The abruptness of the radical change I made when I pulled the plug on the familiar finally caught up with me. The first day when I arrived in Portland, I was weepy with grief and exhaustion. The move out was extremely stressful and exhausting because of how much stuff there was to get rid of and how much cleaning needed to be done. But as with any stressful situation with a deadline, you just keep pushing through and when it's over you collapse. I did, except I that I had to decompress while en route, which necessitated that I spend a few days resting and restoring my body, especially prior to doing our first work exchange. In Ashland, OR thankfully, we were able to get a really healthy smoothie from the food co-op there and also courtesy of our hotel, go to a spa for a sauna and steam as well as a local fitness center.
For the first few days, I felt floaty and lost and a bit in shock. It was difficult to catch up to the reality of having taken this leap into the unknown. To recognize that I no longer had a home or an address or any real belongings other than what’ was in my car was jolting at first. I fully expect that I will adjust and eventually this will become my norm.
What kept me going was the feeling of freedom that accompanies being on the road--the fact that I could stop when I wanted and move on when the urge struck was incredibly rejuvenating after thirty years of being anchored by the obligations of parenting. It was also nice to be free of that feeling of dread I was waking up with every day during my last weeks in Seattle due to the mountains of tasks I had to face with the move out. Just being free of the responsibilities of a house felt elating! With few possessions and a handful of bills. I officially left the merry-go-round of the consumer 9-5 householder life. Instead I've become a traveler, drifter, gypsy, nomad, pilgrim and wanderer in search of an authentic way of life.
One thing I look forward most when I travel is the people I meet along the way. Gina, a seventy-something spunky and delightful woman my traveling buddies and I met in Red Bluff, CA happily shared a couple of stories about her direct encounters with God. One evening upon arriving home, she pulled in the driveway and her husband at the time (she was married many times) was pointing a shotgun directly at her. Terrified and frozen with fear, she asked God for help and heard a strong and distinctive voice inside her head that told her to put the truck in reverse and back up. Her truck ended up covered with buckshot and smashed windows but she was untouched by the bullets. Again, when another husband’s fishing boat ran aground onto the rocks in Alaska, she prayed to God for help, and saw a brilliant white light and felt an overwhelming feeling of love enveloping her. Shortly afterwards, they were able to get the boat to safety. Listening to her, I noticed that she was humble and her heart open. It was a gift to be in her presence. She gazed at us, telling us she loved us and wanted to pack up and go with us. As she was leaving, she hugged us and said, you will find your place.