2 Days left until Camino trip!

I don’t have anything packed, think I have some sort of an infection since it feels like I’m fighting off sickness,  I’m exhausted and supposed to see people before I go, buy some last minute shit and still weigh gear and tweak it out.

Looks like I’m going to bring only one additional (lightweight) outfit for my trip which means for France, Finland and Corfu, I’m going to be in only 1 of 2 outfits which is different than the PCT since, there, id just be in the backcountry so couldn’t give two shits how stinky or stylish I was. Hahahaha

To be honest, I’ve been super depressed especially since a friend recently committed suicide and just one bad thing after another seems to just happen since to compound the tragic news. I don’t even really want to go but I know doing the Camino will be good for my soul. At this moment though, I doubt it’ll hit me until I’m taking my first couple of steps on the Camino or get my pilgrim passport. 

A little worried that this disassociated feeling will stay with me abroad and that I won’t feel the magic that will undoubtedly be all around me. If I don’t get any healing from this trip, I’m truly scared that my depression will get the better of me and that I’ll give up trying to live in this crazy world. Because if shocking your mind awake with new beautiful landscapes and meeting new people doesn’t do it, what will?

But one day at a time. Today, doctor and REI last minute shopping and starting of packing.

I was told that bringing a tent on the Camino is not necessary… and I do enjoy cowboy camping so thinking of leaving my tent. Can anyone vouch for this? It’s only slightly over 1 lb so still debating whether to bring it or not…

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

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.