Phew, it’s been such a whirlwind since I returned from Bali. Bali was the most intense, healing, beautiful, demanding and incredible month of my entire life!!! I could write for days about that but my focus today is to catch you up on our adventure. I returned from Bali late at night on July 4th, quite fitting that I returned to wrap up life as I knew it in my home on Independence Day. I had 10 days to pack up my entire apartment. I had the task of selling, donating, packing or storing everything in my possession. I knew it was a large task, but it seemed reasonable since I was sharing a small studio apartment with my 8 year old daughter. I was definitely NOT prepared for what a huge job was ahead of me!!! I would look around and begin to pack or get rid of things and become so overwhelmed, I would shut down, grab my phone and waste an hour or two mindlessly scrolling on FaceBook. This proved to be a horrible strategy to accomplishing a lot in very little time!!! I was also experiencing a TON of anxiety about leaving, saying good-bye to friends (yes, I’m aware I can go back, it doesn’t change the fact that my entire life was about to get turned upside down and my friends, my core, my foundation was no longer within arms reach on a daily basis) and hitting the road. I wanted to soak up every second with the people closest to me, there weren’t enough hours in the day to spend quality time AND get things done!! So each day or night had some sort of celebration scheduled, (this is also NOT conducive for accomplishing a monumental to-do list). I wouldn’t trade any of those moments for anything in the world right now. I wander the halls of those memories often in my mind, stopping to enjoy each and every one of them!!!
July 16th (my scheduled departure date) came and went….. I successfully emptied my apartment on the 15th and cried as I looked at my very lonely car key on my key chain. I was officially homeless…….. Yet in that moment that I realized I had no address, I also realized that I had more homes than anyone could wish for!!!! I had at LEAST 6 dear friends offer me a place to call home if I needed it and I know there would have been so much more if I asked. I was continuously hit with how loved I am. I still can’t even completely comprehend how many INCREDIBLE people we have in our lives!!! I continued to celebrate our departure and was able to attend my dear friends gender reveal party, it’s a girl!!!! (Another complete melt down moment as I realized how much I was going to miss out on being gone for a year.) So I decided that all good things start on a Monday (new diets, exercise programs, jobs, etc…) and that became our new departure date. I picked the camper up at my friends warehouse and drove it over to another friends house (where I was staying until we left). It felt so good to have it hooked up to my car and excitement and nervousness set in immediately. Pulling out of the warehouse bay I almost ripped the AC unit out and realized towing this thing was going to have a bit of a learning curve. I only hoped the learning curve wasn’t to expensive! I successfully backed it into my friend’s driveway, and by successfully I mean I didn’t cause any damage to my new home or my friends property, but ended up at a severe angle that wouldn’t allow for another vehicle to fit into the 2 car driveway. I popped up the tiny camper and quickly realized I was going to have to clean out some more because everything was NOT going to fit!!!!
UGH…… Where do I even begin? I just shredded everything down to what became my original bare minimum for a 1 year excursion!! So I pushed back my departure AGAIN…… I pulled everything back OUT of the camper, car and car topper and leaned out even more. I took 2 boxes to storage and 2 more trips to the donation center. I accomplished MOST of my to-do list and figured if I had ONE LAST day, I could pull out on Wednesday morning, July 20th at 5:00 am and finally get started on this grand adventure. I hitched up and got the bikes situated and realized how much heavier everything was once it was all packed to the gills…… I got really nervous, yet I just couldn’t imagine going back to square one, so I said a quiet prayer and decided to go with it. Tuesday night I was up until 2 am finishing some work, doing the last load of laundry and final packing touches…… Needless to say, my 5:00 am departure was NOT happening. I started to fall into my typical mental job of self judgement and beating myself up and then I gently remembered that one of the major goals of this trip is to soften and be more gentle with both myself AND Sienna!!! So I practiced some kindness, allowed myself to sleep till 8:00 am, slowly enjoyed a cup of coffee, packed the last few things into the car and pulled out of the driveway to embark on an epic journey!!!
Sienna and I both had so many moments of joy AND struggle over the last 2 weeks, but it was behind us now. We were finally starting something we had been dreaming about and talking about for months and months. ONE thing I did NOT accomplish on my to-do list was figuring out where we were going to go first….. So we headed out, jumped on I-95 north and started driving. We had a goal of making it to Georgia, but knew that was going to be quite a task since we didn’t get onto the highway until after 11:00 am. I quickly realized that I needed to get over to the Turnpike to I-75 as we decided while we were driving that it made the most sense to go up the east coast on a more interior route and then come back down more coastal…… At least that’s our thought for now. For the very first time in my life I was cruising UNDER the speed limit. I felt every ounce of weight we were pulling, mostly in my stomach!!! I was officially a right lane traveler, with every exhale and each mile I put behind us, I gained a little more confidence in the car, the adventure and myself. I had so many moments of complete panic and the voices in my head would quite often scream at me; “what the hell are you doing?”, “you’re crazy”, “this was a terrible idea!”, “you can turn back now and it will be ok”, “I’m so scared”, “you have no plan”, “why, why, why did I ever think this was a good idea?”, “I’m not gonna make it”, and then they would be countered with a very calm and centered voice that said things like; “there’s a difference between feeling fear and being afraid”, “we got this”, “you’re going to be just fine”, “exhale sweet girl, this is your dream”, “just one mile at a time”……. I cried so many tears leaving everything I knew, my friends, my routine, my job, my gym, my yoga studio’s, my beach, my apartment, my comfort zone, my LIFE!!!! Never before had I EVER realized how much I TRULY LOVED my life!!!!
The hours passed and the distance between me and my little town grew, the tiredness began to set in. I had coffee, rolled the windows down, blasted the cold AC, blared the radio, made Sienna tell me stories, played road games, yet my eye lids would just not cooperate! I decided to pull off the highway and the next stop and find a parking lot I could grab a quick nap in. I couldn’t find anything so I pulled through a Holiday Inn thinking it would have a large enough parking lot I could turn around in, (I’m still avoiding reverse with this camper at all costs). I wind through their parking lot and BAM, I hit a dead end with a locked gate that is forcing me to back out of this part of the parking lot. My heart starts racing and I quickly scan my options……. Again the tears begin to fall, I think mostly out of exhaustion! I take a deep breath, give myself a little pep talk and decide I may be able to pull off a 284 point turn to get myself headed back in the right direction. I had my greatest driving success of my life!!! I actually got out of the car and jumped for joy after I SUCCESSFULLY navigated a 3 point turn in ONLY 3 points WITH the camper attached, (I had actually considered unhitching and turning it by hand and then rehitching as one of my options in my moment of panic) I was so proud of myself!!! I found a safe place to park and handed Sienna my phone and asked her to watch a NetFlix show and wake me up in an hour. I rolled the windows up locked the car and fell asleep. I woke up to Sienna telling me there were 3 strange men at the window. I sat up quickly with a racing heart, trying my best to orient myself to the situation. My brain quickly assessed and let me know I was not in danger. Two of the men had Holiday Inn name tags and the other looked like a mechanic. I rolled the window down already prepared to apologize for taking up their space and letting them know we would be on our way. Before I could speak, one of the men identified himself as the manager and with kindness in his eyes, explained that the mechanic was a guest who saw us and was worried about my health in a car with the windows rolled up in the heat and wanted to be sure I was ok. The manager invited us to come into the AC and rest in the lobby if I needed more rest or at least roll my windows down and he would have security keep an eye on us. He kept repeating, “whatever makes you feel more comfortable ma’am, I just want you to be safe”. I let him know how much I appreciated his kind gesture, as I had no idea what to expect, but I had gotten enough rest to be on our way. Thank you kind manager for restoring a little faith back into humanity!!!
We got back on the road and trucked along, stopping two more times for gas and dinner. I was amazed at how little complaining Sienna did….. I guess it was the iPad. I found myself so torn with it’s use. On one hand it definitely decreased the complaining and enabled us to get some serious milage under our belt, yet I also found myself feeling incredibly lonely. I would try to strike up a conversation and would be met with one word answers. The pang was deep and it hit me how often Sienna must feel the exact same way when I loose myself in my phone. Or all the years I have been COMPLETELY married to my phone and attending to work demands. Technology is quite a double edged sword for sure. This exact same technology gave Sienna a sense of connectedness when I was so far away from her in Bali, it is the same technology that has given me a small way to earn a little bit of money to keep the car gassed up on our trip, it is the same technology that connects me to the friends and family that I feel so far away from, it’s the same technology that gives me a much needed break and time to decompress when Sienna’s demands are more than I can handle, AND it’s the very same technology that separates two people sitting less than five feet away from each other and sends them into opposite corners of loneliness. I know children are a product of their environment and I am painfully aware that this behavior is a direct result of the environment she has grown up in. I know we reap what we sow and another major purpose of this trip is for me to begin sowing new threads into Sienna’s life and our relationship. I sit with my loneliness and commit to finding balance in this world of technology. My eyes continued to get heavy and although I wanted to make it to Macon, Georgia, I knew it was unsafe to continue. So I pulled into the next rest stop, Cook County Rest Stop #5 (or something like that, I know I was about 50 miles into Georgia) put the backseat down and fell asleep. Here I was the first night of my grand adventure sleeping in a rest stop. My, my, my how romantic!!! Part of me is so bummed that my “plan to have no plan” has landed me in a damn trucking rest stop and another part of me knows this is exactly where I need to sleep tonight!
The Universe is wise and kind and always provides me with the EXACT situations to learn the lessons I need in my life. I will continue to have faith in this belief, as I have enough life evidence to know that it is absolutely true!!! I know it is only my resistance to the lessons that causes the pain and my never ending drive for perfection has been a lifelong undoing…… I clearly still need more practice!!! The progress is that now I can chuckle at the insanity of it all. I can laugh at my own “stuff” and know that tomorrow is another day and I will have plenty more opportunities to PRACTICE!!! With Gratitude for sharing this journey with me and bearing witness to my own unfolding……..
Love & Light,