This time a month ago I was starting my adventure. I had conquered San Francisco and had attended my first concert solo but this time I was beginning my nine hour journey in the desert. I was at a low point by now. Homesick. Guilt ridden. Missing my kids. Exhausted from the night before. However I knew this could be a great time for reflection and self discovery. I could spend the hours ahead beating myself up or hit play on my voice recorder and talk it out with myself. I chose the latter and listening back I sounded a bit crazy but oddly it all makes sense.
I went into this journey with a list of what I wanted to learn about myself and what fears I wanted to face. I actually did research and read a lot of books before leaving. I watched movies like Eat, Pray, Love and Wild. I read Living The Hero’s Journey started following solo women travelers on Instagram and Facebook. I researched different routes and asked questions via social media. I spent hours talking about it with my therapist, husband and close friends. This was going to be a trip of not only leisure but work – work on myself. Oh and if you are reading this thinking you don’t need to work on yourself – well you do. Sorry to tell you that but if we all worked on ourselves and got to know ourselves on a deeper level the world would be a completely different place and different in a good way. Moving on I had to ask myself some questions before I took that 6am flight.
Why this journey?
What are my goals from this trip?
How will I measure meeting these goals?
What fears do I want to conquer?
Who do I want to see in the mirror when I return?
How will I deal with any failures or will I look at any part of this trip as a failure?
I do look forward to blogging about the above questions but for now – Why this journey?
There are two reasons. One extremely personal and one I think we all can relate to.
First I will give you the reason we as moms can relate to. As a mom we are the keeper of the home and hearth. Even as full time working moms women are often still the CEO of the home as well. Our home is our work. There is always laundry, cooking, cleaning, schedules to keep, chauffeuring to do, lost shoes to find, egos to massage and bedtime stories to read – should I go on? I needed to leave all that to focus on me and honestly be selfish. In that selfishness I found the girl I lost years ago but now she is a woman I can be proud of and know that she is true and authentic.
So here’s the super personal one first and if you don’t want to hear TMI then skip this paragraph. I had spent the years since my Dad died angry, lost and hurt. I was always angry. Every single day of that time in my life I was angry but hid it so well behind the walls of our beautiful home in our picturesque town. To everyone I had it all. I threw Pinterest worthy parties, wore designer clothes, drove nice cars, took beautiful pictures and posted them everywhere, lied about the success of my business, lashed out at others….wait I’m supposed to be describing my perfect life. Well it wasn’t. It was all a lie. I was consumed with what others thought, hated who I was and didn’t want to live the life I had but I was stuck in it. My marriage was falling apart and I had serious mom guilt because at times I was a shitty mom and I can say that because I now know what a good mom is. I had to keep the facade going though. To make matters worse two years after Dad passed I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 (which was actually a blessing because now I knew what was happening in my head). That began a new phase of medications, doctors, therapists, self help and the list goes on but it was my gateway to healing. I had to make difficult decisions and face things I didn’t want to know. I couldn’t leave my home because my depression and anxiety took over my life. We had to hire help to take care of the girls and as a result what was once my successful photography business fell apart. Before you think wow – how is she still standing – there is a beauty to all of this. I am still standing and instead of hiding behind walls I’m standing in front being honest now.
This journey was intended to be my reset. My closure to those years.
When people say they couldn’t do this I have to strongly disagree. If you don’t want to that is one thing but if you do but say you can’t – I call bullshit. Yes you can leave your kids for a few days. No you don’t need your significant other to say yes. Yes you can take time off from work. You’ve earned it. We all need time alone – real extended time alone to finish a thought and explore the depths of that thought. Maybe your reason isn’t to heal yourself from years of pain or answer the questions that have stirred in you for decades but in some way we all need it. If it’s just time to get away from your everyday life – do it. Guess what? The kids survived, the house was “clean” when I got home and yes the kids missed some after school activities but so be it. We over schedule them anyways. My husband had time to bond with them and know more about them. After all they got a week with the fun parent. I feel my marriage is even stronger than when I left and I feel appreciated even more. I know direction for my life. I am fine being selfish at times now instead of feeling guilt. Being selfish allowed me to find me.
Jarred always reminds me of what they say when you are preparing to take flight. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you help others. This is one of the most important rules you can live your life by I now believe.
This journey has been life changing and I may say that over and over again but it has. I walk with a new confidence and absence of fear. I conquered every fear and found forgiveness for myself and others. I found faith in God and the universe. I found clarity in the direction of life and use of gifts I am endowed with. My introverted shell became deeply cracked like the canyons I explored. Every part of this trip was a success – not a single part a failure. All my goals were not met but in that I learned so much. I gave it my all and now I’m ready to give this life we are given my all.
I hope this can encourage just one woman to set up that Roadtippers account and plan a trip that excites them and scares the hell out of them because in between the two there is courage, peace and understanding.