Insights From the Road: Getting Started–Maybe

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Dr. Shelly Zavala hiking near June Lake

Covid has changed our lives in so many ways.  It has made us think differently about life, and even about how we live life.

Some of you might remember my articles called Insights. I am shifting my direction, not that what I shared with you before is not important—it is still important.

I have spent the last seven months doing something I had wanted to do for a long time but for one reason or the other I let the excuses of fear, finances, fear, self-doubt and fear get in the way. Until one day I didn’t.

This is the story of my journey. Each article will take you on one of my journeys towards living one of my dreams. I hope you enjoy my new adventures.

It’s Friday, February 5, 2021.  I’m sitting waiting for a friend so we can hike. As I sit in the back of my car, I imagine being in the airstream I ordered a few weeks ago. I hear the birds chirp and feel the sun warm my body, even though it’s only 48 degrees.

My question is, do I buy the airstream trailer? Most of my friends look at me sideways.  “Why would you do that?” “It’s a lot of work.” “You’re a single female, can you do that?”  “That’s money from your retirement.”

They are not wrong. Even my therapist is concerned. Don’t get me wrong, I’m scared too. RVs or tent trailers are never known to be a good investment. And then there are the extra costs. Storing it, insurance, repairs, pipes and hoses. This makes me anxious.

But then the other side that gets me so excited are the possibilities. Exploring nature, new hikes, meeting other adventurers. I’m okay going to campgrounds that have it all, but really I’m an “off the grid” kind of person. Waking up to silence, except for nature.  Being able to open my door and there it is. Nothing makes me happier than taking in nature and all it brings. Well almost all.

Snakes scare me. I even looked up “can snakes get into an RV?” The answer is YES.  Let’s hope that is not my experience. Bears and mountain lions terrify me. Yet am I going to let those fears determine if I do this or not? I guess there are other concerns.  Can I drive with a trailer? Can I manage all the technical stuff, hooks ups (no not that kind), locks and switches that need to be turned a certain way at a certain time, things that need to be secured? I don’t know.

Then there is the money. Money I should be putting into retirement. Yet I have this piece inside of me that yearns to explore, to travel to have an adventure. I’m not a hardcore adventurer, you won’t see me climbing the share face of half-dome or backpacking in a tent for a month. But I have hiked Mt. Whitney in a day, spent five days through the Andes (in a tent) to Machu Picchu, and of course, the Milford Track in New Zealand – another five days.

I hike at least three times a week, if not more. I’m always finding and looking for new trails. My house is full of travel books and photos of places I have been. Africa was my favorite, and a place I think about frequently. Talk about being in nature—I had a gorilla grab me and elephants come up to me and run their trunks up and down my body and look me in the eyes.

So tomorrow with my friend, we are taking a trip to a few RV dealers to see what we might learn. Let’s see what happens.

“The Biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” — Oprah

Newport Beach resident Dr. Shelly Zavala is a Doctor of Psychology and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist whose wanderlust has brought her new adventures and insights.

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