Yesterday was sort of a milestone day for ole’ Frank and me. It marked the end of our first six months on the road. Isn’t it funny how time passes and you suddenly find yourself realizing that half a year’s gone by? In some ways, it seems like we’ve been doing this journey forever. In other ways, not so much.
Anyhow, I thought this might be a good time to reflect on the first six months of our little adventure:
1. I can’t really say things have met my expectations so far. There weren’t any because I had no idea how it was going to be. There have been some challenges … that’s for sure. But we’ve come through intact. In retrospect, I think it would have been a much bigger challenge staying alive in my apartment back in Charleston. I was quickly sinking into the blackness and I honestly don’t know how much longer I would have been able to last.
Planning the trip kept me going for about five months. And once we got into the car back in May, I’ve been able to pretty much stay on top of things … despite the ongoing anxiety, despite the periodic depression episodes, despite other little things that have cropped up here and there.
We’ve survived bad weather – a lot of it. In looking back, I’ll bet almost half of our days have involved dealing with rain … some light and steady (like now, here in south Texas), other times pretty intense. About the only respite we had was in Colorado. About two-thirds of the time there was bright and sunny! The rest of the trip has seen us waterloged and considering a gill transplant!
We’ve survived having to deal with initial plans that have gone awry – three of the campsites we chose to visit (and made reservations for) didn’t work out and required some spur of the moment fixes … which then worked out magnificently, I might add. “It’s all worked out before, Trust that it will work out again!”
We’ve dealt with a flattened air bed and a flattened tent; with the anger of dealing with lousy customer support staff in trying to get the tent replaced; and with a few other equipment snafus here and there. We’ve survived all of that and are still here! That may sound petty to some of you, but given my mental state last year, I don’t know that I would have if I was still in that same mental state. Thats the depth of the hole I was in.
There have been some physical problems, too – ranging from my trip to the ER back in July; to the ongoing issue I’m dealing with regarding my right leg; to the latest – breaking a tooth this past Monday. A number of people have suggested that I head cross the border to Mexico to get it taken care of. I’m still pondering that – I’ve only been there once and it was a pretty bad experience. I’m really not too keen on crossing the border and need to think about it a little more. Tiime is running out for that, though – I have less than a month before leaving the area. Fortunately, it’s not causing any pain, if you don’t count the hit my pride’s taking: my “F’s” cause a little bit of a whistle and Frank laughs a bit at me wheneve I call his name!
2. Some of the initial goals that were outlined in a post back in January have been met. Others, not so much.
I’m keeping things cleaner, if only because I have to. Same goes for getting outside. I really don’t have a choice on that either, but I have to say that with all the rain we’ve had to deal with, I’ve enjoyed the days we didn’t have to stay cooped up. So that’s a change!
We’re back to engaging with people again. I still can’t deal with a lot of people all at the same time … trying to do a couple of street fairs in La Veta and La Feria had my heart palpitating and my anxiety level going through the roof. But the personal interactions with other campers has been quite enjoyable for the most part.
I’m meditating and praying again. Not prayer like “please give me this, God.” More like trying to attune myself to my surroundings. To reach a place of internal peace. Still have a long way to go on that one. Wish I could say that I’ve been able to reestablish a faith in a God that gives a shit. But I’m in a much better place than I was at the beginning of the year. That’s for sure. We’re also maintaining better sleep habits, which is a good thing.
I’ve not done well in two other areas. Not well at all. I’ve cut down on the political chatrooms, but I’m still quite involved in the news of the day and find it still impacts me greatly. I can’t seem to divorce myself from that stuff … and while I’ve cut down on comments and discussions, it still impacts my psyche significantly. Haven’t been able to let that go yet.
My eating sucks. I’m dealing with inertia. Lots of it. I’ve not been able to break out my cooler and cooking gear since leaving Pagosa Springs. Not sure what’s up with that – I could chalk it up to all the turmoil we’ve had to deal with over the past month, but that would be a lie. I just haven’t felt like cooking. That’s probably an area I need to focus on next.
Money’s also an issue. I know getting back to cooking will help tremendously here. I’m about to sign up for health insurance again, which is going to put a big hit on the monthly budget. I’ve had to change our travel plans as a result. Goodbye East Coast. That’s not going to happen. I feel bad about that – there are people up there that I really wanted to see at least one more time while I’m still on this earth and I don’t know that’ll happen how. But it is what it is.
I’ll be heading to the Upper Peninsula for the first part of next summer instead and will then stay along the U.S. / Canadian border after that. I do want to spend some time in Colorado again next year, but am still working out the schedule to accommodate that.
3. My faith in humanity has come a long way back. Frank and I have met some wonderful people along the way. They more than make up for the less-than-a-handful of douchebags I’ve encountered. I’ve seen some beautiful acts of kindness while on the road and have been the beneficiary of a few as well. Politics suck. They are so devisive and have determined in the long run that they have little to do with what goes on when you live your daily life. At least for myself.
I have been blessed with some wonderful friendships and have grown to appreciate them more and more. The encouragement and moral support they’ve provided have kept me going, whether it’s comments on the blog or on Facebook posts … or the phone calls I’ve had with a few of them. I owe a lot of gratitude to a lot of people. Too many to mention all of them and I don’t want to name only a few at the risk of making others feel that I’m unappreciative of their support if they’re not named. All of you have blessed me tremendously over the past six months! Thank you for that!
4. Frank has been the one constant through all of this. He is a daily source of joy. It doesn’t matter what happens, he’s been at my side the whole time. Except or thunder and bad wind/rainstorms. Then I’ve had to be there for him. Seems like a pretty fair trade. Now if I can just get him to accept that there are no “dibs” when it comes to the sleeping bag. It doesn’t matter to me that he goes to bed before me and has laid claim to what he considers prime sleeping bag real estate. I need to get in the freaking bag! :o)
His physical problems have improved to a great degree. It’ll be another month and a half before we are able to find out for sure that his heartworm treatments were succesful. His leg hasn’t gone out for a few weeks now and he’s running up a storm in the morning when we first leave the tent. He finds the cool air exhilerating. Me? Not so much, especially when coffee hasn’t made it into my system prior to unzipping the tent door!
So that’s it.
We’ve been in La Feria for a month. THAT’S gone by quickly. We have another month to go before we head north to Goose Island State Park near Rockport, TX. By the time we leave, I hope to be back in the swing of cooking again. Knock on wood.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention – Frank’s finally found his voice. It took a passing police siren to set him off. But that was only a start – this morning, he howled while we were sitting in the car while I was enjoying the heater and a little music on NPR. It was either because he was tired of sitting, or he’s not a fan of Chopin! Either way, it was pretty funny. I’m having trouble posting a video this morning – CRS syndrome, unfortunately (“Can’t Remember Shit!) despite having done so on the last post. I’ll hopefully get that uploaded later today. I will say that the two funny elements I find in his howling (at least funny to me) are: 1) how deep a voice he has – I didn’t expect that coming out of his little body; and 2) how he wags his tail while letting loose. He is certainly proud of his voice!