out to be quite nice, and they accepted me into the family as if I had never been out of it. They wanted me to settle down and not take on “these crazy adventures” anymore. My paternal grandmother who is blind (I cycled for eye research, so it coincidentally hits close to home) wanted me to stay and live in Los Angeles. While LA is a vibrant place, I could not see myself there. I wanted to go back to Indianapolis, the city that stole my heart. I said goodbye to my family last week with plans to hitchhike back to Indy. Instead, I spent three remarkable, tiresome days with Emma, the cellist, in her old pickup truck, Fiji sitting on my lap for six hours at a time, while Emma and I took turns driving.   We stopped in Colorado, stayed with friends I had met on the road, and headed on to Missouri the next day to stay with my mom. We  stayed in Missouri from 4am until 11am on Sunday, and hit the road for Indy. Of course, we received a ton of calls because we were apparently driving in the path of tornadoes. We missed them, but I am so sorry about the people who didn’t. Emma received a cancellation text from someone else she was supposed to pick up. “My house was hit by a tornado. I am not sure I can go,” he said.

I arrived in Indy late Sunday evening where I am staying with a war veteran and fellow cross country cyclist. I said my adieu to Emma, and closed the door to my new bedroom and home for the next several months.

Last night, I had a wonderful dream. It was quit symbolic of what’s been happening in my life lately, and the decisions I’ve made. It started with me looking in the mirror. It was me. Usually when I have dreams, I am always someone else, a better version of me. I had a suit on, and I looked confident. I walked out of the restroom, and saw my father and uncle, two big guys, waiting to escort me somewhere. Apparently, it was a job interview at some liquor store in LA. While my relatives stood outside, I met with a very nice lady who managed the most upscale liquor store I’ve ever seen. I don’t know why, but we sat on couches in the middle of the store and interviewed while customers passed by and looked around. I put on the charm, told her about my travels and goals in life, and answered her questions. After hearing about salary, I was quite sure I could do the job, and I wanted to. At that moment of resigned resolution, my eye caught sight of a famous violinist. She was browsing the products with a few burly men following her–bodyguards??? Suddenly, I found it quite hard to focus on my interviewer, and I rudely kept looking at the violinist. In her, I saw opportunity, greater than the one in front of me. Maybe not with the highest salary, but doing something I love, being in the environment I am passionate about–that of music. As the violinist exited, I stood up. “I’m so sorry,” I said, running towards the exit. “Hey, where are you going?” My father said who stood at the front of the store. I ignored them and ran towards the pickup truck (it resembled the one I had just driven from San Diego to Indy with Emma) and stopped it before they drove off. I proceeded to tell the violinist my aspirations, and how I always wanted to be a manager or secretary of a touring violinist, getting to see the world and simultaneously learning about and being immersed in the world I adore–classical music. I was talking super fast, and she looked at me with some enthusiasm and interest. However, I woke up. I don’t know the outcome, but the dream was representative of my real life, and that outcome hasn’t been revealed as of yet.  The liquor store and my father represent the opportunities and people I left behind, and the violinist represents Indy and the ISO and every other adventure my life will dish out in the future. Going down the road less traveled…  I am so excited to make my mark in Indy, to now take on another challenge–becoming the violinist I want to be. I figure if I can pedal 14 hours a day, I can practice five hours a day. Really, after cycling across the country, facing adversity, never giving up, meeting beautiful people, I feel like I can conquer anything, at least what I’m passionate about. I’ll find out in a few days if my career in music starts or not. I’ll let y’all know.

BTW, Fiji has settled down in her new home. However, she still expects a 20 mile bicycle run each day. No slacking for me!

Miss You

I know it’s been a while. Hold on to your eyeballs! I am now in California.

I have tons of recapping to do which I plan on doing in the next several weeks. So, please come back to my blog for updated stories from the road. However, the journey doesn’t end here. I don’t know as of yet, but I have some big news to announce…or not. It really depends.

So for now, a tale from the farm will have to suffice.

In Grand Junction, CO, we stayed with veteran cyclist, Marie N. She had several animals on her small farm, including goats, cows, ferral cats and baby cows. Fiji was unruly. She chased after the cats, and barked and growled at the cows. She also tried to jump into the goat pin!

Fiji stares at the goats moments before trying to jump over the fence.

Fiji stares at the goats moments before trying to jump over the fence.

Fiji barks at and runs after cowns through fencing.  Cows leap off.

Fiji barks at and runs after cows through fencing. Cows leap off.

 

I decided it needed to stop. I took chase after Fiji, screaming, “How do you like it?” I looked like a crazy woman. Fiji could tell I was mad, and came up to me with her tail between her legs. I began to train her in proper farm etiquette.

 

I teach Fiji to sit whenever she sees a cow or other animal. Cats are a no-go. She will also take chase.

I teach Fiji to sit whenever she sees a cow or other animal. Cats are a no-go. She will also take chase.

Baby cow and Fiji.

Baby cow and Fiji.

Progress...

Progress…

 

Success!

Success!

 

I hope to upload my news in a few days. Be on alert!

Also, please send any donations to Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation. Be sure to put “FiJaBAM: Jasmine Reese” in the donation comments box, so they know the donation came through my referral.

 

 

 

Begin Again

Today, my journey restarts, but I’m feeling a little down. I will miss small town Coolidge and all the people who came to my aid. What a great group of people (excluding the horny old guys)! Tomorrow, it’s back to the unknown. Where will the road lead us? Will we have enough money for the week? Will anyone take us in? Who will we meet? What will we see? Some days are full of worry, and other days are filled with awe-inspiring sights, sounds and persons. I am excited for road life again, but as I look at the clouds on the Horizon and realize they’re actually mountains, will I be able to make it?

Welcome to Colorado!

Welcome to Colorado!

Celebrate good times, come on!!

Celebrate good times, come on!!

By the way, Fiji’s friend, Max, found a forever home in Garden City, KS. Fiji was so happy and took several  dives into the Arkansas River in his honor.

We hit the road today. After our two week stay, we’re a little tapped out on cash. We appreciate any personal donations! http://www.gofundme.com/FiJaBAM

New Series — Random Acts of Violince!

I finally found a way to bring my violin along for the ride, so here’s a new series. I will play my violin in random places across America, especially since I don’t have a practice studio at my disposal.

I enter Illinois tomorrow! Follow me on my YouTube channel. I will upload videos on a regular basis!

 

 

Injuries and Recoveries

Moving along!

Moving along!

I’m glad I took my time on the East Coast. I started this epic challenge with very little training. If I had just jumped into it doing 50 and 60 mile days, my knee injury could have been ten times worse–irreparable. But, I started off slow, and I took time off when I recognized the pain. I didn’t judge or criticize myself for not going as fast as others who cycle across the country, and I’m better for it. I adjusted my saddle, took supplements, stretched, got a complimentary massage and acupuncture treatment.

The result…  An abundance of energy and renewed spirit. Over the past few days, Fiji and I put in 50 mile days, three days in a row with little discomfort. Fiji started to get a little sick from the constant pedaling. When one’s down, the other one’s just fine. I stopped and gave Fiji the TLC she deserves, including making some adjustments to her trailer.

We’ve had a blast. We met awesome cyclists such as John Correlje. He’s been cycling around the world for four years. I picked up some interesting tips from him. He keeps a notebook with all the email addresses of people he’s met. He’s complied a long list. I better get started on mine.

Ohio has given us an abundance of rain which I prefer to humid, hot days. There have been a couple of nights where I didn’t know where I was going to sleep or eat. Thank you to our rescuers. You know who you are.

In other news, Pet Project Magazine and UsaToday interviewed me. Robert McAdams, a talented photographer who I met through a wonderful friend and fellow musician–Dave Miller–came out and took our pictures. He sent them off to the reporters before deadline, so look for us in those publications some time soon.

In addition, thanks to a wonderful donor, I will finally be able to fulfill the other part of my cycling across America dream–violin street performance. A woman I worked with at the Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation helped to fund a cheap, student violin for my travels. I hope to upload a ton of violin cycling videos for you all in the near future. Check out mY YouTube channel http://m.youtube.com/user/Violinfanatic?feature=guide

We’ll be in Indianapolis in three days. My legs are finally starting to crave the road. No more sitting in one place for too long. Let’s Ride.

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Traveling with Fiji

Fiji relaxes after a long day.

Fiji relaxes after a long day.

Everyday, I grow closer to Fiji. She’s such a sweet and loyal companion for the road. Needless to say, I take her safety and comfort seriously. She needs constant checking in. I don’t just throw her in the trailer and ride for hours without looking back. We stop constantly. On hot days, she uses water up faster than me. I also can’t go into stores and I have to get past the “pitbull stigma” with almost everyone I meet. Although, I will say, we’ve been very fortunate to people gladly welcome her into their homes.

Fiji obeys. She’s eager to please. When we first started, Fiji barked and growled in every new territory: host families homes, campgrounds, motels and so on. Her behaviors made me nervous because I knew people would not put up with it. But after a while, Fiji adapted. I think she’s more used to our lifestyle than I am at this point. When I say, “NO,” this girl listens. She comes to me with her tail between the legs and buries her head between my knees, asking for forgiveness. If I ever get it on tape, I’ll post it.

I didn’t think I could love my dog any more than I did before.  So, all that to say, that it saddens me when people show a fear of dogs. When Fiji’s in the trailer or running alongside the bike, she gets a lot of positive attention! But when I’m walking her or resting, people show unsure expressions.

Dogs are so beautiful, and Fiji has shown me that. I respect her and she respects me. For example, she doesn’t like her back paw to be touched. So, unless necessary, I don’t disrespect that. She also doesn’t like raspberries. Yes, I used to kiss on and play with her belly all the time! Dogs have different personalities and they have likes and dislikes. If you don’t get that, then you will get growled at, or sometimes bit. That’s the reality. Fiji has never growled at or bit me because I try to read her likes and dislikes, and I respect her as a living thing.

I am sorry for all the people who’ve had bad experiences with animals, but they are animals. They will bite, scratch, growl, vocalize and so on. That’s what they do. We don’t force them to meet our expectations as humans, but we work within their limitations and instincts as animals.

I hope the people who’ve met Fiji now have a different view of pit bulls, and will rescue a dog someday.