Twelve Days of Adventures #7: An Unscheduled Adventure

In 2012, instead of a 52 project, I did a 40+12 project, 40 Days of 40 Favorite Things for my 40th birthday plus 12 Adventures.  This post is one such adventure.  While it does not  include a gluten-free or healthy recipe, it is part of my healthy approach to life lived well.  I hope you’ll read along when I write about my adventures, they are an important part of the journey to health!

Some of my favorite adventures are very spontaneous, no planning required…or even permitted.  And sometimes the Universe conspires to make an adventure happen if you are willing to be open to it.

Boy, was I open to this one.  Working from home, unshowered, still in my jammies after most folks have had lunch, I took a peek at Facebook. A post from Cafe Gratitude KC caught my eye, Jason Mraz was lunching there and was gonna play a few songs.

I jumped up, ripped my phone loose from the computer and yelled across the house at my husband, “I gotta go and like quick!  Jason Mraz is at Cafe Gratitude.”  To which he said, “Like that?  You gonna change?”  So yeah, I threw on something that resembled clean but slightly wrinkled, brushed my messy mop of hair and headed to the car.  Once I got to the car, I realized my husband was tagging along, always up for an adventure, indulging me in these bouts of crazy.

Here’s the thing…we live half an hour from Cafe Gratitude.  We were probably going to miss Jason Mraz.  We talked about that in the car on the way there.  But we’d go anyway, no one there would judge my messy hair or wrinkled shirt and I’d have a juice, my favorite fella would order dessert for himself and magically a second spoon would appear so I could have a few nibbles.  It always happens that way at Cafe Gratitude, we do this often.

But I was not going to miss the chance to see Jason Mraz.  Maybe not for the reasons you think.  I had tickets for that evening’s concert, it wasn’t so much about hearing him play.  It was me hoping for a chance to express my gratitude to him in person.  To tell him his blog changed my life.  Not kidding here. Changed.My.Life.

How’s that possible, you ask?  Many years ago, when I was a calorie-counting fool, trying desperately to lose that 150 pounds that took 4 or 5 years to leave, a friend told me about this musician who made chocolate mousse out of avocados.  She said the recipe was on his blog, I should google it.  I did and I made chocomole often.  A lot. Obsessively.  I had never eaten dates before, they were from a healthier section of the store than where I usually shopped.  I knew a little about agave and someone had recently told me about raw veganism so I understood a little but it was new to me.  So this dessert, chocomole, introduced me to something way new AND tasty.

It grew from there.  Jason Mraz blogged about his carry-on food kit, the essentials to eating well while on the road.  Prior to that, I had used being away from home as an excuse to not eat well.  Excuse removed, I built a road kit.  I travel with such a thing to this very day.  It is larger when I travel by road, smaller when I’m flying.  But I always know now that I am going to eat well wherever I am.  I am not as likely to count on someone else to feed me when it’s outside of their ability, I’m not as easily frustrated or worried about what/where I will eat.  It’s such a peaceful way to be.  I learned all of this from Jason Mraz before I had medically necessary food restrictions, I was just a plain ol’ vegetarian trying to get healthy and lose the fluff.

So here we are, I’m now a certified Living Foods Chef (fancy speak for raw vegan chef), I’ve kept that extra fluff off for quite a few years, I’m teaching others how to improve their lives with food.  And I really wanted to share that gratitude with Jason Mraz in person.

Back to the adventure…we drove across town, pulled down the street and spotted a parking space right in front of Cafe Gratitude, which said to me Jason Mraz surely must have left.  Even though I drive a little car, I didn’t fit in the parking space (but surely provided some entertainment for the sidewalk diners who watched me try) and drove down the street, cutting through a parking lot to turn around and find a space on the other side of the street.

In that parking lot was a black SUV with what  I guessed was Jason Mraz’s entourage.  That word, entourage, seems so wrong when describing anyone with Jason Mraz, but you get what I mean.  So again, another assumption on my part that he had already left.  My husband (love that fella) reminded me we had agreed to just embrace the day and grab a juice anyway.  So we parked, jaywalked across the street and headed to Cafe Gratitude.

I had no more than stepped onto the sidewalk when I saw Jason Mraz, guitar case and to-go box in hand, walking toward me.

Stay cool.  Don’t lose it.  Be strong, don’t just let him walk past you. Say what is in your  heart.

“No way, it’s you!”  Those are the words that fell out of my mouth.  “And it’s YOU!,” Jazon Mraz said.  It was me…and my favorite fella…and Jason Mraz.  Standing on the sidewalk, near Cafe Gratitude.  IN KANSAS CITY.  So much about this picture was unimaginable to me.  AMAZING.

In an uncommon moment of togetherness, I expressed my gratitude to Jason Mraz.  He listened.  When I told him chocomole changed my life, he said it changed his, too.  I told him he set me on the path to a changed life with a simple blog post.  He told me I had the ability to do that, too, to change people’s lives with food.  We talked about how incredible it is to have Cafe Gratitude in the Heartland, how great it is to see Natalie pursue her dream and make it happen.  And there was love, y’all.  Lots of love.

What happened the rest of the day is pure crazy.  I got two great offers to teach culinary classes, I hit a stumbling block with a location for one and that was resolved quickly in a conversation with a friend…a friend who I had shared a meal with at Cafe Gratitude recently.  A phone call with an opportunity so big I never even dreamed it came in the afternoon. You know how you have those big moments, like something major happens in the month of April and when you look back on April, that’s the big thing you recall?  Yeah, I had four or five of those things happen in ONE DAY.  Full of gratitude, slightly overwhelmed and embracing every tiny little fiber of the goodness.

In the evening, I went to the Jason Mraz concert with two ladies I absolutely adore.  It was a gorgeous night, a light breeze, perfect for an outdoor concert. What a concert it was, simply beautiful. It was the planned part of the day and a fun way to wrap up the adventure.  Always open to an adventure….


  1. says

    Oh, Johnna, what an amazing, uplifting post! I think your story and words here will be so inspiring to everyone. I did not know that Jason Mraz had been your inspiration in so much. Very, very cool, and you, in turn, will be others’ inspiration with this post. You will inspire folks to eat healthier, to carry food they can eat safely in a travel kit (which sounds far more complicated than it is), to seize the moment to experience adventures, and to see where being open too one adventure can lead to so many more adventures and opportunities. I’m so very glad you got to meet him in person and so excited to see all that you will be doing the next few months!


  2. says

    I smiled, then I cried, then I smiled some more. I knew you got to meet him, but the story is AMAZING! I would have expected nothing less than his response to you when you saw him. His post on gratitude years ago rocked my world. Love that man!


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