Today was a tough one.
Tonight is wonderful. Welcome to life. Welcome to life living as a nomad during a pandemic.
Let's start with the morning when life wasn't going so well.
Last night, I slept in the tent. My partner slept in the van. I tried to sleep in the van, but it was too warm and I felt claustrophobic. Claustrophobia is something I've been tackling and hoped I'd beat by now. It comes and goes. We've figured out, if I can't see lights and I am in pitch darkness in the van with no moving cool air, I freak. My partner thinks I was buried alive in a past life, and I haven't shared this with him yet, but I think I was. That's why watching The Mummy, the old black and white classic, where they bury the Ancient Egyptian Prince alive haunted me when I was a kid. I felt his horror so deeply. Last night, I suffered my own horror film. Through out the night, the spiders attacked me and I woke up with several bites. I don't get why spiders are biting me. I thought I had good spider karma. In sixth grade, I actually wrote a treatise about spiders and how we should protect them. I asked the school secretary if she would let me carbon copy it. Amused she helped me circulate the copies to the principal, teachers and my classmates. From then on, I proudly showed off my spider catching capabilities cornering loose spiders in the classroom by using a blank piece of white paper, securing the common daddy long leg on top until his release onto the school yard lawn. Most of my classmates did not share my enthusiasm. The boys snickered with most of the girls horrified. I surrounded myself with girlfriends who were scattered about on their own spider rescue missions.
After waking up with pus filled spider bites, my partner asked me to take down the tent. I finished my banana bread spread with nutella and tackled the tent like a bull. Before our adventure, I had the fantasy stuck in my head that I loved camping and nature. I do love camping. I love camping Instagram photos with couples sipping steaming hot coffee looking over the vista point at a lavender pink sunrise with their cuddly shaggy adorable dog leaning between them. Sadly, Instagram isn't camping. Camping is beautiful moments, don't get me wrong. Sipping coffee looking at the view is part of it, yes. But. That's not the whole story.
Back to tackling the tent, sweeping out the bugs and debris, removing the poles, collapsing the monster, cussing under my breath at whoever designed this insanity that is supposed to fit in a duffel size bag smaller than a gym bag, I wanted to quit. I wanted to quit and run. I didn't. I thought about it. And then, I kept stuffing.
We finished packing and cleaning up camp and left the canyon mid morning heading North instead of South. We wanted to go further South. Heading South. The weather and sea is perfect. The ocean is blue. The whales are spouting. I am feeling healthier and tanner than I've been since my trip to Hawaii four years ago.
The trouble is, the South is spiking with COVID and expensive. California eats up money like a greedy PacMan. Southern California takes it to a whole other level. Another reason we decided to not head any further south is fire danger. My alert system notified me of fire danger in the canyons. The only place we can afford to camp is where we were at or further down in another canyon. We can't camp at the beach. The white sand and palm trees are prime real estate even when camping. The camping sites are booked months in advance and expensive. During our time here, we drove down to the beach everyday, but only for the day.
The canyons where we camped were beautiful, but they worried me. I saw the burnt trees, blackened and dead falling down from the rocky mountain tops to the river from previous fires. Our campground was evacuated during past fires. I braved camping there for three nights, the red alert this weekend couldn't be ignored.
Heading North, we pulled over and drove through Pandera for sandwiches. They screwed up my order. I broke into tears staring down at my sandwich that wasn't right. This isn't like me. Usually, I could care less if my order isn't right. My partner, always kind during my meltdowns did would he could to help me. My best friend tells me she bursts into tears over nothing lately. I get it.
I haven't had a shower or bath for almost four days at this point. I am covered in dust from breaking down the tent. I am breaking down too. It doesn't last long. I feel better after I eat my sandwich and I find a cheap hotel in a high cost area where the google people live. Techies are camping now. They find it exhilarating and a break from their monotony, so they are going out of town hitting the National Parks and Wine Country leaving their fancy hotels behind choosing $100,000 plus vans decked out with solar panels, flat screens, wireless boosters, full on kitchens and bedrooms, flying drones and weekender adventure toys to help them experience the great outdoors in luxury. I would if I could, but unless I hit the lotto, it's going to be a bit humbler.
Anyway, we seem to succeed going the opposite direction. Instead of camping this over flooded weekend filled with stir crazies, I found a Greek inspired hotel painted in Mediterranean blue for a dirt cheap price in tech world. Landing here, I rolled around on the King Bed like a purring kitten. I have a Keurig, spa bath products, a desk with a lamp (see photo), a flat screen, and space to sort my things.
Life is a series in ups and downs. I am on a up.
And we have a camping spot booked for two weeks, checking in on Monday.