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
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
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
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
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
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
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.