We’ll be unwrapping the Cricket soon!
We’re not so idealized here at Curious Crickets and still we’re really excited to be getting the Cricket out of winter storage. Because waking up in fields and forests. Is. Awesome.
Maybe you’ve been wanting to get out for a week.
Are you curious about The Cricket?
Contact us if you’re interested in short or long term rental.
I’m taking off the tarp next weekend!
We’ll be using the camper on occasional weekends, maybe at MassMoCA, hopefully in the wild as well. We’re lending the Cricket to a friend in September for a residency in Maine. A few things planned.
There’s room on the calendar…
It’s been a while since our last update, largely because we have been dealing with life (travel) choices and resetting some of our daily patterns. Plus, the longer we go without updating, the weightier each update seems to feel.
In many respects, these things are exactly what I want to be writing about — the real challenges of scrapping everything and heading out on a new adventure. What happens when you change your life so dramatically? What are the ways you grow? What are the ways you fight growth? Where do you come out on the other side?
I always wanted this blog to be a place where I can choose authenticity. As I’ve said before, neither Chris nor I feels good posting an overly curated version of our adventure, one that makes it look like we’re always wandering around beautiful vistas with sparking eyes and big hearts. As this recent post indicated, it’s not true. (Although in many instances it is true!)
I find though, that it’s difficult for me to write about growth and change while still in the midst of it. It’s also challenging to write about the not-so-fun moments without sounding like I’m complaining too much because really, our life is pretty amazing, and I don’t want to forget that. So I’ve been thinking a lot about this tightrope — how can this blog be a space where I highlight the things I’m grateful for while still being honestly reflective about the things i’m struggling though? (Some folks do this quite well, and I’m trying to use them as inspiration to push through.)
Where (both geographically and metaphorically) have I been lately?
We’ve settled for a little while in San Clemente, CA, halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles. It’s warm enough to keep smiles on our faces. We camp on a bluff overlooking the ocean, and we can bike into town to use the library, visit the farmers market, do yoga, and grocery shop (we drive the truck, too, of course). Chris has taken up a new hobby (I’ll keep it secret until he decides to tell you about it) and I’m starting to build the routines that allow me to feel creatively productive and fulfilled.
We laugh about it — we’re basically trying to recreate a normal life here. We had to drive 12,000 miles (6,000 on the Subaru and 6,000 on the truck) to end up 3,000 miles from home, trying to recreate the patterns of the life we once knew? Funny, but true.
Recently we were in a similar geographic location that almost offered these things but, somehow, not quite. We spent several weeks before and after Christmas in Morro Bay, CA, just a few hours north of here. It was a beautiful town, smaller, quieter, and a little less built-up than here; further from the highway; right on the ocean with some really stunning natural formations and a lot of cool outdoors stuff to do. (The big rock foremost, but not only.) I loved it. In many ways it was a better “fit” than here as far as the culture and vibe, for me, personally. Plus, there was a bar called The Libertine that I could have gone to every day to try carefully curated beers, like sour stouts with yummy vanilla overtones. I felt like one lucky duck. Yet — almost every day was a struggle. It wasn’t about the place, of course. It was about who we were at that moment, what we were fighting in ourselves.
We had stopped there to make some sort of routine, having identified all the benefits of doing so in Morro Bay. It was the first place we could reasonably bike from our campsite into civilization, which was a big deal. It was warmer and drier than where we were coming from. I reveled in everything awesome about Morro Bay, and yet, floundered. Everything seemed hard. When I had a week alone, during which I though — I can finally make my own schedule!! — I didn’t do any of the awesome things I had hoped to.
(As a sort of aside, I’ve been wanting to write about Morro Bay for awhile and a recent post by Nikki, the female half of the Wynns, dislodged my writers block. She blogged and made a video about her solo adventure in the RV that was awfully similar to my week alone in the Cricket. It kind of makes my heart sing to know that I’m not alone in sometimes struggling through moments of girl power. It makes me a little teary, too. I can be sometimes overly independent, and it was an interesting lesson to find that just because I can do something by myself, doesn’t mean I really want to. Teamwork is awesome.)
So, even though the place was obviously not the main problem, we moved, and I have to say, it felt GOOD. No, it felt GREAT! Just putting some miles between us and whatever funk we were in was awfully therapeutic. Plus, there was the benefit of moving south, to a location where the nights wouldn’t be nearly so chilly. That’s helping a lot. Every moment of challenge is created by a whole web of factors, and sometimes sorting out the practical physical ones makes dealing with the more complicated behavioral ones a lot less challenging.
I’m learning about the minimal things I need to be comfortable. Sometimes I feel like a badass camper chick, and sometimes I feel really spoiled. It is what it is. I know I need warmth, and to not spend all my nights or days bundled in layers. Hot showers are also surprisingly important to me. Having found a yoga studio with bathing facilities that makes me feel like I’m in a zen spa makes a big difference in my overall mental health. I probably will, but I wish and dream about never having to pay for a lukewarm shower with quarters again. I like a hot beverage in the morning. I need quiet time alone. I value stability in my friendships, and regular opportunity to connect with those I love.
I’ve learned that I have some either / or both preferences, too. I can take a lot of discomfort, if I know roughly when it will end. I kind of revel in that dichotomy. Similarly, I really like going “offline, and off the grid” because it helps me clear my mind and live in the moment, but I also really like good cell service and the ability to create a wifi hot spot, because it helps me connect.
I need more routine than I thought I did. I’ve long known that I need some regular practices like morning pages, I’ve long loved to set goals for myself and to live by lists, and I’ve learned that I’m pretty good at helping others set these patterns in place for themselves, too. Still, I thought of myself as kind of a disruptive force — I don’t like set mealtimes, I like to move between many projects, I’m always craving some kind of change or something new. I pushed past my own limits though, via the many vagaries of this travel lifestyle that I wanted so badly. Which brings me back to being here, in San Clemente with Chris, laughing about how all we want to do is be normal, predictable, stable.
We have four weeks stretching ahead of us, in which we know how all of our basic needs will be met. We have some exciting things we want to do as day trips in the area, but we’re both so keen to focus on the day-to-day life patterns. We’ve talked a lot about routines that will work for both of us (together and alone), and we’ve scheduled several of those into place. I’m trying not to overwhelm myself, but there’s a lot I want to do. Every time I accomplish some small goal that I set for myself, I feel a little stronger. It’s really exciting! I’m starting to feel like Alexis again.
I’m grateful for the friends and family who have listened patiently as I worked through all of this, and who have encouraged me through advice, empathy, and reminders of the broader context within which I exist. I’m so excited for this new lease on life and travel in the new year. I know there are more challenges to come, but I’m feeling a lot more optimistic.
Plus? Chris and I are learning so much about how to work together. Making our way through all of these challenges, as friends and partners, is strengthening our relationship in ways I never even dared to hope for. It kind of makes my heart swell. I’m not necessarily getting what I thought I would out of this trip, but I’m getting good things all the same. I guess that’s life.
“Where are you now?” if often the first question friends or family ask when we talk. I give updates big and small: the Pacific Northwest, Portland, a rocky cliff on the Oregon seashore where the waves crash hard into rocks, a field next to a barn, or walking the streets of a town.
So, where are we now?
Well, we updated the map tracker to show all of our scribbles in and around Oregon… back and forth from the coast … up and down from Eugene or Corvallis to Portland … an excursion out to Bend.
So that tells you where we were (roughly).
And as you can see by looking at the live tracker, we are now into California! We are moving slowly down the coast. We plan to go to San Francisco next, and have made reservations for the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving at a lodge outside of Yosemite. It’s cold enough there to make four non-aluminum walls and a roof a necessity. (NB: It also has a salt water hot tub!)
Then, back to the coast I imagine (nothing is decided) and heading south into warmer and sunnier climates. (Not that we are complaining!)
So that’s a quick update. More to come soon!