Prep

I have SO much to do. Thankfully, I have just under 6 months to do them. Better to get ahead of prep than be stressed out from procrastinating too long (a lesson I’ve learned one too many times).

Should anyone be curious what goes on in my head in the initial stages of prep, feel free to peruse my Saina’s Camino de Santiago 2017 Prep List

This is just what’s in my head right now. I end up adding so much more to this as I continue with the steps so you’ll see this list grow and grow.

I have to give the PCT prep its due though. I would be MUCH more stressed out for this walk had I never done anything even remotely similar to this before. But, honestly, I’m pretty calm (I say that now). The only thing that’d stop me is some unforeseen accident or pregnancy so I’m locking up my vagina and throwing away the key, at least until May (Which it basically is already. lol. The romance department has never been my strong suit anyhow). Gotta have laser sharp focus on this goal.

Happy Holidays y’all!!

Hiking…

I love hiking but since getting injured on the PCT in 2015 and only getting 648 miles in, I’ve lost a lot of my lust for the actual hiking part.

I’ve been going to therapy too and it’s like my entire life has been unraveling before my eyes. Everything I thought I knew and was sure of has shifted and new perspectives and feelings have taken over. It’s an extremely painful yet enlightening time for me.

Many of my self-sabotaging ways came from toxic shame. Defined roughly as: ” When shame becomes toxic, it can ruin our lives. Everyone experiences shame at one time another. It’s an emotion with physical symptoms like any other that come and go, but when it’s severe, it can be extremely painful. … Unlike ordinary shame, “internalized shame” hangs around and alters our self-image” (https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-toxic-shame/). Realizing a lot of fucked up shit has happened to me (and not because of me) when I was young, has helped me to stop drinking so much (I no longer crave it as I did) and has helped to appease the suicidal urges.

I’ve always prided myself in being so independent but I’m realizing that being this obsessively solo/independent chick is actually just as bad as being a needy woman. There is no balance and I’m finding myself so lonely. I’m trying to open up to others and let myself be helped by others.

While I used to LOVE hiking solo, I’ve been mostly wanting to hike with others but with all the recent medical issues (surgery, forced temporary early menopause, etc), my fitness level is so bad that I feel like I’ve been slowing people down – especially on uphill – and holding them back from enjoying themselves. Will just have to find super slow people to hike with for now. I’ve been forcing myself at least once a week to hike SOME PLACE, doesn’t matter what. I just haven’t been doing it 4-5 nights (almost 30 miles) weekly like I was for my PCT prep years back.

My foot is still also swelling after 5-6 miles on day hikes. Will have to figure that out and go on a crazy fitness regime starting New Year so I can be ready for Camino de Santiago which I’m thinking I’ll start late April next year. Research for it has already begun. Super stoked! With my tax return, will just book a non-refundable flight and, that way, I’m forced to go. Hahaha. No excuses!

Trail Work

I POSTED THIS ON MY FORTHEWANDERERS SITE FIRST. So kind of a duplicate. If you’ve read that, no need to read this. Just feel this is more suitable for this blog than that one.

 

I think it’s the second week of van life, anyway. hahaha. Time is just freakin’ flyin’ !

Offered to help out with trail maintenance both Saturday and Sunday on the PCT. That was hard work but definitely rewarding. Think I might do it more, simply for the workout – you hike in and then work out your arms, back and legs the rest of the day. A Facebook friend of mine – who’s planning on going Northbound (NoBo) on the trail in about a month – said she wanted to come when I posted about it.

She came later Saturday, we all then went to Casa de Luna – trail angels’ home (a trail angel is someone who assists hikers coming through on the trail – whether it be with car rides, food, a place to sleep, etc). We all ate and drank some beers/ciders and then slept there.

Next day, needed to leave early so was going to go with my FB friend back since she needed to go too. Her Subaru – which had already been having some issues – ended up breaking down on the crazy rugged dirt trail leading to the trail. Thankfully, one of the other workers had a tow line and was able to haul her car back to the main road with his truck. I went with her and her friend to make sure they could get somewhere with cell service, to get tow truck, etc. Ended up driving them to Azusa later.

Although absolutely not having been expecting or looking for this, I really ended up liking one of the guys I met that day. Not my usual type whatsoever but super sweet. But, of course, he’ll be doing the PCT soon so not date-able anyway. Oh wellz.

That seems random but this is actually a HUGE thing for me. About 2 years back, I had – well, let’s just call it a “violent sexual encounter”. I bled for days after. When it happened, I was in so much denial about it since someone I knew – or thought I knew – was responsible. Seems cliche but that very much happened. My friend in Australia, who I told first, was angrier than I was. It wasn’t until I was mid savasana during a yoga class, months later, that the memories came flooding in full force. It was almost as if I was experiencing it all over again. I could almost smell the room, see my blanket, feel everything. I had to leave class and sobbed in my car for a full 1/2 hour.

It was just before I had my IUD inserted so not sure if my significant weight gain (talking 50lbs or more) was due to that or the experience. What I DO know is that, after that, I had absolutely NO desire to be sexually active ever again. My weight gain  – while depressing me at times – was a blanket of security to ensure nobody would see me desirable. It felt GOOD to not be the one club promoters ran after in the street, begging for me to go in their douchey clubs. I didn’t feel threatened walking alone in sketchy areas anymore. While lonely, I was also comforted by the invisibility I now seemed to have.

I attempted a couple times with one or two people since then to get over it but my body just wasn’t feeling it. Sooooo, long story short, to feel something in the southern region or to WANT any physical closeness with anyone in and of itself is a big step for me. I think I’m finally healing.

I can’t believe I wrote that but I think I needed to. Tears are just streaming down my face right now but it feels good to say this to kind of a faceless audience. Thanks for listening. ❤️

 



Me actually working for a second 😉 👆🏻

Getting towed out


Everyone working except me. I’m documenting 😉

I hate hats (hi horrible hat hair!), long sleeves, long pants  but ’twas worth it for the trail that gave me so much.

Depression

Someone very close to me today said that I’d never showed any signs therefore I can’t be as depressed as I claim to be.

That was a shocker for me. I’m at the point I’m ready to let go.

Which makes me wonder: what if I DID tell someone I needed help? Do I have to disclose that I’ll kill myself ? Doesn’t that seem extreme? 

I mean, what if someone told you that. You’d take it seriously, if it were a loved one. If it was someone that’s claimed it many times before, you’d say it was the boy/girl who cried wolf.

Yet every time I’ve asked for help, I’ve gotten 9 rejections out of the 10 requests. 

I’m never going to tell anyone I’ll “kill myself”. Never. When I ask for help, I’m already straining my personal integrity. Id prefer not to do it if I can help myself already. Why should I make it extreme to get your attention?

So pick up that phone, answer those texts and be just a good fuckin person to the people you care – even a little bit – about. Don’t take them for granted. The squeaky wheel may get the grease but there might be a bigger problem at hand and it may be such a silent one you’ll never know until it’s too late. 

Happy Thanksgiving?

It’s around this time, I feel more depressed than usual.

I have no family here. They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. My friends are all with their families, proud to show their love. I’m happy for them. I really am but also realize I’m really all alone.

It’s hard. But I also realized today, while taking a small hike around a waterfall that I couldn’t get a great shot of from the non iced areas, that I’m not trying hard enough.

I take it so personally and feel so abandoned  when someone doesn’t respond to my call, my texts or whatnot but when it comes down to a simple situation like getting a great shot with my iPhone, I don’t always get in the water – no matter how freezing it is.

Maybe I have to let go of the people that don’t make any effort to know me or keep a friendship with me and stop taking it so personally. And, just maybe, I have to start trying harder. In retrospect, I should’ve taken my shoes and socks off, rolled up my pants – or taken them off entirely – and gotten the perfect shot of the waterfall I saw today to get that one perfect shot. No matter how fuckin’ cold that water was – and, trust me, there were icicles right near it so it was COOOOLD!

What’s weird is that I was in Finland and have been ice-hole dipping. That’s where they drill a hole in the ice of a lake and people go swimming/dipping in it. So, I KNOW what cold feels like. Getting in the ice holes was exhilarating. I did it several times. Why didn’t I just do it this one time today?

I think I’ve been cruising. It’s easy to do but I expect so much more of myself. Why am I beating myself up when I’m not even trying hard enough to warrant the emotional abuse I reap upon myself?

On a similar note, the holidays ARE where people struggling with depression feel the most alone and isolated. So, reach out to the ones you love. Pick up that phone when someone calls, call your loved ones, etc. That’s what the holidays are for!!! ❤

Oh, and no question about it at this point, Happy Thanksgiving!!

 

 

A note 

They say your greatest messages will come from your greatest hurt. Who said that? I have no clue. It was probably made up for a meme and I liked it but, nevertheless, that’s why I barf out my hard times.

It’s not because I’m a crybaby. I don’t need your sympathy. But even if one person learns from what I did and it excuses them from my pain, I’m down.

Life is an adventure. You make mistakes. You fuck up. People hurt you.. Sometimes you hurt others. Hopefully, less of the latter.  Whatever. It happens to all of us.

But we’re ALIVE! If there’s anything I’ve learned from working with the elderly, it’s that there’s no room for regret and procrastination. I hate – like hate hate- the acronym YOLO but do what you want responsibly and don’t hold back.

You’re strong. You’re beautiful. You can do it!

Rage fest over

I have officially calmed down. I have these beautiful souls in my life who just flutter in and out of my life. Sometimes, when life gets hard, they whisper sweet encouragements and offer their homes and whatnots. I’m a lucky girl. 🙏🏻😊🙏🏻

Not out of the fire just yet but the first step has been accomplished. I have stopped seeing red and ready for whatever next adventure awaits me. 

Tried to talk to the owner lady today but she wasn’t around. Have to speak to her and just be the better person in this weird situation.

After having spend thousands in doing this weird gypsy life and finding myself in some sticky situations (such as now), I’ve decided to make a blog entirely devoted to pointers of what NOT to do if you’re like me and want to find a remote job somewhere. I’ve found that both jobs that went left had similar red flags I could’ve – and really should’ve – taken serious note of before making such a huge commitment.

I’ll list some cool sites I’ve used to find these jobs, things that happened that I should have noticed and what went down. If you have personal experience with this too, would love to hear yours and if there are any pointers you’d like to share, feel free to send them my way! You will, of course, get due credit should I post it.  Let’s save the wanderlusting gypsies of the future thousands of dollars and unnecessary heartbreak! 

P.S. The meanie cook who’s trying to starve me was actually nice today!!! I heard her laughing, only to see a random jolly appraiser dude. Of course, she’s being nice. She wants dick. This confirms my suspicion I mentioned in last blog that she just needs to get laid. Living in the middle of nowhere definitely has its cons in that regard. Lol

Oh, brother!

I don’t have a brother but I’m done sighing so that’s the alternative to my predicament.

I haven’t written in a while… Over a month.

I went to the Grand Canyon, hiked down South Kaibab Trail and came up Bright Angel Trail with a really good friend who’s new to backpacking. Then did a road trip to Sedona and New Mexico.

Whilst during all this, I got 2 seasonal job offers. One at Yellowstone – the lady was even willing to get my flight ticket – and another at a special needs camp in TX. I wish I’d taken one of those instead of the “year round position” I took in Tennessee.

How do I put this? This place is… Well, horrible. At least for me. I spent the last of my savings to go across the country based on conversations I’d had with the owner, who seemed so sweet. The first day upon my arrival, they spring on me that this is a new job they’ve created and that, really, in one week they’d see if it (and I) even work. What?!??? I specifically told them that the worst thing for either of us would be surprised and was forthcoming about EVERYTHING , even my painful periods since that may affect my work.

3 days in and I’ve never been chastised so much. Everything I do seems to be wrong and the more I try to get something done perfect, the more I seem to fuck up something else. I haven’t even been shown around and have to constantly ask where everything is. I feel like they want someone who is meek, accepts what is said to them and doesn’t ask questions and that’s just not me. 

The lady put in charge of assisting me hates me (although I think she just has never been laid and hates everyone). When I brought this up to the wife of the owner, she said she’s just a “spiteful bitch” and not to take anything personally. That’s all fine and dandy but who allows someone like that to train with new hires? Do you even WANT people to stay? Also, if I remember correctly, she said this lady was one of her closest friends and has been there for a while. WHY, on God’s green earth, would you call her such a mean word (even if it is true) to another worker? I don’t even want to know what she says about me behind my back.

Not to whine but they’re getting me at a steal. Not to say numbers but I was making what they pay a week (6 days of working, mind you) in a long day. I simply wanted a place to call home, a place I could just walk around in mid or after work to explore nature. I like money but it’s not what motivates me. I want a job I can grow in, that allows me my freedoms but also tends to its workers and, in return, I’d bust my ass for them. I’m loyal but I don’t give my loyalty freely anymore.

Working 6 days a week doesn’t allow for any backpacking, which I was hoping to do.

And she says that on my day off, I HAVE to get my social security card, which I lost in one of my many moves, before she can even pay me even though I have a driver’s license, valid passport AND a green card. Oh, and I remember my social security # so anyone familiar with I-9 form (form to be filled out for IRS and so you can be paid) knows to have the physical card isn’t even mandatory. Yes, it’ll be good to have but to threaten me that I’m working for free otherwise is unnecessary. When I tried to tell her if she just brought out the form and that I’ve dealt with I-9s as HR and an Office Manager, she simply yelled “people MUCH smarter than you have told me otherwise. Plus, I’m the boss. What I say goes!”. Woah! Inability to even open your mind to what one of your workers has to say isn’t a good look on any executive, I don’t care what industry.

The more I try to appease her, the more she tells me how I’m doing things wrong. I’m desperate but not this desperate. The trains run through here and I thought earlier today (and yesterday and the day before) “What a relief it’d be just to stand in front of it and get it over with”. But I know that’d let her win. I can’t have that.

I’ve been in tight spots before and I’ve been blessed with angels coming into my life in the form of friends and family … And even strangers. But when wil this end? I can’t just give up and be a desk jockey unless it’s for something I’m passionate about. When things are calm and I’m making money, I hate my life. But being in this predicament is really triggering my depression. 

Now, I’m sitting with my fruit (oh, did I forget to mention: the lady who hates me is the cook. Worst situation ever. Since I get off at 5pm and guests don’t eat until 6, I have to grab leftover food and eat it in the barn I live in – which had a microwave but still. She says I can’t grab a plate and have to use styrofoam containers for the food. I tried telling her toxic that is. First, I hate microwaves but can get over that. I am NOT, however, eating melted/microwaved styrofoam food. But I guess that’s what happens when the cook is your worst enemy). On the bright side, I guess I’ll lose weight. My diet was worse on trail but at least that had been my decision, not someone else’s. 

I’ve never been the litigious sort but, had I a shitload of money, I’d sue this place. The passive aggressive hazing, the situation they helped put me in (because, really, it’s mostly my fault for being naive and trusting they’d hold up their end) and horrible food/living standards are the worst I’ve seen. And I don’t like bullies. They shouldn’t be allowed to treat people like this.

There’s nobody to talk to here. There are only the husband and wife owners, the cook and the wrangler (who seems nice but we never see each other). So gotta get this out somehow. I feel like I’m just bursting with this frustration. I’ve never wanted to punch anyone so bad. Wish I could take one of my old kickboxing classes right now. I’m too wired to even do any yoga. 

Not that everything is horrible! The guests are fantastic, the 47 or so Arabian horses and all the other animals are wonderful too. And even the owner lady is super sweet when guests are around but, when they leave, she yells at me constantly. I feel like I’m a naughty child or something and I’m 30 years old. Shiiiit.

So, stuck in TN. Need to get out. Looking to work someplace that wants a spunky, motivated person that’s not afraid of hard work. Willing to work from the bottom up and prove myself. Know of any place like this? Let me know!

Now, here are some pics:

   
Dinner 👆🏻

 The main part of the ranch 👆🏻

   
 Had to take a walk before even writing this, just to chill out. Here are some wild turkeys just roaming around.

  
Woo-Woo, my best friend in this place. He’s such a good listener. 


Dirty 30

It’s coming up in a few days, on the 12th. The end of my 20s…..

I can’t help but reflect. Since December, I basically finished backpacking through the desert of SoCal, visited Yosemite and worked in the Adirondacks in New York. Not too bad but my mind is still whirling with the possibilities.

The 20s were an era of their own. I fell in love, got abused mentally and physically, got drunk, got sober, thought I’d die, lived, was surprised by my friends with their love, missed friends, lost friends, gained amazing friends. I hoped and I dreamed. That’s all I can ask, I guess.

But I want so much more. I want friends that live far away from me. I want to see them and talk to them. I want to see my family in Finland. I want to see my ex.

Some will happen. Some won’t. That’s ok. But since my PCT attempt, I can’t seem to adapt to the complacent thinking I was used to.

I can’t have the regular jobs I did before. I want something more. But it’s taking a lot more effort than I thought it would take. I’ve never had trouble getting a job before until now.

I want something outdoors. Something substantial that would allow me to save money while also enjoying the beauty of the wilderness. I had some hopes of getting a job at the Grand Canyon but that didn’t happen. That was a little crushing since I thought I killed the interview, which was after being filtered through their HR.

Although I never finished the PCT, I understand rejecting the norm afterwards. I’m not content with settling down with a regular job. Accepting a job like I had before goes against every fiber of my integrity.

Life could be worse. I have a few friends that are ridiculously helpful and I would absolutely homeless without them and I’m not oblivious to that. I’m beyond grateful but I also feel like I’m outstaying my welcome. I need to make a difference somehow in the universe.

Update

So, after my initial depression and apathy from having to quit my hike due to injury, I decided to start moving again.

I am now in New York, in the Adirondacks, working at a summer school for a bit. Debating on what to do after. A good friend of mine may be going climbing in the Sierras mid August so can go along to try backpacking again and get my much needed dose of the Sierras or I may go to Chicago, which is not only cheaper but also contains one of my nearest and dearest friends. 

But I am still planning for my 30th birthday (on September 12th) to hike Grand Canyon, rim to rim. So Cali may be the best choice at the moment (esp since my drivers license will expire and I’ll probably have to go to the much beloved DMV to renew it).

I can’t stop thinking about the PCT though. I must be a masochist because I want to do it next year too. The injury can’t be the reason I don’t attempt it. So the training for it has to start now.

I had my first hike a few days ago since I got injured. Was about 50 minutes straight up a hill – no actual trail, just tree markers – and about an hour and a half of easy walking. Surprisingly, my foot did ok. Think it’s because I didn’t have a full backpacking pack on. So that was SO good to know.

I have no cell service here in the summer camp so am now sitting on top of a hill and gotta get down before the mosquitoes eat me alive (the mosquitoes here are BRUTAL!!! And it is my informed opinion that Deet doesn’t even work on them). I have bites everywhere. Have to get some B vitamins and antihistamines stat! 

Anyway, since I hadn’t written for a while, wanted to give you an update.

 Here are some pics from the camp – Camp Little Notch.