Do you have a pre-determined route or schedule for your trip?
I have a few key dates for visiting friends will on the road and I plan to be back in Michigan by the end of July. Otherwise, I do not have a planned-out route for this trip and just go where the wind takes me. Ideally I’m staying in one place for 2 weeks at a time so I don’t waste gas and don’t get burnt out from driving and having to find new spots to camp each week, but I’ve had a couple of weeks where I landed somewhere that had a stay-limit I was not aware of or the cell service and connection was not good enough to conduct my dance livestreams so I unfortunately had to relocate and try again elsewhere.
How are you able to successfully host livestreams each week for our virtual classes?
Weather that’s optimal for dancing outdoors and good internet coverage are my two main priorities for this trip so I can stay connected to my dance family while I’m out here. When I’m getting ready to move on to a new place, my selection of route and camping spots are dictated by those two factors to ensure I can maintain our weekly schedule without disruption. Thankfully the technology to see service and connection strength helps me research where I can be ahead of time, and I conduct internet speed tests immediately upon arriving somewhere to confirm that I have enough coverage for our classes.
Are you on a permanent vacation?
No, not really. In fact, maintaining routine and consistency that’s similar to life before this journey is proving crucial to my mental health while on the road. I’ve got several ongoing dance, henna, and photography projects to keep me focused from week to week. Regular chores and maintenance are a big part of my schedule for making this trip possible, in fact, I would argue that I spend more time on “household” tasks now than before….certainly doesn’t feel like a vacation when you're working so hard on upkeep for your home. When I have spent time visiting with friends out here it’s been nice to squeeze in some sightseeing and extracurricular activities, but like most travel, that can get exhausting pretty quickly and can cause you to fall behind on important work.
Are you coming back to Ann Arbor?
I will be back in Michigan for the month of August and some portion of the beginning of September (see below for tentative dates for in-person events while I’m in the mitten). I’m looking forward to some photography and henna special event days in Ann Arbor and the Lansing area. I also hope to host our hybrid virtual and in-person outdoor Zumba classes on Sunday evenings during the month of August as we did last year. However, for those of you who have asked if I have plans to move back to Ann Arbor, unfortunately at this time I cannot afford the cost of living in that community so I’m keeping my future plans flexible until a return to normal can better steer any decision.
Will we return to in person classes at The Phoenix Center?
Until Michigan’s COVID restrictions have all been lifted, I do not feel comfortable hosting indoor in-person group classes. Current capacity restrictions will not cover expenses and personally I do not enjoy conducting body movement classes while wearing a mask so I’m patiently waiting until we are 100% back to normal. In the fall of 2020 I did release my commitment to paying rent at The Phoenix Center because our online attendance was not supporting the cost and it became clear that we would not be returning to in person classes anytime soon. With all that being said, I cannot confirm if we’ll have the ability to return to our regular weekly schedule at The Phoenix Center in the future. I do hope to keep hosting virtual classes with a hybrid model after resuming indoor in-person activities because I’m thrilled to be connected with friends who log on from across the country (and Canada!) with our online offerings. So continue to enjoy not having to beat traffic to class, look for parking, carrying your dance shoes in hand through downtown, or worrying about severe weather cancellations since none of these are applicable in our virtual setting!