70 days, 7000 miles, Day 19

July 11, 2001

I’m in Montana, one of my original destinations for this trip.  I’m going to do some serious fly fishing here. But the day started out bad because I couldn’t find the place to get a National Parks Pass. I wasted a lot of time. Somehow things finally turned out.  I kind of knew they would. The same theme keeps playing itself over and over again. Just wait out the negativity, the doubts, the hopelessness. Don’t give up hope. This, too, shall pass. Life is like a wave, if you stay down you won’t appreciate the rise. It all balances out unless you choose to stay stuck.

I wrote down a quote from Hillary Clinton today that I saw in the newspaper. “Each of us is a pioneer in our own life.  We are charting new territory everyday…..The people I admire are those who are willing to go forward no matter what the odds.” Am I a pioneer? Can I help other women? There are few who are doing what I am doing.  Is it courage?  I didn’t actually have to fight demons or villains or injustice to take this journey. But I did have to overcome the fear inside me. Maybe our greatest enemy is the monster voices of  the media and our culture that say “we shouldn’t” or “we can’t”. We have to turn down the volume.

I found a great campsite not far from the famous Little Big Horn River and had a visitor.

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I love this trip. I’m learning a lot. Themes keep repeating. Are there just a few basic truths in life, just a small number of things we really have to  know? Why do I have a feeling that they are all right here,right in front of me?

70 days, 7000 miles, Day 14

July 6, 2001

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Breakfast at a cafe outside, Wakefield, Michigan. I’m going to put a lot of road behind me in the next few days.  Got to be careful, a lot of deer around here. I saw a young buck on the side of the road and I don’t know who was more scared him or me. Women admire my quest.  Freedom calls a lot of them. A woman I talked to at The Straits told me about  her dream of escaping from her family for just a little while and going on a biking trip alone.

 

70 Days, 7000 Miles-A Midlife Odyssey

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In 2001, I took a solo 70 day, 7000 mile camping trip across the US and Canada. I was 52 years old and an elementary teacher at the time.  I left my home the Saturday  right after school let out and returned the Saturday before school started up again. Having taken many camping trips that seemed to end so quickly, I wanted to find out what an almost infinite vacation would be like. I kept a journal, 88 pages of observations, insights, and some whining.  Being middle aged and newly menopausal, I needed to find out what this part of life meant to be me and others, where I fit in, and what the future might hold.   I hoped a completely different context and a little adventure would bring some answers.

All school year I saved money for the trip.   My daughter didn’t want me go and she made me promise not to get in a car or boat with anyone. I swore I would  follow her instructions and told her I would call my friend every three days to check in and report my location.  I didn’t have a computer at the time and I used pay phones for communication.  I think I had a bag phone which was only good for 911 calls.

I asked my dad to search for a minivan for me.  He loved to wheel and deal and found me a used Dodge Caravan in great condition.  I gratefully reimbursed him.  My plan was to tent and use the van if I couldn’t find a place to stay (this actually happened one night) or if I didn’t want to take the time to set up camp or if the weather was really stormy.

I left on June 23, 2001.  Many friends have told me I should write about this adventure. Well, starting this Saturday, June 23, 2018,  I will be including my daily writings from my journal and some insights from the present.

Come along me!  I promise to get us all home by September.  Please consider clicking the word “follow” on the right hand side of my site. If you do, you will be notified by email when I post something new.  It would be great to have you with me on this odessey and hear your comments.  Thanks for your interest and support.