I woke up early in the morning on the couch at Kaelie’s house. I felt slightly groggy and hungover as I made my way out into the crisp San Francisco morning air to my truck. Today was the day of my departure from the city and I had already packed the truck up the night before. As I walked through the street, I started to feel depressed. While I was in the city, I had a lot of fun but I had also succumbed to the same old vices I always succumbed to. Seemingly abandoned any progress I had made the week before while camping. It was then that I realized San Francisco would always be a home to me but perhaps it wasn’t supposed to be my home anymore. It made me sad to think about but I realized that I was used to living in the city during a certain period of my life. That person, that part of me just wasn’t there anymore. No matter how hard I tried to go back to those days, I couldn’t. I had to keep moving on and looking forward.
Before leaving, I decided that I needed one last trip to the park to write and just sit for awhile. It was a bright, sunny day and the park was packed. Everyone was out skating, biking, walking or sitting amongst all the beautiful flowers and trees. I skated past the conservatory of flowers and through the AIDS memorial towards the courtyard between the museums. I figured this would be the best place for me to get my journal out and wade through some of the feelings I was going through. I picked a spot right in the middle of a stone statue surrounded by huge stone steps and I lost myself…
“I’m sitting here in Golden Gate Park after 4 days in this city and I feel miserable. I feel like coming home. This trip was supposed to enlighten me and help me think in a different and more positive manner. But after this San Francisco leg, I feel like I am just running. Running away from my problems to the city I know will take me in…. It’s a bright and sunny day but the wind is ripping through the open space with reckless abandon. As I’m writing this, the wind is pushing my clothes all over the place, opening and closing my pages… as if it’s trying to talk to me. So instead of writing through it, I’m gonna listen to what it’s telling me and try and sit here calmly.” – October 2, 2017, 12:30pm, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Sitting in the park during that moment of silence is something I look back to often when I think and write about this trip. It was a turning point for me, the moment when I realized that I’m in control of my own life and everything could be in my hands if I decided that I wanted it. The wind swirled around me in a rage as the sun beat down but none of it mattered. I accepted the elements and went deeper into my mind. I listened to what it was telling me and I felt the wind and the heat on my body and it invigorated me. I felt inspired and suddenly my doubt and anxiety disappeared. For the first time, I felt at peace with everything, a whole new mindset. It felt powerful to come to this conclusion and while the maintained practice of it hasn’t been easy, I think I’ve been getting better at it everyday. So with a clear mind, I wrote my heart out that day in the park and I left the city feeling happy and ready to continue my adventure.
I opened my map and for the first time it hit me what I was about to do. San Francisco had been the furthest I’ve ever driven by myself. Everything north from this point forward was new and unseen territory. It was that feeling of excitement that I felt when I realized why I went on this trip. I can’t wait to be in an area I know nothing about, where the weather and terrain is different and the only people I know are hundreds of miles away. This type of seclusion/ isolation is what I craved and exactly how I wanted to challenge myself.
“My feet landed me in Olema State Park, near point Reyes. It is beautiful here and randomly so as I had no intentions of stopping here at all. It’s myself and a couple other campers so the grounds are incredibly quiet. This space is huge so the quiet seems even more deafening as I sit here in my camper. I spent the day driving the most beautiful scenic route but I was kind of in a hurry to get here and get settled. Repacked my whole car upon my arrival and feel a bit better about my clothing/camping situation. Had some great conversations with my parents and grandma and it made me feel good to hear their thoughts and their voices. I built my first fire of the trip tonight and I am extremely proud of it. It’s gonna be a game-changer if I can continue to build off that have fires every night. There is truly nothing like sitting and looking at a flame that you have created with your own hands.” – October 2, 2017, 8:54pm, Olema State Park, Point Reyes
“I find it’s true what they say, “the night is darkest before the dawn” and I feel like I have now hit the dawn portion of my trip. The dark clouds of my mind have begun to clear and I am thinking and seeing things clearly and for what they are in every moment. I was feeling very down in San Francisco and it wasn’t until I wrote in this journal that I began to feel some semblance of myself again. It’s almost like writing brings my true, inner self out onto the page whether I mean it to or not.” – October 2, 2017, 8:54pm, Olema State Park, Point Reyes