3,500 miles, 14 states, 2 provinces, lessons learnt: We are not built to do big things alone, we are built to do them together

Today’s been my last full day in NYC, and in America. And I’m a bit sad about it.


This nearly month trip has been a blast and an inspiration. It’s been a frank reminder that our time is too valuable to let a moment go to waste. We need steal as much life as we can out of each day. And I certainly feel like we have done this every single day for 28 days.


This is mainly due to my ride-or-die-hommie – Colleen – the driver, who drove over 3,5000 miles around north America (Thanks so much Colleen!). Think driving miss daisy meets velema and louise. we visited 14 USA states and 2 provinces in Canada! I visited 6 whole new places/cities – making my knowledge of certain states that I had already ticked off before – even better! With Pittsburg being one of my favourite new cities to have visited. Must be that steel connection. I love understated, post industrial, arty cities *cough*-sheffield-*cough*


We drove through the most glorious sunsets, that hung around for an hour in all their pinky, orange and purple gloriness. In the end it was like we were actually chasing the sunsets. The more south and west we went, the longer they hung around, felt like you could touch them and looked like paintings in photos.


We hardly arrived anywhere on time between each destination, (thanks google maps when we were planning for the lies!) but it just goes to show that it’s the journey that matters, and it was never about the destination anyways (especially given that our destination would be back where we had started). In the wrong turns and google suggested adventures, we discovered uncharted areas, and ghost towns of rich-pasts, farm lands, mountains, kangaroo, gems, moon-views, world wonders, the brightest stars and the clearest skies! endless waffle houses and many a gas-station toilet.


We saw dinosaurs, ate at 120 year old functioning ice-cream parlours, farms of various sizes including the massive production of milk for the North of the USA. We chased waterfalls, and slept in places that felt like we could be in a horror movie — or places that only a protagonist would be staying in to run away from something in their past. (this was emily’s house BTW – deep in a rainforest in Georgia — she said we wouldn’t find it – and boy-was she right!)


We got some incredible emily warning ceramics, and colleen booked an AirBnB that looked like it was decorated in 1920’s (& i swear down it could have been haunted, i had to sleep with the light on- C still thinks i’m being dramatic about it- but those who saw my insta-story will know the truth).

IMG_9435 2


I learnt that Colleen sleep walks and talks (don’t worry, she mostly did this in motels/hotels). We nearly picked up a hitchhiker (he invited himself along and we had to politely decline saying the car was too full of pottery for him to have a seat & we were heading to dinasour world next) He quickly disappeared once he thought that *we* were the weirdos. And I also learnt that Colleen is very opinionated about things including road-side eateries. I want her to start a podcast or youtube channel where people just give her a subject and she’ll rift about how scandal-less or waste of time/money it is, or how amazing it is.


I learn about a dude called Mr Rodgers and how to be kind to ourselves and others through his teachings (& colleen’s pure love for him). and all things from Pittsburgh.


My french is still LA-TERRIBLE, c’est very bad. (the only time i sound proper yorkshire is when i speak another language). I was constipated for 3/4 of the whole time here (HA). And i ripped my stitches out of my mouth by accident eating SI Broccli! HA!


Time Zones confused us often. Did you know Tennessee & Kentucky & Chicago is central zone but parts of Indiana and Ohio is not?! very confusing. Tax across the USA is wild. Chicago was the most expensive. We’ve tried lots of foods, from 10am ice-cream in Columbus, Ohio, to mexican breakfasts in Chicago, to Wah Wah gas station food, the biggest slices of pizza in philly (& the worst greek salad haha), to sweet potato pancakes in the south, chicken & waffles, pirogies of all types, hot dogs, my fav tacos and “water and leaf” soups, oatmeal shakes, piles and piles of freshly prepared dumplings, my fav Chinese- PHU-GEES in NH and beyond. I keep ordering far too much food and don’t learn.


My Sandy Island adventures got me chasing sunrises, i drank too much and kept Lea up chatting absolute bollocks. It made me fully miss sandy summers. I got to see my crew from over the years including Dave B, and Kate, and Julia. Vanda and I reminisced about our Sydney adventures. and Dani and the crew and I went Northern Lights hunting! It feels so weird and good to have a base there. A place that feels like a home. Like a good Smizz Horcrux. I feel like bits of my soul is in NYC and sandy Island. Who knew New Hampshire would ever be a smizz place?


I’ve spent a good month being glad for life, surrounded by people who I love, doing what I love, & meeting more new super awesome people. I’ve been shown many true and generous acts of kindness this year – here in the USA and back at home. And I’m completely humbled and for ever grateful for these. Thanks just doesn’t seem to come even close to how i want to say Thank you! to EVERYONE!

IMG_8290 2

one morning this summer before my trip here – with my mouth in stitches, and appointment sheets for the next abdominal surgery, I burst into tears over breakfast, convinced that this illness had drained me of my creative & living/Smizz abilities. Even in that dark moment, though, I knew that my co-workers & friends wouldn’t let me fail. And it isn’t just picking up the baton when I drop it; they’ve (you’ve) motivated and encouraged me through periods of lucidity to art/live the best I could. I’m so damn lucky.


I feel that I have a little more understanding of what it means to fall over and feel that you have to get up, no matter what you have to leave behind in the process. This is an easy realization to come to because I’m pretty lucky that I have you -all- the amazing people in my life, who have supported me & helped me to live. Whatever i’ve lost, you make it feel like i’m nearly whole. All I have is that you should appreciate what you’ve got.


I tend to do these trips when I’m sort of running away from what’s been happening to me. It hurts. But I’ve thought long & hard about what I want out of life. And i want to be here for at least another 5 years.

Today I got to see Alex 1 last time, and the way he talks about leadership & connecting always inspires me and i feel it in the pitt of my stomach. (i can’t wait for his future book). As he says, doctors check for pulses but he checks his people. And that’s what i love about him, and something i’m trying to aim for too. My USA trips are always inspiring me to be better, to commit to my work, to give back to my community. I have some time, and if I use it well. It will be more than enough.


through all this stuff, I feel like I’ve grown up a second time. I’m broken; But I am alive. I’m coming home to  fix some more gnarly health stuff, but i’m re-charged to finish my PHD, start my new work contracts using arts based research methods in public health and doing research into social detriments and getting rid of these health inequalities as much as we can through ensuring access is made for the people who need these services. and restructing injustice things within policy and beyond. I’m looking forward to really starting to lay the bones down for “REAL “- a business adventure with Helen doing social-justice through creative practice. and lots of stuff in between.


i’m constantly looking forward to sunsets and bike rides and tacos and getting dirt on my boots and feeling grass between my toes and feeling the calm breeze sweep my face as i drive with the windows down. these are the small, forgettable pieces of life that i think contain all the magic, all the billion little tiny disco ball reflections and retractions of the love and light in this world.


This life is teaching me that there are golden moments, and the darkness cannot touch them. I’m learning the art of discovering those moments, the ones hiding in hard moments and challenging days. but man.. is it worth it.

Wish me luck! and see y’all later!


Happy (early-UK) Thanksgiving, Friends this is for you.

As my American friends will know, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving a week early here in the UK. But never the less. HAPPY UK THANKSGIVING FRIENDS.

Today I am grateful (& everyday, of course). My thoughts on suffering, empathy, and community responsibility have been completely re-shaped and shifted over the course of the journey of illness. New convictions will reveal themselves as life gives me opportunities to feel them, I’m sure.

And now I state it all the time, but it’s because I hardly said it before. I’m truly blessed & thankful for my amazing & supportive family: My mom, Bro & Nan! And for all my wonderful, ever-courageous & kind & giving friends, new & old! I can only do what I do because of y’all. And I owe you all so much more!

Thanks for being awesome. 🙂

Love & Light & survivorship & belief.


Today I go to the Big Sur: A place I never thought I’d ever get to.

Today I go to the Big Sur: A place I never thought I’d ever get to. Mainly because I can’t drive – and how else would I get there. The hotels are expensive and there’s no public transport that goes close.  But I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go here, even for a few hours. Just to see it. I want to see the purple sand, I want to climb across the cliff tops. Feel real. Go to that place that Jack Kerouac writes about, that the kid in Into The Wild runs aways to.

I hope it’s as beautiful as i think it will be. And even if it’s not. I don’t care. I got there.

In less than a weeks time, my dream trip will be over. I will be on a plane going home to confirm whether I really do have Lymphoma, or hopefully something less dramatic.

And yet, here I am, I’ve never felt so alive (despite, you know, feeling yucky still). I got to spend the summer on an island in the middle of a beautiful lake in New Hampshire doing arty stuff,  spent lots of time in Boston with friends, reconnecting with old friends on the road, and make new friends along the way. I don’t think I’ve laughed as constantly as much as I have done in years. I just saw the sun set and rise above the clouds, on the beach, on the road, over the Grand Canyon, in the dessert, on the Mississippi, over skylines and rooftops and the clearest night skies in the world. I visited Napa, Santa Cruz, Monterey and soon the Big Sur for the first time, and ticked things off the bucketlist which I had no idea were on there. Ate the freshest fruits, the greatest foods. I’ve just seen 18 states in one roadtrip. I take a flight back to the East Coast tomorrow, where my friend is going to pick me up at 1am in the morning at JFK to take me back to New England to spend time with more of my friends – for just 2 nights -and see the real beginning of the foliage and drive me back to NYC to spend my last days in USA with my new-york-adopted family.

It took me a potential life-threatening “unifying diagnosis” for me to see just how loved I am. And how grateful I am just to be loved. Dear friends, I am humbled and grateful for your support and your love. I’m not a lovey-dovey type – My street-cool-edge-britishness doesn’t allow such a thing. But I know i don’t say it enough. But i love you all.

Whatever the outcome: Here’s to living life, how it should be lived – minute by minute.Happiness only exists when shared.

What Happens in Memphis, stays in Memphis (& New Orleans) Roadtrip continued


SUNDAY Memphis (continued)

We get to Memphis. And we already know that it’s PARTY TIME because we change CD and this CD has 2pac -Changes & Sean Paul – Get Busy on it. ( a song that basically captures my life when I was 15 and when i had a crush on my Jamaican Biology teacher at the time so i listened to a lot of dancehall music) So you know it’s ON.




We check into an Econolodge – for mega cheap bucks. It comes with 2 double beds, which look soooooo good after sleeping in a car onto of each other for over 11 hours. The first thing we do is fight for a SHOWER! oh the simple pleasures that life offers us. Katka asks about beer. She is beside herself at the prospect that not only can she smoke in the hotel, she can swim AND smoke AND drink a beer at the same time. Her vacation is made.


We leave the hotel, feeling so fresh and so clean, clean. Grab a great sausage hot dog from a real Memphis BBQ in the park with a music and craft festival going on just off Beale Street. Katka can’t believe that she can buy 1.5 pints of booze IN the Street for only $5, and take it into another bar, or just drink it on the street. She announces that this is her favourite place ever. We go into a soul bar, and have an amazing time dancing listening to a great jazz-soul live band. I buy an ice-cream and catch a cab home around 12:30 am. Leaving the others to party. They come back around

2pm. Josh literally passes out on the floor, Rado brings full huge glasses of beers and puts them onto of the TV.


Monday – Memphis – New Orleans


We stay in bed until 9. I get up. The others don’t move. I upload photo’s on Facebook – keeping to my job. It’s nearly 11 – check out time and I decide to wake the others up. We ask for a later check-out time. And bounce. We get amazing super awesome cheap italian food for under $7. And everything is great in the world. The others announce that they can’t remember anything from 12:30 onwards and wonder where they got these wrist bands from. They blame not drinking for 3 days on their ability to get smashed on $40 worth of beer between them.


I go to do laundry. It takes us literally 4 attempts at finding coin operate laundrettes. Clearly everyone seems to own their own washer or pays the dry cleaners to do it for them. We end up in the back end of Memphis, at the most ghetto laundoromat that i have ever seen. out of 50 washing machines only 5 of them don’t have a ‘out of order’ sticker on. The place is run by the nicest woman though, who knows all the tricks to get the machines working, including bumming a door shut in a weird way to make the washing machine start. That in itself was worth the trip.


We take this time to clean the car and buy some much needed febreeze to cover the smell we have gained from sleeping and eating in the car. We meet up with the others who went to the Rock and Roll museum, clearly my priorities are not in order.


We drive the 6 hours to NEW ORLEANS. Rado notices that the light at the back of the car isn’t turning off. We tell him to leave it. but it also turns out that Rado has a tiny bit of OCD in him. He constantly changes the air-conditioning by the smallest amounts – ‘to make it just right’. We have to pack the trunk of the car in order of bags. My suitcase always goes first. And he has to park the car in the same place if we drive to the same location.


So Rado ends up breaking the light to the point that it falls out of the roof. It takes him another hour to fix it and put it back to normal.  The drive is a breeze. We all chat and learn about people we don’t really know. Our drunkeness and unspoken about event has brought us more closer together. We stop off at a gas station on the way down because of course Rado and Kafka are hungry. This gas station is like the cheapest i’ve ever been to.  They go wild at how cheap it is for 3 mini burgers, fries and huge large coke for $4. Shaggy and myself decide not to indulge (plus the burger meat looked a bit like cat food) and wait it out for a big meal in New Orleans. I do however get a 59cent ice cream! 59cents!


We get to New Orleans around 11pm, and Smizz’s amazing price line reservations comes up again. Pelham Hotel looked like the BOMB. It was classy, boutique like, the rooms were beautiful and part of a great looking building and only 2 blocks away from the french quarter. When I check in we go to the room to find wood shavings and paint buckets on the floor. it takes me a while to gage the situation. at first i was like, oh well. there’s wood on the floor and was going to ignore it. But then I spotted the paint buckets and thought better of it (i’m notorious for avoiding anything where i have to complain to someone about something). So i went downstairs, they apologised and gave us an even bigger room. SCORE.


We then dumped our stuff,  and of course get straight onto the free wifi like tramps on chips. We then decide at 11:30ish to search for the great food we had talked about for 6 hours down. Steak, shrimp, gumbo. Yeah. But of course New Orleans at night at midnight closes down and is only open for partying. It’s not New York City. So we ended up get $5 bowls of decent but not amazing Jambalaya just on Bourbon Street with fountain cokes. We are living the LIFE. We walk the street after the UK Kebab Shop eating style experience but with Cajan food. Josh buys a touristy t-shirt about drinking. The Slovakians buy more pencils (their souvenir of choice for every place we visit). and we head back to the hotel for an early-ish (1.30am) night.


In the morning – we have NO IDEA what time it is as our room has no windows. It’s pitch black and drunken Rado had unplugged everything the night before, except setting the alarm which he had set to go off – mega loud. So an alarm goes off. No one except Rado knows where the alarm is ( orin fact that we had an alarm!). He stands on Shag who was sleeping on the floor, and turns it off. We all go back to sleep for 15 minutes. When the alarm goes off again! Ok, so we go back to sleep only to get House-keeping knocking at door almost another 15 minutes later. We tell her to go away! and then we go back to sleep only to get the room phone ringing? We’re like., daymn. New Orleans wants us TO GET THE FUCK UP!

After the phone rings again, we decide it’s time to start the day!  Josh and Shag go to the War Museum, whilst Rado, Katka and myself decide to dedicate our day to Touristing it up!


I take many photo’s trying to capture the beautiful architecture. Rado complains that he’s hungry. I have to convince him not to eat at Subway. We end up at an Oyster Bar, where people are wearing bow ties and get seated on a balcony that overlooks the street. I get the best GUMBO EVER. TICK. We have a really great time. We then go on the search for pencils for Rado’s collection. We buy Galato ice-creams, walk along Missippi river, Farmers Market, Go on the Paddle boat, more shops, Go to the Louie Armstrong Park and get drinks. At this point I’m pooped and head back to Hotel to sleep off my tiredness for the night.


6 pm comes around sharp. We get ready, get great burgers & Jambalya for the nights antics ahead! We go to a bar playing country music first. i have no idea who decided that. But perhaps it was the fact that there was a mechanical bull inside which sealed the deal!  The crew can’t believe that it only costs $6.50 for 3 beers! Kafka LOVES it. I buy a Hurricane, as i need to tick it off my bucket list. I pay $10 for the biggest strongest cocktail, ever. The drinks keep coming, I keep on drinking the hurricane, a crazy woman with shots comes around. She has rado, he asks how much, she says it’s THREE. He thinks she says it’s FREE. So he does a bunch of shots where she holds test tubes of alcohol in her mouth and pores it into your mouth. He think’s this is super amazing and demands Katka to have some shots from the woman. He then demands Shag to do it, when Shag announces that he’s not paying. Rado is like “Oh no Josh! They are FREE!” We go, no Rado – they’re $3 dollars EACH. He is beside himself. We laugh at his miss fortune. The woman waits around to get paid. She comes back around after we’ve had a few more drinks – i of course am still on the big HURRICANE of a drink!  She tells Shag he must do it because it would make a great photo. I agree. So he does it, he then demands that I do it. It’s one of the most awkward moments of my summer. I’m really not sexy in any-way at all when it comes to stuff like that. I’m like a repressed Brit, you know? I realise that i possibly could have a cavity on my back lower tooth when we do the shot. I paid the woman to find out whether I have cavities or not, thankfully I only seem to have a potential 1. Next up is Josh who manages to get them from the breasts of the woman instead of her mouth. Shag is totally jealous. faux pas player. The shot woman asks to see the photos, she admires that they’re in black and white and says it looks ‘classy’, which isn’t exactly what i would describe them as. She gives me her Facebook and asks me to tagg her in them?! She obviously love black and white photographs.


After many beers, $3 body shots and a visit to the dodgy bathrooms later, we bounce and end up dancing on the street. Some how I end up with a drink called ‘Jester’ and I tell Josh he needs to buy a ‘Hand grenade” cocktail. He comes back with some green cherries. I tell him that it’s not a Hand Grenade, we all try them and they’re officially DISGUSTING. We manage to eat them between us. He goes off to try and get the real deal, but comes back with more Cherries. We can’t give them away, and it seems wasteful to waste them so we eat more digesting vodka drenched green cherries.  (Yeah, illuminous green).


We end up in a rock bar, Shag is so drunk he dances. The Slovakians pick up another Slovakian. We dance to Journey, and other cliched songs. We shot-gun beers in the street, Josh buys more pizza, Shag runs off to bed, The Slovakians go into a service station style deli for fried chicken. Katka says it’s the best chicken she’s ever had. We stumble back to the hotel. Shag has already passed out. Katka plays Brenda Lee’s christmas album, so Josh tries to cancel it out by playing Notorious BIG. It’s a surreal moment. Katka accepts defeat and Josh tries to call his mom via Skype, drunk. I shower, because I’m a responsible tipsy drunk and all 3 of us try sleeping in the same bed. Katka leaves White Flag by Dido on repeat on a low level on her tablet. We wake up in the morning to Dido, White Flag – still playing.


We pick up the car from the valet (because we’re just that classy with out black and white shot photos). And start the journey onwards to Austin TX. We have a long 9 hour drive across LA and Texas.





Let me introduce us. There are 5 of us. All international, 3 Brits and 2 Slovakians.

Josh & Rado are our designated drivers.

Shaggy was our map-reader until we outsourced his job to the china made GPS.

I’m the resident blogger, facebooker and paranoid weather-person

And Katerina is the person who keeps things interesting by asking crazy questions.


Our mission, East Coast, South up to California in 21 days on a mega budget. Ultimately having the trip of a lifetime.



We did New Hampshire, did Boston and got to NYC all on separate days. The guys picked me up- 12 o’clock sharp on Friday afternoon outside Chelsea. Because of the budget we had set ourselves, I had a roadmap that I bought back at home with the bookstore discount & we had Cached google map directions. This seemed like an awesome idea right? Real map reading, proper Jack Karouak ‘On The Road’ style. But as soon as we set off from Chelsea, I soon realised that whilst Goggle Maps will eventually get you there – it might take you in some bizarre direction before that. It took us some weird way around lower manhattan, rather than directing us to the West Side Highway (which would have made much more sense) getting us stuck into grid-lock traffic.


Holland Tunnel 45 minutes later with 2 very hungry Slovakians, we were in New Jersey. YAY. All hungry from anticipation we jump onto the first service station we get to. We wander the food court looking for over-priced and under-whelming sandwiches and hot dogs, although Shaggy seemed to be pretty stoked by his first Pop-Eye’s Shrimp burger thing experience. It was clear from here on in that this kind of life-style would cost us too much and we’d be well over weight and unsatisfied if this service station habit continued. We decided there and then that we needed a food kitty and to stop at Walmart.


Half the journey to Philly is spent trying to explain to Katerina that it is illegal to drink alcohol in the car. “But, no beer? in car? Really” She seems genuinely pretty bummed. She asks if we can bribe police officers.  Again, she seemed disappointed with the answer. We get to Philly. We do all the touristy stuff in 2 hours – we check out Independence Hall, The Liberty Bell, Benjamin Franklins grave, Get a  $5 Philly Cheese Steak from a dope street vendor, take some dope photo’s, use a  Starbucks without buying anything (because this is how we roll) to google map our journey from Philly Art Museum to our Motel in Arlington, VA, get a  crazy black women telling us that there are better parts of Philly to take photo’s of, and then we did the Rocky statue and the steps with all the runners copy-catting the idea.  We were pretty pleased with ourselves. Look at us internationals, navigating the US roads with just google maps on running low laptop batteries. Katerina asks about beer.


When leaving, Google Maps takes us through some Philly ghetto, and all the back lanes through Delaware – where we stop at a Walmart – buy bread, cheese in a jar, slices of American cheese, potato chips, Philadelphia Cheese, ham and peanut butter.  We like cheese, obviously. A bunch of Powerade, some twizzlers and coke. The Slovakians try to hunt down alcohol when a Walmart assistant tells us that it’s not sold here. They’re gutted. But we say, hey we’ll get to DC soon and we can chill in the Motel with some beers.


A seemingly 3 hour drive from Philly turned into a 6 hour ride to DC due to Google Map craziness. Where we ended up in Baltimore (instead of doing the outskirts), scouted out a Pop-Eyes for Free wifi to RE-CALCULATE our route to Arlington, VA. But things aren’t  that simple. We take a highway that was going the right way, but different to Google Maps. AT 11:15pm we get stuck in GRID-LOCKED traffic right outside DC. For about an hour we sit there not moving.  With the city on the horizon almost teasing us, we decide that whatever the price, we’re gonna put in for a GPS. We talk about the joys a GPS will bring us in the traffic.  Falling into Google Maps awkwardness, we miss the turn of, not once, or twice, not even 3 times but 4 times! We drive around the Sheridan Hotel – which we were wishing we reserved by this point – and the Pentagon about 4 times. We ask for directions at a gas station and pull into a MacDonalds for more free Wifi – a mere 1.3 miles away from the Motel. SO close, yet so far.


It is now 1am Saturday morning, we can’t believe the luck at the awesome Motel that I had stumbled upon online and reserved us. It had the hope of the 60’s. It felt like we could have been in a Hollywood classic movie. Modernism eat your hear tout. Everything was everything. We were the new era  seeking out adventure.

We settle in for the night. I of course Facebook a brief update. And everything is alright in the world. Except no beers.



With the new hopes of the GPS, we set out fresh eyed and on a mission. We had planned out the next route. We planned to stay in DC until 9PM doing everything physically possible, and to drive 11 hrs and 23 minutes to Lynburgh, Tennessee through the night. (Money and time save – ca-ching!)

We take the subway to the mall ( a place where I had learnt from my last time in DC on my hunt for cheap Hollister). But we couldn’t find the Best Buy outside the mall, so naturally I go into the Ritz-Carlton to ask for directions to the Best-Buy, at which someone laughs behind a counter in the Hotel. I realised by the 3rd door that had been opened for me and graciously Greeted that this probably wasn’t the place that we ask for directions to the cheap electronics store – but we did it anyway.

We get the GPS, after some slow-ass service, and head to the Smithsonian. No time for Hollister this time  (or indeed room in my suitcase).


We do everything touristy possible. We split up – leaving Josh with Rado & Kaka at the Space &  air museum  whilst Shaggy and i check out the Hirshhorn for some art fix. We buy an ice-cream on the way as the day is so nice, and clear and hot. We checked out the art. Changing collection so not much to see. As we wait for Josh and the others to meet us in the Lobby,  i say, ‘ how weird – look how windy i’s just got?” as we look, to our dismay, the weather takes a crazy turn from ice-creams in the park  to IS THIS A TORNADO? The metal chairs outside fly off, people run towards the doors, screaming, rain is thrashing everywhere. The water fountain is blowing everywhere else except the actual fountain. After an apocalyptic moment security tells everyone to calm down, not to crowd control but to check everyone’s bags. Oh America. Priorities first, no terrorism.


We visit all the memorial sites and Lincoln, we see the back-side of the White House and hunt out Chinese Food in Chinatown where we eat so much food that we roll back to Arlington to the Motel to set off for our 11 hours car ride to TN.  WE ARE LIBERATED. THE GPS IS GOD. The road turns misty, I freak out and make a big deal about cloud formations, after all – this is my role- paranoid weather person. The night turns cold.  We teach Kaka English terms such as “Blow Job”, in which her response is – ” like the wind? wind job?” We’re like children. But it’s an important lesson to learn.


SUNDAY – Lynchburgh TN – Memphis TN

We wake up in a rest area. The car smells rancid. I smell even worse. We’ve all druled on one another or the window at some point. This is the stuff that road trips are MADE OF! We become aware at some point that there is a time change.  Although it took 2 hours for us to figure it out. We name the GPS ‘Teri’ her dominate stance has given her the reputation to be a bit of a butch Lesbian.


We arrive at Lynchburgh TN Jack  Daniels Distillery. We get semi-naked in the car-park of the visitors centre, as you do. Brushing our teeth with Gatrade and a quick breakfast of Jarred cheese and chips. We have a dope tour guide.  Kaka is disappointed once more that because Tennessee is a dry state she can’t buy any alcohol. The cards are not in her favour when it comes to alcohol on this trip.


We leave Lynchburgh for Memphis. We have no hotel or motel reserved. We’re going to be spontaneous. The 4 hour ride from here to Memphis is full of roadkill, Rado is still hungry. Until then. Peace!










Making the most of my time: The Roadtrip Begins

My friend sent me this awesome quote ina  great email yesterday:

“We shall never have more time.  We have, and have always had, all the time there is.
No object is served in waiting until next week or even until tomorrow.
Keep going..Concentrate on something useful.”   -Arnold Bennett-

As recently, I can’t get out of my head just the potential of the idea that I have less time in this life than what I bargained for. With everyday I feel more tired, or every stabbing pain in my abdomen or everytime I feel the enlarged lymph nodes in my neck & under my arms.  Although I am 100% sure I will be OK, as well, everyone keeps saying i will be OK in the end (including tarot card readers, and dodgy healers), it’s just about the ‘journey’ – or something like that. But I definately want to take quality over quantity. Any day, any time! It’s almost selfish, but I don’t care.

And that’s why it was imperative for me to do the roadtrip instead of going home a few weeks earlier like recommended.

The plan, for now: I have some time, and if I use it well, it will be more than enough. I want to do everything this trip, that I’ve used excuses for normally – like money, fear, failure, time, ect.  I’m going to immerse myself in the Pacific Ocean – which I haven’t done in over 2 years. I’m going to watch the sunrise and sunset in many different time-zones on different types of rocks and landscapes, I’m gonna make hobo-dinners (sANDY iSLANd thing), try food I normally wouldn’t, and write, draw and take photos along the way.

I want to gamble in Vegas, roll around in some beach sand, feel the infinite power of the universe from the skys up above in the desert lands of the south west. I want to eat some proper shrimp from New Orleans, even though I hate seafood, and dance on the streets.

As my friend Alex said the other day, I’m going to tick things off my bucket-list I didn’t even know were on my bucket-list.Image


FIRST UP —- PHILLY & DC – DAY 1. Friday. Get this bitches.


Camp/motels/hostels/hotels/places to stay Sites
USA Roadtrip

Option 1: (6th September 2012)
NYC -> DC (Stay in DC for a few hours) – Ride to West Virgina – stay there the night.
‪Kanawha State Forest‬‎
‪7500 Kanawha State Forest Drive‬
‪Charleston, West Virginia 25314‬
‪(304) 558-3500‬

‪100 Baker Lane‬
‪Charleston, WV 25302‬
‪(304) 348-6859‬

Motel 6 – Charleston East #1112
I-64/I-77 at MacCorkle Avenue, Exit #95
6311 MacCorkle Ave SE
Charleston, WV 25304
(304) 925-0471

Option 2: (6tH September 2012)
Drive to DC ( 4 hours) spend night with Tizzy/other sandy island members.

(7th) Drive 10 hours to Louisville – Kentucky.

Bluegrass Mobile Home Parkmore info‎
3510 Bluegrass Park Drive
Louisville, KY 40218
(502) 458-7069

Trackside RV Parkmore info‎
3717 S 4th St # 6
Louisville, KY 40214
(502) 366-2237

ECono Lodge Downtownmore info‎
401 South 2nd Street
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 583-2841

8th September – Set off early to Memphis, TN
Stop off at Nashville on the way. 6-8 hour drive.

Graceland RV Park & Campgroundmore info‎
3691 Elvis Presley Boulevard
Memphis, TN 38116
(901) 396-7125

Mississippi River RV Parkmore info‎
870 Cotton Gin Place
Memphis, TN 38106
(901) 946-1993

Memphis East Campgroundmore info‎
3300 Canada Road
Lakeland, TN 38002
(901) 388-3053

340 West Illinois Avenue
Memphis, TN 38106
(901) 948-9005 ($37)

9th September
Option 1: Drive 4 hours to Jackson, MS Stay the night

OR Option 2: Drive to Jackson MS, check it out for an hour or so
Drive an extra 4/5 hours to NEW ORLEANS.

Option 1 – Get to NEW ORLEANS ON 10TH

Option 2: Arrive New Orleans at 9th september

10th September
Book something on: airbnb?
Book motel/hotel? Expedia – average 100 a night for hotel downtown. ($20 each a night)

Leave 12th September to Austin TX
Stopping at Houston for a bit.
Driving time with stops 8-10 hours.

Stop with smizz’s friend in Austin.
1 day in Austin?

Drive to Dallas? 14th september? Stay with Smizz’s friend?

If not – 14th September drive 12 hours to Santa Fe, NM

Hyde Memorial State Park‎
New Mexico
(505) 983-7175

Santa Fe KOAmore info‎
934 Old Las Vegas Highway
Santa Fe, NM 87505
(505) 466-1419

Rancheros De Santa Fe Campgroundmore info‎
736 Old Las Vegas Highway
Santa Fe, NM 87505
(505) 466-3482

Leave Santa Fe on 15th September to Grand Canyon – 8 HOURS.


Grand Canyon Camper Villagemore info‎
549 Camper Village Loup
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
(928) 638-2887

Mather Campgroundmore info‎
Grand Canyon National Park
1 Village Loop Road, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
(928) 638-7888

Grand Canyon South Rimmore info‎
1 Yaki Point Road
Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023
(928) 638-7888

Watch sunset, sunrise, hike?

Leave sunrise early on 17th to

Option 1: Zion

(5 hour drive)
Angels Heights Hike.

Zion Canyon Campgroundmore info‎
479 Zion Park Blvd
Springdale, UT 84767
(435) 772-3237

Watchman Campgroundmore info‎
Watchman Campground Hwy 89
Springdale, UT

oR Option 2: STRAIGHT TO VEGAS on 17th (8 hour drive)

If option 1: Leave 18th September for Vegas
3 hour drive.

Cheap Casino Hotel

If option 2: Leave for San Fran on 20th September

Option 1: Leave Vegas on 21st For San Francisco
9 hour Drive
Stay with Dave Barth

Leave San Francisco on 22nd/23rd

Pacific Coast Highway – Stop at Santa cruz?
Santa Barbara

Get to LA on 24/25th?

Flight from LAX 26th.

Time is Uncertain, yo.

Time is uncertain. I’ve always known this. I have so many other blog posts dedicated to my mind-boogle with time. Time is a personal construct: an ever shifting, ever evolving phenomena. Where in some parts of the world it’s linear and in others it’s more circular and whole (which it should be viewed as).

We should never live by the clock, or feel forced to do something, or indeed put something off because of the amount of time limited.

Most people don’t know this. But 4 weeks ago I was told by a Haematologist Oncologist at Boston Medical Center to go back home to the UK for a Bone Marrow Biopsy to see if I a type of Lymphoma or not (as my USA Medical Insurance policy doesn’t cover to have it done here).  I ignored this advise ( not without cause: mostly because I have already had a pretty decent work up including CT Scans earlier in the UK – which were clear – and what’s a few more weeks?). I will of course, in 3 weeks time be coming home – earlier than planned – to indeed get the test.  But in the limbo between my in denial of ‘my doctor in the UK said it was just a virus’ and ‘what if I really do have cancer?’ I’m left re-evaluting things.

I’m using this time to really use it as an excuse to do everything I want to do. No other excuses, like money, time, fear, failure, ect. And when I find out that I don’t have any serious potentially impending doom senario  (here’s to hoping, yo!) – I will learn from this moment and never again (or try to, anyways) waste my time. Because, I do waste a lot of my time.

I’ve been working with a lot of female mothering artists, who work full time and still manage to bang out loads of works of art. So I should learn from this.  There’s so much I want to do, so watch this space here.

Here’s to a more together, focused, fun, better, kinder Smizz.

Things to look out for that I’m organizing or taking part in:

– I just done some drawings for a workshop at MADE Festival, very exciting.

Sponsored Bike ride in November from The Donx to Sheffield for Lymphoma & Leukaemia Research Charity – Please sponsor us! 

Bloc Projects – Assembly 13, Sheffield.

Researching into Co-working & art —> Something like Jelly.

– CAKE Salon

CAKE RE-LAUNCH – First with newsletters.

SLAM-JAM (realistically probably in Feb 2013)

– Finishing my L3 BTEC in Science

– Continue, developing Re-Advertise with Abi Goodman

But more on all of this soon. Realistically, in October when I’m back in the UK. Being drilled into.


RoadTrip USA inspiration blog

You know tumblr’s are all the range right. It’s because they make other peoples images look awesome. As a lil something, something to inspire me – keep me focused for the summer – take my mind off my weird health issues, I’m putting a kick ass tumblr together of great images of America & roadtrips – Until I can pop my own up during/after the roadtrip. Keep it locked here! http://roadtripsmizz.tumblr.com/

Other Tumblr’s of mine: http://streetarchitect.tumblr.com & the old journal of my Chicago days: http://chitownsmizz.tumblr.com/