When I got the van last spring, I envisioned so many nights like this. I am currently camping at Grand Basin National Park in Nevada. It’s my first night camped out in nature in a long, long time. This morning, I woke up in Fruita, Colorado, where I’d been camping out for five days. In an effort to make sure I was ready for travel, I decided to stay in CO state until I knew I had a clean bill of health.
I’ve been in quarantine mode for a week. So has everyone else. This is really happening.
Along with the world news, my plans and updates changed rapidly. Before the virus thing was a major thing, I was planning on stacking up hay while the sun shined for the rest of the snow season. Once I saved up enough, I was heading to Baja, Mexico for a month. Freelance marketing clients were coming in, and I was making decent cash as a high end babysitter in Vail. Putting it all together, I figured I had a few more weeks of snowboarding, and hard work before I embarked on a spring trip to southern shores of the west coast. I splurged on a new paddle board and a legit travel fridge. My plans were including fixing up the van, cleaning, deep cleaning, transferring stuff to storage. I had a plan in place. But then, the world flipped.
One day, I was shaking hands with a new client. The next day I was working on a rebrand project. The day after that, I was at the doctor’s and heading into quarantine. So surreal. It’s very reminiscent of the days that followed 9/11. One day I was making great money, supporting my husband’s artistic dreams and plotting buying a fancy flat. The day after, we were scraping up the pieces of a world forever changed.
I know this is not the same, but my concerns on how this is playing out politically, and culturally can’t be ignored.
I decided I was going to head to Baja early. I could be in quarantine there. It would be doable to find a remote beach camp spot, SUP, work, and take care of myself somewhere warm and sunny. The boarders are closed.
I could head to California. They are completely closed.
So I’m happily accepting a wonderful invitation to head to a friend’s remote property near Olympia National Park in northern Washington State. So much for beaches.
In the whirlwind of good news that precluded the crash of the health of the earth, I was offered a job teaching SUP and working at a surf shop in Tofino. That job, right now, is unsure I was also offered a job to teach after school theater program near Aspen in Colorado, but who knows if that will every come to be.
With so much uncertainty, I took off. Not being able to prepare the way I had planned, adds to my anxiousness. I keep saying I’ll find a place to stop, and reorganize. That’s not happening today or now. Eagle County was feeling frenetic before I left. Everything was closing and I knew that Covid19 cases were going to skyrocket quickly. Being a major resort town with so many travelers with so many places, it had to be a hotbed. I had to get out. It was also so cold there at night, and dreams of beaches have been beckoning.
California is on full lockdown. My course has changed a bunch of times in the past few days. I’ve decided to bypass much of California and try to get to the Oregon coast so I can travel up to Port Angles on the PCH.
Today, I left the comfort of Colorado for the unknown. Colorado is home, it is my home base. It’s also, not where I need to be right now. Fruita went from bustling hub to ghost town over the five days I was there. Upon arrival, the streets were busy, shops were open and people were smiling. When I left today, the streets were empty. All the vans moving in and out of town had gone. I was ready to go too.
My drive through Utah was epic. I had not driven past Moab yet, and the formations of rocks, mountains and red strange landscapes were breathtaking. For miles I was pummeled by hail, coated by rain, blown by winds and warmed with sunshine. Nothing is permanent, not even one kind of weather. As I left the state and pulled into Nevada, the mountains of this park called to me. Reminiscent of the feeling I had when I saw the Grand Tetons for the first time, I knew I was landing on something magical.
By the time I made it to the campgrounds were I am now, it was getting dark. I chose the spot with my lucky number “8” and parked. I arrived.
Outside, the skies are unreal. I don’t remember ever seeing so many stars, maybe in British Columbia at the weird ghost town I found. Even there, doesn’t compare to what I am seeing here. It’s unreal, magical and awesome. I spent a bit of time bundled up in the winter air staring up at the sky while laying on a frozen snow covered picnic table in my camp. I suppose I could fire up a fire, but it just doesn’t feel like a night I want to stay up that late. Maybe tomorrow.
So many stars! The extraordinary gazing yielded loads of shooting stars and meteors. It’s fun cherry picking the man made stuff floating and flying from the rest of the natural sparkles of worlds and suns far away from here. I know, we are a blip in the universe. One day, like dinosaurs, we’ll be extinct.
People may not understand how isolated and safe I am living in my containment island on wheels. It was easier than I expected to quarantine in the van. I miss hugs. I miss human connection. I feel like Major Tom, floating in the stars, but lonely for all that I know. It will be interesting picking up the kindness project again, and seeing how that can work when we are supposed to be distant on purpose.
Breathe. Breathe. Live. Live your life. Live it well. Went back out, because, ahhh so many stars.