Starting Late: Part One

I’ve decided to focus some time on writing about something many of us have experienced or are experiencing and may not be sharing. It’s called Starting Late. Many of us have had dreams of doing great things only to find that life and our own choices got in the way. These posts are an offer of encouragement and a call to action. Starting late does not need to equal Too Late. Here’s my story…

So I started late. I had dreams of traveling the world and exploring new cultures. I saw myself walking through the markets of Morocco and eating pastries in Paris. An outdoor cafe, corner table. I envisioned summers picnicking in the emerald green valleys of Scotland, strolling through ancient structures covered in vines.

None of that happened. I got married, had kids, and got a mortgage, car insurance and student loans. And the years turned into many more years.

After my divorce, I thought, “Heck yeah this is it! I’m free to choose the life I want to live.” I didn’t consider that starting from scratch + being broke = stay home. My children and my student loans did not forge a clear path to freedom. But my dreams didn’t die, and I refused to accept this sameness day in and day out. I looked Sameness square in the eyes and I said “No”.

Now it’d be nice to say that I hopped online and bought myself a plane ticket to France, but I didn’t. I wasn’t ready yet. But I found a friend who was craving adventure and we planned a weekend away– a camping trip, just the two of us. Everyone told me and Krystle that it was a bad idea. Two girls camping alone is a recipe for disaster. Anything can happen. What if this? What if that? Do we even know what we’re doing? We ignored them all. We were strong, competent, and good-natured. We’d be fine. We left their imploring behind and were on our way.

It turned out to be just the adventure we needed. It went something like this:

Our car, a Kia, got stuck in deep mud. Our guide to show us to the site stood by smiling as Krys swore to high Heaven and promised death on everyone who might be in some way responsible. We tried pushing the car out of its sinking hole, but as she gave it gas and the tires spinned on air, mud just kept flying directly into my face. She cursed some more and I tried not to laugh. Finally we called it quits and unloaded all of our equipment into our guide’s truck and hitched a ride to our campsite. The Kia was shamefacedly towed to our site later.

Later. Later we were blown away by the minor fact that we’d forgotten to bring lighter fluid and we were miles (walking miles) from any civilization. We found a bottle of hand sanitizer and stretched the hell out of it. The pride we felt when that hand sanitizer and matches fire finally stayed lit is inexplicable. I won’t even try.

Turning in for bed under a canopy of more stars than I had ever seen was lovely; waking up to the realization we’d forgotten to cover up the now dew-soaked fire wood sucked. Neverthless, breakfast was made. Oatmeal, coffee, eggs, soggy ass waffles that didn’t survive a cooler filled with ice. This is how we learn.

Then there was zip lining and cows mooing in the night and watching the sun rise and picking wildflowers for my journal. We were getting ready to head home. Word had spread about our unfortunate and inadequate car situation. We were told about a back way to leave the site.

Just a few minutes into the drive we approach a gate. I get out of the car to open it and out of the tall grasses comes two deer, a  mother and fawn prancing along just as I’d always seen in movies. Imagine me jumping up and sqealing. Imagine my mouth hanging open. Imagine. A few minutes later we are talking to a cowboy. There are wild horses down the way and he needs to get them through the gate. I ask if I can help because what the hell’s the worst that can happen? Ladies and gentlemen, he says yes! Now imagine me having one of the best experiences of my life.

This is one trip of many. It didn’t cost us much and it didn’t require a passport; not even a plane ticket. It was one step, a big and small step, to get me where I want to be.

We aren’t all 20 and childless. Neither do most of us want to be. But we must remember that a life of adventure does not just belong to the young and free. We are free to make choices every day. We can choose to scroll Facebook or search for cheap travel tips. We can buy a latte everyday or save up for a weekend trip. And once you get a taste of that adventure bug you put in a jar years ago, I guarantee you will find ways to make it happen again. Start late. It’s okay. Just Start.

Here is Part Two.

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41 thoughts on “Starting Late: Part One

  1. Blarg, the power was out at my house all effin day, but I am ordering that book today! More importantly, are you sure you aren’t 20? Because you are so impossibly beautiful and ageless I am not sure you are really qualified to write this post haha. “Starting late” written by a vampire with eternal youth. “Have kids, a husband, a divorce, a mortgage, get a doctorate, but then when you turn 200, fuck it, sail the world, girl” Srlsly, love this post, you inspire me
    -Tiara
    https://damngirlgetyourshittogether.com/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tiara, I laughed out loud like 3 times just reading your comment. You’re the coolest. I guess I just outted myself as a vampire. Thank you for the amazing compliments. You make me happy, seriously. If I ever get a boat to sail the world, I’ll name it “For my shit together” 😀 That might be too long but you get the idea! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so cool to hear! I agree with learning as you go, even if things don’t go to plan, you figure it out. I’m glad you and Krys had such a lovely adventure, did she come with you on that Thailand trip as well?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Michelle. I’m happy to hear you liked it. I just commented on your post about nature, but I don’t see it. Maybe it went to your spam folder? That’s happened to me before.

      Like

  3. This is a really lovely and motivating post! Thank you so much for sharing. Also, as someone who rambles way too much and lingers too much on the negative, your post is like a gorgeous example of being concise but still descriptive, uplifting and humorous through the rough patches. Thanks again for sharing. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kaiya, thank you so much for your beautiful comment. It makes me really happy to hear. I tend to be on the rambling side as well, believe it or not, so I spend a ton of time in revising and taking time away from a piece to see it with fresh eyes. Sometimes we’ve got to laugh so we don’t cry!, so I’m all about it, lol. Thanks again for commenting, Kaiya. Big hug.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Just the thought. You can forge ahead the way you choose to in life. Not everybody has the opportunity, you are right, but you have to make the best of what you have and just get going. Your trip sounds like a hoot and all the misadventures make for a cute and funny bundle of memories now, isn’t it? You get a good laugh and remember it with a tinge of nostalgia. Don’t you wish we could just hop into a time capsule and get back in time to X place? I love camping trips btw though I am yet to camp in the American woods with the added charm of a bear and snake thrown into the mixture.
    Loved the post. Especially the picture of the deer prancing around and you squealing. I am also picturing a group hug! 😉 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Goodness you’re on to something. A time capsule to go back, not just in time, but to a very particular event in our lives. To relive all of the beautiful moments. What a dream. Every misadventure really did implant the trip more deeply and lovingly in my mind. It’s so funny how that happens. The things we stress about become the things we laugh about later.

      If I could see a bear while camping and know that it won’t devour me, I’d be so very happy. I love nature. I hope one day in the future we can go camping together. You can help me squeal till the cows come home! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha. We could shoo the bear away. My husband lives in the dream that he shall hug one and I fear that they are quite not so hugsy. You and I could draw lots about who gets to slap the bear? Or, or, we could bring a baby bear home. He/she could grow up in Florida-NJ and be a total bear star. A plan is unfolding in my mind. You better get on board, sistah! xx

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Commented on part two but i think my comment didn’t go through, the network is a little crazy this side. Anyway what I said was that your camping trip sounds like it was very adventurous. What i loved the most is the fact that it was full of surprises like the cowboy story. As far as the solo trip is concerned I still meed to build up courage to travel solo. Though I’ll start small, hit local spots and take it from there. You’re also so pretty my goodness. No homo 🙈

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  6. Wow. I read myself in your words (minus the marriage and kids) but definitely the thirst for nature, traveling, finances and lack of support and resources. I’ve wanted to go camping for some time now and find it hard ,especially as a chocolate woman, to convince my friends or family to join me. I loved every part of this because it helped me to see that regardless of the intricate details, there’s so many others out there struggling with similar things. Awesome post, I’m leaving now to go read everything else you’ve written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Girl, I am so freaking happy to read this comment. You’ve made me so happy. I understand what you mean completely about trying to convince friends and family to go camping. It isn’t exactly the favorite pastime of the culture. You’ve just got to find one friend to do it with you the first time. You can do this! Put aside a few dollars here and there and try and book a campsite a couple of months in advance, if possible. It was one of the best experiences I ever had. Thanks so much for coming by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. awwww this is a cute little story… I too dream of a life of fun and adventure. I have promised myself that after I graduate this year I will start making trips. I have been putting off my dreams of travels because I’d been waiting to find friends who are interested in the same things as I am… but I think if I keep waiting I may never go anywhere :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Girl, I totally feel you. My first solo trip ever was to NYC. I had been a few times before but was wanting to go back and for like 2 years I couldn’t pin anyone down to come with me. I finally said screw it and went myself. Solo travel turned out to be amazing. I stayed in a hostel and met all these other women traveling the world solo. It was so inspiring.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s so great to sometimes do things that make us a little nervous, I feel I grow so much like that. Recently I learned to ride a bike as an adult and wrote about it on my blog, it was beyond scary but doing it makes me feel like a stronger braver person now!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh my goodness, congratulations! Bike riding is awesome. I wrote a series of posts on it as well when I started riding regularly for exercise. I’ll have to check out that post! So happy for you!

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