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The Adventure of Me.

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

I've been trying to write this post for days now, but more than I needed to write, I needed to process. Writing is my outlet, but the hundred journals I have weren't the space for this. This was a journey I want to share, because so many of us feel called to drop everything and follow that spark within them that says, "There is something more for me out there," but get stopped by fear every time. I know, because that was my story for so long.

I followed the rules, I went to school, got a great job, met a decent guy, settled down in a beautiful house, with a cute dog, driving my dream car. Sounds perfect, right?

I battled my own thoughts every day asking myself why it wasn't enough, why I still wasn't happy.

I knew I was meant for something more than the white picket fence American Dream life.

I have struggled with high functioning anxiety for quite some time.

I thought, well, this is just a part of who I am, I just move really fast.

The thing is, following that anxiety all the way down, is what led me here.

Writing this blog post overlooking the ocean, with the Cascade mountains in the background, the smell of cedar all around, and peace in my heart from the deep inner knowing that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

6 months ago, I had an AHA! moment that led me to this decision.

Sitting in meditation, I asked myself, "Ilona, if you could go anywhere, do anything, without anything holding you back, what would you do, and where would you go?"

The answer that came was not one I expected, "Move to Washington."

Clear as day.

My mom moved out here 5 years ago, and has hoped I'd join her and move too, and I fought it harder then I ever fought anything.

I wasn't ready to let go of my old life, my old self.

Leaving everything I ever knew would take more courage then I had at the time. Everything happens at the right time, and after my dad's passing in October, then my visit here in January, something clicked in me, something changed.

That part of me that suppressed her truth (ego) started getting quieter, and the part of me that had all the answers (highest self) started coming through more powerfully. I no longer cared what other people would think if I took the road less traveled, hell, I had been stumbling down that road like a baby giraffe since I could walk.

I began speaking my mind more, I seeked out a coach to help me move through my biggest obstacles, and I left a relationship that was no longer serving me.

After that, I closed my business that I had built from the ground up over the last 10 years.

I said goodbye to family and close friends.

And just like that, 2 weeks ago, I let it all go and packed my Jeep with everything that would fit.

I let my entire life go up in flames.

And I threw gasoline on the fire.

I had no solid plans on what I was going to do next, and to be completely honest, I didn't care. I had entered a place of such unwavering trust in the universe, that I knew I would be carried away on wings of gold, wherever I went.

So, I set out. First, to Chicago, where a long lost brother of mine lived. I got to spend time with his family, learn who they are, who he is. How we are similar, how we are different. How parallel our lives had been even though we grew up miles apart. How we have the same heart, and the same fire. My heart broke open.

Next, was a stop in North Dakota, where I stayed at a campground in the smallest town in America, with a bar full of locals and travelers alike right on site. It was a Friday night, and I was seeking adventure. Old me would have retreated into silence (read: fear) and stayed away from people.

But, I didn't set out to repeat old patterns, so I walked right into that bar with a smile on my face and ordered the same Bud Light I always do, and got to know every person there.

Bikers from Canada, the town's mayor, a girl my age who just took a leap of faith and bought a shoe store in a small town in Minnesota, a spitfire of a woman who had the best laugh I had ever heard, and an elder with so much wisdom and not a single fuck to give.

I learned how to read lightning to know where and if the rain would come, how to let loose and allow myself to take a round of shots with strangers, and how to connect with people I would never see again, knowing they made a special imprint on my journey. My heart broke open some more.

After that, was my favorite stop of all. Montana.

Have you ever envisioned your happy place in your mind? You know, that place that is void of conflict and full of peace.

Before I had ever visited, in my mind, that place looked like the wilderness of Montana.

When I first visited in 2017, it was confirmed, this was the place my dreams were made of. Driving into Montana this time, my eyes became a monsoon and my heart weeped, like a homecoming after lifetimes of being away. These mountains knew my name, they knew who I was, and they welcomed me back.

As I settled into my adorable cabin right outside of Yellowstone, I took my dog on a walk and heard live music coming from the old western saloon around the corner. I went to check it out, and I stumbled upon a beautiful mountain man who I instantly clicked with. I came back later that night (after again, wrestling with my old self over sleep (read: fear) or adventure, and lord, am I glad I chose the adventure!) and this sweet man spun me around like we were professional dancers. My entire face hurt from smiling so much.

The next day, I visited Yellowstone in the morning, and as incredible as the drive was, I wanted more, I wanted to be in it. I wanted to be swallowed whole by this landscape. Reabsorbed by the earth.

I ran into my friend again, and he took me to the river, where he introduced me to native plants, told me hunting stories, and taught me how not to get taken away by the current. I felt more at peace then I had in a very, very long time; able to open up to another human so vulnerably, without judgment. I felt my open heart.

The next day, I went on a 5 hour hike through the forest outside the park, into the true mountain wilderness. I picked Juniper and Sagebrush, tracked elk and mountain lions with Violet, and took many moments to breathe, to be part of this landscape as my soul so wanted. When I finished my hike, I took a dip in the river, and allowed the water to take me, fully surrendered to the current, washing away all of my dead leaves, broken branches, leaving me stripped like driftwood, washed clean to start new.

That night, my friend took me fishing in a canoe on a lake in the mountains I would have never otherwise known existed. We shared stories from deep within our hearts, connecting so intimately. Dinner was made off the land entirely, and the night finished by watching shooting stars on top of a mountain. It was everything I wanted and needed.

The simple pleasure of connecting with another human without expectation.

I realized then, that was my roadblock all along. Expectation. For, how many times do we do anything because we think we have to? Because we owe it to someone, or ourselves? What if we just followed what we felt in our hearts, and let that be enough, wherever it led us? That was the lesson I needed to learn.

After Montana, I was ready to be in Washington already, passing through the no-man's-land raw beauty that is Idaho, watching a marvelous sunset, sharing a milkshake with Violet.

Now that I am here, I am clear.

On who I am, what I want, and where I am going.

The answer is: wherever the hell I want.

Because I trust that the universe is working completely in my favor, connecting me with exactly what I need when I need it, giving me signs and guidance every step of the way. And I finally know how to listen.

I can't wait to see where I go from here.

I am ready to move mountains.

So I can be one of them.

I hope my journey inspires you, moves you, and helps you return to that place where you realize you are capable of doing absolutely anything beyond your wildest dreams. You are the wings, the universe is the wind. And you are worthy of a life that breaks you open a million times over.

Light, Love & Faerie Wishes,


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by Ilona Bartnicki I've lived most of my life as a caged wolf. Fed, bathed, given warm blankets, basic needs well met within 4 walls. The only taste of wilderness was moonlight through an open window.