Reaching Needles feels like a major mile stone, and I feel like taking stock of the last 9 months. I am now less than a mile from AZ so when I leave Needles on Thursday or Friday I will be in AZ within an hour.
In February when I got this idea I was dangerously depressed, living in squalor, terrified of going outside, especially during the day, and completely with drawn from humans. I was on the edge of dying by my own hand, and even accepting that this might be an ok outcome of my life. In fact, I was damn lucky to be alive as my first suicide attempt was almost successful.
Since then, I have sold everything I owned, walked 319 miles, met many new friends, rendered myself completely vulnerable on this blog, worked to fund raise and am now about to leave California. I have also lost a lot of weight, and when things got rough along the way forced myself to be open about them, and then deal with the toughness. I have allowed myself to fall in love with and be touched by a man, and accepted when my heart got broken and my vulnerability misused – accepted it without allowing any of that to destroy me, and still keeping my love for this person burning bright. I have walked through one complete set of shoes, and will pick up new shoes at the post office tomorrow. When I started training in February I could barely walk two miles, and when I left for this walk 6 miles was my upper limit. Now I walk up to 12 miles. One pair of pants that used to fit me is now so lose that it falls off my hips, and I am working myself towards a size that I have not worn for more than 10 years. Finally, I walked over 200 miles in the depth of the Mojave desert and about 150 miles of that in an extremely desolate area – an area many, many people told me I couldn’t possibly walk through. My life is now on a completely different track, and my thinking no longer defeated.
Yet, through all these accomplishments, I am also completely humbled because without the help of so many people none of it would have been possible.
But I have a special relationship with California – and leaving here – even for a relatively limited time will be a challenge. I feel like the little birdie about to leave the nest and try to fly…
I know from I was 5 years old I used to proclaim that: “when I grow up I am going to move to California”. No one took that seriously much, and I am not sure where that dream originated from. Maybe it was my sense of not belonging in Denmark already then, or maybe it was my parent’s rather ugly divorce that had my little 5 year old mind going “Fuck this shit, I am outta here”. Either way, that is when I remember my dreams of California started, and they never stopped, California became the promised land. When I moved here California finally provided a sense of belonging to a place that had always been missing in my life. I seemed to fit in perfectly with the prevailing culture and easily relaxed in to life in CA. I have met much of California’s magnificence as well, from the deep redwoods, to the golden grasslands and into the heart of the desert, I have California in my soul. And while many things will happen out there on the trail, and I might not move back to N. California, I somehow suspect that California will remain my home.
Now, and for the next many months I am leaving my home, in search of adventure and ultimately, in search of myself. So, when later this week I am back with both feet on the trail and walking across the bridge into AZ I leave behind my home state but my heart will always belong in California. It feels significant, as if the journey becomes even more real with leaving California, and as if I am less protected not in this great state – and of course, I know that is nonsense. Yet, a feeling none the less.