Just over a year ago, I had ambitious but realistic plans. I was traveling, hiking and exploring the U.S. as much as I could. Then, out of the blue I began struggling with pain and fatigue Every. Single. Day. That’s not just a little headache or I’m tired. That’s full body aches like I have the flu. That’s fatigue like I haven’t slept in 48 hours. That’s everyday. That’s my constant baseline. It waxes and wanes but it never goes away, at least it doesn’t for me. My normal existing is you on a sick day. Or hungover. That’s how I’ve lived for the last year and eight months.
Three years ago, I decided to sell everything and leave the small river town I called home. I wanted to see the country instead of being stuck in just one part of it. I wanted to feel the energies of new places and different people, and I wanted to experience the glories of history. My adventures are a constant struggle between fear and courage, but we humans are explorers and pioneers, and we find our inner strength when the end state is the absolute unknown.
Hiking is one of the few activities where there is no shortage. There are countless mountains to conquer, waterfalls to see and views to take in.
Nature offers something that being indoors simply can’t. It is motivating to walk among the trees and tramp along the trails, focusing on nothing more than the path ahead. You notice the shape of broken tree branches, how a blade of grass reacts to the wind flowing through it, and how clouds form into shapes and images.
“Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything.”
I get asked on a daily basis WHY am I traveling solo.
“Who are you here with?” curious people often ask when we become acquainted during my travels.
“Um, by myself,” I reply.
“Wow, that’s really courageous!” they exclaim, wide-eyed.
It’s the “Most Wanted” family member, whose picture shows up in the social media post. It’s the Goth child with spiked hair, multiple body piercings, and cringe-worthy body modifications. It’s the gay uncle, who brings his younger boyfriend to the family New Year’s party, and is “all over him” to the point you need to tell them to “get a room!” It’s the addict who comes to the family reunion drunk and staggers around, spilling his or her drink on the guests…
I’m willing to bet that most of you out there have asked yourself, “How can I travel when I don’t have much money?” or, “How can I travel if I have kids?” or maybe your biggest fear isn’t how will you make money on the road, but what would your family and friends think of you if you went on the road?
Chances are these very thoughts have indeed crossed your mind (they cross all of our minds at some point!) and there’s also a chance you haven’t found any answers. As a result, you’ve still yet to take that first step, and start traveling, and as time passes by, you start to wonder if you’ll ever see and experience any other place other than your hometown. Many of you though, live by the “What ifs?” instead of the “Why nots?” Before you know it, ten years goes by and you’re suddenly in your late thirties, wondering, “What the fuck happened?”
Some days it’s like I’m an alien from another planet – no one understands me, and sometimes I don’t even get myself. I feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and I’m less apt to intellectualize feelings. I’m essentially walking around in this world with all of the accumulated karma, emotions, and energy from others. I’m a dumping ground for everyone else’s issues and problems, which, if I’m not careful can end up as my own.