Whose room is this? And how the hell did I get here?

I wake up indoors this morning. A lovely little room, with blue and orange draperies on the ceiling over the bed. Last night, I drove to the desert, but that van – you know the one – was parked in “my” spot again, so I turned around and drove elsewhere for the night … and ended up in this room, somehow.

The last thing I remember was turning around where the van was parked. What the hell did I do last night? Did I drive back to town? Go to the Oak Creek Brewery for open mic? Did somebody spike my water?

I sit up in bed with a fast and hard beating heart. I’m sure it’ll come back to me. I look around – hard! Nothing. I rack my brain trying to retrace my steps. Nothing. Am I dreaming? Nope. Wide awake. I check my phone. Dead. Damn – that’s like that time my friend was given cocaine and didn’t remember it the next day. Did I smoke pot again? At least, I figure whoever I followed home isn’t a guy. This is definitively not a guy’s room – not a straight one anyway. Some woman’s room, with good taste from what I can tell. One bookshelf, with some of the same books I own and some shiny rocks. Some climbing gear in the closet, and these big cool orange and blue draperies overhead. Okay, so I met some cool climbing chick and went home so we could go climb together? Doesn’t explain why I’m in her bed …

I turn around and my jaw drops. What the hell! I’m not even in Sedona. These are pine trees past the small balcony, and not Ponderosas either. Like big, mossy evergreens. By then, I’m getting dizzy and about to really loose my shit, when this girl gently knocks at the door.

She opens the door and leans in. I don’t remember her at all.
“Hey, sorry to bug you, but rent’s due today. Would you get your check to Pat before you leave.”
“Who are you? Where am I?”
Pat walks in. I know her. Patricia MacQueen – 2011, we were PhD students at Frasier University together. I never called her Pat then, she was Patricia.
What is this, the Twilight Zone?
“I’m sorry ‘Pat’ – huh … how did I get here?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why am I here?”
The girls look at each other.
“How the HELL DID I GET HERE?” I’m starting to really panic, like I completely lost my mind.
“Huh … you live here …”
“I live in my truck, currently parked in Sedona.”
“Sedona, Arizona?” They look at each other again. The girl I don’t know looks at Pat “Maybe she had a seizure from too much alcohol.”
I understand I’m in Vancouver. Mmmh mmmh. Hell no. “I left here in 2011 to walk the PCT, then I moved in my truck and have been living on the road ever since.”
“No, Love,” Pat says gently “you walked the PCT and you moved in with me when you got back, and you’ve been paying rent here ever since and we’ve been commuting to our office at school together every day, and Megan here moved in with us last year, and in 3 days when you leave to walk the AT, she’ll get your room.”

Speechless. Brain trying to catch up to facts. Too much to take in. But mostly – shit! I have 3 days to move all my stuff to storage before I drive to Colorado to see LB, before getting on the AT. Deep breath. Not all is lost. At least I’m still walking the AT. Wait, what? I’m still in school?
“Am I planning to come back here to finish my PhD after the AT?”
They look at each other again. It’s getting really annoying.
“Man, what did you do last night? No, you finished. You defended yesterday, that’s why you went out and partied your ass off … don’t you remember?”

No, I really don’t remember. But somehow it makes sense. Maybe I did have a seizure. I don’t remember anything of my life in Vancouver for the past 5 years. I’m lost in thoughts trying to piece it together, and can hear a van drive down our street, past the tall pines and right below my small balcony. Wait a minute … that’s a Westfalia. I know that van.

The puttering of the engine gets louder and grabs my consciousness out of my life as a Doctor in Geophysics, and drags it upward to the surface of this reality, where the rocks are red and there is no rent due today and I don’t have to move all my stuff to storage because I live in my truck.

The van drives by and continues onto 525, and I follow its sound until it’s faded to nothing.
Shit, that was intense, and so real.

As real as this one reality by my perception.

I’m having a bit of an existential crisis this morning, wondering if I’m going to wake up from this one somewhere else. At least, in all my realities, I’m leaving in 3 days to Colorado before walking the AT.

It really makes me wonder though …

parralel life

I pee in a Tupperware

I pee in a Tupperware because it’s too wet to step outside.
I eat dark sea salt chocolate for breakfast because I don’t want to set up my alcohol stove in the mud.
I hide in my shell and post photos on Instagram because I can’t hula hoop.
It’s too wet outside.
The edges of the shell leak.
The basket that holds my toothbrush, toothpaste, headlamp and crystals is wet.
The corner of my journal leaned against the window is wet.
My shoes tucked against the tailgate are wet.
A corner of my mattress is wet – Tupperware accident.
Everything else is dry.
I’m dry.
It’ll be really slick getting out of here this morning, but I know the truck doesn’t mind.
The rain plays a drum solo on my shell and nourishes the creatures of desert, and I can’t help but love it, in spite of all the inconveniences.

The life I chose

Wind gusts rock the truck, little pellets of sleet drum up the top of the shell, still, all is well in my world.

I’m up too early for my taste, because I went to bed with work in the morning. I have my Grand Canyon guide’s outfit on. I was dressed before I learned the tour was canceled. Prana hiking pants, tank top, long sleeve layer, down vest – the exact same pieces I’ll be wearing on the Appalachian Trail in 3 months. I have no space for single purpose items. My guide clothes are my street clothes are my hiking clothes.

The shell, as I call my living space in the back of the truck, is warm in spite of the wind’s best efforts. I just fired up my 3 ounce alcohol stove. A timble-full of Heet later and I am snuggling a Nalgene of hot organic raw Cacao thickened with chia seeds. Breakfast consists of Scandinavian crackers, coconut oil – I have no butter – and strawberry jam. The crackers, jam, and all staples in my food box, come from the Sedona Food bank. A side box I call “the breakfast box” holds a rotating assortment of hippy food – chia seeds, spirulina crunchies, raw organic cacao, hemp seeds, real Vermont maple syrup, mesquite and maca powder. These are gifts from the Universe. They come to me when I need them, usually in spectacular fashion for my own entertainment. Several of them I won in a raffle, some were left-over from a retreat – a retreat for four picky Russian billionaires for which I taught yoga and drove eight hr round-trip emergency grocery runs to appease tantrums. I could not afford these treats right now, but I don’t save them either. I wear my favorite clothes and eat my favorite hippy food today. I celebrate today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

I usually would be dancing or hula-hooping in the desert at this time of day. There isn’t a human soul in sight. Silence and privacy in a wide open space is the norm here. I sometimes wonder if I’d ever again be able to live indoors. I left that life in 2011. Now full-time in the truck for 5 years, except for interludes of hiking, ice climbing, and one 3-month attempt at living with a boyfriend. In the beginning, I believed I was looking for home. In Dr. Seuss fashion, I asked each town I visited “Are you my home?” Until I realized I was already home – a mobile, mortgage/rent/utilities free home, custom-made to my dreams. Clients sometimes ask if I get lonely or bored, out here by myself. How could I? If it weren’t for dancing and hula-hooping, I’d be occupied in my books, journals, and crafts box. I’d be hiking. I’d be creating stories.

An ex-boyfriend once accused me of living an ostrich life, with my head in the red Sedona sand, unwilling to partake in the ugliness of the world. Aren’t I part of this world? Shouldn’t I know or care about this mass-shooting or that terrorist act? Am I selfish to selectively live in a beautiful world? Maybe. Or maybe it is my job to hold the opposite space for balance.

The sun came out and my cacao has now gone cold. It is a glorious day out in the desert. May yours be grand as well!

❤️ the roaming bobcat.

Post sent from my iPhone (written this morning)