Sunday, July 24, 2011

An electronic fast...

starts tomorrow, as I take off for a week-long road trip during the last stretch of my vacation. Things here on the island are calm, nobody is actively dying (I assume), and (unlike last year) there is no apparent reason for me to abort this mission.

I'm planning to catch the Keystone ferry at 8:45 tomorrow morning and head for Olympic National Park and the Makah reservation at Neah Bay. Once at Neah Bay, I intend to take the trail that runs from a tribe-maintained parking lot out to the farthest tip of land of Cape Flattery, overlooking Tatoosh Island and the Pacific. It's about 3/4 of a mile and I've never walked it before. It's been on my "bucket list" for a long time and I'd hoped to do it last year but had to cancel at the last minute.

I've been slowly packing for a week, surreptitiously gathering items in the spare bedroom, keeping the door shut so the cats don't worry too much. Yesterday morning when Max wandered in for a nap, I swept him up and hustled him off to the kennel before he knew what was happening. I hate worrying about whether I'll be able to catch him and get him there in plenty of time, so I often take him over a day early.

I'll look for a good camping spot around Neah Bay or Kalaloch for that evening and head for Astoria OR the next morning. I've rented a RoadTrek camping van from my friends MK and Eileen and will be camping out six of the seven nights of the trip, with the final night in Manzanita OR with friends June and Ralph.

People are often aghast at my eagerness to camp by myself. Frankly, I love doing that. It's a special kind of solitude, with a campfire and early morning coffee at a picnic table and a long walk on the shoreline in the dawn. It's a time of peace that can't be attained at home with newspapers and TV and internet and phone. I'm not planning to take my laptop, so I won't be seeking out free wifi cafes on the trip. I'll have my cell phone, just in case, and can check my home voice mail, but those who email me will have to wait.

I won't be strictly doing my WW food routines, but I will be careful enough to maintain what I've lost (19.6 lbs so far). I will indulge with a Tillamook ice cream cone and a breakfast burrito while I'm in that area. If I eat out, it'll be fishy stuff primarily. I don't want to feel food-guilty while I'm detoxing from stress.

Other stops on the road will be Ft. Stevens State Park outside Astoria, for two nights, and at Cape Lookout State Park, outside Tillamook. I'm not going any farther south than Tillamook, as I'll be doing some scouting around for possible retirement locales in the future. Anywhere up and down the North Oregon coast is where I want to be, and these two small cities are lovely places.

I've promised my Aunt Sigrid that I will visit her in Portland before I come home and I'll make every effort to do that, though I discovered that I'll only be in Portland on Sunday, when she's apt to be in church. So I may have to make do with a phone call. I did visit her earlier in the month when I was at the Mensa AG. My sister and I worry about her a little bit, since she lives alone and has had some health issues. Our cousins are attentive but can't do everything and she's our last elder on my mother's side of the family.

I've been thinking about retirement some more and have made some decisions about when and how, but one of the things I want to do some reflecting and journaling about is what my identity will be when I no longer am in a vocation that has been so defining. I've always been in a profession that had "moral weight"----welfare caseworker, missionary, teacher, guidance counselor, minister---and those professions have such an impact on how others relate to me that I'm wondering what it will be like not to have those roles attached to me, especially when I move to an area where no one knows much about me.

An interesting challenge!


Robin Edgar said...

Bon voyage Ms. Kitty!

And, from the sound of it, it will indeed be quite the bon voyage. :-)

Miss Kitty said...

Hooray for you! :-) Have a wonderful time, Ms. K. And I'm glad you boarded the kittehs. That silly Max is not to be trusted, going out on his own while you're out of town.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Robin and Miss K. I intend to have a perfectly lovely time!

Mile High Pixie said...

That's brilliant, Rev Kit! I took a four-day electronic fast with my Mom while she's been out here, and it's been great. I've really enjoyed not checking email reflexively.

And that's an interesting point about how your roles as the terminal healer put "moral weight" on you. Do let us know how it goes when you relieve that weight on your trip, even if it's only for a moment. indeed, who are we when we're not who we are, or think we are?

michiganme said...

This brings back memories. I moved to Salem, Oregon in 1979 and lived there & Portland for 10 years. My favorite camping spots were Manzanita and Tillamook. I spent many weekends at the coast with my pup tent, books & journal - my friends thought I was nuts. But I felt safe (at the time) and my time there without distractions helped me clear my head and set priorities. Hmmm, and that was even before internet & cell phones.