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Circus Roadtrip 2018: 11 Days In

As I am writing this, it is day 11 of my big road trip, and I am having coffee and oatmeal at a campground in Sheridan, Wyoming, before getting on the road again.  So far, things have been good – a little different than I was expecting, but in some ways better.

I haven’t had any major meltdowns.  I did have a couple of minor ones – one when I couldn’t find my wallet and had to take a bunch of stuff out of the car (it had fallen in a crack behind the front seats when I was trying to slip it back into my purse), and once when I couldn’t find a campground in Bozeman, Montana (I was able to find a site in Livingston, the next town over, and I was headed that direction anyway).

I find myself pulling over and parking a lot more than I was originally expecting.  To look at the atlas to figure out where I’m headed, to call campgrounds when I know where I will be ending up for the night, to get a snack out of the cooler (it is on the floor of the passenger seat, but the way the lid lifts makes it hard to get things out without pulling the cooler out of the car – it is a snug fit in my car these days).  There is something about having a co-pilot that makes things easier, that you don’t really think about until you don’t have one.

I have found that I prefer sleeping in my car bed to the tent.  It is more comfy.  My 4″ thick memory foam mattress works well and I can’t even feel the plywood underneath.  I have just enough room to roll over easily and stretch out lengthwise mostly, but my feet touch the back hatch door when I do (this is when being really short comes in handy).  Getting in and out requires some acrobatics…  When the sun goes down the temp cools off a lot, so I haven’t been too hot in the car like I was worried about.

I am getting better at using my selfie stick.  It’s dorky, and people look at you funny, and surprisingly few people ask if you want them to take a photo of you when they see you selfie-ing.  It does come in handy though, so I will continue looking geeky, as I am never going to see these people again.  I do have to be better about remembering it when I get out of the car!

I do get lonely on the long drives, and sometimes at night.  I sometimes find myself listening to sad, cathartic songs on repeat (I shouldn’t do that!).  I am on my third audiobook already, but this one is longer than the first two.  Mostly I’m so tired at night that I don’t lay awake much, which is good!

The mosquitoes are a bother, and I already long for the day when I don’t smell like bug spray.  That stuff dries your skin out in a bad way too!  I suspect this will just get worse as I head deeper into the Midwest, where the mosquitoes are as big as my face.  Say a prayer for me – those critters love me, and I am already peppered with bites!

I am almost afraid to say the weather has been great.  A few raindrops here and there, but I have hiked and touristed to my heart’s content without any downpours so far.  Early this morning I heard some thunder, and it was windy, and there was a little bit of rain, but it is long gone now without a cloud in the sky.  I just knocked on the picnic table, so hopefully that helps…

Today I will roll over 2,000 miles.  Wow – that’s a lot of ground covered!  I do admit, my path through Montana was a bit circuitous for the first several days.  Montana is a really awesome state!  As much as I did – there was a lot more that I had to leave behind.

I have a few friends I talk to consistently each day or every couple days – they help keep me sane.  And I have been enjoying posting photos in mostly real time on Twitter and Instagram!  If you want to follow along – my username is @wineandhistory on both sites.  Wifi is often not good enough for photo uploads, so that’s where the current pictures are posted.

Farewell for now!

The Circus Trip: Revealed

I have said before that this blog has been my happy place for the last several years.  I love travel, history, and wine, and I love sharing my adventures with all of you.  Yet they say change is the one constant, and that holds true in my own life too.

As a result of recent life changes, I have been doing a lot of self-reflection, and a lot of way-finding.  As this directional adjustment is going to include travel, and likely quite a bit of wine, it only makes sense to me that I include you on my journey here.  It is guaranteed to be a lot bumpier and more raw than some of my other journeys, but the rest is basically unknown territory.

As is to be expected, I have felt a bit lost after my divorce.  I know a lot of people do.  My divorce wasn’t easy or amicable and I found that the man I thought I had married wasn’t at all the man I had thought he was.  I don’t want to dwell on this or relive it, but it certainly contributed to my feelings of loss recently, as have some other events.  They have damaged my ability to trust, and I am still healing.  It’s pretty amazing how a few people and their actions can make you question your self-worth so thoroughly, even when you are a confident, intelligent, capable person.

As one of my employees is fond of saying, “What fresh fuckery is this?”  I feel like I have experienced more than my fair share of fuckery lately, and I need to let it go.  There are a whole lot of circus animals out there that just aren’t mine to care about anymore…  And therein lies the title of this post…

Often though, in the face of adversity, there is opportunity.  I have decided to do something huge, just for me; I am quitting my job to travel the U.S. for a few months.  Just me and my car, whom I have named Viaje.   I need to find myself again.

I never thought that I would be a person who would just hit the road without much of an itinerary or a timeline; that world is for hippier, more free-spirited people than me.  But I think something more extreme is what I need to get out of the rut I find myself stuck in.  I need to figure out again that I am strong and capable, and that I am enough.  I need to relearn that there is purpose in this life.  I need to know that there are kind people in this world, even if I know I will run into some unkind ones too.  Hopefully the kind ones will outnumber the jerks.  I need to figure out how to make it alone.  I need to see and feel peace again.  I need to heal.

I am on a budget, unless one of you wants to be my anonymous benefactor, so I’ll be doing it with a combination of car camping and couch-surfing, with perhaps the occasional hotel night thrown in if I am really itching for a good, hot shower and some TV (I can’t let that happen too often though – darned budget).  If any friends and family, both well-known and little known, are interested in sharing some time, or inviting me for a brief stay to connect or reconnect and find some laughter and human connection, I would welcome that!

I won’t be going everywhere, but if you would like to get together, and/or are willing to put up with me for a night or two (or more, but that would be completely up to you and my itinerary), let me know here and we’ll see if I will be in your area.

The next few months of blog posts are likely to deal more with my emotional experience than I have revealed here in the past, but I decided that my process of healing needs to include that level of openness.  Maybe someone else can benefit from my trials.  Other antics may include freezing my butt off, sweating to death, not being able to get the camp stove working, singeing my hair in a campfire, spraying bug spray in my eye, turning into one giant, itchy mosquito welt (they love me) and being bitten by (hopefully not) ticks.  The trip is also bound to include some gorgeous sunsets, great hikes, fantastic historical sites, and wine consumed from either a mug or a melamine cup…  There might even be smores!

They say what doesn’t kill you…??? To that end, I will still be posting here, and as I still have a ton of previous trip stuff to catch up on (including a trip to London that I arrived home from early this morning!!!), this blog will be a combination of past and present posts.  I will likely be posting less frequently though, as I will have to find a place for the night each night…  Priorities…  You will be more likely to find current updates on Instagram or Twitter (my username on both platforms is @wineandhistory), so I hope you will follow along there as well.

I hope you will follow along on this crazy adventure of mine!