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40 Days 40 Nights

Adventure is always exciting.
There is always an air of mystery and discovery when embarking on a new journey and in the beginning of April, 2018, I hit the road, just me and my truck and about 100 books. I called it my 40 days and 40 nights to Ultimate Freedom. This is the first part of the experiences of that trip, one that has far exceeded 40 days and 40 nights.

In life sometimes it feels that we are always climbing uphill only to get there, feel the thrill of accomplishment for a bit and then see in the distance yet another hill, a bigger one and off we go again and after doing this for a few years you start to wonder…

Is this all there is? There has got to be more to life. There should be more joy and less struggle, less hassle. 

I've always been one to embrace change. Since I was young, I always felt different than everyone else so always quick to try the new thing even though extremely shy, I hungered for adventure.

Not having much to begin with since I began “downsizing” years ago. I sold a few things and donated the rest. 3 suitcases held all I own. The two larger ones were filled with books. My intention being that I would read them all, extract what I needed and give them all away. Living in Central Florida at the time I hopped on I-4 West and well, headed West. There was no destination in mind, no reservations anywhere. My only intention was to read, write and allow. Allow whatever. The week or so prior I made the decision that I would no longer do anything I really had no desire to do. But aside from that there was something beckoning, the road, the air, the water, the trees…I needed to be outside, free.

 

So I guess one can say I am impulsive and with that in mind I veered a bit North and stopped on the Bay just North of New Port Richey where I sat for a few hours. There I read The Creed of The Conquering Chief.

Freedom is total surrender to what is

Towards the end of the day, I walked a bit taking photos of my environment and enjoying the quiet. A man approached me and I became immediately aware that I felt his presence as an intrusion. In my mind, I thought, “Ok, here it comes…” thinking that he was either going to pester me, ask me for money or tell me I couldn't be there.

He was probably early 60's, wearing an old worn t-shirt and an oversized unbuttoned flannel shirt and jeans. “Excuse me Ma'am, but do you know you have a flat tire?”  Turning quickly to look back at my truck I see that my rear right nearly new tire was flat almost nearly to the rim. “Is there a gas station nearby?” I asked, wondering how far I would have to go, thinking that it had been quite a ways to get here. He gave me some quick directions, I thanked him and off I went with my hazard lights on about 20 mph. Thankfully it was less than 3 miles.

I stood there in front of the air pump not really knowing what to do. It was getting late and there were few people around and I was scared. It seems like such a silly thing but I realized I had no idea what I was doing and if I was going to move beyond there I had to venture into figuring it out. So I dropped my dollar and half in quarters, grabbed the nozzle and squeezed the lever. I just watched the tire rise until it looked right. After putting the nozzle back on the pump, I crawled under the truck to retrieve the cap that had rolled underneath.

There were three things I had in my mind. How far till I could find food, shower and spend the night before the tire flattened out again?
Thank goodness for my Iphone, Siri led me to a shopping center with an LA Fitness, where I had a membership. A quick workout, shower and then I settled myself to spend the rest of the night in the truck, reading, writing until sleep took over.

In the morning, sure enough, the tire was as flat as flat can be. It was 5 am and the LA Fitness was open so I spent a few hours in there and then went to my trusty phone to find a place to get a new tire. There was a tire and oil change place right across the street!

The fellow at the station was extremely sympathetic of my plight and he found a way to knock off $150 the total price of a new tire and an oil change. I read while sipping on coffee and water. I had this cool book by Pema Chodron about the principles of Buddhism. That book validated my decision to take this trip.

 Our Wounded Hearts

  • Don't make a big deal about anything. Relax and let go…
  • Move away from comfort and security.
  • Much joy comes from liberating ourselves and relaxing into insecurity, restlessness.
  • Stop trying to convince yourself that you are ok. You're not.

    and that's OK – No Big Deal

Be More Curious Than Afraid

So with air in my tires, by mid-day, I headed South along the coast. While I drove I listened to audio, not music but books. I listened to Napoleon Hill, Brian Tracey, Tony Robbins… not all at once mind you. Sometimes it would take me 3-4 relistens of one CD. I would stop and pull out my journal and write notes of what I had extracted. There was something about the hum and pace of the road that opened my mind to hear what I had not heard before.

I drove into the beautiful town of Dunedin where I spent the afternoon before driving on. I slept in my truck somewhere in Marco Island.

Some local gas stations are actually more like cafes offering cold and hot meals, free wifi and nice tables outside. I spent hours and hours at some of these places, reading, writing getting dollar 24 oz. coffee refills. People did not seem very friendly but no one bothered me. I was happy to be outside, feel the sun on my skin and read my book.
So come morning, I headed back to same place and when I finished the book that taught me the art of living is to be in the present moment. To allow things to unfold at their own pace and that patience is not learned in safety.
A life worth living, has to be lived, filled with experiences, new ones. That validated my decision.

I slipped the book through the half-opened window of the beat up old van that belonged to the associate who had been so gracious to serve me 3 cups of coffee that day and I headed to the LA Fitness in another town. There the pool and hot tub were outdoors and there was hardly anyone there. I was so grateful.

Now let me back up a bit here. I was not broke like some young person who is out to sow their wild oats. Due to some changes in my life and health, I had a lot of debt and more was going out than coming in. What I was was ready for was change, a new beginning. So even though I was taking big risks, I was being cautious. I had stepped into an unknown so there was fear, a lot of fear, a lot of unknown so based on what I had just read I was alive and that was exciting.

 

All the best,
Amparo

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