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The Courage to Surrender: Finding Myself in the White Mountains, NH (Part One)

My love affair with The White Mountains began on September 16, 2016. After reading Cheryl Strayed's book Wild, I was profoundly inspired to reach deep inside myself to find the push I needed to fulfill a long-overdue dream and go backpacking.

For months, I prepared for my big adventure. I read and studied the map area and hikes. I bought all the necessary equipment and made sure I was ready.

That day will forever be a day of triumph in my book. Here I am in a state I have never been to, on a trail I have never hiked, and on unfamiliar terrain. I thought I had read and understood what I was getting myself into. However, I am sure a six-foot man wrote the book I read. For me, a petite woman hiking in the Whites is more like bouldering than hiking.

So here I am, with my home on my back, setting out on an eight-mile hike to Zealand Falls, with an overnight stay at Zealand Hut. Even with my initial shock at the challenging terrain, the smile that took over my face resulted from the empowerment my soul felt in all my being.

Self-empowerment is ownership that can be earned only through our actions. The results are life-changing gifts that open doors to a life without boundaries.

Please begin creating your path of courage by undertaking something that seems beyond what you can imagine achieving. It could be as simple as dining alone.

"Welcome to New Hampshire," Google Maps announces. Yes, I feel at home! The drive to The White Mountains is through country roads, which are peaceful and welcoming. Driving in the New England states, far from the big cities, is always a reminder that life can exist slowly and peacefully.

I don't have a set plan for my visit to The Whites. All I know is I must hike to Zealand Falls as a spiritual celebration. But before anything, I need to find a place to shower and recharge my power station. Dealing with my dysfunctional power station requires time, which I now need to include in my itinerary.

I get to Gorham to take a break since I now have reception and a few gas stations that hopefully have an outdoor outlet to let me charge my power station. I also take the time to find a shower. I feel rewarded when iOverlander shows me that the only option for a shower is only two miles away. Fantastic! For 50 cents, I get six minutes of hot water. Awesome!

It's funny how I get excited about the idea of a hot shower. What was once a normal pleasure has now become a moment of pure appreciation. As I gather my stuff to shower, my phone rings with a Facetime call from Susan. My shower can wait.

No wonder the play I saw last night was meaningful and found a deep place in my heart. All the epic landscapes in the world will not compare to the gifts of connections and friendships life has gifted me.

I answered the call excitedly, as I always love catching up with Susan and learning about her nomadic journey. My heart is full of joy as, on the screen, I see my dear Susan and Sandra next to her. If you have followed my story from the beginning, then I know you are as excited as I am about the beautiful bond we created last year in Joshua Tree National Park. (See links for last year's posts about Joshua Tree: Part 1, Part 2) It’s a pure gift!

By seven in the evening, I arrive in The White Mountains area to find my place for the night. The ideal place to park for the night would be at the trailhead to Zealand Falls, but it is prohibited to camp overnight at any of the trailheads in The Whites.

Since I am familiar with the area, I drive to the White Mountain Hotel & Resort. The parking lot is far enough from the hotel to let me park and blend quietly in a corner. It is a big enough parking lot that I know I am not taking away a spot from a paying guest.

I love visiting this hotel. You don't need to be a guest to enjoy the beautiful landscape and historic atmosphere. It's funny how washing up in the fancy bathroom makes me feel out of place.

I am ecstatic to hike to Zealand Falls and get to the trailhead by 6:30 am. It is a sunny, cold morning, the perfect condition for a hike.

I love the magic feeling I get from being at one with nature on a path that has significantly contributed to my growth and has such a deep spiritual connection for my being.

Nature has always gifted me a clear window into my soul, a clear mind, and a profound understanding of my emotions.

Life has been an emotional challenge for me in the last two and a half months. I will be the first to admit that the stress I have been experiencing has contributed to my health issues. After all, not every day do you make a huge decision that will change your life forever. With all my heart, I am committing to embrace the nomadic life, sell my apartment, and give away all my belongings.

Naturally, with such a decision, fear will creep in—fear that, in time, possesses my mind but not my soul. You see, I am more afraid of returning to a “normal" life and its effect on my true self, which I am finally discovering.

Only when I am surrounded by the love of nature becomes a beautiful gift and another opportunity for my self-growth. Both my son and my friend Shari pointed out that this experience triggered some deep emotions. With this awareness, I take a different perspective to view this experience. The emotional roller coaster I let enter my life is my reaction to trust. I hope next time I am in a situation full of anxiety, I will remember this valuable lesson of being aware of my response to my relationship with myself.

Most of my growth in the last six years has been from opening myself up to other people's stories and life experiences. So here again, I am listening to a book that allows me to melt even further in the direction I wish to flow.

The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life's Perfection by Michael A. Singer ("The Surrender Experiment" is a captivating memoir that explores the profound impact of letting go of personal preferences and surrendering to life's flow.)

I can't relate to all his experiences, but I do what has become my practice. I let in what resonates with me with an open mind to look at life from another angle. I am seeking to live a life of inner peace that will allow my energy to flow out into the universe to be my contribution to world peace. As I continue my travels, I am witnessing a powerful, strong current in that direction, and I wish to be an active member of this movement.

Even before I listened to the book, that morning up north in Newfoundland, as I was lying in bed sick and weak, watching a lonely iceberg slowly make its way into the vast sea, I knew that I was profoundly letting a major crack into my soul.

As I peacefully decided to accept a new path and leave Newfoundland, I truly understood what surrender meant. At that moment of surrender, I felt a pure peace within me. I felt light and free like nothing before. I understood God's presence and the power of the universe.

I am committing now to restoring myself to that state of being. With a loving heart, I know I had to experience the last chaotic months of turmoil to be able to receive this gift of understanding.

There are still many factors to finalize the sale of my apartment. Now that the contract is signed, the application for the board is on the go. I made a clear decision that whatever the result, I would accept the path it would put me on with no resistance.

The next few months will be a journey of many emotions as I unfold my life into the simple, basic life I wish to live. The sale of my apartment includes all my belongings. I am only taking five items that have sentimental meaning to me. I have two storage units I need to empty and donate its contents.

I am looking forward to that exfoliation. It has been almost two years that I have lived with so few belongings, and I am the happiest I have ever been.

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