Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Inside the Fence

“My life is a green pasture, bordered by a wooden fence.  Each section represents one of my fears; these fears circumscribe my existence.

I regularly visit the perimeter, testing my limits.  Each fear that I accept makes my world a bit smaller.

Once in a while, I gather my strength, jump the rails, and run free into a land that beckons me.  These are the times I feel most alive.”

These words are from Thalia Zapatos, which I found in the back of her book A Journey of One’s Own: Uncommon Advice for the Independent Woman Traveler.  I learned about this book when Kim mentioned them on her blog The Travels of Kimbopolo.  My heart has been in my throat since I started reading the book and this quote slammed me on the side of my head so fiercely I’m surprised I’m still upright as I write this.  I am being so challenged.  I’m not sure that I’m even going to be able to explain the impact this book is having on me, but I’m going to try because I think I’ll learn a lot as I try to explain it.  (And I immediately go blank). 

I’ve come to recognize two things lately:  (1) I need to travel to places other than Tucson.  I know Tucson inside and out and the challenge is gone; (2) I’m afraid to travel alone and that keeps me inside the wooden fence.  I need to specify that I’m afraid to travel alone if I’m not going to Tucson (or Florida where I went to visit a friend).  I'm wondering how this fear relates to RVing, but while that's not my focus right now, I won't ignore the possibility of a parallel problem.  

I can feel the fear in my gut.  It’s there now as I’m writing this post.  It feels like it could choke me if I don’t get a handle on it.  I don’t like how I’m feeling.  

I want to go to Hawaii.  I think I’ve mentioned that in other posts.  I’ve talked to my friend in Idaho about going but that’s not looking very positive.  I don’t have anyone else to ask.  I've mentioned it to my son, but with a recent change of command at their base, with him having a new general to protect, he’s not sure when they can get away.  I also get the feeling that he's not that interested but won't come out and tell me.  

So, what are my fears?  I mean other than going to Hawaii alone???  Ok, here’s one. I’m alone at the beach and I want to go swimming.  I have my camera, room key, car keys, etc., etc.  What do I do with them when I’m in the water?  Trusting that nobody will take them seems rather naïve and that’s not how I feel, I’m afraid someone will take them.  Also, who's going to take pictures of me at the touristy spots???  See what I mean? Maybe I'm just making mountains out of molehills to stay inside the fence.  Hmmm.

I'm mentioning this because I know that a lot of you are able to think outside of the box and I'm afraid I'm stuck in the box right now, in this case, fence, because I'm using a fence analogy based on the quote at the start of this post. It's getting tiresome. I'm also closer to just buying tickets and going...alone.  But I'm tired of doing alone and maybe that's a subject for a different post...or not. 

So folks, that's how it is.  

More sunshine please,



  1. sounds like you are sitting on a fence that is for sure..we all have our issues with heading towards this full timing RV dream..you know there people out there who travel solo..you just need to find a few of them..hang in there..all your plans will fall into place once you are ready to get off the fence. Have a great day!

  2. I was terrified when I took the class to ride a motorcycle. I was terrified when I went home to a bike 3x the size of the one in the class. I was terrified when I took the bike out the first time. I was terrified when I crashed it into a mailbox. I was terrified when I got back on it three weeks later.

    Fast forward two years and I rode my third motorcycle over 27,000 miles across 42 states BY MY SELF.

    You have to think beyond the fears. Make your action plan and take it ONE STEP AT A TIME.

    You can do it!!

  3. Jeana, are you a member of any solo women RV groups?

  4. I try to remember the alternative to doing things by myself when I get those moments of doubt. The alternative?? Sitting alone stuck in a house becoming a hermit. That usually works to get me out the door!

    Would traveling with a companion make things easier and possibly more fun? You bet, but don't use that as an excuse to not do something. Step out the door and open the gate of that fence... :)

  5. As ducky sez, join the womengosolo group on Yahoo if you haven't already. Common fears about soloing is an ongoing theme:


    The book had the same profound impact on me too. My eyes teared up reading your reaction to it.

  6. Wonderful advice to a heartfelt post, Jeana. I have that book in my library, and now I have to go dig it out again. I worked alone in wilderness areas and in scary "redneck white man with guns" country as a soil scientist, but I still find those fears come up and keep me inside the fence. Now I have a companion to travel with, but if alone, I would definitely join up with one of those solo women's groups. Thanks for writing your heart.

  7. Nice post, Jeana. You don't have to do all of those things at once so there's no sense worrying about all of them! Just pick one thing you want to do and take one small step at a time.

  8. I know, I know. It is one step at a time. It is baby steps, then leaping over the fence with nary a backward glance. Keep smiling, go for the sunshine! We have more within us than even we know.

  9. My fence is a house. Some days I dream of just going. Alone or not.

    You might consider renting an RV for a couple of weeks and joining a solo group caravan. I've read about a few.

    Or take that trip to Hawaii with a travel club. There are tons out there happy to take your money!

  10. Remember that you're really not alone...there are so many others that are willing to help in time of need. Just look at the wonderful people we are blogging with! Take one step at a time and that success will give you the motivation to take the next step. You CAN do it!
    God Bless! Kathy

  11. Jeana, sometimes I feel exactly the same way. That's why I want a Class C and I want to travel with my dog, who is an alarm of sorts to people outside the RV.

    I think if you are solo in an RV park you're safe. I want to boondock for the cost savings, and also to be able to park in the forest or on a beach. That's what I'm worried about, but lots of solo women RVers boondock and they say they feel very safe. I think when you try it, you'll feel calmer.

    I am thinking I'll start out more with a group, and parking in RV parks at first, and then grow from that into more boondocking.

    Check Diana's blog - http://lifeontheopenroad.blogspot.com/
    She spends time with a singles group called WIN. They travel together in their own rigs, spend holidays together, it looks like the kind of thing where you can join them, and then go off on your own when you want.

    You can do it - like the comments above say, we just have to go one step at a time.