Thursday, November 6, 2014

Who Am I???? Where do I belong???


First, my apologies for not posting in a couple months.  It has been a confusing and overwhelming time for me with family medical issues, car mishaps, and emotional entanglements.  I feel ungrounded and lost.

This morning was the first Orientation Meeting for the Rock Club.  I was asked to attend and help with new members and in the Lapidary Orientation.  So, showed up as I said I would, only to find the other volunteers knew nothing about me.  They shoved a bunch of instructions at me, the guy leading the Orientation appointment me  THE “Shop Foreman”… and so I tried to do as I was asked only to find the other “instructors” looking over my shoulder at everything I was telling others… and correcting me.  I found it confusing and so after an hour or so… I felt the urge to flee and so I fled.  They really did not need my help, and I guess the way I learned things is different from the way they are teaching things now, so I will require some re-training before I allow myself to be put in that role again (I AM NOT a “Lapidary Instructor”… I need far more training than I have had for that role), if I do ever allow that, again.

I fled to my secret place in the desert where they are NO people.  It seems to be the only environment where I can think clearly.  I took a walk, I found the above crystal, my head cleared and I could breath easier.  I decided if I am going to be a Quartzsite Roadrunner Gem and Mineral Club volunteer, for now… this year anyway, it will have to be in behind-the-scenes roles… like editing the Newsletter.  I have agreed to edit the first newsletter of the year… ONLY.  Have 1.5 hrs. into that and will finish it in 1.5 hrs. or less tomorrow.  Could have finished it in 2 hrs. total, if all the “news” had been turned in.

So, I still find myself asking Who Am I?  Where do I belong?  I never seem to fit anywhere.  I look back on my blog post from a year ago… and can’t see that I have made any progress.

November 8, 2013 I wrote: 

I come to Quartzsite each winter to learn about making jewelry, it is only a coincidence that Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) began happening here too. But, right now I need to be close enough to walk to town in a reasonable amount of time and I get tired of hiding from Clyde (BLM employee/ranger) and trying to be legal. I need to be able to unpack, set up camp and relax and have a home to come back to after a hard day of sawing rocks and cutting stones, and polishing stuff and making jewelry, etc. and so forth. RTR is only two weeks out of the whole winter. And as much fun as the RTR is, I do have a life outside RTR. Rocks come first and I get to do that ALL winter long.

Now, I find I am not as interested in rocks as I was then.  I have downsized the number I am keeping, and hope to downsize even more this year, IF I don’t get rid of them all.  At least… Clyde is not returning this year, and I have paid for the LTVA permit so I am legal so long as I stay within 500 ft. of a Vault Toilet.  I don’t like my camp as well this year… as I could not return to the same location due to storm damage.  This was last year’s camp:


Where my van is parked above, lies the top 3rd of this tree. So the top of the tree is no longer there to shade the carpet area. I can’t park there, I can’t pull the trailer through there, and so I have set up camp across the wash from this spot in a far less desirable location.  I am not happy.  The wind has been blowing for a week and I can’t leave my side walls down.  I feel unsettled.

This time last year I had finished kayaking Alaska, and was looking forward to kayaking Hawaii in May 2014.  I did that and was jubilant beyond words.  I was hopeful and looking toward the future.  I was pleased with the progress I made in becoming the best I could be. Below, how much can you change after six years on the road??


After kayaking Hawaii, my plan was to begin training for the AZ Trail Hike in spring of 2015. But I got derailed by getting into an unwise emotional relationship, and by family medical situations which I felt required my presence.  I was wrong on both counts, but those events costs me financially more than I could afford …and resulted in me having to delay my Arizona National Scenic Trail Hike one year.  I can not now afford to outfit myself for the hike or to properly plan it out and get fit. Now I find myself depressed… and fighting that with all I have to fight with, and the continually nagging question, “Who am I?”

I thought reaching out to help others would make me feel better, but I only get a momentary high from that, then I find myself wanting to be alone again… totally alone.  I don’t know how to fight this.  I have joined the Rock Club and offered to help in ways I felt I could best contribute.  I have reached out to another vandweller who is just launching into this lifestyle, but find myself doing an approach/ avoidance thing with that arrangement, even though I really like this person.  I have joined the Metal Detecting Club and will get out and be as active as I can with them.  But I approach something I think I want to do, and then get this urge to turn and flee as fast as I can the other direction.  What is wrong with me?  Where do I belong?


Son and Granddaughter, both on IV Antibiotics most of the summer and fall.  What the heck???

I suppose this is not new to some of my readers and may be normal human behavior after emotionally charged life events?  I.E., I have a granddaughter scheduled for open heart surgery very soon and her father, my son, having his third hip replacement surgery on the same hip in two years… about the same time.  I went to be with them this summer and help where and how I could, but did not get the feeling that I was appreciated, needed, or even wanted… so I left.  I can not afford a return trip for their surgeries, regardless of the outcomes, I can only hope and pray that the outcomes will be positive for them.


And then there is the botched Mexican dental work which has cost me over $1,000 and I have nothing to show for it but a tooth in a box.  I am trying to get the promised refund, but so far that amounts to zero.  The Mexican implant is going to have to be pulled out and all the work done over again.  Do not go to that dentist. (Dr. Sabas Magana Ambriz in Los Algodones, B.C. Mexico)  Also I was under the false impression that my Delta Dental Ins. would pay for out of pocket expenses I paid to a Mexican Dentist but that will only happen if you have a Mexican address on file with the Ins. company.  So, my claim was denied.

I am just out $1,000, plus the expenses of getting to Washington state and then back south again, a trip I was not going to take this year, and have nothing to show for it but depression.  I MUST find a way to fight my way out of this depression.  Hopefully I will also find a way to write an up-beat blog post soon, about desert rocks and metal detecting…. and hopefully, the wind will stop blowing.  Without wind, I love the desert.


If you run into Swankie out there, send her my way. She needs to help me find myself.  But I do still know how to find the sunsets.


  1. Find yourself this winter, you're the only you you've got. :)

  2. Keep blogging it's good to talk about things. Also, keep walking, it is good natural medicine for depression. Keep in mind that your waning interest in things is due to depression --it's not you. I don't know anyone that has kayaked in all 50 states! That's you!

    1. Thanks, Any. I think I will keep walking, in fact I think I am going to begin walking greater distances, and stay away from crowds for awhile, except for having Pizza tonight at Silly Al's.

  3. I hear ya :) been doing that alot myself in some ways.. lost myself compared to where I was 2 years ago.. spend alot of time in self evaluation now and trying to get a clearer picture of where I should be pointed... As to the Az trail... take it one passage at a time perhaps? no rush that way, can regulate the temperature based on what time of year you hit an area, and requires alot less gearing up if your only having to carry enough for 3 overnights there and back.

    1. Nope, that doesn't appeal to me at all, doing it in bits and pieces. It is the challenge of the thru-hike that motivates me. And that's what I am going to do, just not this spring. Why do small segments and then have to return on the same trail. I want to hike THRU! I really want to. That's the only way it is going to "change" me.

  4. You are such a beautiful and amazing woman and youhave been such an inspiration to me in so many ways. I understand too well all these feelings you are going through because I have taken this journey often in my life. I am experiencing this journey once again as I continue to face the stress and anxiety this job is giving me. Living on the road is not suppose to cause me to experience depression and anxiety, but since I began this job, it has not been good to me. Financially we cannot afford to leave just yet and the ideal situation would be for Scott and I to get a small RV to live in while he works, Just remember how much so many of us love you. I believe you need to feel what you need to feel in order to be able to work through it. It is never easy but in the end we just become stronger through our struggles and it is our struggles and our ability to continue to push through that gives us the opportunity to be an inspiration to others. Our dreams are worth every struggle we must face in order to reach them. Love you Swankie!

    1. I tried twice yesterday to respond but it would not post. Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. I know you and Scott will get your RV and be free one day. There really is nothing better. Funny how the emotional struggles are so much hard than actual physical work or struggles. But the desert is healing with plenty of good air and quiet sleep. Thank you.

  5. I have been following your great adventure through this blog for some time and would just like to tell you thank you for sharing all you go through and all the practical information you offer your readers. I think emotions are harder to deal with than any logistical issue. They are harder to tame than a wild river and we are all behind the eight ball when it comes to figuring matters of heart and family out. What I do know is that loving folks is never wrong, it is how to love them that is the hard thing to figure. I think Swankie is out there in the clouds, dreaming a bit and waiting to know how to continue from your own will's invitation. You have not failed. You have just been in the dance of life, and it is never an easy dance. I hope you will take some comfort from those you inspire and encourage just by offering your authentic experience in the raw form you give. We all benefit. If there is one gal who will land on her feet it is you!!!

    1. That is extremely well-written. Words fail me now. It's strange to feel so much love from people I have not met yet, or acquaintances, or even strangers. And you are right emotions are much harder to get a handle on than the physical challenges we face as we "mature." I will keep busy with rocks, walking the desert, taking photos, cooking good food, sleeping, metal detecting, enjoying my van and kayak... and maybe in the process I will bump into old swankie Swankie again. Thank you for great comment and for sticking with me. Just say a little prayer for me than when (not if) I land on my feet, I don't break an ankle. lol

    2. Your life belongs to you and to the web into which you find yourself woven. Our children, too, have their own special pathways, we give life to them but they must find their own way. The spark of light within you may be hiding behind a cloud but fear not, the sun is still there in the sky, or the stars are, and nature sings its songs to soothe all our souls and take us back to our source, our hearts. Thanks for the compliment on my writing! Hope you will paint some pictures and forge the trail from lost to found as you come to understand you cannot be lost, you can only be turned around.

    3. Thank you again. What a wonderful book I think it would make to write my autobiography and include comments from people like you. If you are not a professional writer, I think you should be. I find myself turning around a bit as winter campers arrive in Quartzsite and I am beginning to be surrounded by old friends I am meeting for the first time and new friends it seems like I have always known. A lot of mutual respect and admiration doing around. Loving, giving, warm people who want to be involved in my life yet still respect my space and limitations. I am liking my life more day by day.

  6. I too spend much time alone. I don't have many friends. I go to work and then come home and stay in my caravan - alone. I guess it is avoidant behaviour. Just seems that life is too short having to deal with the drama that some people like to have in their lives. Read, watch TV, listen to the radio - alone. I am MR misanthrope. So take heart Swankiewheels - you are not alone in being alone.


Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.