I was so looking forward to hiking again on my favorite trails back home. I never imagined I would not have the time to do so. My days are all-consuming with me working on my build-up. Don't get me wrong, I love the process of it all. Yes, it is sometimes a bit overwhelming, but wow, it is coming along amazingly!
Many details and thoughts went into the design of my minivan, my "home." The central core I always had to consider before any design element was my safety. The last thing I want to do is attract attention.
The interior of my van is black - not my first choice, but that is what I had to work with. My own style is a beautiful dance between rustic and elegant, so it felt natural to stick with the gray family. I can't bring in bright colors, as I need to keep a low profile. My favorite colors are blue and green, so I feel lucky that when I spend my time outdoors, my happy colors are still part of my life.
Next week, I plan to go for a test run. I need a few nights to get familiar with my setup and see if there is any need for adjustments before I return to the open road. I will not have "my" Mike with me to make any changes. Yes, after so many hours working and creating my home together, Mike certainly has a special place in my heart, with great respect and gratitude.
November on the East Coast means cold and freezing temperatures. I remember those challenges from last year. They were not pleasant experiences, but manageable. It is more of a challenge for the mind than for the body. I have plenty of layers to put on, so I know I will not encounter any hypothermia. I have my heating blanket, and now, with a bigger power station, I should be able to run the blanket on a high level all night. During the day, I will be hiking, warming my body with my love of nature.
As my friends tell me, I wear my feelings on my sleeves. I see it as a beautiful compliment, but lately I have had a hard time dealing with my emotions. It almost feels like there is a new emotion in the air that I can't grasp. The days I choose not to listen to the news, to be disconnected, are when I can connect fully with myself.
I do question myself if disconnecting right now is a selfish act. Throughout my journey last year, I didn't listen to the news and I rarely watched TV. It was so powerful to be disconnected from the outside world. It let me have a new, clean lens with no judgment. It allowed me to focus on the human side of life, and I cherished that opportunity.
We are all born into this world the same way; equally on all levels. We all take our first breath, innocent, pure souls, no matter our color, race, or religion, but unfortunately, we are at the constant mercy of the events and the people around us that shape our lives.
May we all have one day, a true chance to keep our innocence.
If you are looking for the last push to pursue your dreams, here is a story for you.
Since the beginning of my journey, Ellen from one of the Facebook groups I posted on connected with me. We spoke and had FaceTime several times throughout the year. Her big plan was to retire this year and travel with her van. We hoped to have the chance to travel together.
In September, I reached out to say hi and learned that overnight, Ellen's dreams shattered to a billion pieces as she was diagnosed with stage five cancer.
Yesterday, as she was able to sneak in a short road trip, we had the chance to meet and hug. There is no way I can understand how Ellen feels, but I feel honored that I have an opportunity to support her with love and honesty. I don't hide behind uncomfortable emotions. The only way I can respectfully support her is with the truth.
If the road is calling your name, don't wait to follow it...