I'm 36 this year, reasonably intelligent, reasonably professionally successful, living in Chicago, blessed with so many things, including lots of friends and a great family. But I'm not as happy as I want to be. I'm ready to leave the city, but I don't know where I want to go. I'm ready for a different career, but I don't know what I want to do. I'm restless and bored and am not interested in doing many of the things someone of my demographic is likely to be interested in doing: decorating or (god forbid) renovating my home, living in the suburbs, getting promoted at work. At this point, watching multiple hours of Judge Judy while eating an entire box of Wheat Thins is far more my speed. On the other hand, I'm a little long in the tooth to be crazy party girl, and it doesn't interest me much anyway. (Yes, I am as big a bundle of laughs as it sounds like I am.)
The one thing I am sure of is that I love to train Brazilian jiu jitsu, an incredibly fun martial art. It's difficult to explain the allure of BJJ to people who don't do it. Just imagine the most fun, the most perplexing, and the most challenging things you have ever experienced. Mix them all together, multiply by 10, and add in an array of crazy, fascinating people, politics, culture, and, of course, food. Oh, and sweat, close quarters, and injury. That's basically what you get when you become interested in BJJ.
So because I am restless, I did what any sane person would do: quit my job, sold my home, bought a car, and planned a trip out west for the summer. And because I love BJJ, I did what any sane BJJ player would do: I structured my trip so I can train at as many schools around the country as possible. I leave on June 30 for BJJ Vision Quest 2006, the trip that will, I hope, help me improve my BJJ and figure out what the heck I should do with the next part of my life, not necessarily in that order. The rest of these pages are devoted to BJJVQ2006.