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!!

 

 

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!

Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia in a week!

WOW!!! What a week!

Where to start? I pulled up my big girl panties up and realized I had to be the bigger person in this awkward job situation so I told the wife/owner lady that I could sense that she hadn’t taken a liking to me and, since she was the owner, I didn’t want to make her feel obligated to keep me and that it obviously wasn’t a good fit but that I could stay for a bit longer if she needed and didn’t want to put her out since she had guests. She insisted she didn’t hate me all the while telling me how “cocky” I was and how she could tell, from the moment she picked me up from the airport (after making me stay there overnight since they couldn’t be bothered to pick me up when I arrived the night before), that I wasn’t going to last.

I tried to keep my cool but when she insisted that she wasn’t even going to pay me since I didn’t have the Social Security Card on me, I told her, again, that if I could only show her the I-9 form. She then blew up and started yelling at me, telling me how disrespectful I am and how I should be apologizing to her and the cook.

I’d been in the middle of cleaning one of the guest rooms and she just yelled “Get in the truck! You’re leaving NOW!”. I asked her if I could have an hour or two to figure out the logistics. She said no and told me she was just going to drop me off in some small town with not even a train that could get me to a friend’s house in Virginia.

She followed me to the room in the barn I was staying at. When I told her that I didn’t need to be watched while packing, she said “I’m going to make sure you don’t go in the other rooms and steal their stuff”. WHAT?!? I just shrugged. I was so over this petty and completely unnecessary drama. She rushed me out, saying I had 20 minutes or I could walk to town – which is FAR away and I’d have no cell service until I got out of the mountains.

I got all my stuff packed, while using breathing techniques so I wouldn’t start bawling. I’ve never been treated like this. Ever. Even at the boarding school that I went to school at (where the principal had been a drill sergeant and yelled at us constantly, made us do push-ups for talking back, march for hours and do obstacle courses, etc).

We then went to switch over to the van from her truck. She came back with some cash in her hand and, after having flashed it at me, said “I’ll give you some cash instead so we can have this over with but, first, you need to sign this piece of paper stating that you received the cash and quit of your own accord”. I agreed. It’s what I would’ve done too, were I giving cash to someone. So I signed the piece of paper and instead of giving me the money, she pocketed the cash saying she wasn’t going to give it to me. So, I grabbed the piece of paper I signed that was sitting on the dashboard in between us and pointed out that then the paper was not true. She launched herself over the middle console and pinned me against the passenger seat, scratching at my hands and arms, trying to get the piece of paper in my hand. I told her to get off me and couldn’t believe she was doing it. She said she’d tell everyone that I slapped her.

Feeling numb with shock, I turned on my recorder and got her to admit she was full of shit about me touching her and got some of her threatening me some more. She finally agreed to give me the money. I just took the money and put it in my pocket when she says “You didn’t even count it! You’re a fuckin idiot!” and laughs. I told her it’s because I tend to trust people.

She knew, by that time, I was recording her, so she shut up for the rest of the van ride. It was probably THE most awkward 1 1/2 hrs EVERRRRRR. Seriously weird.

She then just dropped me off at the Greyhound station in Asheville, NC. By that time, I’d been able to have cell service and an Instagram friend in North Carolina told me she would drive down and pick me up.

I still can’t believe that all happened and that someone I’d NEVER met would be such an angel. She seriously saved me and immediately took me on a hike which cheered me up tremendously. I stayed with her, her beautiful daughter and their wolf – yes, a 100% wolf  who ate my flip flops and trail runners 😝- for a few days and we went exploring. It was like we’d known each other for forever.

My friend in Virginia, another beautiful woman, told me I could stay with her so I got a ticket out of Toccoa, Georgia to Charlottesville, VA and my IG friend drove the few hours to get me there. It was a tiny, unmanned Amtrak station. I’ve taken the train plenty of times and have never had issues with my luggage but when I went to board the train, the train conductor lady told me I couldn’t come on. She seemed to hate me on site – don’t know if it’s my faux-hawk/short hair or what – and refused any solution I proposed. I tried to appeal to her compassion and explained I knew nobody there and had been driven hours and hours by someone in NC to get me there. She didn’t give a shit and told me the only solution was if I left one of my pieces of luggage there. I told her that’s not a solution at all since it was an unmanned station and it’s my entire life’s belongings. She then told the train engineer/driver person to go and off they went.

The nearest bus station was 75 miles away. No Uber or Lyft in the area either and couldn’t find a proper taxi but finally found something on google. A man by the name of Greg told me that he normally doesn’t work at that hour – it was around 11pm by then – but he didn’t want me stranded so would come pick me up. No buses or trains were leaving until late the next day so decided to get a hotel.

All I wanted was a glass of wine after all this craziness and, come to find out, you can’t buy any alcohol after 11pm in the town. WHATTTTT???? I think I was the most upset by this. lol. I JUST WANT A GLASS OF FUCKIN WINE!!!! ONE GLASS!!!! or a bottle… 🙂

After some sleep, I just decided to just get my ass in gear and stop obsessing about the recent events. Greg, the sweetheart taxi guy, drove me to Anderson, South Carolina. I just hung out around there all day and then took the bus to Virginia.

I haven’t been on a Greyhound since I was 18. Many interesting characters and stories I heard while going there but that’s neither here or there.

Soooooooooo, long story short, I’m now in Lexington, Virginia. Looking for more jobs and trying to decide what to do.

Alls I got to say is: that was one CRAZY ASS WEEK!!!

Now, here are some pics:

 Some old outside movie theatre in North Carolina! Crazy. The old projector is there hidden somewhere

Just proof of scratches. I’ve had worse injuries but took the pics to cover my own butt. 🖕🏻


Teaching friend’s kid to selfie. Because it’s an important skill 😜

 Being a paparazzo to my friend’s kid.


Behind the scenes Instagram shots. Catching mom getting shots of daughter. Why do I have such a weird fascination with taking pictures of people taking pictures? Lol. It was awesome hanging out with my IG friend since we both understood that every moment could turn into photo-worthy shots if angled and positioned correctly. Basically, every day was a photo shoot. Hahaha


Got to step foot on to the Appalachian Trail!!!!!! Yay! 🖕🏻


Excited about the fall colors!


Tallulah Gorge, GA


Toccoa, GA 🖕🏻


Virginia 🖕🏻


Creepy houses in Lexington, VA


Doing what I love: hiking! And with some unruly ass hair. Don’t judge 😂


Random raper van in the middle of nowhere. Creeeeeepy and I love it!

More pics on my Instagram. ❤️

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.

  
    
   

What would YOU do?

I’m curious: what would YOU do were you in my situation?

I have a foot that is now getting slightly better. Would you wait for it to heal – an indefinite amount of time at this point since no concrete diagnosis – or would you start on Plan B?

Funnily enough, I’m now catching up on the podcast I collaborate on. It’s giving me extra incentive to get back on trail. The words of support from listeners is beyond inspiring and  hearing from Par 3, Kimchi and Gizmo and the people they interview, I feel a sudden surge of hope and longing for the trail. 

Dear God, Jesus, Mother Nature, Igbo, Sirona, Sekhmet, Aceso, Raphael the archangel, Ashvins, Apollo and any other deity of healing out there, I vow not to take the trail for granted ever again should I be able to get back on trail. 

At this point, I’m ready. Give me trail or give me death! (Ok, maybe that’s too much but you get my gist).

Bring it on, party people. Ready for this right foot of mine to heal! 

Enough is Enough

I’m done whining and throwing myself a pity party.

I got X-Rays today. No stress fracture although the doctor said he saw some shady/abnormal color near 4th and 5th toe bones which could be soft tissue or something but recommended I get an MRI since that’s where the pain is shooting out from.

I went to the ER, fed up with the back and forth and mystery of it all. They couldn’t do MRIs and just handed me some crutches so I’m limping around like a gimp now in an attempt to put absolutely NO pressure on my foot, should that be of assistance to the healing process. Signed up for Medi Cal in the process.

Shopped around for MRI – will still have to pay out of pocket since Medi Cal takes over a month to 2 months to get approval for. Finally found a place in Lancaster that’ll do it for $400. I can hear the gasp of my wallet but I’m just so sick of the mystery of it all. Tomorrow 12:45pm, the mystery of my injury will cease and I can gain control again of this situation.

I either have an extremely low pain threshold – although, mentally, I’ve been very aware and truly ok – or something is really wrong. Either way, it’s worth finding out so I can make a decision as to whether or not I want to weather this storm and keep on hiking or will call it an end to this year. Even if I only make it through California or skip to Oregon, I’m ok with it. I simply want to end the trail on MY terms, not my body’s. But I also don’t want to do permanent damage to my foot, since hiking is the cheese to my macaroni, so need to keep that in mind should I have a torn or ruptured tendon – which would need immediate attention.

Either way, in later September, I plan on hiking rim to rim at the Grand Canyon. Have to find out permit approval and whatnot for that but I look forward to that. If I have time, I may even go rim to rim to rim just for bragging rights and for the challenge.

I’m grateful for my family and friends and even complete strangers who’ve offered their words of wisdom and offered/gave assistance. I would be up shit creek were it not for them and, after all this, I will owe you guys a bazillion favors and hugs for bearing with me. You know who you are and I can’t even express the depths of my gratitude. No words can convey how much all the help and love – sometimes tough – has lifted me up from a dark, dark place. 

Fuckin Foot, Man

So. Over. This.

My foot continues to hurt more and more every day even though I’m not doing much of anything to it. I’m doing the whole RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevating – thing. Cortisone shot didn’t do ANYTHING. I’m also torturing myself, looking at other hikers’ Sierra pictures, thinking “I should be there right now”. Saw some dirty hikers in Inyokern yesterday and I just got so jealous – I wanted to be them, prancing around on 2 working legs with their packs on their backs, trying to resupply and get back on trail…

Went to acupuncturist yesterday here in Ridgecrest and that was super relaxing and I felt some negative energy leave my foot. The acupuncturist and I discussed how foot issues are sometimes very much a metaphor for one’s journey sometimes. While I like to entertain such concepts, I can’t help but know this is just a physical injury and, really, doesn’t have much more meaning than that.

Worried it’s a torn tendon at this point or a stress fracture. Need to get X Rays. Ridgecrest isn’t a place that has a great medical sector though. I went to Urgent Care today and they told me it would be $400 just for X Rays. Unbelievable. Totally not worth it so now I have to go shop around and find some place that won’t cost me an arm and a leg and that isn’t so far away.

Trying not to go crazy and jump to worst case scenario but I’m thinking I might have to abandon the hike if this continues. If I was getting better, I wouldn’t have to think about that but my foot is just feeling worse and worse. Just thinking about giving up makes me teary eyed and were I not at my friend’s house with her kids right now, I probably would start sobbing uncontrollably. TWO FUCKIN YEARS, I’ve been planning for this. TWO YEARS!!!! I’ve never stuck to any goal for longer than a few months since I get bored easily but I did for this. For the trail. I gave up an amazing rental situation, a good job and sold my car – that I had JUST paid off. I put ALL my eggs into this basket. And now those metaphorical eggs are just splattering all over the place or are rotten as fuck.

What’s worse is that I can’t even really drive since it’s my right foot and walking is painful so WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO??? I apologize to my family for the swear words but WHAT THE FUCK????

I can’t. I just can’t. I don’t know what to do. I’m at the end of my wits… the very end. Everything was starting to work out, podcast thing I was helping out with was awesome and – even that – I’m being edged out of, which is totally understandable considering the fact I may not even be on trail anymore and the show has to go on.

I’m not a quitter. But time keeps tickin away and this foot is just ruining it all and funds are running super low. Might be time for a Plan B. Just thinking of going back to a nine to five job though and starting the vicious day to day routine makes me want to shoot myself in the face with a shotgun. I’ve done it so many times. Work for the man, get paid, buy shit, get rid of shit, buy some more shit and shit, eat, repeat. I was finally doing something to feed my soul some yummy landscapes and challenges and while the desert is gorgeous, I was doing that to prepare myself for the Sierras – SO close yet is now slowly getting more and more out of reach.

AAARGH!!!!!!! Thanks for listening to my rant. ❤