I hesitate to share my incredible enthusiasm for one of my favorite hobbies of all time because it has such a negative connotation. Hitchhiking.
I find it to be one of the most rewarding activities in life. It makes me so happy and teaches me so many lessons. I seriously want to jump up and down when I think about it.
While it might be time consuming, I have NEVER experienced any sense of danger, only kindness and generosity.
A couple weeks ago I hitchhiked from Berlin to southern Germany; a journey of approximately 900 km. Two years ago I did this on a tandem bicycle (although a different route) and now I came back to retrieve the bicycle and continue the journey through Switzerland, Italy, and Croatia.
The trip took two days and a total of 12 rides.
When my heart started calling I did not know where or how to answer the call.
She has been calling me for a long time. Almost thirty years.
Many things kept me from answering the call.
First, I did not know it was my heart. The call came in many forms—all were pretty uncomfortable physically and emotionally.
It was not a sweet, gentle call.
It was a ball of painful longing, sadness, contraction and loneliness surrounded by a thick layer of shame.
One of my greatest joys is doing a scary thing for the first time. Whether camping alone, riding a motor bike alone through Thailand, or hitchhiking by myself--I always feel a great reward when I have done it.
CAMPING OVERNIGHT ALONE
In March 2016, my boyfriend, René, and I decided to walk part of the Arizona Trail. The 800 mile trail begins at the border of Arizona/Mexico and finishes at the border of Arizona/Utah (of course it can also be walked the other direction.)
We hired someone through Craigslist to drive us to the remote Mexican border where the trail starts. We had previously stashed food and water along the way because there is nothing but desert for many days. This helped our load because we already had the tent, sleeping mats, food and water for the first part, clothes, stove, purifier, and sleeping bags for the cold March evenings.
Using an Arizona Trail website we identified where to expect water along the way based on recent sitings.
Travel has given me the opportunity to explore both my inner world at the same time as I play and move about in the outer world.
I feel like I have been cracked open. More vulnerable, more receptive, more available to others and myself, more raw, more agreeable to all that life has to offer me. As a result, I have liberated myself from some systems of belief that no longer serve me. "Acceptable" body image is one example.
The seed was planted when I was 13 years old. Stay thin. You are more lovable when you are thin. And when the seed sprouted, it just grew and grew and grew.
It happened one day in 1982. I lived in Sarasota, Florida where the popular girls wore Jordache, Sassoon, Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans — as tight as possible. I had a pair of the Sassoon jeans but was not allowed to wear the tight version. I just remember feeling awkward and uncomfortable.
And that is when the voice in my head started a monologue that went on for years. You can only be lovable if you look and act like these girls in their tight jeans.
I am in Croatia. This was not a planned trip. I was supposed to be in Berlin for four months but ran into visa problems. With only a few days notice, my boyfriend and I chose our destination, bought a ticket, packed our things, and flew to Pula, Croatia—a place I knew nothing about.
For us, traveling is more than 50% about the food. And Croatia delivers!
In May 2015, I walked the entire Camino Frances from St. Jean Pied de Port to Finisterre— `528 miles in 29 days. For most people that would be enough.
But when I met a group of guys from Belgium in Finisterre who said they had just walked through the night, I said “I want to do that!”
It is always a bit sad to finish the Camino. There is a peace and grounding about this shared community of people moving together directed by yellow arrows and shells. One more day of walking sounded nice.
My walking buddy agreed to go only if we could attempt to walk 100km.
I am a meditator. Devout. Self taught. It is just in me. I was born with the interest.
For me, meditation is simply a labor of love. Something that I do for myself because it makes me a better person. It helps me understand myself. It helps me be present for myself. It is often sweet and blissful but more often painful and brutal.
I have been meditating for 20 years. I still have a monkey mind. And something similar with my emotions. They won’t stop. I meditate to be able to be present for the thoughts and feelings. Not to make them go away.
Sometimes I wish I could be a traditional mom for my 11-year old to make life easier for him. But one of the things I am learning for myself is that we cannot change who our parents are at their core. I cannot make my Dad want to see me and spend time with me. I cannot tell my mother to keep her opinions to herself—it would simply not feel genuine to her.
I am a nomad. A free spirit. Someone who craves authenticity and honesty as my primary value. And it is only in this state that I can cultivate a substantial relationship with my son.
Wexler and I
In May 2017 Wexler and I went to Haiti. Mom and son on an adventure to redefine our relationship.
There was no real choice for me once it became clear that I was meant to travel. To be a traveling nomad. A citizen of the world. There was no turning back. If I was going to be true to myself then this is what I had to do. And being true to myself, while it might seem selfish to others, is how I feel like I can be the very best friend, partner, educator and mother.
Four years ago I began an outer journey that took me around the world and an inner journey that allowed me to have a much greater understanding of who I am.
In that time I have walked three different routes of the Camino de Santiago in Spain. This is a trip that for me has been life changing. You will find this out whenever you meet another person who has been on the Camino. It cannot be described in words which is why I am so passionate about taking others to experience this magical opportunity.
These stories are about my inner and outer journey as a nomad with no address, a citizen of the world. My journey is about challenging myself by embracing the unpredictable, uncomfortable, and also joyful moments. My hope is to inspire, motivate, and entertain you.