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Ways of Writing
(update from Prospect, Oregon)
July 6, 2005


Journal Updates

INDEX

2007
Columbia, SC
Savannah
Blue Ridge Parkway
Computer Crash!

2005 - 2006
Happy New Year
Hawk's Message
I'm Published!
Sharing Spring
Ways of Writing
Goodbyes
Edmonds, WA
Degenerate Neck
Desert Depression
Post Quartzsite
Albuquerque
Grandma Malia

2003 - 2004
Oregon
Alaska Planning
Canada
Alaska 1
Alaska 2
Alaska 3
Alaska 4
Alaska 5
Alaska 6
Alaska 7
BC & Alberta
To Lower 48
2004 Recap
Giving Thanks

2001 - 2002
Inspiration's Off!
Maine
9-11-01
To Charleston
Charleston
N. Carolina
To Orlando
Florida Tour
Back in Austin
Albuq. to WA
Washington

 

 

My mom told me the other day that she was starting to get complaints from her friends about me. They missed being updated on my "adventure" because they enjoyed traveling through my eyes and words. I realized then that not only had I not sent out any updates for a while, I haven't been writing for myself anymore. I had let writing become a job.

I've been writing for Malia's Miles, I've been writing for RVTravel, I've been trying to figure out how to write to sell articles. Today I found out a short piece I submitted to Escapees Magazine was being published. This is all good, but definitely a different kind of writing. And I've spent a lot of time working on other projects that were certainly not exciting, but were designed to lead to financial benefit. I've managed to make enough money to keep me from going hungry, but it was quickly reaching the point where I'd have to do some serious rethinking to keep myself out of credit card debt or completely draining every last drop of my remaining savings - getting into the stuff that's harder to liquidate.

My mom tells me I better come "home" and get a real job and save up money for a while. She reasons I can always leave again when I have saved money. That may make perfect sense to any reasonable person. But I don't feel particularly reasonable at the moment, and I just know that if I do that, I'll never leave Austin again. It was hard enough to pull this off when I was 4 years younger, had more energy, before 9-11 blew apart a lot of things I had counted on, and gas was a whole lot cheaper. I believe it would be a hell of a lot easier for me right now to maintain what I've done for four years than it would be to recreate it under even more difficult circumstances than I faced before.

It's times like this that when I'm really faced with some hard choices that make me question what I'm doing -- that make me either have to re-commit or quit. Just how important is fulltime RVing to me? Most of the time I can answer that question without question. When I can drive beside the Rogue River, watching its moods change with each turn - and I can drive clear around the rim of Crater Lake seeing that amazing blue shift like a kaleidoscope - there just is no question in my mind that this is what I want to do and any sacrifice I have to make is worth it.

Yet sometimes just the smallest thing can set me off-course. I think we're given super-human strength to get through the big challenges - like the adrenaline a mother uses when she lifts a car off her trapped baby. But it's the little things that come at me like gnats and catch me so off-guard that leave me reeling. I may know in my mind that it's really not that bad, but somehow I can't stop myself from breaking into tears and calling everything into question - including my very reason for being! I call those moments my "mini meltdowns."

Just at the thought of washing my motorhome, a few other choice thoughts came crowding in: "What was I thinking that I could do this by myself?" "Even with a ladder, I can't reach the part above the window to wax it and it really needs it." "Oh man, now that I look at it, the entire monster needs to be waxed and I just don't have the time, strength or energy to do it myself -- and I certainly don't have the money to pay someone else to do it."

A full-on pity party was about to blast off, but about then I had to cut the tears off in mid stream because there were RV's out there starting to line up waiting to check in. So I pulled myself together to go be a useful camp host and I was feeling pretty normal by that time I was heading back home.

That was when my friend Pat stopped me to lend me a book we had previously discussed. As she proceeded to read an inspirational message that she seemed to believe was meant for me, I broke down into tears again and she wound up comforting and counseling me, reminding me of things I may have known, but hadn't been living in accordance with.

A very perceptive woman Pat is, and even though we've known each other a pretty short time, we've had some pretty deep conversations. Since I have spoken to her about an article I'm working on about married fulltiming couples, she and I have shared quite frankly about that subject with each other.

I told her tonight how insecure I was feeling about things in general, despite the fact that in reality it's starting to look better for my writing career than ever before. My working with Chuck Woodbury was growing more and more promising. Despite being consumed with opening his first bricks & mortar RV Bookstore and other RV related projects, he has been patient and a great teacher. He's been through a lot of the same things I'm now experiencing, has come through it with great success and his encouragement and support have been extremely valuable to me. As I've learned and listened, he has entrusted me with more and more projects that we both believe will result in a win-win deal, my favorite kind. And I'm so excited about being invited to Washington for the bookstore's opening - so why am I in tears right now?

Pat responded that I probably had a lot of unresolved feelings about a lot of things. She gently told me that sometimes a trauma like the end of a marriage, no matter how short, couldn't be gotten over quickly or easily. I had to admit that even though I knew it to be for the best, the sense of failure hadn't let go of me. Maybe now that was encroaching into other areas of my life, making me doubt myself in things I normally felt secure in.

She also picked up on the fact that maybe writing had become too much like work and that I should return to writing for fun and/or therapy for a while. When I began to remember what that was like, I had to laugh. Oh yeah, right. When I write for myself, I don't have to worry about how many words I can use, or what kind of space it needs to fit in. I don't have to listen to anyone else's opinion of what should be included and how it should be presented. I can ramble if I want to. The purpose is simply to express and release, not to try to sell it to some editor somewhere.

Malia's Miles is my attempt to share with RVers some of the more practical aspects of RVing. I do enjoy gathering and presenting that info, but Inspiration's Journey is my heart and the reason I'm out here. This kind of writing is for Inspiration's Journey. I've been away from my source for too long.

Sometimes when I open my email and hear from people who say they've been inspired by what I have done, it starts my day with a smile and a "Thank you, God, for letting me have my dream with the bonus of showing others they can have theirs, also."

Then there are other days when I read the same kind of message and think to myself, "If they only knew what a fraud I am!" I write honestly on both websites, but sometimes I think people misinterpret who I really am. Or that I have something they don't possess that allows me to live my dream. So here's a myth dispelled: I am NOT always brave -- I am NOT always confident, or sure of what I'm doing.

But as a finale to the day, I received the email below. And when I hear from people as sincere as this, I just have to believe I must be doing something right.

Dear Malia,

I have enjoyed reading about your journey. You are doing something I have dreamed about for quite some time - and your journal was a key step in the right direction. Here's how:

I am a somewhat adventuresome woman who is married to a wonderful, non-adventuresome man. When I start talking about selling our house & hitting the road in an RV when I retire, he really thought I had taken leave of my senses. I encouraged him to think about all of the positive things about such an adventure, but he was unconvinced. As a "lure," I showed him your picture-journal of your trek through Canada and Alaska and challenged him to imagine fishing and/or golfing in such wonderful settings. Well, that got him thinking!

Now, at least 4-5 times per week, we start a conversation with "When we are on our BIG ADVENTURE…." [my husband] has fairly major health issues, so we need to do this sooner rather than later - thus the early retirement before I am eligible for full benefits. Now, however, thanks to your journal, he is much more confident that we can make our way on the road, earning $$ along the way, and not end up destitute!!!

This is just to introduce myself and say a BIG "THANK YOU" for your courage to do as you were lead and for all of your hard work in putting together your amazing website. I know from reading the forums on RV.net and Escapees that others have also been inspired and encouraged by your work. Be safe, well, and continue to follow your vision!

Susan

Sometimes we must let go of the life we have planned in order to have the life we were meant to have!

What an amazing letter - what an inspiring "signature" - one of my favorite sayings of all time and a very timely reminder for me at this moment.

I always respond to people letting them know how much their taking the time to write means to me, but I wonder if they really know what inspiration and strength to go on they impart to me. Thank you, Susan, for the reminder -- I wish you the best in your own dream course and appreciate your pointing me back to mine!

And thank you, Pat, for being a friend and encouraging me to release through words some of the things I've been withholding. I feel better now.

 

Inspiration's Journey Home
Next entry: Sad Goodbyes
 
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