something about plane rides…

the much anticipated yet much dreaded trip “home” for the holidays. the mixture of excitement to love on my sister and her kids and the fear of a[nother] lecture from my parents. every time I get together with them it becomes an inquisition into my life plans. no matter how content with life I may be, I have a deep seated worry that my choices are a never ending source of displeasure for my parents. a displeasure that is rarely veiled, often proclaimed, and seldom apologized for. not being a parent myself, I struggle to grasp the complicated nuances of taking pride in one’s child, of respecting them as an adult, and supporting them in their pursuits. but recently I came to the conclusion that I have not always been fair in my demands for acceptance. it is true that I would appreciate more encouragement and less skepticism, but just as I have been learning and growing in self-awareness, they too might be wrestling with personal development. brain elasticity certainly slows as one ages so I can’t expect them to adjust to my somewhat radical transformation at the same rate as me. of course it doesn’t seem fast-paced to me as I have spent about a decade now intentionally trying to find my true passion and place in the world. the layers seem to be peeling back at a faster rate only lately. and I’ve been really working at it. my parents didn’t choose to participate in my path to self-discovery, it was forced upon them when I took my big faith leap almost three years ago. so I was already years ahead of them in the process of undoing everything they/we thought I wanted or had been working towards up to that point. in my naiveté I did my best to share my plans (and lack thereof) with them but I was too busy sorting through my own emotions to make any attempt at coaching them through theirs. I made huge demands for their love and acceptance with very little thought for how my actions might really hurt them. it was selfish and I don’t apologize for that, it needed to be done, but acknowledging the unfair position I put them in is a big source of my current peace. I have to stop expecting them to deal with the situation the way I wish they would. I can still hope that they learn to love me the way I want to be loved, but I have to accept that they’re doing the best they can in the meantime. letting go of the struggle to convince them of my good intentions frees me to pursue my passions even more fervently.

the more I strip away the things I used to want, the more I un-become the person I tried to be, the more I listen to what makes my heart sing, the more I expose the real me, the more I connect with others on this path, the more my soul shines.

maybe then they’ll see ME and understand.

but if they don’t, that’s okay too.

Artist’s Palette Death Valley NP (cover photo at the Racetrack also DVNP)

probably not what you were expecting

One week ago I sat in church with tears dripping into my Communion cup feeling frustrated and directionless. I prayed for direction. The next day I received a phone call from the manager of the Visitor Center at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We had a lovely chat and I could hear the excitement in my voice as we discussed the opportunity. My recent conversations with owners of accounting firms had not been as joyful. I believe it’s important to listen to this internal feedback. So the next morning I called a Dodge dealership in Phoenix and told them what I needed. If I could find the right truck and close the deal before the end of the week I would officially accept the position with the Grand Canyon Association. Believing it would all work out, I also began pulling cold weather clothes out of suitcases and making packing lists.

So today I sat in church feeling a little numb and intimidated by this adventure I’ve signed up for. Of course I’m excited for all the trails and scenery and to be full time RV-ing again. But it’s quite remote and therefore unplugged and probably lonely. I think I’m actually a little scared of being with myself that much. Scared of having to do the work to return a better person. The last six months in Tucson have been great in several ways but also not so great in others. My training was fantastic and I traveled to two incredible bucket list triathlons. I made some great new girlfriends. I’ve dated, ugh. I’ve bounced around crashing in friends’ condos while the Airstream sat lonely and unhooked on a ranch an hour away. I landed a job that seemed so perfect but just as I was getting my footing we lost the contract. I ran off to Germany for three weeks and put off trying to figure out what’s next.

I tried to buy myself some time by hanging in Cincinnati to help out with my niece and nephews but my mother and I can only live under the same roof for so long. Faced with the option to dump the trailer for more permanent accommodations and another unfulfilling desk job, I did just the opposite and went all in with a new (pre-owned) truck and workamper position. I’m just not sold on Tucson as a long term home and there was no other obvious destination. My hope is that 2 months living at 8000’ on the edge of a 277 mile long hole in the earth will provide some much needed introspection and enlightenment.

Can’t promise how often I’ll be updating anyone about anything, but I do hope to do a lot of reading and writing along with the hiking and trail running. I’m sure I’ll accumulate a lot of great photos too.

The adventure continues!

catching up

11 weeks. that’s how long I’ve been in Tucson. it feels like longer, but maybe that’s because before I got here, I had been moving every few days for 13 weeks. and really those 13 weeks felt like forever. I keep acting like I lived in the trailer for months and months. we did cram a lot into a short amount of time. and I wasn’t ready for it to be over. I keep hoping it’s just on pause. I mean, I guess it is on pause, til I figure some things out. speaking of, I miss that sexy silver traveling home of mine. she just got a lot of [free] warranty repairs done by the kind, albeit slow, folks down at Lazydays. and now she’s parked in a lovely spot at my friend’s Dog Days Ranch patiently waiting for my weekend visits.

really should have had them swap the spare tire back out, the rim isn’t as purty and shiny

so why am I no longer on the road, or living in the trailer you might ask? well, that’s a much longer and more complicated story than the answer I’m about to give, but basically, I needed to make some money. who doesn’t right? well, a lucky few I suppose. my whole just-work-tax-season plan didn’t pan out because I was sick and holed up at Judy’s house the beginning of January when I should have been securing a seasonal position. beauty from ashes though: a friend who was trying to help me land a CPA gig actually had a full time position open on her team and voila, here I am training for what will eventually be an entirely work-from-home role on an accounting-ish team. could that sound any more vague?? well no one actually cares what my job is so no point in trying to explain it. it pays money, will provide healthcare in another month, and can be done from absolutely anywhere (with internet) by mid summer.

all good things right? yes, of course! yet still so many unknowns. now I’ve strewn out my belongings between the original Charlotte storage unit (entire townhouse worth of furniture etc.), a Portland storage unit (don’t even remember what’s left there besides my amazing painting from South Africa!), the trailer now out at the ranch, and the condo I’m renting month to month from a friend near my not-for-long office. for a girl who’s been trying to travel light I still have entirely too much stuff that I apparently don’t need or use that I’m paying good money to never see. hence I really want to make it a goal to have a more permanent home for me (and at least most of my stuff) by the end of 2017.

the big question of course is where?

potential locations include:

  1. southern homecoming to Charlotte
  2. family bonding in Cincinnati
  3. sweating it out here in Tucson
  4. braving the cold in Bend
  5. daring greatly on Maui

and that’s just a short list. the possibilities are endless. well, I need to stay within a few hours of the west coast time zone to avoid a really bizarre work day schedule. realistically limited to the western hemisphere. a lot to consider though (cost of living. good thing I have lots of long ironman workouts coming up during which I can mull over my options.

and hey, I’m single (again), so I can be pretty selfish. or is my selfishness why I’m single?

hmm… we’ll leave that to another day. time to ride my bike in the desert with a new friend!

 

 

blue monday

I had never heard of the phenomenon of Blue Monday until today. I guess I’m a little oblivious to the date, day of the week, and bank holidays since I’m not currently participating in the working world. Pulling up to the gym at 9:30am it was crystal clear that today was not a regular Monday. Everyone with the day off was spending the morning working out – kudos to them! I was irritated that I was late for the 9:30 B5 class I wanted to try but resolved to attend the 10am Hot Yoga Sculpt instead. Who doesn’t love a good sweaty yoga sesh? Well, yoga it was not. I can only begin to describe the torture chamber that was the tiny HOT “yoga” studio they crammed 20 sweaty bodies into for what was essentially a cardio sculpt class. Overachievers-R-Us left me lightheaded and 10lbs lighter. Then I went to swim. Duh. Because bouncing around in a room with wall to wall mirrors for an hour didn’t do enough for my self-esteem, I should definitely follow it up with an hour in the pool slowly pacing back and forth wondering why I do this whole triathlon thing in the first place.

I really do wonder why I do sports versus fitness. All those moms in the torture chamber class look way better than I do – are definitely bouncier than I am – prob have more energy than I do – and feel a lot more confident. This is a legitimate posturing. I mean, yay me, I can finish an Ironman in 12 hours on 3 months of serious training, but I am still in double digit clothing sizes and am appalled at 99% of pictures and videos of myself. I guess I’m just not motivated by what I see in the mirror. I mean, to a degree I am, like I want to see a strong, healthy body. But I have some genetic limitations that [minus surgery] aren’t going to change at this point in my life. Moreover, this gets at a deeper issue. Why do I do triathlon? Running was more obvious. I love running. I saw progress in running. Triathlon feels like a consolation prize. How can I ever be good at something that I don’t even appreciate that much? What is my hang up? Hmm, food for thought.

Back to Blue Monday. Maybe I got out most of my moodiness over the weekend so today wasn’t particularly glum. We are in a weird holding pattern that doesn’t make me happy. The weather hasn’t helped. I was so looking forward to sunny Florida after the holidays but we’ve ended up in northwest Arkansas instead. And it may not even be working out. So I’m confused and frustrated and exploring alternatives and trying not to get bogged down in the what-ifs or second guess doors I closed for this house-sitting gig that may or may not pan out.

But…

Today the sun came out. Today I finished that horrendous class I accidentally took at the gym. Today we checked out a local brewery for lunch. Today I vacuumed under the bed and every cushion and in all the storage spaces in the trailer. Today I had a good hair day.

Hey, sometimes it’s the little things right?

One foot in front of the other.

(Sweet new collapsable travel chairs make me happy)

happy memories

Where: Frontier Ranch Colorado.

What: Young Life Camp Work Crew.

Age: 17.

Assignment: Housekeeping.

A.k.a. Cleaning bathrooms for messy high school kids every day.

A.k.a. Best summer of my life and highlight of my formative years.

So much happiness. Big big laughs. Amazing friendships. Independence. Responsibility. The great outdoors. Volunteerism. Faith. Teamwork. Silliness. Mountain top experience. Unforgettable.