We’re experiencing our fair share of struggles during this pandemic year. Traveling the US isn’t how we envisioned spending 2020, but most people are experiencing life they didn’t expect to experience also. So here we are! Noelle here, by the way. Earlier this Spring, as we began to wrap up the sale of Steve’s parents’ home, car and leftover possessions in Colorado Springs, we realized that we didn’t really have a plan for what was next.
Discussing our options for the year
We talked about many options, hoping that SE Asia would open back up so we could resume our adventure there. We also talked about getting jobs, but that was a fairly short discussion! 🙂 Ultimately, the purchase of our Artic Fox 990 truck camper (and Dodge Ram) opened the door for travel within the US. We discussed driving up to Alaska and visiting friends and well, Alaska! But that didn’t seem to be a realistic option, so we’re checking out some National Parks and pretty much any “Historic Site Ahead” that we come to.
I think it’d be fun to choose a day where we stop at every roadside attraction we come to. We may still do it, although I don’t think we’d travel very far. Ha! As if that matters, since yesterday we drove a couple hours before stopping, and today we only drove an hour and a half. Yeah, we’re already taking the slow road.
Continuing struggles during this pandemic year
I think, in previous posts, we’ve eluded to the fact that this has been a hard year. Emotionally, mentally, physically. We’ve both experienced periods of depression and grief. I say that, knowing it’s hard for all of us, in the whole world. It’s a weirdly collective sadness, yet there are also so many joys. My sister is doing this year of gratitude thing on Facebook and Instagram. I don’t think she could have chosen a better year to daily and mindfully choose something to be grateful for. There are many reasons for gratefulness, like now having the opportunity to be traveling the US during a Pandemic. When else would I be able to write a post about that? 🙂 Here’s my sister and her husband during a recent trip home. We had ourselves a crab boil!
Weight struggles during this pandemic year
One thing I’ve battled with over the past decade really, but especially this year, is my weight. I used to run… a lot. Then I went through a phase, where I ate a lot and quit running. I’ve done a ton of growth (haha, no pun intended!) since then, but I still struggle with eating as a form of solace. Not the best option…but it’s where I’m at. As I’ve aged, it’s harder and harder to take the weight off. It basically just stays. We’ve been hiking so much the past few weeks and Steve has lost six or seven pounds. I lost two, but then it came right back. So frustrating. My increased weight adds to my overall emotional struggles during this pandemic year.
I got some bloodwork done while we were home and for the first time ever, I have pre-diabetic A1C numbers. That’s just bullshit, right there. But it sure got my attention. So, I’m committing to more exercise. Ask me how I’m doing sometime, okay? And tell me how you’re doing. What is working for you to keep weight off during this time?
Missing my grands!
Adding to my struggles during this pandemic year is being so far away from our grandkids. Their lives change so much during these stages and I’m missing out. We try to stay in touch via text and Facetime but it’s just not the same as being together. We’ve had the pleasure in these past couple months of spending a lot of family time and that’s been fantastic. But definitely choosing to travel has its costs. Being away from grandchildren is a pretty huge cost, pandemic year or not.
Our family has been blessed in that no one has contracted Covid-19. I feel beyond grateful for our collective health, even while I feel concerned that it’s looming out there. Covid and an election year are a lot all on their own. The death of my dad (as I post this it’s his first birthday on the other side), the aging of Steve’s parents & prolonged separations from family have simply amplified my feelings of sadness. So yeah, I’m eating more. It’s adding weight, so I get depressed and eat some more. What a crazy circle.
How I’m moving forward
So what am I doing about turning around my struggles during this pandemic year? Well, first of all, I’m telling you. I’m owning how hard it’s been and admitting the need for some accountability and support. I said it up above, but I seriously mean it…leave me a comment and tell me how you are. Or shoot me an email. I want to hear how you’re getting through this year. I want to hear your struggles and your successes.
We’ve begun incorporating more meals from the South Beach Diet. I don’t like the term diet, because of all it implies, but South Beach works well for us. It has some similarities to keto, but it offers more of what seems to me to be a long term way of eating. We followed it a few years ago and both felt great. Steve lost a lot of weight, I lost a little, but we both felt really healthy.
A little help from our friends
Here’s a picture of us sporting our new necklaces from our good friend, Patrick. Mine is a Herkimer diamond and Steve’s is a carnelian. According to ravencrystals.com, “Herkimer Diamond is a high vibration and powerful crystal known as the “attunement stone.” Herkimer Diamond unites the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, multidimensional states with consciousness to create wholeness of being.” And according to charmsoflight.com, “A stabilising stone, Carnelian restores vitality and motivation, and stimulates creativity. It gives courage, promotes positive life choices, dispels apathy and motivates for success.” I’d say that’s some powerful positive energy right there! Thank you, Patrick!
We’ve also been stopping in our travels to visit friends along the way, which definitely boosts our spirits. What a blessing to stop in places to share special birthdays, wonderful meals and great laughter! We’re so grateful to everyone who has opened their homes to us.
Time for some exercise
The last month saw more exercise for us as we made our way along Northern Washington & Idaho and around Montana. We hiked just about everyday, which has been great for my mental health as well as physical. Just being outdoors is a boost!
We bought a yoga mat (to replace the ones in storage that we can’t find) and plan to start a regular yoga routine again. I’ve done it off and on for years, and love it for many reasons. Mainly I love shavasana at the end of the practice…hahaha! It’ll be interesting how we work this out, as there’s really only floor space inside the camper for one of us to work out at a time. We plan to head to the Southern US soon, so perhaps we can take our practice outdoors, but we’ll see. I’m curious how this will work!
Another way, I’m hoping to move out of my funk and into better health, is that I’ve downloaded a Tabata app. There’s a seven minute work out including jumping jacks, wall sit, push ups, crunches, step-ups and squats. I’ll start it next week, or the next, but at least I’ve downloaded the app. Does that count?
Finally, my Fitbit app has added a “track your mindfulness” section. I used to meditate daily, but haven’t been habitual in the past couple years. I use the Insight Timer app, it’s a great one, if you’re looking for some assistance in being more mindful yourself. They’ve also recently added some yoga courses, and I’ll check those out soon.
And here’s a puppy picture, just for fun. Aren’t they adorable? Puppies always make everything better!
Keeping it real with my struggles during this Pandemic year
So, I’m definitely experiencing some difficulties this year. Pandemic related, election related, weight related, grief related and missing family related. People tell us regularly that we’re “living the dream” and I believe we are, living our dreams. However that doesn’t negate that my struggles are real this year. That your struggles are real. All the great Instagram photos are just that…great photos. But they aren’t always the whole picture. This post kinda seems like I’m rambling, but I’m just trying to keep it real and to put my feelings out there. I’ve told you about diarrhea on the trail and Bangkok belly, might as well tell you when I’m feeling a little blue as well…