Do you ever feel as though you’re living someone else’s life?
You’re going through the motions, but you’re more “floating” rather than “living.” Until this realization hits you. It always hits hard.
Last time this happened to me was when I was decorating a cake at a gluten-free bakery in Oakland. It was supposed to be a temporary job, but now, a year had passed and I was touted as the ‘best person who could write on cakes’ in this bakery…with a Bachelor’s in Public Health. I really enjoyed working at the bakery but this wasn’t my passion. And this definitely wasn’t where I saw myself post-college.
I felt like I was living the wrong life. Temporary had become permanent. I was in a rut. I gave my 2 weeks notice that day.
I bring this story up because a similar feeling came over me as I drove the truck and trailer by myself up the windy road to Rocktown a few weeks ago. That day, I had hitched up the trailer all by myself. I had manuvered the entire rig down a crowded street in Chattanooga, luckily they have been installing speed humps so it was not that bad. I filled up the gas tank all by myself and then directed myself to Rocktown.
After spending about half an hour parking the trailer in the “perfect” spot in the big open camping field, I felt exhilarated. All these tasks may not sound too exciting or difficult, but adrenaline has been coarsing through my veins since that morning. I had never done any of this on my own.
It’s funny how my constantly changing life on the road had felt stable. I had been holding on to this stability, this consistency. Spenser did this, I did that. All the sudden, you’re back in a rut.
With Spenser gone, I had to do all of these previously inconsequential things alone. There was no one to rely on and it was nerve-wracking and empowering at the same time. I knew I could do it, but what if something went wrong?
Well, then I would figure it out, I told myself.
And I did.
Of course, I was never truly alone. I have formed a great support group in the Southeast that I knew I could count on if shit really hit the fan. Katie & Niko in the big yellow van were just down the mountain, Cody & Greg an hour away in Chattanooga. You always need a back-up plan, right? 😉
The two weeks without Spenser felt surreal. There were so many firsts… Those mentioned above to do with the truck/trailer. My friend Rachel coming to visit- there were two girls in the trailer for the first time! My best friend from my life-before-climbing, Tzveta, coming to stay for a weekend (yep, now there were 3 ladies in our little trailer!). I was traveling with ladies instead of my boyfriend. I mixed climbing friends & college friends for the first time. I was the most experienced road-tripper in the group, for once. I was, more or less, in charge of the big decisions. I had to deal with Bert breaking down in the pressure of the cold, without Spenser around to figure it out. It was stressful but eye-opening. I had been floating instead of living, yet again.
Tzveta’s visit especially reinvigorated me and my love for what we are doing. She reminded me why we are on the road (writing to tell me afterwards that I made her more conscious of her wasteful & unnecessary spending was the best compliment I could ever receive!). She reminded me how incredible it is that we are able to see a sky filled with stars before we go to bed each night.
I love this crazy life and am looking forward to what the next year on the road brings. I also feel incredibly lucky that I started this wild ride with the best partner a girl can hope for, one whose strengths compliment my weaknesses…sometimes it takes 2 weeks apart to remind you of that! Spenser and I make one mean team. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact we’re on the edge of our 2 year anniversary of being on the road. Time flies, no matter what you’re doing and there is absolutely no time for being stuck in a rut.