On April 3rd I packed up my car and my two dogs and left a friends house in Ontario, Canada to embark on a trip unlike any I’d ever taken. It was a Tuesday morning and it was snowing, winter was dragging on for what seemed like ever. There was a chill in the air and small flakes landed one by one on my windshield. I had an awful cold even though I’d just gotten over one that had started in my throat then ultimately resulted in an ear infection. I’d been sick almost every month since my separation at the end of October. This latest illness had started the night before my departure and I could feel it getting ready to take over my whole head. With the stress and the weather and my general way of handling everything (not in the best way at this point) it seemed no amount of immune boosting supplements could keep me healthy. I was desperate for sunshine and the ability to breath through my nose again.
I had planned to drive out to San Diego and my first stop was going to be Indianapolis, followed by Tusla, then a night in Alberquerque before I reached my final destination. I spread it over four days since I was driving by myself (my dogs refused to take their turns) and we would have to stop for a lot of bathroom breaks. When I arrived at the Canada/U.S border, I was held for about half an hour, they searched my car and questioned me intently about why in the world I was driving to California like a crazy person and was I sure I’d be coming back? I was honest and while holding back tears I explained to five officers that I wanted an adventure after separating from my husband but no, I wasn’t going to go permanently live on a beach. As it happened National Geographic was there filming Border Security: America’s Frontline, for Netflix. The lead director came over to speak with me, he introduced himself and told me as I was waiting to be further questioned that I shouldn’t worry as it’s all pretty standard. He paused then said he took a road trip after his divorce, said it was incredible and he understood what I was doing. I didn’t realize I’d been practically holding my breath, I sighed and felt somewhat relieved that someone got it. At that point an officer came into the room and told me I could continue on my way. I responded with ‘really?’ almost shocked that it was all actually happening. After signing a waiver to potentially appear on the Netflix show (I’ll be the one with two dogs) I crossed into the US of A. As I drove along the highway I felt tremendous relief, I was definitely doing this. The feeling of being in another country, even still so close to home, was gratifying.
I was torn about including this next paragraph but it was a big part of my trip out here… No longer than 5 minutes had passed since I was in the states, when my phone made it’s standard text message notification sound. I saw the name of my ex come up on the screen. My first thought was that he must of figured out somehow that I was leaving that day. I stopped and read the text. It was long and it explained that an immediate family member of his was very ill. He said he’d want to know if it were my family and thought I might want to reach out to call them or go see them. I cried, hard. After the thrill of my journey just beginning this was such a huge blow. In spite of everything that had happened between us I felt sick that this was happening to him. Though I had a somewhat complicated relationship with some members of his family I felt guilt and I felt tremendous sadness for this person. At the same time I was wrestling with these feelings I instinctively knew I couldn’t be a part of what was happening with him. I let this digest and let some time pass before I responded to him. I said I would be thinking of his family and sending good thoughts, that I wanted the best for all of them but I couldn’t be there for this, for him, or for them. Breathe, move forward.
After a grueling day and a three hour detour outside of Pittsburgh, the dogs and I arrived in Indianapolis late that night, it took every ounce of energy I had left to get our things into the hotel room before I could finally go to sleep. I awoke the next day more congested than the day before, picked up some cold medication at a drugstore near by and continued on. The cold medication rocked my stomach but at least I could breath properly for the rest of the trip.
After 4 long days of driving we were finally coming into San Diego. The sun was setting over the hills making the sky a surreal blend of pinks and blues. I felt like I was in a dream, It seemed unfathomable than I had just driven all the way here from Canada.
That drive was a lot of alone time, good alone time and bad alone time. I spent several hours learning almost all of female rapper, Cardi B’s songs (I’d say well enough I think I could start doing concerts). I spent the majority of the drive crying, some time screaming at nothing and probably too much time talking aloud to my dogs. Wrigley (my 8 year old female Rottweiler) & Arya (my 4 year old Chocolate Lab) were part of the reason I chose California as a destination. Wrigs prefers sun over snow and Arya is a water lover to the extreme. I didn’t like the idea of putting them on a plane so our trip had to be to somewhere I could drive to with them in tow. The three of us girls had had a rough few months and I wanted this trip to benefit the two of them as well. All three of us were fucking exhausted and worn down but, we were finally here and open to whatever was to come.