When I look back on the last decade, on one hand I cringe and on the other, I applaud myself for getting this far. But it was not a fun time, despite my posts on Facebook to the contrary. I lived in constant fear of becoming one of those little old ladies, curled up in a doorway somewhere, her remaining possessions in a black trash bag that served as a pillow, trying to keep warm under an old tattered coat.
But I’ll start at the beginning of this journey in 2010, which was miserable year for a lot of people. The market had crashed, and people were being left homeless and destitute — and I was one of them. Trying to hang onto my home after getting a divorce from a drunken bi-polar maniac (which actually brought some peace into a turbulent time) I battled with banks and eventually, I lost.
Living as I did in a remote area of Washington State, I battled with depression and loneliness until I finally gave up trying to do what I thought was the right thing.
The Banks Won
I allowed the house to go into foreclosure (along with the other real estate investments I had) and sold literally, everything I owned. My car, furniture, my kitchen stuff. I found a wonderful home for my two precious kitties, the hardest thing I think I have ever done. What I did decide to save went into a friend’s garage with the hope that one day, I would retrieve the memories so carefully stored away in plastic containers.
November 16, 2016 was the day when, with just one suitcase, my backpack that held my laptop and cameras, I left the country to go “home” to family, where I could lick my wounds and try to figure out what the hell I was going to do. At 67 years old, it isn’t the easiest thing to start a new life with zip for resources.
And that is when a family member, who will remain un-named, told me my life is inappropriate! I was completely mortified, which made me crawl even deeper into the shell I had created.
Anyone observing me wouldn’t have guessed the fear and confusion I was dealing with, as I continued doing what I had been doing for years; traveling to, writing about, and photographing exotic places. But the experiences had lost their color and vibrancy. I was seeing things in muted colors and my cameras were used only as recording devices and hardly ever just for fun any more.
During these fear-filled times, I traveled a lot and tried to keep my personal blog going, but I know myself well enough, especially now, looking back, that I didn’t blog much or post many photos. I would go in spurts, when I was feeling more hopeful and then I would crash and disappear. It’s illuminating -looking through my photos, I can tell from the lack or abundance of images how depressed or happy I was. There are gaps and then there are periods where I have thousands of photos!
Someone once called me a chameleon, alluding to the fact I can put on whatever face is needed at the time. So people on the outside would see what I projected — and envied me what they saw as freedom. I kept my internal turmoil to myself, most of the time. I felt completely defeated and useless.
But eventually, as I settled more into being “location independent,” with no fixed home, I started to look at my life differently and began to wonder how I could share these experiences with others and perhaps help people who, more often than not, through no fault of their own, end up like me.
As I began to look ahead, instead of wallowing in self-pity, I began to look for ways to go about putting the word out there that there are ways around the challenges, looking for a way towards security and away from fears, that keep us rooted in one spot.
For me, it’s taken a huge amount of soul searching, which for me is an on-going process, and a lot of time to come up with some solutions.
I’m feeling much more sure of myself now. I’m still location independent, but with my recent purchase of a car, I’m not feeling nearly as trapped as I did before, even though that puts a real strain on my finances.
My goal is to take you on the journey with me as I educate and enlighten people and their friends and family who are in similar situations. At the moment, I have some ideas about how to go about doing that. One way is to post daily, as I will document my trials and hopefully very few errors. You’ll be able to reach me through the blog and I would love to hear about your situation, hear your suggestions and what ideas you have about how to handle your inappropriate life.
Until next time,
First published on Medium