i started a travel blog.
i needed to find the right set-up – this is it, on write.as.
and i needed to find some kind of groove. here’s hoping it sticks this go round, i have a lot to share…
i love write.as
one thing i'm really into about write.as is it has a built-in failsafe around oversharing. which is something i do and then regret, and then the whole enterprise just crumbles, reinforcing my notion that i’m just not cut out for blogging. what write.as has is a clean interface for writing – lovely! – and a mode called anonymous where i can just write whatever i want, save, and it’s “published” but almost unfindable. then if i want to i can transfer an anonymous post to my official normal blog – this place – with one click. it’s something i didn’t know i needed. it gives me the chance to reread a post, make sure it’s appropriate to share, then share, rather than just pressing share. all the unshared posts are still there in the form of a private journal. i dig it.
i can edit myself without feeling like i’m stiffling my natural voice in the least. that’s important for my motivation to write in the first place.
if you tend to overshare, you know how big that is. because for an oversharer, it's not like you can just not overshare. i’ve been told it's a trauma response and that makes sense to me. bad boundaries.
so here we go, lovely readers! may i call you that?
it’s a foggy wednesday morning
i’m sitting outside on a terrace at a metal table listening to the birds chirping vigorously and the cars whizzing past, waiting on my California style egg and cheese on gluten free bread in a cute cafe in an even cuter coastal town. annnnnd it just arrived. delicious. wish i’d discovered this spot earlier – i’ve been here a week now – but better late than never. this cafe will be my am spot from hither forward until i roll further north. that is if i ever leave.
i’m enjoying it here. it’s a simple, pretty, straightforward kind of a place. half new england with its salt box houses, impeccable landscaping, and excellent pizza and half outer NYC. there’s a commuter train to grand central that can be heard toot-tooting in the distance. which is a sound i don’t mind. in fact, what i like most about this are is the soundscape and the quiet. i don’t want to jinx it but it does seem like there is respect for quiet and serenity here. that might be the number one thing i desire in a town – respect for quiet. hard to come by.
i wonder if proximity to the ocean is what engenders respect for quiet. if you roll up to the marina and gaze out at the long island sound, the ocean almost hushes you.
just a theory.
i’ve not really explored much of new england. except inland connecticut where my older sister lives and a few spots in upstate new york. also i used to go on retreat in vermont – which i loved almost as much as i loved NYC – and i’ve been to maine and boston a few times. and i’ve been to plays in bennington VT and pittsfield ma. i guess i have been around new england, but this time feels different. in past travels, i wasn’t really paying attention.
2022 was the year where i learned to start paying attention to things. and 2023 is the year i started treatment for ADHD. so i feel like life is just starting. do you ever feel like that? you’re in your 50s or 40s or 60s and all of sudden, your whole perspective shifts, your identity is radically alarmingly new, and its like you’ve been deposited on a whole new planet that you must learn how to navigate like a baby learns to walk.
that’s how i feel. i’m 56. i feel like a baby. i’m learning to walk. i’m learning to speak.
welcome to my blog.
this morning i woke up at a marina
it's a spot where i’ve slept for three nights now (not in a row) in the eight nights i’ve spent in this area. each night i expect someone to knock on my window and explain that i’m not permitted to overnight sleep there. but they haven’t yet. and for that i’m grateful. the view and air and the fact that no-one bothers me makes it an a-1 sleep spot. my review: 5 stars.
i often have to remind myself that mostly people don't care what you do so long as you don’t disturb anything. which is a rule i live by. i’m a very invisible nomad. i keep to myself. but i am also friendly, and present in my body. i think that’s the balance you learn to strike if you are out here living like this. you want to be invisible without punishing yourself for existing and taking up space. in my heart, i belong everywhere i go. just like the people who own land and houses there. i belong because i’m alive. it’s taken me many many years to arrive at that awareness. it is one that makes all the difference.
how about i tell you about
sleeping and waking up in a marina
well, a marina parking lot technically. it’s lovely. you want to do this at some point in your life. it’s not like waking up in a hotel room near a marina. it’s like waking up and being surrounded by gulls, smelling the salt air through the crack in your window, taking down the window covers and enveloped 360 in a holy mist. the only thing more ocean-intimate would be to wake up on a boat in a marina. or wake up on a boat at sea, neither of which i’ve done but i want to.
i did stay overnight in a boat-el in amsterdam once in my early 20s. i can’t remember if i liked it. i think i didn’t. but i don’t remember.
this am, it was sooo misty, like a dream. i made the mistake of lowering my windows to hang out and write in the car before getting up and out and starting my day, and before 15 minutes had passed, the car floor looked like it had rained inside it. the thick fog cloud just seeped into the cabin of my car and liquidated without a sound. i go to great lengths to prevent and mitigate interior moisture, so i was peeved to be sure. i sopped it up. and today if the sun is out i will sit in the car and open doors or windows for a while. maybe run the fan. make sure it has somewhere to go. that will help.
but every day i learn something new. like now i know that dense morning coastal fog – as beautiful as it is – is as bad as rain in terms of getting into the vehicle. maybe worse because it's stealth and moves sideways.
want to know about my routine
it’s more like steps i take before bed and on waking up that are necessary to stay sane, happy, organized, healthy out here on the road.
okay. here’s night time routine in a nutshell.
i try to wait until its almost dark or maybe just after dark to pull up to my spot where i’ll be sleeping for the night. that helps to not tip people off that you plan to car camp there. stealth is the name of the game.
a caveat – someone on my FB SUV camping group once said something that stuck with me – you don’t really need for no one to see you sleeping in your car, what you need is for them not to care. i abide that philosophy every day. the secret to being invisible is to act like everyone already consents to your way of life. act like everyone sleeps in their car too. make like the fools who bought houses and sleep in the same place every night…they're the odds one out.
i’m exaggerating. i don't think that. i envy people with homes. some of them. but i do act like i have every right to be wherever i am. my days of apologizing for being born are over.
back to my routine
i roll up. and i sit in the front seat for a few minutes, sussing out the energy of the place and listening for noxious sounds (like generators) that would surely drive me nuts. let’s say it checks out — there's good parking lot feng shui, seems quiet enough, seems safe enough.
i check to see if, by virtue of the way i’ve parked, my bed, which is behind the driver’s seat, is positioned so that another vehicle can’t pull up in the night and rumble me awake. for example, i want the bed to be near a bush or a vacant spot that isn’t another parking spot. something like that. i also ideally want my back entrance (passenger side back door) to be facing someplace not terribly conspicuous, since i’ll be climbing in and out through there, though this is secondary to proper bed positioning. if i’m happy with my spot, i tilt the driver’s seat forward a little to max out my sleep space crack my back side windows as much as i can without being visible from the outside (rainguards hide the crack), and pull my front window covers from there home in my ceiling netting and place them dark side out in the windshield and front side windows. that move makes the car a 360 dark-from-the-outside capsule because all the other windows, of which there are five, are tinted to the max NC state law will allow, and you can’t see in there at night unless you walk right up with a flashlight or something.
then i climb out of the driver’s seat, walk to the back door passenger side and duck into my car’s back seat area like i’m walking into a van. i can do that because i’ve removed the back seats from my RAV, so it’s like a tiny van.
i click the “lock all” button on my key, listen for the click, and i say to myself “im in”. which means locked.
i do this because i have an easier time remembering myself saying “i’m in” than remembering if i pressed the button. so even though it seems a little dramatic at this point, i always click the lock button, hear the four doors lock, then say to myself “i'm in”. i’ve never woken up to discover i forgot to secure the locks. little tricks.
then i observe the street lights or whatever lights outside. if there are any that are shining into my eyes, i put up a window cover there and block it. it doesn’t really change anything from the outside, but it blocks the light for me inside. i try to leave the window covers off the cracked-open side windows so i get maximum air circulation and ventilation. once i’ve dealt with the windows, i position my pillows in their sleep-mode configuration, making a headboard from a flat board thingy i got at ikea, putting a rolled up scarf in front of that and my u-shaped side-sleeper pillow in front of that. two other pillows go to the right — a fluffy one at chest level to hug and elevate my shoulder and a flat one at leg level so my bony knees don’t have to touch. i pull out my night-bag and change into my sleep shorts and comfiest tee.
it took a while to feel comfortable changing clothes in the car in a populated place. i remember when i first go the the windows tinted, i could not wrap my brain around i-could-see-out-but-they-cant-see-in concept of window tint. but my brain has acclimated to it now, i trust that its true and have tested it. you truly can’t see inside through tinted windows unless there’s a light on inside. now i have fun changing clothes in my capsule home, although i do it fast because i don’t want to be the naked gal in the car in the parking lot. that’s not my thing.
then i set up my “nightstand”
i pull out a taser, a tiny battery operated alarm clock (which i typically do not set), an eye mask and earplugs, in case i need them, which again, i typically don’t. i remind my hand muscles where my panic alarm is and rehearse blindly reaching for it, just as a matter of course, not because i’m worried. i put my hunting knife on my mattress so if i need to, i could unsheath it under the covers and defend myself if i needed to. mostly it just soothes my consciousness. no one is getting into my home.
once my windows, bed, pillows, weapons, and night stand are set up and i’m in my pajamas, i decide if i want to set up my extra-level of self-protection or not. sometimes i do and sometimes i don’t. i’m not going to divulge what that is because (a) it’s boring and (b) i should probably not publish all my tricks. suffice it to say i do have an extra level of security against any untoward mishaps or intruders should i need it.
then i decide what i want to do with the rest of the evening. if i haven’t brushed my teeth after my last meal, i do that. i have a tight-lidded container to spit in. it’s not as gross as it sounds. in fact its pleasure to brush your teeth not leaning over a sink. you don’t need running water to brush your teeth, did you know that? but you do need a sealable spit vessel and you need a way to clean your brush and dry it. just like in a house.
my teeth are doing great by the way, in case you were worried. i think they are cleaner than ever in fact. i may be the riff-raff, but i’m hygienic riff-raff.
almost done with the routine business
if i decide to do something that emits or requires light, then i make sure all the window covers are up, since interior light (including an iPhone) shines through window tint and would blow my cover.
i know this because recently i was at a park-n-ride setting up for the night when a small weird flash of something (light? i couldn’t tell at first) in a window of a land cruiser next to me caught my eye. for a minute i couldn’t figure out what was catching the light and making it flicker like that through an otherwise black window. then i realized, that’s an iPhone. someone’s in there. as savvy as i’m becoming at spotting fellow car campers, i hadn’t suspected until i saw the dancing light.
so now i know what an iPhone looks like through tinted or masked windows. it looks like a little white mouse jumping around.
sometimes i just lie there
and recall the events and activities of the day. sometimes i write. sometimes i check twitter to see if the world is still spinning in its orbit or if it has fallen off in the hours since i last checked twitter. if i haven’t done my hip exercises, i do the three that i can do lying down.
i have a relatively new habit of recalling the day and making notes in colorful pens in a Clever Fox planner. the colors make it happy no matter what i record. i like to give myself credit for little successes. like, i contacted someone i’ve been meaning to contact. or i wrote three hours at the library. or i had a good idea about something, or i didn’t give myself a hard time for making a mistake, or i didn’t lose my shit with a customer service representative on the phone.
or i found a new coffee shop. or i started a blog and actually shared a post. i’ll be jotting those two down in my clever fox journal tonight as i lay down for sleep, in some other hopefully pleasant rent-free new england parking lot.
i think about the day i just lived, and then i think about tomorrow. what i want to do, how i want to feel. i reach into my soul and feel for what’s there. often what’s there is contentment. my bed is so comfortable, i fit perfectly on it, i love falling asleep with all my stuff around me. i love this simple life. i reach for the stomach of my travel companion “axel” and scratch his belly to say goodnight. and off i drift in my splendid little capsule in the mist by the sea.
hey you guys!
that’s my first (non-anonymous) blog post. thank you so much for being here.
i hope this isn’t too boring.
my “travel” journal will include more about travel probably. lots of thoughts too. and feelings. i don’t know. i’m new at this.
i’m not sure how i feel about divulging my location. i have to work through this. i know it’s not much of a travel journal if you don’t know where i am, haha. but word is that’s sort of a nono, for safety reasons.
still deciding about how to manage that part.
once i figure out how to post pictures here, there’ will be some pictures. i think.
until next time, much love to you on your journey wherever it takes you to.
your friendly nomad,