Stress, Spider bites and Sprained ankles

God’s got a sick sense of humor…

My doctor said that God was playing a joke on me to see how badly I wanted this adventure.  I thought about skipping writing about the stress to get back to the fun stuff, but I’m keeping it real. The past few weeks were some of the most stressful of my life. Frustration, guilt, sadness, stress, exhaustion disbelief, and ultimately doubt overshadowed my excitement.

It will all work out in the end… right?

Recap of the last two weeks: a couple dozen spider bites, a sprained ankle, multiple health insurance calls, automatic draft screw-ups, people who were supposed to buy stuff ghosted me, clearing out my house in the sleet,  finding that my clothing had somehow expanded since packing it a week ago and couldn’t fit in my suitcase, and then came a niggling, ugly thought that maybe this barrage of bullshit is a series of bad omens warning me against this adventure. A friend told me something that calmed my anxiety, “One step at a time. It will all work out in the end. If it doesn’t, it’s not the end.

Gollum Mus have the precious

But… it’s my precious!

Downsizing was a major headache.  The thought of getting rid of 80% of my belongings was overwhelming and embarrassingly traumatic for me.  I never considered myself to be a material person, but when it came time to let go of my possessions, I felt like Gollum from The Hobbit.  Once I got started, it became easier (Facebook Marketplace is the bomb for selling furniture!), but it was a lot of work and I still had moments where I wanted to cry at letting go of all of these things I’d spent a lifetime collecting.

How do you pack for one year?

Packing for a year’s travel was also a monumental task.  I read so many blogs about how to pack for an adventure like this. 85% of them were written by young men traveling to Asia. “Only take one backpack with one pair of jeans, three t-shirts, three pairs of underwear and one dressier outfit.” Uhh, no.  I tire of the clothes in my suitcase after only traveling for two weeks.  No way am I going to wear the same three shirts for a year!

Finally what helped me was to approach this another way. I boxed up or donated the stuff that I knew I wasn’t going to take.  Then, I remembered a friend had advised limiting my palette to help me finish a painting.  I settled on red, grey, and black as my colors for the year.  Anything that didn’t match with at least two other items didn’t make the cut.  I managed to get everything into my 27″ wheeled checked bag, my purse, and my laptop bag.

Amidst all the negativity and stress, were also energizing moments of kindness, joy, and wonder from friends and strangers that reminded me that I was on the right track. People I sold things to on Facebook Marketplace told me how amazing this is and asked if they could follow my blog. One woman invited me into her home and told her 13 and 11-year-old daughters, “Put down your phones and come over here and listen to this woman’s words of wisdom!”  Ha! Friends organized dinners and happy hours and wrote sweet cards for me and told me how proud they are of me and what I’m doing inspires them to do the things that they have been dreaming to do.  I’ve made a lot of great friends who I will miss dearly and it will be hard to keep in touch with all of them, but dammit I’ll try.

 

Saying goodbye gives a new perspective

Leaving my baby, Mister Right Meow

Leaving my baby, Mister Right Meow

Another thing was that I started looking at Kansas City with a new set of eyes.  Knowing that you are saying goodbye to something gives you a new bittersweet perspective. Driving was when I noticed it most. I saw more beauty in Kansas; it’s just a quiet, subdued beauty that you have to squint your eyes a bit to recognize. Kansas City has grown into something that’s far cooler than the outdated mental image which was imprinted upon me back in the ’90s when I moved from Iowa.

While reorganizing my suitcase one final time this morning, I found that Mister Right Meow had stashed one of his toys below my bag of socks. Seriously!? Is there anything more adorable? I’m sure gonna miss my little Casanova.

Last week another friend assured me that all this stress would melt away when I reached Scotland. I saw the sun rising above Edinburgh through the airplane window and I realized that he was right. It’s not always going to be easy and I’m going to freak out from time to time, but it’s going to be ok.  No!  Better than ok, it’s going to be amazing.

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  • Ginger

    April 4, 2018 at 6:51 pm
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing this aspect too. I think it is a bit of a Heusinkveld trait to only share the good but getting […] Read MoreThank you for sharing this aspect too. I think it is a bit of a Heusinkveld trait to only share the good but getting the whole story is so meaningful. Without the dark, there is no light. Embrace them both. Read Less

  • Unknown

    April 4, 2018 at 6:17 pm
    Reply

    What’s with all the spider bites?

  • Unknown

    April 4, 2018 at 5:43 pm
    Reply

    You make new cry. My little bird has flown. God bless you!

  • Cate

    April 4, 2018 at 5:32 pm
    Reply

    I'm delighted that you are sharing your adventures with all of us. Rooting for and living vicariously through you!

  • Unknown

    April 4, 2018 at 5:18 pm
    Reply

    Great post!! You have a way with words!!

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About Me

Hi, I'm Christina. I love travel, cats, gardens, house sitting, birds, painting, dogs, museums, good food & drink, you know - all the good stuff! I've been working on my first memoir, Magicians, Cross Dressers and My Uterus while living my second!

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