After leaving Sunset Campout, I zoned myself out for a while. It felt like my brain shut down as soon as we left Belden Town. There were so much to process; it overwhelmed the bandwidth my brain has after three days of lack of sleep and overly stimulated creativities. So many memories created, and I couldn't ask for any better company other than having Artemisia and Marco being the ride or die for the weekend.
I remember being overly stressed out about the situation before driving up to Belden Town for the festival. My first time camping, my first time labeled as an artist giving an art workshop, and my first time at Sunset Campout.
Before leaving for Sunset, it felt like everything that could go wrong was slowly shifting towards that direction. Arti kept telling me everything will be okay as soon as we get there. My overly OCD about making plans self knows that we're not at all well prepared enough for this. We're not sure what to expect, none of us has ever been to Sunset Campout, two of us have never camped before.
By the time we arrived at Belden Town, it had passed the 10 pm cut off for the suggested arrival time for artists. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to contact Ursula to settle in. Thankfully, this wasn't the case. We drove our car into the campsite, found a prime spot, and with a little bit of a professional help from Issac, I set up our tent! The spot we had was a real blessing; we were right next to festival camping troopers Filipe and Anyam. Shortly after we settled, we found out that Micah and his crew were staying in the cabin right next to our tent, this turned my first camping experience into lavish glamping. (Access to private bathroom and air conditioning room which I am entirely grateful for.)
I lost my sense of time the past weekend. My phone had no reception, the only time I used my phone this past weekend was when I played Candy Crush as I was trying to fall asleep every morning. I knew the days by sunrise, the only time I paid attention about time was on Saturday when I had to present my workshop.
After settling down on Thursday, we took a chill time hanging out in the cabin with our friends. I prepped some materials for my workshop. Then head back to our tent for a potentially good night sleep.
Friday morning I was woken up by the heat of direct sunlight to our tent. I remember waking up in a pile of sweat, and the heat was brutal. I soon learned that this is going to be a weekend of waking up uncomfortably under the heat. We woke up got ready, grabbed our pool floats and dipped ourselves into the river where they played fantastic house tunes right by the water. After being in the water for a bit and watching an island floaty filled with humans getting washed down the rapid I decided that I wanted to go down that path with the pizza slice I brought in honor of Ari.
Quickly I was able to recruit Anyam to join me with my crazy idea. Our game plan was to swim to the other side of the river passed the rapid, walk along the water to the start of the rapid and launch ourselves on the pizza. The game plans always sound easier than it seems and never turned out the exact way as anticipating. We ended up being washed down further from the water having to climb the rocks to go on to the other side of the river and the adventure started. The sun was shining hot and bright, the rocks were burning my bare feet, I wanted to give up, but I'm too deep in at this point I cannot look back. I stood under the shades trying to cool down my burning feet watching the water that's 100ft away from me having doubts and thoughts drifting in my mind. Next minute I was in the water cooling down my almost burnt feet waiting to ride this bad boy and having the most fun we couldn't ask for. IT WAS SO WORTH IT. For some people, this type of adventure was not that big of a deal, but for me, it was a push your self out of the fear experience, and I made it. I created a memory shared with Anang and the slice of pizza. I immediately thought of Ari and some of his crazy adventures. In my mind, I knew he'd appreciate the journey I took with the pizza I borrowed.
As the sun goes down, the adventure kept on going. After helping out wooing audiences to the Golden Gate Dolls circus show, none of us felt the connection with the music that was playing at the main stage. We decided to go on a trip into the wood for stars gazing. Four of us took a small hike deep into the woods. On our journey, we met a guide who later on fell into a shallow beach covered in water while showing us the best spot to bath under the starlights. We told her politely that we're looking for a place where we can lay down and went on our venture finding a new spot. Finally, at the end of the trail, we found a sweet spot where Artemisia, Conan, Marco and I lie down under a sky filled with shining souls.
I remember waking up from the heat, and I rolled out of tent feeling dehydrated from it. I felt like shit from the lack of sleep and how hot it was. The day started slow, and it was rough. I, later on, remembered that there's AC in the cabin and I dragged myself in there to recover from the heat.
One of my favorite part of Sunset was the water. To keep my hair color as light as it is I had to be careful about what water I dip myself into. I miss my Sundays in my home town where I'd swim in the ocean and read a book on the beach. I left for the river without a floaty this time. All I wanted to do is swim freely like a fish. Saturday was HOT. I can feel my skin burning walking under the sun. I ran into Reed, Jessica and their friend as I went into a traffic of floaties in the river. I recruited them to go on a good swim break. I stayed in the water for a while swimming laps until I had to get out to prep for my workshop later in the afternoon.
The gallery where I was supposed to give the workshop felt like a sauna steam room from the heat. I told myself that I need to look for a new spot where people can relax, not being overly heated as they're creating their galaxy.
With all the blessing, Amanda offered the spot at EAT temple, a beautiful environment display under shades of woods, for me to host my art workshop. 5 pm hits and a handful of humans showed up at my workshop. People started to roll in slowly and joined us while we're painting under the shades. I could not ask for a better vibe or any better experience than what I received. The workshop was a success, and the 11 people who part take created an incredible memory for my life journey as an artist. I appreciate the passing through who decided to stay and join us, and the people who showed up to support me. I got the warmest hug from participants telling me how beautiful my project is. Thus I know that The Galaxy of Gratitude is on the right path to the vision I had. It was a heartfelt moment that filled my soul. I am so grateful to be given that opportunity sharing my calling at Sunset Campout.
I passed out right after my workshop, it felt like a long day in such short period. After being well rested, I wanted to create more memories with friends that I knew and new friends that I made. It seems like the best timing to whip out the sparklers I brought to Sunset with us. I gathered all the friends we found on our way to the beach again. Bathing with music and surrounded by friends under the starlight, we created the moment of joy as we lit up our sparklers. The shared memories got me amped up dancing till the dawn. It's time to go to bed I told myself; it's time to call it a night.
I wasn't sure if I was well rested, but I had the longest sleep since the day I arrived at Belden town. All the art and music opened my consciousness of creativities. I wanted to make more shared memories happen.
I joined Irie and Kyle under a teepee in EAT Temple talking about art and creation; we decided that it's the right timing for us to collaborate and make some art together. In the process of looking for canvas where we can join forces on an art piece, I recalled bringing the vest I bought on eBay with the origin of making an art piece on the back of it. This is the moment! I asked Irie and Kyle if they're willing to collaborate working on my vest with me and they agreed.
We sat on the beach with the DJ playing disco music on the stage. Three of us painted my vest creating shared memories and a rad piece of art that I can walk around in. The lady who was sitting next to me saw us doing so asked me if I'd paint on her legging. It was the first time since I started painting that I felt like a real artist but an impostor. I spent the rest of the day painting, creating, and connecting with other artists.
All dreams come to an end; it's finally time to head back to reality. My head started to hurt from having all the ideas flowing through my brain. I never felt as fulfilled in life as I had ever been. On our ride home I couldn't speak a word, frames of pictures were flashing in my mind just as the car pulled out of Belden Town. I looked back and said goodbye to Sunset Campout; I know that I left a part of my soul there along with my voice. Until next time I said, until next time.