Tag Archive | finding myself

Circus Trip 2018: Glacier and my Marriage

One of the reasons for this trip was to shake off the painful end of my marriage and start fresh.  I don’t talk about it much, but perhaps I should.

Glacier National Park was one of the places that I had long talked about visiting with my ex-husband when we were married.  We never made it there.  At the end of our marriage, and during our divorce, I came to know another man in my husband, one so completely foreign to me that I wondered who I had actually been married to.  His behavior and his treatment of me was such a complete 180 from the early years, that I began to believe that it had all been a game to him.  I still don’t know who he really was, and I probably never will.

I would never have been able to afford this trip if I had remained married.  Getting divorced meant a level of financial (and emotional) freedom that I had not known in years.  My ex was an incredible drain on my finances, because he didn’t pull his weight financially and he was a huge spendthrift.  That was the one fight that we had over and over and over in our marriage, because his spending was bleeding us dry.  It was at the point that I was considering not allowing him to have his own credit card, and just giving him a cash allowance.  What is the point of being married to someone if you feel like you are treating them like a child?  I know he wasn’t happy with the situation either, but for whatever reason, he was just never willing to rein in the spending.

Long story short, getting divorced meant I was able to save a lot more money.  The drain on my life was gone.  Additionally, if I had still been married, he probably wouldn’t have been too keen on the idea of me taking several months away.  Let’s be honest, he probably would have wanted me to get a new job right away (or not leave the old one), so he could continue wasting all our money.

So, even though getting divorced was not what I had wanted for myself, and even though that year and a half was the most miserable time in my life so far, it was a blessing.  I am happier now that I don’t have his negativity and contempt weighing on my soul.  Someone else can have him be a drain on their finances and clean up his messes.  Someone else can listen to his lies.  I’m way better off.  I had a friend who told me that he looked at photos of my ex and me, and saw a woman trying to make it work, trying to be happy, and a man standing next to her who didn’t care about her at all.  He was right.  I don’t think my ex cared about me.  At least not at the end; I’ll never know if he ever did.

Before I went on this trip, I had never hiked alone.  Realistically though, I probably had.  My ex never actually hiked with me; instead he consistently walked between 20 and 50 feet in front of me when we went hiking.  There was rarely any interaction.  I have more pictures of his back, hiking in front of me, than I do of the two of us together.  So when I took this trip, I thought about that.  I had been hiking alone for most of my marriage.  This wouldn’t be any different – I got this.

 

I have told the story of the hat that he gave me. That hat that he had purchased for the girlfriend he was with at the end of our marriage, then decided to give to me instead.  The Avalanche Lake hike in Glacier National Park was the first hike I wore that hat for.  I thought I would hate it, but that hat grew on me.  It was a way to turn around the past and empower myself – to find my joy.  This was just the beginning of that new life, of feeling like I could travel by myself, hike by myself, and make my own way.

Me at Avalanche Lake

Glacier was just the start…

Circus Trip 2018: Washington

Day 1, July 16, 2018

My trip began in a whirlwind of to-do’s and jet lag.  Yes, I realize the contradiction there, and that’s part of what made that week such insanity…  I got home from my London trip early Sunday morning and was planning to depart on my big road trip one week later, the next Sunday morning.

In between I had to:

Work my last two days at my job
Do some happy hours/get togethers with friends and say my temporary goodbyes
Pack the car
See my parents
Get groceries
Get my house in order for several months away
Set up my new health insurance
Get Coraline set up at my parent’s house
See my horse
Get some sleep!  The pain of jetlag is real!

I took an extra day to get everything done, because I was stressing a little bit.  Are you kidding me?  What were you thinking – deciding to take off alone in your car for a several month jaunt around the country!!?  I went anyway.

Pulling away

I got on the road on Monday morning, July 16, 2018 at a few minutes after 9.  I had planned to take Highway 2, which is a little slower but more beautiful than I-90 in Washington.  I got to the junction, got on Highway 2, and was greeted by traffic.  At a standstill.  The only movement was from people taking the exit to get off…  I had a few minutes to ponder before I had to decide, and chose to get back off Highway 2 and head down to I-90 instead.  Later I saw there had been a fatality accident, so who knows how long I would have been sitting there…

I decided that I wasn’t going to sight-see my way through Washington, since I have lived here my whole life and I can always see Washington on a weekend trip!  I did want to break up the drive a bit though, since Washington is a wide state.

Once I made it through the Seattle metro area and onto I-90, it was smooth sailing but very hot!  I stopped for lunch in Roslyn, Washington and poked around a bit there.  I have driven by so many times, but have never stopped.  Roslyn was founded as a coal mining company town in 1883, but eventually transitioned to forestry and tourism.  You probably know Roslyn without knowing you do; it was the fictitious town of Cicely, Alaska in the television show Northern Exposure.

I ate my lunch at the cemetery, because I love historic cemeteries; they are so peaceful.  Roslyn’s is rather unique, in that it has 26 different ethnic cemeteries all next to each other.  It reflects the ethnic diversity of the early miners, and the headstones and decorations in the cemetery show the cultural differences well.  After I ate, I wandered the quiet streets and took a few photos, but didn’t spend much time. The Brick Tavern is said to be the oldest continuously operating tavern in Washington state, and was used for scenes of Northern Exposure.

 

After leaving Roslyn, I continued my drive, and stopped for a bit at the Wild Horses monument in Vantage.  The monument is a group of metal horses placed on the cliffs overlooking the Columbia River.  It is an iconic view from Interstate 90 for anyone who has driven this stretch.  I have loved these horses for years, but it has been a long time since I stopped here to check them out.

The sculpture was designed and created by sculptor David Govedare, from Chewelah, Washington.  The original idea was for a 36-foot tall woven steel basket, tipped by Grandfather, the symbolic Great Spirit, to let 18 horses escape and run free.

The sculpture was intended as a gift during Washington’s Centennial celebration in 1989. The state gave the land to Grant County, but donor funds fell short and there wasn’t enough money to complete the project. 15 horses were completed and stand atop the hill.  You can hike up the steep hill to get a close up view, but the temperature was 98 degrees that afternoon so I opted not to climb that hill.

 

I arrived at my destination at about 7 that evening – Elk, Washington, just outside of Spokane.  I was staying with a childhood friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in ages!  Kim has a new baby – he was 7 months old last July.  We checked out her farm, ate pizza, drank wine, and caught up on life.  It was good to not have to worry about finding a campground right out of the gate and it was relaxing spending time with an old, dear friend.  It was a great start to the trip!

Kim’s Farm, where I spent my first night

 

Bham-Elk-Map

Bellingham to Elk, Washington

 

Circus Trip 2018: The Series Begins

I’m always a bit behind on this blog.  I love writing about my travels and goings-on, and I like to be informative, so my posts always take a while to create.  2018 was a big year for travel for me, since almost half the year was spent away from home.

Since I have wrapped up London, my big road trip last year, the one I named the Circus Road Trip, is the next series on the agenda.  I had been staring at a blank page for a while, pondering how to start.  A writer’s block so to speak.  I mean, how do I start to tackle such a huge, momentous and long event in my life?  I didn’t even really know why, until a conversation last night made me realize.  It’s my Dad.

My Dad loved seeing places and loved road trips too.  He built out my car with my bed for the trip; I mean let’s be real, I was the assistant on that project.  He always read my blog posts and looked at my Facebook pictures.  My mom always made sure to tell him when there was a new post, because he didn’t have a Facebook account of his own.  He always wanted to know where I had been and what I thought of it, and mentioned places I had gone to that he wanted to visit too.

For those of you who are newer to this blog, I wrote last summer about the Circus Road Trip’s origins.  I departed in mid-July and spent several months on the road, traveling through much of the United States, and seeing so much along the way.

Today it has been one month (and also four weeks) since Dad died.  It has kind of flown by, with all the tasks to be done, trying to maintain some semblance of my own life, and let’s be honest, some days where I didn’t feel up to doing much at all.  He would have loved to read about this trip, and I know he was (sometimes impatiently) waiting for these posts to appear.  I know some of the rest of you have been waiting as well.

This is the last posed photograph of my Dad and me, taken in Michigan before my cousin’s wedding in September, while I was on the trip.

So this series is for you Dad.  I know you are up there somewhere reading.  I love you and I hope you enjoy.

 

Note: For those of you who want to read or refresh yourself on the posts I posted while I was on the trip, here they are in order:

1. The Reveal
2. The Build
3. The Hat
4. 11 Days In
5. August Already?
6. Land of Lincoln
7. Heartbreaking Bridge
8. 1 Month In
9. Respite
10. Comparisons
11. Early September
12. New Beginnings
13. A Break
14. Westward
15. Reset
16. Rain
17. The Mighty 5
18. Historic Toilets
19. Kindness
20. Down time
21. Blowout
22. Still Sick
23. No Regrets
24. The Home Stretch
25. Withdrawals

Circus Trip 2018: In the Land of Lincoln

This morning I am in Springfield, Illinois.  I have been touring some of the Lincoln sites for the last two days, and loving it!  I did throw in a Frank Lloyd Wright house too, for good measure – it was really cool!  I am so enjoying this!

The last couple days have been hot, hot, hot – temps at 90 with high humidity, but it’s been ok.  It did mean I set up the tent because the car would have been too hot!  I have been serenaded with a cacophony of cicadas, and the birds start up about 5 am.  My earplugs come in handy!

My view on 8/6/2018 – Springfield, Illinois

Yesterday I visited Lincoln’s tomb, which is one place I didn’t get to on my only other trip to Springfield.  It was humbling to stand where Lincoln is buried (safe from the graverobbers now…).  Of course, I had to rub his nose for good luck!  I made a wish, but I can’t tell you, or then it won’t come true!

Who wouldn’t want to rub his nose for luck!? I made a wish…

I’m off to see some more sights – just wanted to update everybody on my progress!