had such a response to an update as my last one from Yuma I called,
"Depression in the Desert."
In case anyone wondered, the messages of support and encouragement
really had an impact and were appreciated more than you probably
From a friend met in
Seattle contemplating fulltiming:
"My first reaction
on reading this was 'Hey! Someone has finally said that fulltiming
is not the cure-all for all of life's experiences! It's great
to hear what I always suspected the reality was, but for some
reason no one ever writes about it. I think you've got a classic
I've gotta say that while
fulltiming is not the cure-all for everything, neither is anything
else. But I still haven't found a lifestyle I like better or that
is more rewarding in so many ways.
And maybe my Canadian
friend had some doubts about my human-ness prior to this observation???
"I can see
that you are definitely a human being with emotions, depression
Since I'm still so far
behind in answering individual emails, I wanted to get this general
update off to answer the question of where I am and what's going
on with me now. It's always nice to get such support and understanding
by email - and as much as I believe in the therapy of writing, there
is nothing more healing than a warm hug. And I sincerely believe
it was the abundance of them given me in Quartzsite that helped
lift the bulk of the black cloud I had been under. And what better
group to give me a shot in the arm or a kick in the butt than the
"Graduating Class of 2005?" I have never been so warmly
greeted by a group of people in my life. I swear they made me feel
like some sort of celebrity!
One couple exclaimed
"Malia - I can't believe we're finally meeting you - YOU'RE
the reason we went to Alaska last year!" And another couple,
"You're the reason my husband agreed to go to Alaska next
year!" He said he read every page I wrote and figured "if
that little lady can do that all by herself, we should be able to!"
It still amazes me that people are actually strongly affected by
what I have done and written about.
There were many people
I was thrilled to meet that I had communicated with for years so
they felt like old friends, even though I'd never seen their faces
before. Some I knew through their postings on the forums as they
shared the trials and challenges it took to actually get them on
the road, or shared the disappointment when unforeseen obstacles
kept them from actually "graduating" in 2005.
We had roaring campfires
on chilly desert nights under unbelievably bright stars, shivering
under blankets, but warmed by new friendships. There were class
t-shirts, pins and even diplomas passed out amid laughter and shared
Since many knew I was
a little nervous about my "speaking" to the Graduating
Class of 2005, I'll just say that I got through it and others said
they enjoyed it, but a lot of it is just a blur to me now. I never
had intended to give a formal memorized speech or anything, but
I had a general idea of what I wanted to get across and now I'm
not even exactly sure what I wound up saying or forgetting. I think
I got a little flustered when the seminar before me ran overtime
and Tab had to interrupt him for my scheduled time. I didn't recognize
all the people in the audience and thought we probably should have
taken a break first because they'd been sitting long enough, and
maybe they were just there for the first seminar. But then there
were other people who had come for my particular time, so I went
ahead and think I made at least some of the points I wanted to share
with the group. I had said at the beginning that I would answer
questions at the end, but then I forgot to ask for any by the time
I was finished talking. So it didn't go as smoothly as I would have
liked and I was actually a little more nervous than I thought I
would be, but I got through my first public speaking gig without
falling down or anything more embarrassing, so that's something
anyway. For I what I wanted to say, here's a link
to Malia's Miles page about that.
A few other pages on
Arizona and the rally start here
on Malia's Miles.
Here are some links of
others I had fun with who have written about it:
Check out Motorcycle
Mama Malia via my friend Firedude's
site - now that's the way to see the desert!
I was really happy to
finally get to meet Ron Bunge from HitchItch.com.
His was one of the sites I haunted to learn about fulltime RVing
and Terry, a fellow rockhound who gifted me with one of the first
turquoise necklaces he made. Their blog about Quartzsite begins
and he writes about our meetings starting on Jan. 29.
Tab, my bestest graduating
buddy, the tireless coordinator of the class, and the main reason
I made it to Quartzsite, writes about his and his sweet wife, Deanna's,
on his blog.
Besides the unflagging
support I got from Pat & Mel when I was so sick in Yuma, to
the hug therapy I got from my great new friends in Quartzsite, I
now have my big brother and his wife, who I call my sister-in-heart
because sister-in-law sounds like a much more distant relationship
than the closeness we share.
After enjoying a great
homecooked meal during my first night at their house, I was telling
them that I was definitely doing better than I was when I wrote
"Depression in the Desert" but I still can't honestly
say I feel 100% normal (whatever that is).
His question to me then
was "What would it do for your psyche if you could still
travel, have time for the writing you want to do and make as much
or more money than you could as a paralegal?"
Thinking back on it,
my first response was very telling about where my attitude had sunk.
I said, "I'd be afraid to think about that, because that's
too good to be true."
I had begun to find it
hard to live with the level of insecurity I had come to feel about
the fulltime RVing lifestyle. I then had to ask myself just where
does my idea of security come from? Would I feel secure enough if
I had enough money to live and travel on without so much anxiety?
As much as I've said I'd like to have it proven by me, I know that
it's not money that makes people happy and some of the most insecure
people I've known had more money than I'd know what to do with.
Always a thought provoker,
Pat sent a thought from a book called "Serenity:"
am convinced that,
as a child of God,
I am called to risk....
Without risk there
is no opportunity
for personal growth."
Could it be that you
pretty much get in life what you are willing to pursue whole-heartedly,
without reservation - not just what you sit back and hope and yearn
What I figure I need
to at least get back to the me I was when I started fulltime RVing,
is a renewed sense and conviction that things really do happen for
a reason and bumps in the road do not mean the end of the trail.
There's a saying I have taped to my makeup mirror that I apparently
haven't reviewed enough: "Always know in your heart that
you are far bigger than anything that can happen to you."
Somewhere I started to believe that the things that happened to
me that I judged as "bad" meant that somehow the universe
was not on my side anymore and that some nasty power lurked out
there just to "get" me.
I had to start listening
to my own advice to the class: Don't forget why you started RVing
- don't lose your adventurous spirits - don't take the wonder of
travel for granted. Don't forget that even the longest journey begins
with but a single step.
So I'll be in Albuquerque
for at least the next month to see if his idea will work out for
both of us or not. I will also try to keep the faith if this particular
avenue turns out to be a dead end.
Again, thank you all
for the messages of support and encouragement. Once again, I stand
by my statement that one of the very best things about RVing is
the open hearts of the people I've met, both online and in person.
Thank you for traveling with me. And yes, I AM gonna keep on truckin!