Tag Archives: travel

the reward of fear

If they had not told me I was ugly, I never would have sought my beauty.  If they had not told me that they would break me, I never would have learned I’m unbreakable.   If they had not told me that they were trying very hard not to be mad at me, I wouldn’t have known that they failed.  

 

 

“We live in Bozeman,” my facebook friend Lanny wrote me.  “Stop by.  Sarah and I would love to see you.”

lanny wrote "william clark and the shaping of the west" which is an incredible account of how this dude did the lewis and clark expedition and other things.  i have a william clark plush toy i take everywhere on my journeys.  william clark has a facebook page which lanny runs.  ain't that neat?

lanny wrote “william clark and the shaping of the west” which is an incredible account of how this dude did the lewis and clark expedition and other things. i have a william clark plush toy i take everywhere on my journeys. william clark has a facebook page which lanny runs. ain’t that neat?

I arrived in Bozeman expecting saloons, hitching posts, wood sidewalks and the clop-clop-clop of horses.  Instead, there had been some geographical hocus pocus because Bozeman is basically a very sweet, charming college town with soigne restaurants and trendy clothes stores. It looked to be imported from Massachusetts except for the mountains at a distance.

“I could get used to this,” I thought.

To be fair, greater Bozeman seemed to stretch a mere four blocks in every direction, but that was so much larger than any ville I have been in for the past week so I was impressed.

I followed the directions Lanny gave until I got to the part where I was to follow the switch backs.

wow, just drive up to the edge of the side of the mountain, then do a u turn and go to the other side.  yikes!

wow, just drive up to the edge of the side of the mountain, then do a u turn and go to the other side. yikes!

I am scared of heights.  Sky rise hotels I’m the one asking for the second floor.  All of the West Virginia by ways spooked me.  I have never been to the top of Willis Tower even though I lived in the Chicago area 53 years.

I cried all the way up to Lanny’s house because at every turn I thought I was going to fly over the edge of the road and tumble down the mountain.

Shortly after I arrived, Sarah returned from a grocery trip.

“How do you DO it?”  I cried.

“Oh, you get used to it,” she said.

And she’s absolutely right.

After I left the Joneses, I traveled up to Canada to Banff.

a sixties show f-troop included a cameo appearance from a character from banff.  the town was pronounced banf-f-f-f because it is a little confusing about what to do with the extra f.

a sixties show f-troop included a cameo appearance from a character from banff. the town was pronounced banf-f-f-f because it is a little confusing about what to do with the extra f.  i had such a crush on ken berry.  is he my soulmate?

 

in Banff, I visited my facebook friend Madame X.  Madame X doesn’t want me to use her name because she has a stalker ex-boyfriend.  She’s even changed her name on facebook in order to shield herself from him.  I totally sympathized.  We had a wonderful evening in town and the next morning we climbed Sulphur Mountain.  There is a series of switchbacks up the 7500 elevation mountain.  There were spots when I would look down and cry.  There were spots where I told myself that it was okay, I have lived a long, lovely life and I have two great sons to show for it.  There were spots when I counted my steps “one, two” and then stopped and started over.  This wasn’t altitude sickness, this was naked fear.

But there was a weird part of me that was proud that I was keeping up with Madame X.  After all, she’s an adorable, athletic twentysomething year old.  Here I am fifty four years old and I’m keeping up.  Then we got to the peak.

“Sorry I was pretty slow,” Madame X said.  “But I twisted my ankle a few days ago.”

Wow.

Still, I got up the mountain. I even sat on top for a bit and even looked down.  But now I had a problem.. . . how to get down.  i am a western girl used to switchbacks but not quite ready for the ride back down.  Maybe you’re afraid of something–lightning, clowns, spiders.   I believe you are not afraid that you are inadequate, but your deepest fear is that you are powerful beyond measure.  xxoo

 


packed to be home!

for an agoraphobic, i sure do get around!  today, i’m heading into des moines and from there i’m striking north for canada. i’ll be out of the country for close to a full month with a catch me if you can schedule–

in 2011, i made a new year's resolution  to spend facetime with every one of my then 325 facebook friend within the calendar year.  it was an adventure and in one 17 day period, i circumnavigated the globe and visited friends in 11 countries.  my passport is a mess.

in 2011, i made a new year’s resolution to spend facetime with every one of my then 325 facebook friend within the calendar year. it was an adventure and in one 17 day period, i circumnavigated the globe and visited friends in 11 countries. my passport is a mess.

 

so how do you pack for a month long trip?  i do it in two bags, one that serves as my office and one for my clothes.  i buy hanes three pack t-shirts and good news is that they are cheap enough that i consider them disposable.  i am a huge fan of reversible clothing.  i like baby wipes for everything, including the inevitable disasters. . . .

 

i always take with me my william clark doll.  william clark was a fearless adventurer, famously traveling from st. louis to the northwest coast with his friend merriweather lewis and the lahmi shashone woman sacajawea charbonneau.  i bet he was a big believer in baby wipes, especially since sacajawea had her son jean-baptiste with her!

i always take with me my william clark doll. william clark was a fearless adventurer, famously traveling from st. louis to the northwest coast with his friend merriweather lewis and the lahmi shashone woman sacajawea charbonneau. i bet he was a big believer in baby wipes, especially since sacajawea had her son jean-baptiste with her!

some of my friends are very much like me and are afraid to leave the house.  jeez, i spent most of my life with anxiety attacks that kept me trapped in my house.  in the year 2011, i learned to get out of the house.  when someone asks me how i did it, it’s very simple:  you have to make your car your home.  you have to make your seat on the plane your home.  you have to be exactly where you are and make that part of the universe yours.  you are entitled to peace and calm and a sense that you are welcomed by everyone.

 


sarah, you got this one!

while i was on the road heading into washington, d.c., i got a phone call from my facebook friend sarah.  she lives with her parents in detroit and is a beautiful, funny gal with a big heart and a great future.  sarah doesn’t leave her house and suffers with agoraphobia.

agoraphobia comes from the greek word phobia which means fear and agora which means marketplace or meeting place.  the agora was the center of greek urban life and so someone who is agoraphobic quite literally is afraid of being out and about.  this agora is pretty much in need of some renovations.

agoraphobia comes from the greek word phobia which means fear and agora which means marketplace or meeting place. the agora was the center of greek urban life and so someone who is agoraphobic quite literally is afraid of being out and about. this agora is pretty much in need of some renovations.

sarah is considering moving to texas to be with her boyfriend.  what a wonderful future they might have.  but sarah is worried about the eighteen hour drive.  if it is difficult to leave the house to walk to the corner market, an eighteen hour trip is going to be a challenge.  in her favor is that her boyfriend is an understanding and caring man and he will be driving (sarah doesn’t have a driver’s license).

i told her that she won’t be making an eighteen hour trip.  she’ll be making a series of hour or two hour trips or maybe half hour trips, or maybe even fifteen minute trips.  i asked her to consider purchasing an air card so that she can be connected to the internet and can distract herself by doing much of what she does when she’s at home.

the real secret for me is to make wherever i am my home, so that there is no agora to be scared of.  here, some kids from the marine scouts program wash my house.

the real secret for me is to make wherever i am my home, so that there is no agora to be scared of. here, some kids from the marine scouts program wash my house.

and of course, i invite some friends into my home.

sarah, you got this trip!  you can travel because the whole world, well, it ain’t an oyster, it ain’t a small world after all, no, no, the world is YOUR home!


easiest place to be asked out on a date should be . . . .

heading out to new york for further facebook travels and as usual, i get the treatment.  but i’m thinking i have a right to be treated as a lady, to be treated as more than just a bootie call (well, actually, i’m the one who initiated the bootie call by buying a plane ticket). . .

 

what’s the worst the t.s.a. has done for you?


denzel and sandy take away my flight mojo

i think i’m scared of flying again.  i was scheduled to fly into laguardia this week to meet new facebook friends and reconnect with my son joseph.  then, as the dire predictions rolled in about hurricane sandy, i felt that familiar panic about getting on a plane.  the three days before imagining crashes,bird strikes, fuel starvation, sabotage–to say nothing of panic attacks, homicidal fellow passengers, delirious flight attendants, ebola virus transmission. .. .

i also watched the trailer for the denzel washington movie “flight” and although denzel is the sexiest man on earth, i wouldn’t recommend watching this. even if you’re the most placid of flyers or high on a mixture of ambien and margaritas, just the preview will make you think twice about anything aeronautical.

when i made a commitment to meet all 325 of my facebook friends during 2011 i was a white knuckle flyer.  okay, honestly, i was a three glasses of wine and an ativan before i get on the plane gal.  i probably was in more danger from that combination than anything else.

as the year progressed, as i got on a plane just about every week, i stopped being scared.  stopped thinking about it too much.  drank less.  didn’t even bother with the ativan.  started to feel wonderful as the plane gently or bumpily  lifted me into the air.

still, the hurricane spooked me and it’s been nearly two months since i’ve been on a plane.  i have fallen back into the habit of fear.  i’ve lost my flight mojo!

the airports of new york closed and i will reschedule.  but now i will have to teach myself again to sally forth.  at least i have a credit at delta airlines!

so here’s an experiment.  watch the flight trailer — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhUrWRV1cxs

now think about yourself on a plane.


homeless no more, the things i will not take for granted

running water, electricity, heat, internet, a refrigerator, waking up in the same place every morning, a bed, hanging up my clothes in a closet, a medicine cabinet, leaving the shampoo in the bathtub after a shower, keys, neighbors, pillows, hand washing lingerie and hanging panties on the shower curtain rod. . . .

this past weekend i moved into an apartment with facebook friend william clark, pictured here on top of the piano i had had in storage. this morning, the bed was delivered. next week, a rug is coming. my ex maximilian says that i have been “officially without residence” for three months.

 

i am a very lucky homeless person:  i have a credit card, i have means, i have a car, i have friends.  the friends are the most important part of the equation.  still, i have been tired.  i have been scared.  i have been weary of being on the road.  it is good to have a place to call home  and i promise to never take for granted the things  i have been blessed with.


we are all that one lost sheep–facebook friend #331

a week ago i posted about alcohol.  specifically, my relationship with white wine.  i didn’t feel great.  in fact, i felt pretty damn lousy.  the self-loathing ticker was high.  i had returned from florida and never got my bearings.

especially since on wednesday of last week i had a martini for the first and last time of my life.  and was suitably embarrassed and mortified by the effects and consequences.

but i never felt quite so bad as when facebook friend #331 messaged that i couldn’t come see her.  i had thought she was an agoraphobic unable to leave the house.  i thought i was being a good friend to show up, say “hey, i can do it, so can you” and i was wrong.

“i can go anywhere.  i don’t have a problem with getting out of the house,”  miss x* assured me.  “i don’t have your problem.  but i read your post.  i drink too.  pint of vodka a day.  but that’s down.”

“i’d want to meet you sober.”

“forget it.   too scary.”

“well, scary for me too.”

i told her i would drive to kentucky, i would knock on her door and if she opened the door, saw me, slammed the door it would be fine.  at least, she would know that her facebook friend wanted the best for her.

sunday night i picked up my messages on facebook and my phone at ten fifteen.  she wanted to cancel again.  i called.  she was hostile and frustrated.  her thoughts were expressed like the first break in billiards, with three balls dropping in pockets, the rest bouncing against the walls, and the eight ball scratching.

the problem to her was that i hadn’t been in communication with her since thursday.  that i didn’t phone her.  that i didn’t keep lines of communication open.  that it was too much pressure to clean the house in anticipation of my arrival if i wasn’t going to arrive.  and time–there needed to be an exact time.

i have a garmin gps that was purchased for me by a friend who was tired of reading blogposts in which i fretted over having gotten lost. the garmin tells me the exact time i will reach a location. trouble is, i still get lost. i turn at the next street over, i miss the exit, i don’t see the turnaround. my garmin shrieks “recalculating! recalculating!” and then i say . . . @%#xte$!!!!

then i listened closely.  i wasn’t listening to my facebook friend who is witty and funny and adorable in her posts, statuses, and comments.  no, i was listening to alcohol.   alcohol had taken over the conversation entirely.  and i got the impression a lot of people had said “so long, happy trails to you” when alcohol had butted into their chats with miss x.

so i said i would call her in the morning and we’d figure out whether we would meet.  i admit to thinking “nope, we’re not doing this”

in the morning, she was the miss x i had been communicating with on facebook for the last year and a half.  the one with witty, wry observations.  the one who had seen a news piece about me and friended me, saying “i don’t have your problems but boy i sympathize”  she was nervous, but so was i.

i drove the three hours from indianapolis to louisville.  i was a little early, but i thought that was good because i would catch her before she had a chance to pop a pre-meeting vodka.

i wasn’t early enough.  and she had one while i was there.  again, i had a conversation with alcohol.  i couldn’t keep up with the tangents.  and i couldn’t keep up with the emotional swings–happy, insecure, witty, hostile, frustrated, apologetic, demanding, paranoid, sweet as can be.

she said don’t judge me and i said i can’t judge you i am in jail with you.  i’m just standing closer to the door.

i shared with her what i’m doing to rein in my drinking.  she was intrigued but argued the point of whether i was an alcoholic, a heavy drinker or an amateur.  she drank more in an afternoon than i could lay down in an entire night–but she herself said she could drink any 250 pound man under the table.   she considered me an amateur.

can you name another disease besides alcoholism that’s self-diagnosed? miss x considers me an amateur, social drinker. there’s people who think of me as off the charts, ship me off to rehab. the horrific thing is the very people who will say “you have a problem” are often the people who are the first to bolt. miss x has had some bolters. i want to get out her address book and say “hey, whassup dude?” because she’s brave, smart, funny and needs all friends and family on deck. it is said that when the lions go after the gazelles, the pack separates the weak for slaughter. no, don’t separate her from the pack.  she’s your best one, the one that will tell the lion what’s what.

i believe some people drink because they are bored, boredom being shorthand for no purpose, because they are that one lost sheep that the shepherd needs to find.  miss x is unemployed, with no children to care for, no volunteer activities and–by her account–no friends (hello, i’m here in your kitchen!).

i suggested a goal, a purpose.  doesn’t matter what it is, just that she try.  i made a new years resolution on december 2010 to meet the (then) 325 facebook friends i have.  that’s a pretty silly life mission when you think about it.  but if you wake up every morning with a reason to push, you do.

miss x is adorable and beautiful and we made a contract that her goal was to walk one half hour before ever having that first drink. i’m a big believer in small goals and big goals. this is a small but manageable goal.

 

i was sorry to have to leave her.  she went to a nephew’s house to see relatives and help with a little one’s homework.  she said “i feel like i’ve gained and lost a friend in the space of a few hours” and i said no, i became your friend on facebook a year and a half ago, and i got to meet you today and i will be your friend tomorrow.

i was speaking the truth.

i am striking for cookeville, tennessee tomorrow.  i believe i meet two facebook friends, one of whom WILL be the inspiration for miss x.  i’m just playing matchmaker for two new best friends.

 

i truly hope miss x believes me because we will meet again, my 331st facebook visit since january 1, 2011.

 

*she kept saying i could use her name, that she had no secrets, but i think for the moment i’d like to let this her be miss x.

miss x looks very much like lana turner from the 1966 movie “madame x” about a mother who sacrifices everything for the welfare of her husband and infant son. except for the fact that miss x wore blue jeans.  i am so enchanted by the movie madame x, which i watched when i was barely an infant, that i like calling my friend “miss x” 

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,237 other followers