One day at a time

So my therapist forgot our appointment but I can’t really get mad because she works with me on payments and has been the greatest therapist I’ve had. So I guess I’ll come here and make a post to get out what’s been in my head

Circling back to homework from her: I figured out where my stress first shows up and it’s in my hands or feet. Typically my hands. I have a stimming thing where I rub my fingers together. I do it sometimes to the point, I’ve frictioned off layers and layers of skin. I noticed I do that or start moving my hands around, picking up stuff or moving things around, once I start feeling anxiety (before it even registers in my brain that anxiety has escalated). So being mindful of that should be helpful.

Then I’ve been working through some attachment trauma. Trying to figure out what it is that’s been triggered as of late. And I just can’t seem to put my finger on it tbh. It eludes me…. yet I can sometimes feel it at the tip of my brain’s tongue but then it runs away while cackling and yelling at me “COME AND GET MEEE! Muahahahaha”. Taunting me in a way but I’m just not chasing it. When it’s safe for it to come to me, it’ll come. I trust my mind to offer it to me when it’s sure that it’s the right time for me to process it.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to go daily (but it’s been like every other day), to go dip in the ocean and journal (in my actual journal where I use pen and paper 😂) . That’s been nice. San Juan Island is beautiful with its birds of prey and foxes.

Spoke to an old boss just yesterday. Was pretty cool. We had a misunderstanding towards the end but we’ve talked about it since. He tried to get me to go back and work for him at his haunted historic hotel recently. I’d found this current gig already by then. Anyway, it was just interesting and cool to reconnect with him. I had been really upset by what had happened when I quit that job but now it’s no biggie and we are both chill about it. I know that’s a normal thing to others but, for me, to talk to someone who my brain had deemed “unsafe” to now being able to just be adults and discuss and move on was quite heartwarming. I haven’t had that with many people (mostly because I don’t feel acknowledged or am gaslit when I try to discuss it to but still).

Seems like everyone is gearing up for adventures. My friend who I met on the West Highland Way and continued on with on the Great Glen Way, is now walking South West Coast Path in the UK. He’s a wild one. Been to & drummed in every continent (he’s a drummer amongst other things) while on the cheapest budget I’ve ever seen (and without being a begpacker). He just puts a sign on his pack and people offer him meals and boarding. I strive for that level of faith in humanity!

While others are headed to Europe, Japan amongst other foreign lands. Just imagining their travels when they tell me about it gets my wanderlust juices flowing. I love seeing people doing these incredible trips. Just reinforces my love for travelers and nomads.

And makes me start thinking of creating my next journey. I’ve been doing a workbook by The Holistic Psychologist called “How To Meet Yourself” and it’s been having me do these visualizations about my future self and my mind was blown. I have never fully visualized what my future self looked like. Simply because I’ve been struggling with suicidal ideation since 8 years old in Scientology and never even planned or expected myself to have lasted this long. I was convinced I’d die at 28. I had no evidence of it but I really felt I would be dead by then. And I kept rescheduling my suicide date year after year after that. Now I’m 37. Isn’t that crazy? And sad…. But not going to dwell on it in that way because visualizing my future self has mostly been so exciting. And calming. It’s like there’s more purpose to it all if I’m now striving for this higher/elder self. Even writing this now, I get a bit teary because it’s really hitting me at how wild that is. Most people are planning their lives or have parents trying to plan their lives for them from birth. I’ve been in such survival mode, I didn’t even realize how intensely I’ve been there and for how long.

That’s some fatty food for thought. Gonna leave it at that for now because I need to let that marinate in my brain a bit longer.

Continue reading

Living Authentically

I can get a bit obsessive over certain things when I can’t understand it. I dissect and analyze it all to try to make it make sense.

I was called “jealous” by so-called old friend which really threw me for a loop and was another one of those times where I thought “Wow, I really don’t like the version of me in your head and that doesn’t resonate with me at all!”.

Jealousy is an ugly emotion. I’ve never experienced it though and I’ve never understood it. I had an ex who was extremely jealous. He’d imagine crazy scenarios where I’m cheating and yell and hit as if I had done it. Do I sometimes look longingly at people out with their parents and wish I could have parents who cared about me? Sure but I don’t begrudge people for having decent parents.

It’s up there with another thing I still don’t get: how people can hate someone just because of their license plate state. As if some imaginary boundaries drawn by men somehow dictate the behaviors of the people living inside them. California gets a lot of shit and I constantly hear and see people using that as if it’s a slur (go back to California! Don’t California my Arizona etc). Meanwhile most Californians are transplants.

Back to jealousy though…. I have never wished to possess what others have because I can get it myself. If I wanted a career in an office, spouse and/or kids, I could have. But I don’t want those things right now.

It reminds me of this conversation I had with someone. We jokingly said we should switch our lives for a day and she made a face (she can’t poop in the wilderness much less live out of a van 😂) and my butthole cringed at the thought of doing her government job which is my idea of hell. It was kind of cool to realize we both had really curated our lives intentionally to the ways we wanted, especially after having such a highly controlled childhood.

When I complain about my struggles, it’s not about living on the road. I love the roadscapes, landscapes and nightscapes I get to see daily. I love the fellow nomads and adventurers I get to meet along the way, each one with their own unique stories.

And I LIVE for my longer distance hikes and adventures. I’m thinking Peru for my next trip to get Machu Picchu & Rainbow Mountain out of the way and then explore the Amazon btw. Maybe go for an ayahuasca ceremony if I can find a non-commercialized female native healer. Mama Aya is calling me back. I can feel it.

I also so love how helpful people are on the road everywhere. I’ve given spare gear to people in need and I’ve been on the receiving end of kindness as well. Nomads are my people. And a lot of people who I grew up with don’t get that. I’m sure they see me as a bum or whatever. And that’s fine. People are entitled to their versions of me even when I feel they couldn’t be further from the truth.

I use this blog for my thoughts and people seem shocked or think I’m like this super low vibe person because I share my shadow self with the world. But there is so much light and feeling and love inside me. It’s just that I keep those precious moments & things mostly to myself because to share things with people seems to cheapen it with words.

I could tell you I took a few minutes to watch a caterpillar eat a strawberry flower the other day. Sounds simple. But I swear that caterpillar knew I was there. I could feel it sense my presence as it moved it’s head at me and shifted around. I tried to imagine being the caterpillar, imagining how I appeared and felt to it. I hoped it sensed I wasn’t a threat and just wanted to admire it. Could it feel my curiosity and admiration? ….Now I just sound crazy hahaha. And that’s why I don’t like to share that stuff. I’m like Gollum from LOTR… except MY Precious is the good stuff. The sweetness and softness I want to protect from the world.

What I need to work on: my hyper independence – I need to allow people to help and contribute. I need to work on my mindfulness when it comes to being present. I have this horrible trauma response whereby I constantly have this feeling of wanting things to be over, even good things. It sucks the joy right out of things for me.

I’m a work in progress. And that’s ok.

Therapist Homework

Since I’ve found that the great therapists tend to sustain themselves off the tears of their patients, I’m not shocked when mine gives me homework. 😆😜

My current assignment is to write my journey here. But also to find where in my body the panic/anxiety STARTS. Not to be confused with where it lands (which I feel in my heart & upper chest by the time it’s a full blown panic attack). Supposedly this is the best way to cut it off at its knees before it gets unbearable.

I’m having a bit of a hard time with it. When I think about recent anxiety attacks, it just feels like I am in my head whilst in conflict with someone and haven’t really felt anything until it gets bad- that I’ve noticed anyway – so I’m a bit skeptical. But my therapist swears by it and it’s helped her so I’m going into this with an open mind and heart. She has pissed me off before but she’s usually always right in these matters. Haha

Once I’ve found the physical hints of anxiety, I can proceed to then do my breathing exercises (here are some in case anybody would like to know: Breathing Exercises ) and grounding techniques (like finding things I can touch/taste/see/smell/etc and some tapping).

Sometimes, with healing, it’s hard to see the progress because the journey isn’t linear. Sometimes it feels worse before it gets better or you think you’re “healed” and then have an emotional relapse, etc. But my therapist pointed out something interesting to me: that my feelings seemed to be more physical these days than mental. While it can obviously FEEL real shitty when negative events occur, I actually take that as a win. I take it as a win because I was dissociated and checked out of my body for so long – for decades, really. Even the things supposedly pleasurable like sex was numbing and I’d have to hurt myself to even feel anything. I was so checked out that if I’m now IN my body (which microdosing psilocybin helped me connect with), OF COURSE I’m going to now have to process the physical somatic of past shit. Maybe I’ve healed more than I’ve realized. It’s important to take the successes and acknowledge them.

I’ve had some people say to me that I live in the past. Yeah, well. That’s not false some of the time. But my body reacts in the present due to past traumatic circumstances so it’s not just “in the past” for me. These are present circumstances. If I feel like I can’t breathe unless I gtfo, that’s for sure a present problem.

Side note: If anybody is curious about how trauma is stored in your body, I highly recommend this book: The Body Keeps the Score

I watched some documentary on Netflix with Jonah Hill & his therapist, Phil Stutz and I thought it was really cool . Firstly, because it helps to end the stigma of mental health. Secondly, Stutz drops some nuggets of wisdom and therapeutic tips. Lastly, because it’s a well known MALE actor and I think it’s cool that emotional vulnerability can be tackled for the males among us along with all the rest of us.

Too many men are taught to repress their emotions. I can’t even imagine not being allowed to cry. I’d probably be in jail or dead tbh if I was a dude. Crying, for me, is my emotional outlet – if I’m happy, angry or sad, tears leak out of my eyeballs. No fail. If I was shamed for doing it like little boys are (think of how often we’d hear the words: “Man Up!”), I would be so destructive. Repressing everything is so unhealthy.

So maybe me writing it all here with what I discover along this healing journey will help someone else. It seems like a safe enough space to discuss this… when I do it in person, I seem to trigger people. Many people aren’t going to heal in their lifetime and feel no need to and that’s OK. But I kind of have to do this because the other option is ending my life. Some of us just don’t have a choice in the matter.

Almost hoping for a panic attack now so I can ACE this homework . Hahaha

Will keep updating as I go. Chat again soon ✌🏼

Impact over Intent

I was watching some video clip from a social worker discussing impact over intent and how they stress that when it comes to real accountability.

It really got me thinking about how so many abuser apologists and even abusers claim “They/I didn’t MEAN to do that!” and I was reading some FB article about how recently a homeless black man, Jordan Neely, was placed in a chokehold by a former Marine and died.

SO many people in the comments praised this former Marine and said he was a hero for restraining this mentally ill man who was raging about how hungry he was. How he was a menace to society because he had a criminal record.

Was the former marine intending to just restrain Jordan in order to prevent people being hurt? Maybe. Maybe he had the best of intentions. Even if he did, his instincts took him over the edge during the act and he ended up killing the guy.

So do we praise his intention or the actual impact? Just because someone wasn’t intending on hurting you but did anyway, should you just ignore the impact? Society seems to think so….

I recently told someone they need to allow others the consequences of their actions and they didn’t take it well. Kept going on about how the person was a good person blah blah.

Asking for accountability in a world that shames truth, especially when it comes to societal “wrongdoings”, is hard. I experience that within myself and definitely see it out in the world. Someone does one bad thing and – BAM – labeled “BAD”. No, that’s now how I see it at all. Nobody is “BAD” or all “GOOD”. We are composed of both light and dark. We can do “bad” things or go through a “bad” period and get right back up and repair the damage or make it up some other ways. I’m definitely nowhere near perfect. Nobody is.

Scientology punished us for our intents, even when there was NO harmful impact on anyone (think being punished for masturbating and pleasuring oneself or giving your spouse, since they don’t believe in premarital relations in the Sea Org, a blowjob). You started policing your own thoughts. Pre-judging them for “rightness” and “wrongness”.

It’s so sad. Only impact matters. If you thought a bad thing, that’s ok. Hopefully the environment is safe enough around you to talk about it. From there, you could get REAL help. But if punished for just having thoughts, it creates a weird shame vacuum that is a breeding ground for anxiety and weird judging behaviors.

What do you think?

Attachment vs. Authenticity

That last blog post was mid a really heavy anxiety attack 2 days ago so thought I’d update since a lot has happened mentally since then.

I was listening to Gabor & Daniel Mate’s book “The Myth of Normal” and it started talking about how attachment versus authenticity is one of the leading causes of trauma in our society. It went into it in length and it really resonated with me.

For instance, it spoke about (paraphrasing here) how – at birth – we automatically default to attachment over authenticity because our very survival depends on another person. However many, as they get older – especially if undeveloped, traumatized or without guidance – don’t switch to authenticity. They stay in attachment mode even though they are adults who can now swing more to authenticity if they were so inclined. People do this for a variety of reasons, the main one probably being that we are social animals and have needed others in primitive time to help raise children and other tribal things.

It dawned on me that I’ve been in survival mode since I was but a toddler, living and moving in FOUR different countries with completely different languages that I didn’t speak by the age of 8. That alone is traumatizing (compound to the fact that I was left alone quite a bit so would get lost like on the streets of Copenhagen a number of times etc) but then you add a hostile cult school environment where EVERYONE was traumatized and so found me the easy scapegoat for things I didn’t even do. Add physical and verbal and emotional abuse from adults and kids alike. That’s just childhood.

I realized I really don’t know myself outside of survival mode. Like, in a really authentic way. And all my childhood “friends” were ones I created out of attachment. There has always been a simmering distrust of all of them. They were trauma bonded in ways I wasn’t since I came later and didn’t even speak their language at first. Even now, simply a vibe or them gossiping about me behind my back would set off an emotional flashback now, as an adult (emotional flashbacks are a thing. Look it up. Wish more would know about it). I created kind of a basic facade for them of the little I did know about myself and stashed away the really deep parts of me I felt people wouldn’t like or that were teased/mocked.

At the end of the day, I never felt intimately close to them. Like ever.

And it all kind of came to light when a friend broke up with me. I cried but definitely felt a sense of relief. So I leaned into myself to find out why. And it’s really simple: The first time I ever stood up for myself with her and set a boundary, she was out, which shows me how surface level it was all along.

I then started looking at other relationships and I feel the same way about a vast majority of them. I don’t like myself when I’m around some of them. I have to bite my tongue etc etc.

This is not a them problem though. It’s MY responsibility to set boundaries and you show people how to treat you by what you allow. And I allowed a lot. And people aren’t mind readers.

It’s also my responsibility to show up as my authentic self. Being in survival mode is not only exhausting mentally and physically but it’s not sustainable and I’ve been doing it every day for decades. I haven’t even felt like really getting to know myself because I’m always preparing for what’s about to blow up next and that became all-consuming. It’s a vicious cycle.

Have you ever talked to someone constantly in survival mode? Isn’t it exhausting? So I get it from all angles. Nobody is their best self when they’re just trying to feed themselves. No way can you be going off having nice spa or brunch experiences when broke, etc. And friendships require at least some fun experiences to keep them going… my opinion anyway.

At first I was like “none of these ranchers get me. They don’t SEE me. And I don’t like how they act towards me which makes me not like how they must be seeing me because I’d never do that to them”. But I have ZERO control over how others perceive me.

All I can do now is learn myself. Who I am outside of survival mode. Now that I’m working and have a place to stay for the season, I want to get to know me. Bring back some lightness and laughs. I can’t remember the last time I was hugged or laughed really hard …. Things feel too heavy right now since I can feel my body straining in survival mode even now, despite my many reassurances that I’m safe right now.

So disconnect from people for a while (not in a Scientology way. Just detach for a bit). And focus on me.

I’ve always been an odd duckling. It’s time to embrace it. Take myself out on some dates or something and discover myself under all this shit that really no longer matters. Get my nervous system a bit more regulated so I can function and not be so tired.

Anyone else going through an existential crisis? Hahahaha. Hit me up. Let’s talk ideas and notes


I haven’t been writing because I felt like nothing I say matters.

*Trigger warning: contains talk about suicide and mental health*

I wanted to blog but a blog supporter David, who became a real life friend when he visited me in Kanab UT, killed himself some months ago. That hit me hard. You guys don’t even know how beautiful this guy was. He was more supportive of me than any person I ever grew up with and was always liking my shit and commenting even when he went back to the East Coast. I felt like such a shitty friend. I knew he’d had surgery and was dealing with physical issues on top of his mental ones but I was so self absorbed, I didn’t follow back up with him.

Analytically, I know what people do isn’t on me. But I also know I could’ve been better of a friend. I just wish living in survival mode for years on end wasn’t so consuming. I feel like I’m just doggie paddling and paddling and I’m getting tired, man. So tired. And it feels impossible to lend a hand to someone else drowning when you can barely stay afloat.

So, yeah, I haven’t been the greatest friend because of that. Trust me, I’m very well aware of that.

Aaron, Mani, Colton, Dominic, my dad, David, Raoul, Jenny and others have all passed. One thing in common with them is that they shared a lot of the same pain as me. They just all had the courage I don’t have to end things.

And with being shunned, all I experienced was more loss. Loss of my story (which was reduced to a reductive byline), my identity and family and “friends”.

And the losses seem to keep coming…

I came to the US to a Scientology “school” when I was 7 as an immigrant, not speaking a lick of English, and was essentially tortured by the other kids (think the show “Bad Girls Club” and the bullying they would make some girls they didn’t like endure – everything from not letting them sleep by blasting music and keeping lights on to straight up group shoving and punching sessions or throwing my mattress and belongings in the dumpster). To survive, I befriended these people so that they’d stop picking on me.

Since then, there’s always been bullshit with them. From gaslighting my experiences to gossiping about me to the others, etc. For so long, I tried (and succeeded) in keeping them in my life. But I’m realizing now that it’s all been simmering. And it’s all blowing up now and I’m in a spot mentally where I just want to block all of them in anticipation of them doing it to me at some point because it keeps happening and seems inevitable.

I’m no longer the sad little girl afraid of standing up to herself and now that I’m setting boundaries, I’m losing even more people. (One such boundary was that I’m not going to read sub-text and/or defend myself to a third person. If someone has an upset, they can come to me directly). I personally thought that was a more than reasonable request but I was “consciously uncoupled” with by someone I had thought was a good friend that I was just sort of distanced from atm.

At the end of the day, people will do what they want. The reason doesn’t truly matter and it’s their lives. It just feels really transactional to discount someone just because someone else talked shit and they’re not doing anything for you at the moment.

It’s impossible to be seen as who I really am because I’ve kept up such a people pleasing facade with these people, desperate for them to keep liking me.

I’m done masking. I’m done playing this game to be honest. I simply don’t have the mental capacity to do it if I’m being totally honest.

One thing I know is that us children of the PAC Canyon Oaks Ranch (aka PAC Ranch) in Scientology all have a trauma bond.I ask myself questions like: If it had been truly my choice, would any of these people actually even be my choice of friend? Do I even want friends that talk shit behind my back? That abandon you/talk shit when your parent dies or when you’re not doing so well? That dismiss your trauma?

I’m feeling more and more that I have been done since being raped (by a Scientologist and also a Rancher btw). I haven’t wanted to live and something died that day but I keep living for some fuckin reason even though it feels there’s not even one safe person in this world. It’s all fraught with peril and social cues I’m not understanding because they don’t make sense to me. By having continued to live, I’ve made things worse and lost even more people. I should’ve done what I knew needed to be done then.

I had some emergency therapy sessions and my therapist is amazing but it’s not fair to her to have her as my one & only safe space.

I’m tired. I can’t deal with any more losses. Being human is horrible. You’re forced to be some social creature but the only comfort I find is in solace. Because I understand where I’m coming from. The people I talk to don’t see me … they see whatever they’ve concocted me as, as dictated by their personal filters, past and preconceived notions.

When I’m playing a game and it sucks, I find another game. But I always just stop playing the shitty game first. So that’s what I need to do.

I’m supposed to sit with these waves of grief. That’s my homework from the therapist. But even a small wave can kill ya when you’re already struggling to stay afloat at all.

Just using this as a journal for now while I navigate my next steps. If you stumbled on this post and made it this far, thank you for taking the time. It’s heavy shit but I’m feeling mighty heavy atm.

This pic about sums it up 💔 How can a heart heal if it’s continually breaking?

I got to Scotland!

I’ve been walking on the Scottish National Trail now for a few days after hanging out in Edinburgh for a few days before that.

I can’t believe I’m here. My friend Kristi helped me get the tickets and I had to haul ass in my van to Portland, where I was flying out of in 2 days time from when I got the tickets.

Thankfully my thru hiker buddies, Ally & Owen, said they’d take my van while I was gone. Man, I have some amazing friends!

Just a day or two out from starting the West Highland Way bit. Then I head into the Highlands!

Not going to lie, I’ve been a lazy ass this last year or three. I haven’t been hiking as much (mostly because I just felt super depressed and nothing seemed to spark joy). I was definitely heading into that dark headspace where I either was going to have to do something epic to snap myself out of it or just get it over with and kill myself.

I kept hoping and telling people about my dream of hiking Scotland and – BAM – I’m here almost as if by magic.

I should be starting or on the West Highland Way by my birthday (12 Sept)! Between this trip , quitting smoking and taking a break from drinking, I keep reminding myself that this is the best present I can give myself.

When you’re suicidal, vices don’t seem to matter because death seems like a reprieve. So taking huge steps to get healthy again is a HUGE step and I have to keep reminding myself on hard days that I’ve already done so much.

Already in the few days on trail, I’ve contemplated oh so much and met so many incredible people, albeit briefly. I have so much to tell you guys but I just got to the hotel and I need to hand wash my clothes and elevate my feet (the section of “trail” I’m on – mostly canal walking – doesn’t have almost any space for bathroom breaks , much less tent camping so I’m having to bleed my bank account for hostels and hotels which is nerve wracking).

I promise to write all my thoughts and more trail details later. For now, here’s some photos. Just wanted to quickly update since my last blog post was about last year’s Scotland plans being cancelled. You can also follow me on Instagram – I try to post stories/videos as frequently as I can.

Love to you all! Hope you’re staying safe out there. ❤️

Scottish National Trail 2020

That’s the goal anyway. Looking at a late May/early June start.

Am working in Austin, NV now. Legitimately in the middle of nowhere, Nevada. Here for a bit and saving up. Have so much to figure out.

Do I want to keep with my Brooks Cascadias? Or switch to another pair of shoes which will involve lots more trial runs and figuring out? My new rain gear needs testing. Have to just buy tickets. Want to go see family in Finland after Scotland and still have enough to get back on my feet getting back to the States.

In the meantime, just working every day. Learning more about the hospitality business which is always great. Discovering there’s a world of seasonal hospitality work as innkeepers/etc everywhere so this can be an additional type of work for my traveling/nomadic lifestyle.

People ask how I’m doing and it’s hard for me to answer. Can’t say I’m good (I feel like I’m jinxing it if I say I’m good/great/excellent) but I can’t say I’m bad either. I’m just existing and it’s been nice to be able to be somewhere new and stably while also not abandoning my 2020 travel goals.

Will write more later. Been doing a lot of inner work and working on my own story which I hope to share a bit of soon.

Here are some pics from the last month or two. Weird to think what most people deem a vacation road trip is something I’m accustomed to on the road almost daily. I have to constantly remind myself of this fact so I don’t take it for granted.

My home aka my minivan got into an accident!!! My first ever accident. Got it somewhat fixed (driveable anyway). Before pic on top and after below

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Wanda & Ed at the campground in WA (for water hike/waterfall area) were so lovely. Wanda makes bracelets for all the campers, saying it’s her way of spreading all the love she has for everyone – especially now that she has some medical issues that make it harder to get out there like she used to.

5 years

Been MIA for a long time. Honestly haven’t felt as if anything I said mattered anyway.

It’s coming up on to 5 years, almost to the day, that I was violently raped by an ex. While that moment broke something inside me and I haven’t been the same since, I think that it also somehow made me realize that even “playing it safe” with a job, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc (being what polite society would consider “normal” essentially), you can still be violated and put in danger.  Before, I was full of anxiety and fear. Even the thought of driving would give me mad anxiety and when I had driving lessons, I’d have panic attacks (not realizing they were that at the time).

What I’m trying to say is that realizing you can’t avoid danger – that it’s going to be coming from everywhere, especially with those you allow close to you. And I have done more in the last 5 years than I have in the 28 years before it having realized that. Let me try to succinctly summarize the last 5 years:

I shaved my head, sold my car I had just paid off, gave up an incredible rent situation, attempted a thru-hike of the PCT (only got 652 miles in before getting injured but still! Pretty fuckin’ cool especially since I got to help collaborate on the coolest podcast “Sounds of the Trail”), lived on the East Coast briefly (visited NY, VT, VA, NC, SC, GA, TN and D.C.), moved back to West Coast, skydived (3 separate times), finally hiked to Havasupai, went to Burning Man, lost a loved one to suicide, rehashed my trauma for the A&E Leah Remini: Scientology the Aftermath show, dipped my toes into vanlifing buying my van while working 2 jobs to save up and go to Europe,  where I walked the 500 mile Camino de Santiago/Way of St. James and met some incredible people who became friends for life, saw family in France and then did that pilgrimage from France into Spain. Fell in love with Spain. Went back to Finland, visited Sweden briefly on the way back to US.

Tried working for Xanterrible at Yellowstone. Concurrently, a national tv episode of me speaking out against the cult I grew up in was about to air, I had a nervous breakdown and a doctor there was kind enough to make me realize I needed help. Went to treatment for about 2 months. Felt a bit better. Went to work with a friend, trimming at his MJ farm in Oregon only to hear my dad was found dead. He’d drunk himself to death and since I was his only child, I had to go back to Finland (this time in the cold cold arctic circle). Stayed with an aunt and her family and saw my father’s side of the family which was awkward since I didn’t know these people. They had never been – nor made any effort to – be in my life. No word from my mom who clearly had shunned me. Saw Northern Lights for the first time which had been on my fuck-et list.

Took my father’s ashes back with me to the States since he’d never been able to visit me. Found a place I could work a little/volunteer in beautiful Oracle, AZ, right next to The Arizona Trail. (High Jinks Ranch), a historical place that Buffalo Bill staked a claim to. The owner was lovely and so empathetic and kind. The Chalet Village Motel – down the hill – owner, Marnie, became like a non-biological mother. I met so many incredible – extraordinary, really – hikers coming through on the trail. I was able to cook for them and have beautiful conversations. I felt like between the nature and these beautiful people, I should be feeling better. I hiked Grand Canyon with my dad’s ashes and did a ton of exploring in AZ at the same time.

But I still felt numb. I dissociate so often that it feels like I’m just experiencing life through some fuzz filter. It’s frustrating being in some of the most beautiful places and just being like “meh”. It’s like my brain can’t process anything too overwhelming. And when it does, my emotional regulation goes out the window and I just burst out from crying at feeling all of the things.

I decided I’d had enough. I’d kill myself for my 33rd birthday, at 3:33am. The final suicide location would be Angel’s Landing. For a few reasons, the main being that I was far from an angel and would be falling. Quite literal but I’m a foreigner so sue me (insert shrug). But I’d do one last roadtrip up the West Coast, into Canada and then down MT, WY & ID and then down through UT to Zion National Park.

So I made a trip from seeing friends in San Diego, CA up the coast, visiting friends in NorCal, OR and exploring WA for the first time. Then I went to Kelowna, visited a hiker friend from the PCT. Him and his wife let me stay there for over a week on their amazing boat house. I made his wife uncomfortable with my death talk so I left. Went to Banff & Glacier National Park (Canada). Definitely must-see places before you die! Went through MT, WY & ID as planned and made it to Southern Utah a week before my birthday only to find out that Angel’s Landing hike was closed due to a mudslide having wiped it out. I honestly didn’t have a plan B and I was out of $$. Then karma came back around and one of the hikers I’d helped whilst in AZ told me of a job in Kanab, UT working as the manager/caretaker of Grand Circle Bed & Breakfast. Within 72 hours, I had the job. And that was great until the reservations guy started to harass me and refused to resolve our conflict. If a place no longer feels safe for me, I’ve learned i need to protect my mental health. The owners were fantastic though and the entire Southern UT area is pure magic. Was sold on moving in with a friend from treatment to start anew only to find out she flat out lied and had fallen off the sobriety wagon hard. So I had driven to the Midwest for nothing. Got to see Iowa, Wisconsin and South Dakota though (SD was amazing).

So now I’m again at a crossroads. Is life even worth living when there is nobody to share that with? I honestly feel Christopher McCandless’ quote so viscerally “Happiness is only real once shared”.  

I’ve told at least 10 people I constantly think of just killing myself. Only 1 has addressed that statement directly with me. And that was a recovering addict who’s been through shit. I’ve had numerous panic attacks in public places where nobody comes to help or assist me in any way.

I wake up daily crying when I realize I’m still alive. My heart races even when there is no danger present. I wake up constantly from the sleep paralysis and nightmares. I’m a sexual person but have anxiety when someone even checks me out.

Nothing gives me true enjoyment. I have tried to eat, hike, kayak, travel, write and drink the pain away and I’ve concluded it’s utterly pointless.

I don’t think there’s room in the world for people like me. You’d think having done such a concentrated amount of living in just 5 years would’ve shaken me alive but it just brings home that maybe I’m too broken.  And living in constant survival mode is draining my soul battery dry daily.

And nobody likes a crybaby.






I’ve been thinking about judgement a lot lately. Consumed by thoughts of it is more like it.

I thought I was on top of my judgement but realized it goes much, much deeper than I even consciously realized once I started to be mindful about it.

More specifically, the moment I realized this was when I went to see an energy healer in Sedona. She asked me if I was ready for someone to come into my life (relationship-wise) since apparently someone was coming (WHERE ARE YOU MYSTERY PERSON??) and I told her I was focusing solely on myself at the moment, trying to become my better self. She pointed out to me that exactly who I was, in that moment, was already my best self. It was then that I realized that even though I was trying to not judge, I automatically did so – especially with myself – constantly.

Who was this supposed “better self” I was trying to become? What ideal or measuring stick was I comparing myself to? By definition, judgement is just that (“To draw conclusions from evidence and evaluate events and people”) but other than for safety purposes, what does judging people or things or places do for us, really? Like with most survival mechanisms, it seems judgement has taken such a forefront in most people’s reasoning that it’s so firmly lodged in our brains that it’s become second nature to judge EVERYTHING and EVERYONE yet it doesn’t truly offer us anything except for helping to enforce our egos with the few exceptions of actual caution (ie, “is this shaky bridge safe to walk on?”, “should I get into this stranger’s car and take him up on offer of a ride into town”, etc).

Might sound hokey but the more I meditate on this and think about it, it really feels judgement is just the enforcer of our egos.

Even in long distance hikes, one of the main questions you’ll get from people is where you started and – towards the end of the day – how many miles you hiked that day. And the ONLY reason people ask this is, if we’re being brutally open and honest, is to compare their mileage to yours. But why? Again, it’s so they can see how they stack up against you and if they did more miles than you, then they feel proud of themselves or something similar to that effect. But why should that matter? I always thought it odd that conversations would usually revolve around comparing each others hikes when you should be hiking your own hike.

I’m personally much more interested as to WHY people hike long distance trails and any epiphanies or tribulations they might have come across along the way or any funny poop stories. Every person’s body is different. Whether someone hikes 10 miles or 30 shouldn’t matter. It just shouldn’t. Not to say it’s not inspiring when someone is kicking ass (looking at you Heather “Anish” Anderson , Scott Williamson and all the other record breakers) but we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for not keeping up and should just embrace our own pace and intention for each hike.

Even in social media and media, where it’s flagrant, I’ve tried to stop judging. For instance, I used to think I HATED the Kardashians but then I saw an interview with Kim Kardashian and thought she came off as quite intelligent and loyal to her friends (the host tried to get some gossip from her but she didn’t spill). I found that to be quite eye opening since I like to think that I think for myself but I wasn’t. I had unconsciously bought into this Kardashian hate club bandwagon despite not knowing who the fuck these people were in real life. Celebrities get the brunt of this. We think we know what they’re like because they’re in the public eye when, in reality, we have no clue.

It’s crazy to think a life of this judgemental programming is built into me. Not sure how to dismantle it but I guess being mindful about it is the first step.

Even such basic human morals come from a place of judgement. What is bad? What is good? We’ve all decided as a society that anything that hurts more than it helps is bad and vice versa. I get the survival logic of that but it opens up the door for human arbitrary decisions in life and in institutions – like in criminal and civil court systems – and allows us to be unnecessarily governed instead of just being able to be human beings living on Earth.
One judge might decide one guy deserves to be locked up while another judge might decide another guy, somewhere else, doesn’t yet they committed exact same crime with very similar consequences.
We might see one guy who’s dirty on the streets and think badly of them yet think kind thoughts about the good looking guy in a suit (who could be a pedophile for all we know! And the dirty man could’ve served his country bravely for many years).

Racism, nepotism, political divide and bigotry of any kind is based in ego. It tells us our views, our race or whatever else is better than another’s. Without judgement doing its thing in between though, our ego wouldn’t be able to know that. Can you imagine? Being able to hold space for others with opposing perspectives without it triggering that sense of danger that we intuitively feel when someone threatens us with an opposing belief? I think it can be done by taking out that judgement process in between. I really believe that… although, even now in rereading this, I think “that’s quite naive, Saina” which is absolutely judge-y.

We don’t know the truth if we don’t keep an honestly open mind. It will be shaded with our own judgement of the reality. Truth doesn’t care about your judgements though… Yet people are so quick to judge “He doesn’t LOOK /SEEM like a rapist!” (looking at you, ex boyfriend. You know who you are. I’ve had people say this to me about him) yet if someone looks a bit “funny” (and I’m oh so guilty of this in the past) “He LOOKS like a ___________ (insert a negative word like “pedophile” or “creep”).

Rant temporarily over. This is more reflective and I don’t mean it as a sermon because it’s not. This is something that I just find to trigger my anxiety (judging myself harshly or comparing myself to others in certain situations instead of allowing whatever is coming up in my head to be processed in its own time) and I needed to put down my rambling thoughts on paper to make sense of them.

In the end, who’s to say judgement is bad or good. It’s obviously in place to help us survive but maybe it just doesn’t need to be used as often as we use it.

On a super fun note: here are some pics from my Sedona, Page & Grand Canyon trip. Well, mostly the GC. Felt good to backpack again (Even if just for a day! lol).