I had plans.
With my newly created single life I was going places (literally). First on the list was Alaska and then, after 17 days, I’d go back to CA, regroup and head to Thailand and just keep going from there. I was free and it was time to make use of it.
Alaska because I felt as if a rope in my gut was pulling me there.
Thailand because I wanted to learn to surf, brah.
As I stocked up on items for Alaska I also acquired items for the other leg of the trip (even though I hadn’t bought a ticket or made any real plans). Sundresses and sandals would wind up in my haul of long underwear and bear spray (ya know, to avoid a “https://www.youtube.com/embed/YOlkeDrqozw“>The Revenant” situation, please).
I came home one day and my girlfriend giggled as I shuffled in two pairs of heeled sandals.
“Those will be super useful in Alaska, huh?” she wink-winked me, almost as if she knew I wouldn’t be back for them.
My intention was to be on my own merry way. Do my own thing on my own schedule. I never even began to think that those heels would gather dust in my storage unit.
Plan: I’d get to Alaska and out of my comfort zone and then find some killer waves, dude.
Every time I think back to that trajectory I planned for myself I think of a quote I recently learned:
“Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh” (David Milch)
And I was shouting these plans from the rooftop. I should have heard the thunderous laughing from above that must have followed my announcements but stubborn ears are deaf to opposition and I just kept on planning and meeting with friends and asking for tips on places to go post AK (thanks DW).
Once in Alaska (see last week’s post here describing the journey in) I was still convinced my future held beaches but succumbed to the reality that something was telling me to stay (shouting it actually). I was in for a quick summer stop-over, Alaska style. So I started to look into staying. First thing’s first: money. Leaving for Alaska had meant buying a lot of items I just didn’t have in my arsenal (see: bear spray, a headlamp, hiking shoes…I had thought I was way more outdoorsy than my existing equipment suggested) so I hadn’t exactly been flush to begin with and I didn’t plan on bleeding myself dry in the funds department.
And just like that a job offer came.
My girlfriend introduced me to a friend who was starting a food truck. He needed help. I needed a job.
Boom! Employment (Thank you, MacChina).
We were fast friends, I mean sheesh, I’m a girl who likes to eat and he’s a chef. What could be better? Friend match made in heaven.
Ok, so money problem taken care of but now where to stay?
My girlfriend said I could build a platform on her property and camp there for the summer. I’d need to find or have lumber hauled in from Anchorage and find a tent and bear wire (WHAT?! Who even knew that existed and thank you to whomever created it). Since all of that was a lot to acquire we also decided to keep an ear out for places for rent.
And so it was settled.
Until it wasn’t.
Because this is where The Chief enters the story and my exit plans disappear without my realizing it.
I met him my first night in “town” at the local (see: only) watering hole. We had talked for 30 minutes (unbeknownst to us) before my girlfriend came to check on me. Was this furry mountain man bothering me? I hadn’t even felt the time pass. I was a goner.
But I’m a stubborn one and clung to my singledom like a kid to a cupcake. Ain’t happenin’, Captain. I’ve got plans.
And then the thunderous laughing from the sky began again. I told my boss at the food truck (one of his best friends) that it was no biggie. It was just a fling. It had to be, right? I should have felt bad lying so blatantly but I thought I was telling the truth. He would just smile and say “Ok, see you in the morning, neighbor” since when I was at The Chief’s house we lived a quick walk through the woods away from one another. He knew. Everyone knew.
People I didn’t know would come up to me in town and say how happy they were for us.
I’m in an Us?
No way Jose. Not this little Senorita. I’m a solo artist. I mean, that’s the plan.
But…work on the platform was at a standstill.
I spent the better portion of a day trying to flatten the site but I still didn’t have building supplies.
I asked my boss to order the materials.
I asked The Chief.
I asked in the way that you ask for a fruit cup in place of dessert at a restaurant.
Everyone knows what’s happening. Everyone knows the deal except for you because you’re trying to convince yourself that you want the fruit cup.
(Not to call living on her property a fruit cup, it would have been a big time dessert just not the one I was meant to have)
And so I eventually let go…
and ordered dessert.
I was basically living with The Chief (though still in denial about it, I mean just because all of my stuff is there and we were grocery shopping together doesn’t mean I live there, right?) but one Taco Tuesday night we made it official.
Living with someone you’ve just met is insane.
Living with someone who’s never lived with a girlfriend is a recipe for disaster.
Living with someone after just getting out of a 7 year relationship is a rebound.
All of these judgements circled my head but the laughter from above was finally gone. I had stopped making plans and jumped into the flow and it had carried me straight to him.
Now, don’t get me wrong, moving into a perma-bachelor den was interesting (to say the least) but it immediately felt like home.
Pretty soon the question put to me by locals switched from:
“So, are you staying the summer?”
“So, are you staying the winter?”
Ha! Winter! That’s cute.
Nope. No way.
And before I knew it I was planning for winter.
A friend in CA that had watched me go through the breakup said that it seemed like I had changed my plans all for some guy and he was worried I would lose my trajectory (and never get to Thailand).
Fair enough. And thank goodness for friends who shoot it straight (Thank you N).
But I hadn’t lost my trajectory. I had ended up exactly where I was supposed to be. This was scary to accept and hard to defend when oppositions from myself and others started coming in but all I could counter with was that it just felt right. I felt at peace.
I realized that Thailand had been a sort of safety net. A “planned” next move to let me feel safe in the uncertainty of Alaska and open me up to it’s possibilities. Leaving Alaska simply because that was the plan I had announced would have been the biggest mistake I’d ever made, The laughter from above would have been deafening, even to these stubborn ears.
Trying to preserve my pride just to avoid judgement that I was jumping in too fast or giving up my plans for “some guy” would have led me away from where I’m supposed to be. And there’s a difference between standing up to oppositions because you don’t want to be wrong and standing up because you know you’re right, even if all you have for proof is a feeling.
Plus, staying in AK didn’t mean I wouldn’t go elsewhere, it just meant I didn’t want to go now.
Now was for seeing if when the fireweed flowers disappeared and the rocky ground became snow and the town went from hundreds to (maybe) 30 people if this was still where I was supposed to be.
Lucky for me, it was and it is.
That doesn’t mean everything is unicorns and puppies and dessert every meal. We are real. We are human. We disagree and get fussy just like anyone else, that’s just life.
And even though at times being out here is a challenge and a constant departure from the creature comforts I wouldn’t trade a nearby grocery store or electricity for anywhere or anyone else.
But I wouldn’t complain if a chocolate shop happened to open next door.
// All credit for our coming together goes to the town as a whole, our next-door neighbors and a Subaru get away vehicle powered by Marvin Gaye. Were it not for them, we wouldn’t have been forced into seeing what was right in front of us. Thank you. //