Tis the season to take stock of our lives and count the many things we have to be grateful for. It seems to be a practice that melts into our collective psyche, because without consciously thinking about it, a powerful and soothing feeling of gratitude has permeated my very soul this week.
I’m more contented and at peace than I can ever remember being.
Maybe that’s because I’m coming out of the some of the most challenging weeks of my RV Life and being back in my RV, free to wander wherever the road – and my mood takes me – is like finally being free of a nagging headache.
Maybe it’s because. seven months into RV Living, I’m finally starting to grasp my freedom: it doesn’t happen overnight. My therapist compared it to the slaves being set free; if you’re born in shackles and then suddenly set free, your freedom can be overwhelming and you can become paralyzed by the magnitude of your emancipation.
While I am, in no way, comparing my life in society to the horrors of slavery, there is some truth in that statement. In a world that indoctrinates and propagandizes us from birth, Freedom is something we must learn. When you spend your entire life thinking of yourself, your life and your world a certain way – breaking the physical shackles is just the beginning; freeing your mind is a longer process.
Finding my freedom has been a lifelong process. First I had to stop denying the American Horror Story I was born into (I wrote a little bit about it in my John Muir Trail Blog, you can read it here). Then I had to get free of the addiction and alcoholism that were, for years, my crutches. Then I had to face my deepest horrors and stop trying to run from my ugly truths – and myself. And then, finally, I could begin to heal; and through the healing, came freedom.
My process has been about finding my authentic self; a self that I spent a lifetime running from because to deny my painful past, I had to deny her. Now at last, I have become the woman I am meant to be! I am becoming the woman, who as a child I wanted to be. I’m writing. I’m exploring. I’m traveling. I’m living my life on my terms, with no regrets and no apologies.
Today I am thankful for my process. I am thankful for having the courage and the strength to fight back against my ghosts and persevere even in my lowest and most painful moments. I am grateful that I found an amazing therapist who helped me uncover my true self.
I am grateful for the community I found online who opened a whole new (RV Life) world to me. I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made here – some I’ve met – and some I have yet to meet. I’m grateful for the best friend a woman can have: Capone. I’m grateful for Tilly. Sure, she can be high maintenance, but at the end of the day, when I’m tucked inside, there is no place I’d rather be!
And of course, I’m grateful for you and for all your kind words and encouragement! Thank you for following, reading, watching and subscribing. I hope to meet you out on the open road someday.
What wonderful words, and the depth of what you shared here! Just in the past few years, I have come to firmly believe that if we have a roof over our heads, a warm bed to sleep in, clothes to wear, food to eat, and are in good health…..then we are truly blessed and should be very thankful! From the deserts of SW Arizona to wherever you are I send you warmest wishes that you have all of the above and that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Yes!! Backpacking the John Muir Trail alone for 26 days basically tought me the same thing – were really just need the necessities to be happy all the rest is fluff shoved down our throats as we’re told it’s “supposed” to make us happy. Happiness, for me has been found in simplicity! Thank you very much for your note and happy thanksgiving to you in the desert! – Carolyn
Thank you for sharing your feelings, Carolyn. I think even people who live in so-called ideal families always have issues to conquer, and you are doing really well in your physical and mental journeys. The David Bowie quote was perfect. Life is such a learning process. Best to you this holiday season.
George, We all have our crosses to bear, regardless of our history and our particular paths. Thank you for your kind words. I wish you a happy and peaceful holiday! – Carolyn
Thankyou, Carolyn, for sharing your story. It has similarities to others’, and it has its own uniqueness. For some it begins at age 18 and never ends, others it begins in middle age after a career of indentureship. Thing is right now you are building memories to look back on that become your treasure chest. Fortunately I was able to retire at 50. When people ask what I do, I say, “I am building inventories” and leave it at that. There was a time in my 40’s when I made a conscious decision to think differently and not use the same old worn out neuronal paths of cliches and pat answers. Instead I tried to see things differently. That was the beginning of independence for me. While indentured to a career I did manage to do a lot of weekend living out of a VW van with canoe on top and bicycle inside. After a 3 to 5 week vacation it was nearly impossible to return to work. I saw a lot of northern California mountains and rivers, lakes too. Also toured every square mile of Oregon and some of Washington and British Columbia. That nomadic desire has now been full filled and inventory is nearly complete. It is being topped off by your blog and others who are living the life of the free spirit. Happy Thanksgiving!
Bob, wow what a journey you’ve been on! Thank you for sharing your experiences and your philosophy on the nomadic life. Very interesting and inspiring. I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving! – Carolyn
What a fearless warrior you are! and not to mention a brilliant writer!! I read your story and the part I related to was not having anyone to come home to but your pet. After my Mom died I didn’t know who I was..after years of meditating I’ve come out of my shell (for the most part) I did quit cigs but I still drink. I say because of boredom, but I know there’s a lot more to it. Well once vice at a time. I’ve laughed at your luck because it sounded like mine. Kudos to you my friend and safe travels to you and Capone!!
Shelly, “One vice at a time..” Yes.. I understand. My mantra is, “baby-steps” and we don’t tackle anything we aren’t ready for. I appreciate your note and your kind words very much. Hearing from you – and others who can relate – and who are so brave to share your own stories with me, encourage me to keep writing and sharing my life. Through sharing we can find kinship and community. We are not alone. I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving and thanks again for reading! – Carolyn
you had it all you just didnt take it cause you might have had a good time ! youll be back
Oh yeah….Happy Thanksgiving!! 🙂
Thank you, you too! 🙂
Great writing! Yes good ole alcohol! I have been sober almost 31 years. It’s a blessing we got away from the stuff. I would be dead by now I am sure. Can’t wait to make my move to the road. Have fun and Happy Thanksgiving.
Cindy – 31 years! Wow, good for you, what an accomplishment! Congratulations! Good luck on your Nomad dreams and happy TG! – Carolyn
I am grateful to be able to call you my friend. I’m also grateful to be receiving your blogs filled with inspiration and your heartfelt stories and words of wisdom. You propel me to be true to myself and to continue my search for the infinite wisdom to know when to make the kind of life changing decisions you made in your life.
For this I thank you…
Happy Thanksgiving my friend.
Michele, Saw your name in the comment feed and my heart warmed.. thank you so much for following along and sending your kind words of encouragement. They mean so much to me, You’re strong and brave and kind and I know you will find your bliss! Thank you for the wonderful message and I wish you and the Ternes clan a happy and healthy thanksgiving.
xoxo – Carolyn
Happy Thanksgiving Carolyn,
Thank you Kevin, Happy Thanksgiving to you too! 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving, Carolyn!
I’m so glad to hear things are going well for you. I’ve been appreciating your sharing the ups and downs of RV life, giving me an idea of what it might be like for me if I take the plunge. Right now working, earning, and looking forward to my next minivan road trip to the January RTR!
All the best to you…
Hey Jeannie! Happy Thanksgiving! Can’t wait to see you in January! Keep striving and keep dreaming! Thanks for your note ! – Carolyn
Happy Thanksgiving Carolyn and Capone . Thank you for sharing these feelings with us. Wishing you happy and safe travels to your next adventure.
Mike, Happy Thanksgiving to you!!! I am thankful for your kind words – you encourage me to keep sharing! Thank you! – Carolyn
Happy Thanksgiving Carolyn.
Thank you Gloria, happy Thanksgiving to you! – Carolyn
Wonderful words and insight.
THank you very much Mike, I appreciate that! Happy Thanksgiving! – Carolyn
Happy late Thanksgiving to you as well. The simple things in life are what make sence of my life. Love reading your blogs. Happy and safe travels.
Thanks very much Vickie. Enjoy the holiday season! 🙂
Have you considered hustling your stories to become similar to the former roadie Charles Kuralt? I’m going to pass along your site to a lady friend who has a similar dream. Cheers and safe travels, stay fueled up in winter, always check out auto repair advice on line if you even suspect anything wrong, and know that most folks who are out on the road are just like you, kind hearted souls.
Clark – My goal/dream is to be a published author.. have been working on my writing and creating stories for a while now (started with my john Muir trail blog – http://AloneontheJMT.com). I will be putting everything together into a book proposal soon! Thank you again for the kind words and encouragement and the great advice about RV maintenance. – Carolyn
I just stumbled onto your site and am delighted to ‘meet’ you! I am currently looking into starting the class c life – as long as I can get a lift installed for my motorcycle it looks like a go! Thanks for you blog, your honesty, and your adventure. Look me up when you travel through New Mexico!
Nice to ‘meet’ you too! I’ve always loved the name “Dusty” just conjures images of free-spirited nomadic women for some reason! 🙂
A motorcycle! very smart, been thinking of getting one myself. Good luck with the lift, that shouldn’t be too hard to do.. Have fun and be safe on your journey and will let you know when I head that way! Thanks for following along and writing – Carolyn
Saw your first vlog and immediately felt the need to follow an interesting, single, feisty lady! I’m a little older than you and after Rving for years with husband, kids and friends, I’ve decided to finally go and do what I want! I’m ready to do some solo trips after much research, YT videos and following people like Bob Wells. What an inspiration. Lost my husband earlier this year after twelve years of his suffering from various ailments including dementia. During that time, to save my sanity and health, I would find myself grabbing my wine, music and books, getting in my 32′ Class C and heading to the River near Parker AZ for solitude and healing. I called it “medicine for the soul”. It was my first real taste of single Rving! Now, Im making some radical life changes…I’m trading in my old rig this week and am planning on going to the RTR in January in my NEW RV. So excited. Looking forward to meeting new friends including you and Bob.
PS: Im 74 and can’t wait for my next adventure
Marti – Congratulations to you for finally living for YOU and doing what you love! I am so happy for you (but sorry to hear about the loss of your husband). 74! How awesome. I hope I’m still doing this at that age and still having a ball. I wish you the very best in your new life and lots and lots of fun and adventure! Look forward to meeting you at the RTR and seeing your brand new RV! Very exciting! See you soon!
Followed up watching your video on you tube with reading your blog… Great writing! Entertaining and informative at the same time. Look forward to reading more…
Nancy, I really appreciate that. I am so glad you’re enjoying my work! Thank you!!! – Carolyn
Carolyn have been following you on you tube your the best. I have a 2005 class C jamboree motorhome I love my motorhome I’ve always wanted to go on the road but I’m still working maybe that’s my plan when I retire I’m 57 years old that I just enjoy watching your YouTube videos thank you so much all my love to you and Capone