Welcome to Day 8 of my Epic Journey. Yesterday, I met my goal of seeing the Pacific Ocean. It was even better than I had anticipated. I cannot believe that I am sitting in Newport,Oregon watching the waves crash, listening to nature’s music and I feel the healing force from the ocean. I am so thankful for this journey.
Unfortunately, I think this particular chapter has to close. This trip taught me so many things that I did not know. I realize now that you can make lists, read books and plan but when the reality hits it is usually way different than what you expected.
I started this trip to learn what I did not know. Some of the things I came looking for I did not find and I will continue looking in the next chapter of this trip. Other things I never expected to know have become like friends to me. The learning process is different for everyone, this much I know, and my experience with learning has always been somewhat slower than most.
I realize now that I started this journey to run away from the things in life that I no longer wanted to deal with. Today, my reality check is that I have to return and take care of those things, face them head on, and then free myself from the burdens. If I just run away, I am not dealing with anything and, therefore, I can never find true peace.
I also realize that the next chapter has to be planned out better. The reality of the costs of living on the road are so much more than I expected. I figured gas, food and lodging on a scale that might be reminiscent of the 1970s. Today’s costs are so much more and money just flies out the window. Without the support of friends and people I have yet to meet, I could not have made it to here. I will be eternally grateful for the support. I could go on and run out of money along the way with no way to get home or to live or I can take what is left, add to it and be smarter next time.
My ability to car camp did not meet my expectations in the slightest. At 53 years old with no real camping experience, I expected to live in my car for up to eight weeks. My body physically cannot handle it. I now know pains that have never reared their head before. This trip needs more physical training, like a marathon. My flabby, undisciplined body was not ready for this reality. I need to make a more realistic plan for sleeping and finding a sleep position that works in a car.
The night before last I slept in a Walmart parking lot (my first attempt at that) in Spokane, Washington. I had it all figured out how it would be and when I got there the reality was much different. Suffice it to say, I got very little sleep which made the next day’s travels very difficult. Every decision while living on the road impacts all the next decisions you make. If you do not get enough sleep, driving is downright hazardous down the line. I have to have a better way to sleep than I planned for on this trip.
The idea of driving seemed to me to be a relaxing activity. I was extremely incorrect yet again. The stress and grueling reality hit when on Day 1 I got lost in Chicago,almost wrecked six times and practically ran out of gas in the middle of an extremely busy highway. That was the kind of stress that takes its toll on one’s health. I have since gotten lost several other times, one more in Yellowstone. I never considered that could even happen. I have GPS, road atlases and Trip Tiks (from AAA). Yet, the reality is that signing is not always apparent and sometimes split decisions have to be made. Turns out that split-decision making is not my strongsuit.
Another plan I had was to find a new place to live and start a new life, possibly on a Farmstay. That plan is still in place but it will have to wait until the next chapter. The reality of just starting a new life and doing something that I have never done before was thought too romantically in my mind. Maybe if I was 20 years old, but not today. I still want a simpler, more organic life but I have an old, pre-existing life that needs dealt with first. I have some options for more local volunteer and farmstay experiences. Baby steps seem to be the correct path at this point.
So it is with much sorrow that I head home today with my tail between my legs. I realize that this trip was not so much a failure as it was a learning curve. I have not left home in years, even for a weekend, and I expected to live on the road for up to eight weeks. I thought I was more of a realist than that. I really wanted this to work, I had a lot of people who were behind me and I did not want to disappoint them (and I hope that I did not). But I think the funding, time and resources would be better served if I could use the knowledge from this trip and apply it to the next trip.
Time to come clean with another thing, early on the panic attacks were pretty strong. Mike joined me, with the intent of making sure I was safe and that I did not Thelma and Louise it off a cliff. The concept that I was supposed to be so brave doing this trip went right out the window when I had to have help. I tried to be that heroic person, but I was ill-prepared this time out. I am sorry to all of you who are dissappointed.
I dismissed the glances from friends and family that said I was crazy, they were right I was crazy to think that something this gigantic would work the first time out of the gate. Just because I dreamed of this trip since I was 15, does not mean I was ready. The situation I am in now shows how un-ready I truly was.
Where do I go from here other than back to Ohio? I take what I learned and keep blogging (hopefully, you all will still be interested), I re-invent a new plan which will end up with real results not just pipe dreams and I continue to journey on my Epic Journey in different ways than I had ever imagined.
There are so many things I have learned that I still want to write to you about. I hope you are not too disappointed with me and I hope and pray that you will join me for Chapter 2 of my Epic Journey. I honestly could never have gotten this far without you. I appreciate and love you all!!