[2019: Today was the day that I did it. In spite of all of my wavering, my angst and indecision, in the shadow of all of the doubt, fear and confusion, I did it. I loaded the last few pieces of my life into my car, and I drove into the unknown.
I thought my walkabout would last only a few weeks. I thought I would eventually return to Washington, get married, and get on with some new form of my life. I knew that I would be changed, but I had no idea just how dramatic and radical that change would be.
I would eventually write a book about my first ten weeks on the road. I called it GO: Sacred Solo Travel for Women. It became an international bestseller on Amazon. Below is an excerpt from that book, a recounting of that morning when I embarked on my own sacred solo adventure into wild and untamed places, including those that dwell within me.]
“You can do it! You’ve got this!”
I took a third solo jaunt, off-roading to a secluded mountain lake in northern Idaho. The campground was two hours from the nearest town and was my biggest challenge to date. I returned more in love with nature and ever more certain that I had to dive deeper into her. Armed with a surge in self-confidence and a deep resolve to embrace my inner Self, I approached my closest loved ones, namely my mom and Edward, with the idea of what I would call my Walkabout.
Walkabout is traditionally undertaken by Aboriginal youth, who will venture out alone into the bush for as long as six months or more to make the transition to adulthood. While I am neither Aboriginal nor an adolescent, I desperately needed transformation. I would take the nomadic path. My goal was to seek out wild and primal places, to unplug from all that threatened to thwart my growth. I would drive into the great unknown and offer my spirit in communion.
I have only the foggiest idea of how to prepare for an open-ended road trip of such epic proportions. My solo jaunts have taught me a lot, but this is so much bigger. How much clothing should I take? How will I handle extreme changes in weather? I take a few days for research and several more days of tedious preparation, but I know I’m still winging it. The urge to GO is nearly driving me mad. I give concerted effort to appreciating my time with Edward and Mom. I am nervous but anxious to finally get on the road. I have been working the car load like a Tetris champion, wanting everything just right, but impatience is starting to get the best of me. It’s time.
Or so I thought. I hug my mom goodbye, and a panic ensnares me. I’m not prepared for this. My stomach erupts in furious fluttering bats and my fingers drain into icy tips. My heart pounds. What if I get lost? What if I get hurt? I move about the house in a rush, seeing everything I am leaving behind, and suddenly I need it all. I start grabbing this and that, thinking, “Oh my gosh, I might need a cutting board!” and “Oh my gosh, I might want my tambourine!” and so on. I am tossing random items in grocery bags like a mad woman, throwing them in the car, and backtracking for more.
The episode finally passes, about 20 sacks later. I take a deep breath and hold my mother tightly to me. I take Justice by the leash and walk us down the stairs. I open the car door, and she jumps inside. I pour myself into the driver’s seat behind her. My heart is fluttering and my fingers are tingling. I manage to turn the key in the ignition. The engine roars. I take another deep breath, back out of the parking lot, and drive out of the neighborhood. I point my nose toward Portland and the Oregon Coast, an area my friends have raved about. I have never made time to visit myself. Until now. Now is my time. Time to see what I can do.