Random Musings

I feel like anyone with a bunion is like 70+ years old but apparently I have one and it’s pretty painful. I have health insurance which would cover it but recovery is supposed to be a bitch and will take around a year. I can’t afford to not do anything for another year. I think I’ll go certifiably crazy and be institutionalized for massive stir-craziness.

I have several ideas as to my Euro-trip plans (which, just before, I’ll be doing the Trans Catalina Trail with some good friends for a shakedown backpacking/hiking trip) which I’ll just spout off here. If anyone has any ideas as to activities or people/places to see at any stage of my proposed itinerary, feel free to message me or comment! I love that, in this social media age, finding amazing (and cheap) places to stay, etc, is just a little bit of networking away.

So, I’ll fly into Paris, see uncle and fam and maybe tourist it up for a couple of days before catching the train and doing the Camino pilgrimage. From there, I’m thinking I’ll fly into Corfu, stay there for a few weeks and then fly to Helsinki and stay there for a few weeks and then fly back to LA, get my shit and my van and drive up to Yellowstone for a seasonal job in beginning of August (I got a job at Yellowstone!) to save up some money and gather my thoughts as to what I’ll be doing after that.

It’s a pretty packed itinerary. I’m now having issues with my car, have to change a flight (which is becoming an issue as they won’t refund or change dates without a huge $400 fee. Might be cheaper to just get a new flight altogether and then hope the original flight, which was to fly from Helsinki to LAX in September, gets cancelled and I get a refund then. That’s happened to me once before) and money is leaking out of my savings left and right but this has to be done.

Looking into possibly working in Corfu to pay for a room whilst also exploring but they require a whole season of work which I can’t afford to do. We shall see though. I did ask if I can just work to stay for 3 weeks and am waiting for a response.

These are at least all good problems, in the sense that I wasn’t decapitated or something more serious and that it’s for a trip that’s bound to be once-in-a-lifetime experience. Just need to put my head down and work and NOT go out to eat or buy additional things other than for the trip itself.

 

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!!

Camino de Santiago 2017!!!

It’s happening.

It’s finally fuckin’ happening. I can’t wrap my head around it. But flights are booked. I’m set to leave May 9th to Paris from LA. Then September 15th, I’ll fly from Helsinki, Finland back to LA.

I will see my uncle (who I haven’t seen in FOREVER) and his beautiful family in Paris and then take the train to St. Jean Pied de Port via Bayonne to start the walk.

I’M SO EXCITED!

Other than booking the flights, I have done nearly zero prep. I refuse to read people’s blogs and personal books about it. I want my experience to be untainted by others’ experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great they document it and share their knowledge but I’m an empath so any negativity or zealous excitement about any of it  kind of starts the setting of expectations for the trip, for myself and my goals based on the data I receive from others. Soooooo, in a nutshell, I’m only going to read some best-selling pilgrim books with trail data/maps and the hostel situation and that’s about it. For me, it’s about trying to have as much of an organic experience as possible.

I also need to start doing some Spanish classes or Rosetta Stone it up. Don’t get me wrong, I live in LA so familiar with basic Spanish but that’s very little and I wouldn’t dare try to speak it so want to get on that.

I have a friend – who I met on the train after hiking at Grand Canyon and roadtripping last year –  who may meet up to do the last 100km (minimum requirement for the Compostela certificate). That’ll be a trip if we meet up. I love  just meeting people while travelling that you just click with and then end up having adventures together later in random places. I’ll just need to figure out my mileage and when I’ll be where (roughly) to make that work.

After that, it’s wandering around Europe and somehow making my way up to Finland to see the rest of the family there and reconnecting with friends I haven’t seen in about 5 years, since I lived there for a bit.

Here’s the wikipedia with the history of Santiago de Compostela which is where I’ll end up unless I plan on going a bit further. My itinerary, other than the walk, is pretty much up in the air – the way I like it. I can’t plan things too much since life has a tendency to take those plans and shit on them.

Some people complain about this walk… that it’s not like any of the Triple Crown trails (Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail). To them, I say: Duh! It’s not. It’s completely different. You can’t compare them side by side fairly. For me, it’s a spiritual walk… I don’t really know what it is that I want out of it but, at the same time, I don’t want anything out of it – if that makes sense… I don’t have expectations but also expect to be changed somehow.

Hopefully my foot doesn’t fail me like it did on the PCT. Fingers and toesies crossed.

 

 

 

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.

Howdy, my lovely readers!

I can’t believe I left that last depressing blog post about depression as my last post without an update!

SO much has been happening, guys. SOOOOO much. I don’t even know where to begin – I was stuck in NC for a while, with no car and no wifi (so couldn’t even do my remote accounting work). I thought I was getting a loan but that fell through. My friend who I was staying with somehow found a flight deal from Atlanta to LA for $100. Seemed unreal, turned out totally legit. Flew back to LA, stayed with old roommate for almost a month until he got a job in Germany and had to move family into the house. I also found a full time job on top of part time one.

I found a place through Craigslist. A seemingly quirky lady with a pirate themed pool in the back. That sealed the deal for me. Who DOESN’T like a pirate themed pool area!?! haha.

I gave her money early upon her request so I can get the room. Moved in, didn’t get the paperwork signed because her printer was either wonky one day or out of ink the next and she refused to send it to me at work. Long story short, she totally screwed me over. Ended up being a raging alcoholic with bipolar tendencies. She took my deposit and made the place a living hell to live in. So much so that within 2 weeks, I was already working out getting a van to live out of. At first, I thought it was just me. I mean, it’s not possible to meet TWO living psychos in a 6 month period. At that point, you should look within, I would think were someone else telling me these crazy stories I’ve experienced. But, TRUUUUST ME, it was her. Cops were called on her by some other prospective tenants for same shit. Another tenant while I was there left for the same reason.

It really brought up some bullying shit I experienced at the boarding school I used to be at. I had totally forgotten the details but the anxiety triggered them since it was so similar. I was placed in the “popular” dorm when I moved to the school. Of course, being a book nerd, they didn’t want me there and requested their more popular friends. The teachers refused to place me elsewhere so they took it out on me. Think “Bad Girls Club” but with older 12-13 yr olds picking on a 10 year old. They’d put my shit outside, yell and tease me constantly and even once got someone with a ton of lice in their head to roll around on my bed so I wouldn’t sleep there. I’d always sleep with one eye open with a pounding heart, worried they’d cut my hair or move my shit while I slept. That was the time I pissed in my bed too. Never did it before or after that period. Oh, good ol’ days! Weird how memories are so buried until a similar feeling, scent or views bring them out again.

Aaaaanywayyyyyssss… I digress. The good that came from all that recent apartment nonsense was that I DID find a Toyota Sienna minivan, custom fit with a mattress, stove and a faucet. All self sufficient – no hook ups needed. It took walking through hell and high water and being flogged for my bad credit but I finally figured out how to get it and actually got it. YAYYYYY!!!

That means, NO more living paycheck to paycheck. I can pay people back AND save for the Camino de Santiago next year amongst other adventures. SO stoked.

I like to compartmentalize so will be recording my version of van life on a different blog on WordPress: http://www.forthewanderers.com . Please feel free to visit me there.

I’d like to keep this blog specifically for my hiking endeavors.

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.