I leave today. I waited this long to go because I had one last appointment with my therapist, the best therapist I've ever had, and I didn't want to miss it. The cats are in the van, I'm as stocked and ready as I'm going to be, and I'll be on the road by noon.
It's frightening. The closer this day came, the more fragile I felt. I worry about everything, even being so ridiculous about where I'm going to be next winter. How crazy is that? I worry about failing at this, at finding myself six or eight months on the road, wondering what I got myself into. I worry about some catastrophic repair that's going to wipe me out. I worry about finding a place for the night because I haven't planned ahead and now it's dark and there's nowhere to go. I worry about being so lonely it will immobilize me. I worry about getting sick with no one to care for me. I worry about my new health insurance and finding a provider when I need one. More on that train wreck another time. And I worry about money. It's the mother of all worries. It's the one that's taken up permanent residence in the pit of my stomach. Not having actually gone on the road full time before, I don't know what the cost will be. I can guess but I don't know. Gas is going to eat me alive, I'm sure of that. I won't be able to see this museum I want to see, hop back in Grace and drive 400 miles for the next thing, because at today's prices, it costs me $100 to fill the tank that takes me 400 miles.
So traveling will necessarily be a slow process. I follow people online who've fulltimed it for years and they take it slow. They plunk down into a spot and stay for a week or two, then drive 100 or 200 miles and stop for another couple of weeks. I think I can live with that pace. I'm going to have to live with that pace.
The cost of camping is another worry. It's not unusual to pay $35-$40 a night at commercial campgrounds. Weekly rates are a little less, monthly even more of a break but not necessarily a bargain, and many campgrounds cost much more. We stayed in one about a year ago that was $70!!! a night and the pool wasn't even open. Federal and state campgrounds are fairly inexpensive but may not offer any or all hookups, so then there are the worries of finding fresh water to fill the tanks and dump stations to empty the waste tanks. The same goes for camping on free federal land: no hookups because it's undeveloped land, and there may not even be potable water available, but if I can dry camp half of each month it will alleviate a lot of the financial worry. Everything is a trade off.
It's crazy to worry like this. Buddhism teaches that the present moment is the only one that's real. Already that sentence is in the past and the one you are about to read is in the future. The only moment that matters is this present moment. And now this moment. And this one. Worrying about the future does not affect what will happen; it will only take away from what is real in this moment right now, just as being mired in the past with regret doesn't change what's back there. It's gone. Living in the moment is a difficult concept to understand and adopt. I like to know outcomes, good or bad: if I know I can prepare myself. But how can we know the future? If I could do that I would be rich on Apple stock and would probably be trading money worries for something else.
Finding meaning in this life at the moment I live it is traveling a path with heart. If I can get a good grip on it, living in the moment will change the way I live and appreciate my life. I'm workin' on it.
Thought for today:
We're so busy watching out for what's ahead of us that we don't take time to enjoy where we are. (Bill Watterson. (You know, of Calvin and Hobbes fame))