Monday, August 22, 2016

10 Days and Counting

I'm sitting in my local Toyota dealership getting my car serviced and daydreaming about my upcoming trip when it really hit me. I only have 10 days left. It has been a month since I made the decision to go but it has felt like forever. In the beginning, I said it would be about 3 weeks because I had some projects and personal things I needed to wrap up before I went, but I did not set a specific date. Well those 3 weeks have come and gone, of course. Rule number 1 when planning any project. Set a date. If you don't, then you have no accountability, and you will never get around to it. Although I was making some progress, it was only after I set a date that things really started to come together. And luckily I have plenty of good people in my life who will help me to hold myself accountable if I set concrete goals.

My first stop will be Paducah, KY to visit my mom, stepdad, and grandma. In addition, I will be seeing a friend, Miss Amber Pitt, who has been kind enough to help arrange for me to teach a class on reading Runes at a local shop Wildhair Studios' Rock Shop. Then it's off to Colorado.

I would like to ask those of you following on my adventure to use the Follow by Email link on the right side of the page. Even though I put these posts on various social media sources, it is easy to miss posts due to the high volume of activity. Since I will be spending a lot of time alone while backpacking, interacting with you when I come out of the woods will help me stay connected to community. You, my tribe. You will simply get a email letting you know I have updated my blog and you can read at your convenience instead of hoping you caught the latest on your social media of choice or having to search for it.

For those wishing to make monetary donations, I have included a Donations button on the right side of the page as well.

On a fun note, I am excited by the fact that I actually have people from all over the world who have read my blog at some point. United States, China, Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine, Rwanda (thanks Rosanne), Switzerland, Japan, United Kingdom. Granted none of them are following me yet, but it's just incredible the reach social media has and a reminder of the responsibility we have using it. Our words could actually effect someone on the other side of the world and we will have never met or even know they read them. Use your words well my friends.

Okay, gotta run. My car is all finished. Until next time.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Comfortably uncomfortable

I want to start by saying how incredibly blessed I am by all the amazingly supportive people I have in my life. The outpouring of encouragement, the offers of places to stay, putting me in contact with your friends and family members in various places, arranging classes for me to teach, wanting to know how you can support me both figuratively and financially. I am so appreciative of all of you. And because some of you shared my last blog post, it was the one most read to date. I thank you.

I've had several people ask how they can help. Is there anything I need for the trip? Am I going to have a GoFundMe page? Can they sponsor a part of my trip? Etc. I hadn't actually thought of any of that. One friend suggested I head up my posts with a what I need section as I go along. Another asked if I could add a donation button.

And again, your generosity is overwhelming.

If I am honest, this makes me a little uncomfortable. Especially because I feel like I received such an outpouring of love and support after my diagnosis. But I am stretching into being comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. I am so stubbornly independent. It is not just that I find it hard to ask for help, but it often does not even cross my mind as an option. And I am stretching again to embrace my vulnerability. So, yes, I would love the help of anyone who is so inclined to offer. Uh. That's not good enough. It's almost dismissive isn't it? And it certainly is not an ask, is it? This is a really big undertaking. And I am going to need help. I am asking for your help. In any and all forms you are willing to provide it.

And why is that so hard? And why are there tears? And you are laughing and crying at the same time aren't you?

Okay. Let's breathe.

At this moment, I believe I have just about everything I need for the first leg of my trip as I have been an avid camper for years. So my major expenses will just be food and gas. I know that I will need to obtain both a backpacking tent and sleeping bag for cold weather for the second leg which starts in November. I will keep you posted as I go.

I will look into adding a donation button on the main page, but if that is not possible, I will include something in the individual posts for those who want to make a monetary donation. I thank you in advance. And I will thank you again and probably publicly unless you tell me not to. In the mean time you can send money to through PayPal. If you select the send money to friends option, there are no fees and you can also add a note. I will also be posting some of my handmade jewelry for sale on Facebook.

Some other things that have been mentioned are have you thought about making a documentary? Will you write a book? Have you contacted the local media to do a before and after piece? You're going to take lots of pictures right?

Wow! While the focus of this trip is not to get caught up in trying to document everything, I certainly do intend to take pictures, journal and blog about my experience. Should that naturally turn into a book then great, but again the intention of the trip is not to go have an experience so I have something to write a book about. Even though I worked in television and could produce a documentary, that requires a lot more equipment than I am not willing to lug around. If you know someone who wants to make a documentary then they can contact me and come join me for segments of the trip, but not the whole trip. Contacting the local media never crossed my mind. But if you know someone who would be interested in doing a human interest piece then by all means have them contact me. I am happy to support others in their endeavors as well.

So again, thank you all for your kind words of encouragement, your support, your loving embrace. Keep those questions and comments coming.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My upcoming odyssey

As far back as I can remember I have wanted to travel. As a young child I remember looking at copies of National Geographic and thinking to myself, I want to go to there. I want to be with those strange and wonderful people with their neck rings and plated lips. I want to climb those mountains and dive in those waters. I want to eat with people, photograph animals, and trek through wildernesses most others will never lay their eyes on. I want to visit some of the most remote areas of the world.

Fast forward 40 plus years. I have a stage 4 metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. I am doing well. I feel healthy. My doctors agree. Everything is going really well. The thing with this diagnosis however, is that it is terminal. My oncologist looked me straight in the face and told me, "You will die of this disease." It's the when none of us are sure about. And yes, I like to stay positive and be funny about it, telling her that I was going to be a miracle and cure myself. And don't think for a minute that I didn't mean it. But...

You see just like every other person, I am NOT in control. If I were, I would not have gotten cancer to begin with. I do have strength, I have power, I have choices. So now I will have the strength to say yes to my power and I will make choices that I can LIVE with. So in two weeks, I am going on what a friend called an odyssey. And I liked that.

For the next year, I will be backpacking around the country. My intention is to see some of the most remote places in the US, while taking time to dive deeper into the most remote places inside of myself. I could go on about what my dreams or expectations for this time are, but as I have learned on other quests, you get what you need, not what you want. Cue the Rolling Stones.

But I do have some practical desires. While out on the road, I hope to be able to visit friends and family who I have scattered all over the country. I hope to do a couple fun things like go zip lining or sky diving, but funds are very limited so we'll just have to see. It is my dream to guide people through vision quests, rights of passage and similar ventures so this will be a great opportunity to seek out areas where these can take place.

I am also extending an open invitation to anyone who wants to come out and camp or backpack with me for a short time. I will be heading out to Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Utah on the first leg of my trip. I am leaving September 1 and have to be back to Florida by October 15th for my quarterly medical checkup. Right now, I think the second leg will start in Washington and take me down along the west coast then into Arizona and Texas as it gets colder. I have pinpointed some of the warmest places to spend winters camping and backpacking. I love you Google. I will be blogging and posting as I go along, so if you want to keep up with my adventures or try and schedule a get together, please follow me on Blogger, Facebook, Google+, or Tumblr.

So, I am leaving in 2 weeks and I have a ton of stuff to do, so you will see posts from me about things I need help with before I go as well as just getting myself ready for the journey ahead. Please feel free to comment on anything. I love dialog. Your thoughts, feelings, insights, etc. are most welcome.