Changing It Up

Sunrise near Tofino

I attempt sometimes to post my latest trip news. Somehow when I read it, it does not seem real or honest or me. I am not a travel journalist or writer. I am not sure what I am when it comes to writing but I don’t think I am the above. It feels phony.

What is it that I write about? And, why do I keep writing? I am not sure of the answer to that question. Yet, write I will until I don’t feel like doing it any more.

When I first started this blog, my intention was to keep my friends and family informed as to my where abouts, as I traveled the United States and Canada in my cute little RV. Here I am five years later still writing and still sharing my feelings and adventures in my life.

After a month on Vancouver Island-I arrived there late in July-I am once again state side. I have been in Washington for a few weeks and am exploring all these new places I have never seen before.

A Month on Vancouver-Slideshow

My month on “the Island” was good. I met very nice people and did a lot of fun things. The smoke hampered my activity a little but, not much. By the time I left Vancouver at the end of August there were at least five hundred fires burning in British Columbia. Smokey, Smokey, Smokey. Fire in the west is what it is. It makes me feel sad for the people, animals, birds and more that get caught in its path.

This past spring was hard for me. I was sad and lonely. By early July I gave up and increased my antidepressant dose. I was on a minimal dose and decided to increase it, a little, to see if that would help. Amazingly it did. One of the young woman I had my hair cut and colored by, told me she is on an antidepressant. She said that if taking a small pill every day for the rest of her life allows her to enjoy her husband, children and her life, she is willing to take a pill to help her do the above. I think of her often and after she said this, I decided that I was going to give the increase dose a try.

I also decided that I was going to change up how I traveled in my rig. I suspected that if I was around people a bit more, the loneliness might lessen.

I belong to a couple organizations and I have not really accessed them the way I could. They are RV lifestyle organizations. One organization is Boondockers Welcome. If you are a host, you offer your driveway or yard to people traveling through your area by RV. Some of the sites are a driveway and you must be self contained. Others offer electric hookups and/or water. If you really lucky you may even be able to dump your gray and black water tanks. As a visitor you contact the people via the website and request a stay. The hosts can accept or refuse. It is not personal if they refuse, sometimes the hosts just have other things going on.

I started to access Boondockers Welcome when I was in Idaho. My first visit was under the tall pines. It was quiet and lovely, next door to a state park and near a small town on Lake Pend Oreille. The home owners and hosts were lovely. We spent an evening sitting in the driveway, exchanging stories and meeting the neighbors as they walked their dogs. It was delightful. They were delightful.

Since then I have been to several hosts homes and each one has led me to meet kind and interesting people. I love the socialization. I have perked up. I am glad that I listened to my inner voice that guided me away from the isolated lifestyle, I have chosen to lead over the past few years. Now I mix it up. I spend days on my own and when I feel the need to socialize I will look for a home site near me and park in the driveway for a few days. The hosts understand that you need time alone, yet we also make sure to visit and exchange RV’ing stories with each other. Sometimes we share a meal. And sometimes I end up making a new friend who hikes and explores their own home territory with me. Other hosts,  I am planning to meet again, “on the road”.

When things are not working for me it is certainly time to change it up. Thanks to organizations like the one mentioned I have the  choice to change it up. It is a healthy lifestyle choice for me. I am glad I could recognize the need within myself to try something different.

Tomorrow I am on my way to the Seattle area. I am going to be staying with a couple who I have met through the Roadtreking : The Group,  Facebook page. They have a full site across from their home. I can easily catch a bus to the ferry and take the ferry into Seattle. I am enjoying ferry travel this year. Another new adventure awaits. I am looking forward to meeting them and exploring a rather large city without having to drive my Roadtrek into the heart of it all. I am looking forward to meeting this couple and changing it up.

I think that will be my new mantra “Change it Up”.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Sorry-Revisited

Sunset Cle Elum

After spending four really good days catching up on over 20 years of conversation, my visit with my friend Lori in Cle Elum, WA came to an end today. We hiked, toured and lord did we talk. I got to explore the Cle Elum area with a long time resident. Lori was a great tour guide and I am thankful for her giving me the time to visit and tour

 

Elsie the Cat and I are “on the road” in Washington state. We are slowly heading west.

Today I drove back into the hot somewhat barren country of the Columbia River Plateau. It is really not barren. There are major crops that grow out here. The land, however is yellow and treeless and hot. I kept thinking about trees. When I saw this campground it is on a river and there were trees. That was inviting enough for me.

I am camped along the Methow River. I am in an RV park for the night. My first night back on the road is often easier when I still have amenities, laundry, shower, electric and water. What more can one ask for in life.

It is busy in the campground. This weekend is the Winthrop R & B festival. People are pulling in. I was lucky to get a site for one night. I am always thankful for small miracles. Tomorrow I will head for the National Forest and higher, cooler climes.

I tend to say “I’m sorry” often. I apologize for things that are not even close to being my fault. If something happens in the world well I may as well just apologize for it. For goodness sakes it is so past time to get over this behavior. It is hard to break old habits.

Tonight I received a lesson. The man in the RV next to mine must have apologized to me several times since my arrival.

  • I am sorry that my air-conditioning is so loud.
  • I am sorry but I have to empty my black and gray water tank. I apologize ahead of time for the smell.
  • I am really really sorry about the smell. (there wasn’t any)
  • I fixed the air-conditioning but I am sorry that you can hear it.
  • I live in western Washington and it so hot here that I have to run the air-conditioning. I am sorry.
  • I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry.

I kept telling him, it is OK. Then he would apologize again. I thought to myself, is that what I sound like when I apologize for everything under the sun? It didn’t sound good. I kind of felt sorry for him. What if he had just come out and said hi, I am your neighbor, welcome to the park. I think we all get it, when we live in close quarters there is going to  be sounds and noise. For me it is one night.

I am going to try to catch myself when I get in an apologizing mode. Maybe, just maybe with practice I can stop before I apologize and ask myself, silently, is this really something I need to apologize for? Practice can change habits. I also promise not to be hard on myself when I slip. It is life and these habits are slow to change. They are very long and ingrained habits.

Tomorrow I ascend into the northern Cascades for the weekend. Up I go and down goes the temperature. Elsie and I will be looking for solitude and quiet for the rest of the weekend. I am excited I have never been here before so everything is magical and new. I am ready to get on my hiking shoes.

Next Wednesday El and I are going international and heading to Canada, Vancouver Island. I am anticipating a month, maybe more exploring the island from the south to the north and back again. Any suggestions besides Victoria and Buchart Gardens?

Off I go on another adventure. It has taken me since early May to reach the west coast. I am looking forward to seeing the ocean, saying hello to Jim (his ashes went to sea) and exploring a new place. And I get to take at least one ferry ride. I love ferries.

Anyone want to come along? Company is always welcome.

PTSD and Life Experiences

In mid-December I had my annual checkup with my surgeon and oncologist.

In 2010 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My initial reaction to this news was anger, furious anger. I was mad about having my life interrupted by a tiny, small lump in my breast. I believe that the anger masked the fear that this diagnosis instantly creates in most people who receive this diagnosis.

The good news is, that I am now eight years out and going well and strong. Some things changed due to this diagnosis. I watch what I eat, I am not perfect but I manage to pay a bit more attention to my diet. I exercise regularly. And each day I am thankful for one more day on this planet.

Then Jim got diagnosed with cancer. It was different this time. I was not angry. I was strong. Yet when he got diagnosed with the metastasis from the original cancer, I had a different reaction. Even when he was well, I found I was enacting, in my head, how to live without him. It was at this point, feeling guilty for creating this alternate life, that I decided to go into therapy. I still see my counselor for a check up a few times a year. It is good to check in.

When I had my appointment with my surgeon in December, I told him that there are just some months I cannot do my self breast exam. It is fear that stops me. What if I find something? What do I do? How can I do this again? He was the first person to mention that I had a little bit of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). He also informed me that most people, after any major life altering situations, have a bit of PTSD. Wow, I had never heard this before. It makes sense. He told me that it is OK to miss months. It is OK.

It is OK to acknowledge that I am human. It is OK to have PTSD. Giving this unknown stress a name has been helpful for me. Ah, here comes my ally, “fear”. Now I understand a bit more about my ally. The more that I can learn about fear the less of hold it has on me. I refuse to allow fear to take over. I don’t have time for it. As I learn more about fear,  the less it surfaces in my life. Maybe this knowledge will let me be kinder to myself. Hopefully,  I can let go of the guilt when I miss that important exam. Now there is one less hold fear has on me.

I really like my team of doctors. That is important. I love that my surgeon comes in the exam room, sits down and talks with me as if we are old friends. We catch up. We share pictures and stories. He is professional and kind. My oncologist is also a delight. She is smart and wise and she understands that fear. Why? She has had cancer. All my visits end with a hug and I find myself relax and feel like I am being loved and supported. I am ready to face another year.

PTSD is a diagnosis. I have often thought we all are walking wounded. We are wounded from life experiences. It is normal, it is life. We have good wounds and bad wounds. I think the good ones way outnumber the bad ones. Hopefully this knowledge will help me be kinder to myself, and to others, a little more patient and forgiving.