The Blindside

The Blindside. A direction in which a person has a poor view, typically of approaching danger. In football, it’s generally the quarterbacks left side, as most are right handed, and he is protected there by the left tackle from approaching hits.

It’s kind of funny how we also say we have been blindsided, or sucker punched, when our feelings take a surprise hit. It’s such a real analogy though. Because we can be driving along, looking ahead, and a phone call or text message or email can arrive unexpectedly and the next thing you know you are doubled over and face down on the ground from the emotional hit. Blindsided.

Yesterday was one of those days for me. And I could feel all my armor going on. I could feel myself start to just block it out. Try to ignore it. Because my first thought was that life was saying hey, while you’re working through all your crap, let’s throw this on top of it too. But instead of going to all my old, unhealthy coping mechanisms, I reached out to two people. People who have held me up in the past and who could be counted on to let me spew my nonsense for a minute and help steer me in the right direction. And remind me to not let the old hurt steal my joy and the growth I’m experiencing right now.

My next thought was why do I have to be driving and not have my pen and notebook with me??? (Lesson to self, always carry these. You never know when you’ll need to work some things out.) But when I finally got back home, I got out my journal and made my notes on all the reasons that memory hurt me. So I could deal with the hurt. See the reality of the situation, and stand up straight and move forward.

And this morning I was up before dawn, watching the sunrise. And letting it fill my soul with possibility. And finally some peace.

#theblindside #suckerpunch #sunrise #growth #hotpinkhippie #travel #wanderlust #adventure #threedogsandablog #findyourself #rvlife #journal #makingmemoriesallovertheworld

What If You Didn’t Know You Were Supposed to be Scared

Yesterday was a weird day. I woke up with plans to drive in to town, 30 miles away, and go to the gym. But I just couldn’t make myself do it. I knew I needed to do something and I remembered I have my running shoes with me, I’m signed up to do an 8K run in Canada in August, so I thought maybe I should start running a little bit again. It’s free and easy to do around here.

So I laced up my shoes and ran all the little streets in the RV Park. That ended up being 1.5 miles, and I finished with some plyometric exercises on the kiddie playground. (Never an excuse that you don’t have equipment.) Once I was finished I noticed that the water was pretty still for the first time in a few days, I knew we were supposed to get rain later, so I decided to grab my SUP and spend a little time on the water. I didn’t even change clothes. Just walked over in my running clothes.

It was super peaceful out on the water and I knew I had been missing that and noticed I started to relax. As I was paddling back to shore I was rewarded with seeing this beautiful stingray. (photo above from the inter webs because I hadn’t even bothered to take time to grab my phone or anything) I even said “oh, hello beautiful” at the time as she glided underneath me and out the other side of my board in the super clear water. I felt like it was my reward for getting out on the water and for getting some exercise in too.

Later, when the rain started, I decided to look up stingrays because I knew it was one, but I didn’t know what kind it was. I just knew I had never seen one that looked like this before. Let me just say, I am super glad I didn’t know then what I know now about this particular stingray. Turns out it is a Spotted Eagle Ray. And they are known to jump out of the water, on two reported occasions they have jumped into boats, and on one of those it killed a woman IN THE FLORIDA KEYS. Ok, I’m in the Keys. Craziness.

But my point is, I knew none of this at the time. I just knew I saw this beautiful creature in its natural environment. I wasn’t threatened at all and I just marveled at it. And watched it glide away. I didn’t know I should be afraid of it, so I wasn’t. I was just grateful for the experience. If society, and upbringings, and just life in general didn’t tell us we should be afraid of something, would we be? Are we born afraid of things? No, we are taught to be afraid of the hot stove, or the hissing snake, or failure.

Not that those aren’t scary bad things, but how many of our fears are learned or fabricated? I mean, I’m scared of heights, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t always. Someone or something taught me that heights are scary. I had super big fears about getting out on the road and being a solo traveler. But I decided my fear was unfounded. If I failed, I failed. But if I got in there in the middle, and made it through the uncomfortable scary part, I would be so rewarded by the beauty on the other side. And so far, I have been.

And in case you want to read about the stingray, the link is below.

#fearislearned #youcantskipthemiddle #brenebrown #risingstrong #spottedeagleray #nature #floridakeys #wikipedia #travel #adventure #hotpinkhippie #wanderlust #makingmemoriesallovertheworld #rvlife #sup

Learning to be Bored

I have a confession to make. I’m getting a little tired of the Keys. I know, I know. It’s blasphemy. But I feel the need to roam. The need to move. But what I really, really need is to learn to be bored.

Hear me out. I REALLY thought that I was very good at being alone. And I am. In a controlled environment, with all my stuff around me, and the ability to call on anyone at anytime if I want to get out and do stuff. So what I was actually comfortable with was comfort. Knowing that I didn’t have to be alone if I didn’t want to was what I was good at. As in, it was my choice when I was alone.

And now I’m here in the Keys where EVERYONE only wants to fish and drink. And everyone you meet seems like a friend at the time and they want to exchange numbers and say let’s go out on the boat. Super chill and you feel like every person is the most amazing person you’ve ever met. The only thing is, none of them really seem to mean it. I am 100% genuine when I say ALL THEY WANT TO DO is fish and drink. People genuinely live on boats anchored out in the water, and they never leave. They sit all day, music blaring, just doing nothing. (Some people really do work. And I recognize that. So those people, please don’t feel like I’m blasting you. I know I’m not working right now, so I’m not completely living blind.)

I’m not wired that way. I’m wired for movement. For busy. For To-Do lists. And that wiring isn’t good for me. For my spirit. I need, more than anything, to learn how to be bored. I need to sit my butt down here in the Keys for the next 2 weeks as planned, and BE BORED. That’s the only way I am going to be able to finally hear that voice inside of me that will let me know who I really am and what I really want to do. Y’all, I needed to come back here. I needed to in a way I can’t explain. To anyone. I was called to it. I was at peace the week I was here last month. Calm and quiet. And that’s what drove me to change my original plans (pesky To-Do list) and come back.

And now. Well. Now I’m getting uncomfortable. Because now I’m being forced to sit still. To not go and do. To be alone. WITH MYSELF. And what if I’m not as cool and awesome and funny and smart and amazing as I thought I was??? That’s super scary to me. It goes against every fiber of my being to do this, but now I have to make myself sit with the uncomfortable. Now I have to sit with just myself. And my thoughts. And get to know ME.

I really, really think it’s time we meet. No matter how uncomfortable and awkward it gets. (I’m the queen of awkward.) It’s been a long time coming.

#queenofawkward #hotpinkhippie #getuncomfortable #havewemet #travel #wanderlust #adventure #learntobebored #hippiegirl #rvlife #threedogsandablog #makingmemoriesallovertheworld

Setting up Camp

Yesterday was a hard day. Nothing bad happened, but breaking down and then setting up your RV campsite is not a quick, clean, easy process. Now, imagine doing this 3 times before 12:00 noon and you kind of get the picture. I started to question my sanity a little bit. I was filthy, tired, had a headache and was hangry. I needed a shower super bad, but instead I got out my paddle board. Of course. I decided my soul needed cleansing a little more than my body at that point. And I was right. Plus, as I was getting out, the board struck the sea wall and I got dipped in the ocean. So I got cleaned up a little anyway. Win win.

But before all the insanity of the day started I was drinking my coffee, and received a message from a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a couple of years. He had seen my Snapchat the night before of my sunset in The Keys and asked if I had moved to The Keys or something. (Not yet friend. Not yet.) We chatted for quite a while and got caught up on the events of the last year of my life. The events that have gotten me to this place, and what my hopes and dreams are. If you don’t have someone to randomly bounce these things off, I highly recommend it. Sometimes you don’t even know what your hopes and dreams are until they come spilling unexpectedly out of your mouth.

As I was making my breakfast, I was telling this friend how I have absolutely everything I need inside this camper. I don’t miss any of the physical items I left back home. I was talking about how content I was, and then I tried to make toast to go with my eggs and bacon. But I don’t have a toaster. And I nearly went into meltdown mode. (First world problems.) Then, just as clear as day, as if she was standing next to me in the kitchen, I heard my mom say cooked up cheese sandwiches.

For those of you who don’t know, that’s a grilled cheese sandwich in the Brown household y’all. So I took those two slices of bread and put them in the skillet where I had just cooked my bacon. On a side note, if you have never fried bread in bacon grease, OH M GEE….you don’t even know. Even if you have a toaster, do this. And thank me later. But back to it, I really do have everything I need. And have been way too spoiled with excess.

It also made me realize, again, that my parents are always with me. And they still give me guidance if I will just still my mind and listen. And I believe they would be super proud of what I’m doing. The tragedy of their illnesses and then losing them gave me some of the hardest times I’ve ever been through, but it also rewarded me with some of the greatest joys I’ve experienced. Both then, and now. I think they would approve of this camp I am setting up.

#settingupcamp #travel #adventure #wanderlust #rvlife #hippiegirl #threedogsandablog #thekeys #sunsets #makingmemoriesallovertheworld #bestill #getridofexcess

Dish Water Soaked Grief

I try not to blog more than once a week. All the models tell you no one really wants to hear from anyone, about anything, more than that. Once a week. And good little rule following OCD person that I am gladly obliges. Except for now. I feel like this time it’s worth it. I also don’t really care what the models and the “people” think. But that’s another blog entirely.

Yesterday was Mom and Dads anniversary. 56 years. And I had no idea until late in the day. For the past month or so I haven’t really known what day of the week it is, much less the date. So I was out on the water deep sea fishing, for the first time ever, living my life, oblivious to time and space. Just enjoying life. I got back to the condo, showered, cooked, ate dinner and was washing the dishes.

Then boom. I have no idea what hit me. I genuinely have no clue what happened to make me realize the date. I just know that I doubled over with a pain greater than anything I’ve ever felt, and let loose sounds that can only be described as primal. I felt my loss for the first time. It was their first anniversary with both of them gone and I was done in. Broken. Shattered.

I stood there stomping my feet like a spoiled toddler, wailing in a way I’ve never heard, brought to my knees on the kitchen floor of a strangers condo, as I used dish water soaked hands to try and wipe away nearly a years worth of grief and pain. I felt things I hadn’t felt until then.

A couple of times I tried to tell myself to buck up and get myself together. But I realized I needed to ride the waves and the pain and feel every last bit of my feelings or I would never ever be able to start to heal. After an hour or more I finally could see well enough to send messages to the friends closest to me. My sister. A couple of girlfriends. Another friend. I needed my tribe. One friend told me to go out on the water. Go to where I’ve felt the most peace lately, and talk to them.

So this morning I got up, had my coffee (momma and daddy’s girl), and then got my paddle board ready, and walked down to the water. I spent over an hour paddling and just talking. It was almost like some kind of prayer, this conversation I had with my parents. So much came pouring out of me. So many things I didn’t even realize I felt. I had no idea just how much guilt I carried that I had left my mothers side for half an hour and then she passed away, while I had been holding my dads hand when he left us. I knew it bothered me. But I had no idea how much.

Today brought so much out of me. So much conversation. So many things I told them that I didn’t know I missed sharing with them. And I finally got a little bit of myself back. After I got off the water, I walked back and showered really quickly then walked to the little beach bar where I had been putting my board in every day. I sat at the outside railing overlooking the bay, eating some oysters, and right there…close enough where I could have walked in to the water and touched them, were 2 dolphins playing. Right where I have been spending quiet time every day this past week. Right where I came in after spending an hour talking to mom and dad.

Every time in the past year that I have had an experience in nature and talked to my parents, 2 animals have shown up. 2 dogs. 2 birds. 2 dolphins. Happy first forever anniversary together mom and dad. I hope it’s the first of an eternity of anniversaries loving each other pure and whole.

#anniversaries #travel #adventure #healing #grief #wanderlust #hippiegirl #twodogsandablog #growth #makingmoriesallovertheworld

So What Next?

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been asked “so, what’s next?” in the past week or so that I have been stuck at home waiting for my car to be fixed. So many times that I’ve started to feel impatient. Everyone thinks you have to be DOING something, and working a 40+ hour week, and they just don’t get it.

See, I left and started these travels because I realized deep in my soul that there is no way we were created to just earn money, working jobs that don’t fulfill us, so that by the time we retire and can MAYBE enjoy that money, we are too old and too tired to do anything about it. I also started this because I have absolutely no clue what’s next. I stayed in a job that was definitely not what I was called to do for 6.5 years so that I could help care for my parents. I would do it again a thousand times over. But now it’s my time.

I have been calling 2019 my selfish year. I was listening to a podcast before I started traveling and they said something that really struck me. They said “whatever your gift is, your first customer is you.”. They quoted Frederick Beuchner “find that place where your deepest gladness and the worlds hunger meets.”. And I am not sure what my gift is. I’m not sure where my deepest gladness lies. But I do know that I need to be my customer right now. Selfish. I can always make more money. But I can’t make more time.

So, instead of continuing to sit with people who ask the question that assumes we all have to work and not enjoy life, and instead of moping about because my car is broken and I can’t pull my camper, I found an AirBNB at the beach that’s pet friendly. (Super huge score that it even has a fenced in yard!) And I threw a pair of flip flops, some shorts and my paddle board in the trunk of the rental car, loaded up the dogs, and headed to the sun and sand and salt again. Because I do know one thing, when I’m on the water and I’m out in nature, I can think and breathe. And maybe figure out what next.

But until I do, I’m going to continue to immerse myself in nature, stay active and live my life. The dogs don’t seem to mind where we are or what we do. As long as they are with me. Honestly, people should take lessons from them.

#sowhatnext #selfishyear #beyourowncustomer #travel #adventure #wanderlust #hippiegirl #sup #threedogsandablog #lessonsfromadog #makingmemoriesallovertheworld

You’re Never as Far From Home as You Think

Saturday was my last day in Florida before I had to head back towards home to get my car repaired. I had already packed up my paddle board, but I had several hours before I had to check-out of my camp site, so I decided to rent a kayak to get just a little more time out on the water. (Also, my paddle board had dumped me the day before and I had seen 3 alligators, so there’s that too.)

I have kayaked before and I have to admit, I’ve never really understood the draw of it. I don’t love it. I have never found it enjoyable and could never really get the rhythm down, but I thought I’d try again. But as I was paddling, I found myself just absolutely fighting the wind and the water to make any headway. I was getting so frustrated and I was thinking I just don’t understand why anyone does this. So after about 40 minutes of frustrated paddling, I stopped. I sat there and was still and quiet. The song Peace Be Still started running through my head. “The winds and the waves shall obey His will”…

This isn’t a religious post, but a lot of the point of the journey I’m on is for me to find myself again. To learn to breathe and just be still. As I sat there, not fighting, just being still and breathing, the winds started slowly and gently turning me back in the direction I had started, back towards “home”. I let this happen, and when I finally started paddling again it was amazing how easy it was to go in that direction. I got in to a good rhythm. And I was truly surprised to see that I hadn’t even made it that far away with all my stubborn fighting. It was easy to make it back.

I guess my point is, you are never as far away from home, or your true self, as you think you are. If you stop fighting and being so bloody stubborn and in control all the time, and just sit still and breathe, you’ll find the journey is much easier. You’ll get pointed in the right direction. You are never too far away to make it back to where you really need to be.

#bestill #breathe #travel #journey #wanderlust #hippiegirl #threedogsandablog #makingmemoriesallovertheworld