One Year on the Road

Blind Faith

This road trip is possibly the craziest thing I’ve ever done.

When you take a leap of faith, how do you know whether what you’re doing is an act of brilliance or a fool’s misstep?

This trip could be the start of a great new chapter in our lives, lead us to a bliss and happiness, launch a career or way of life we never would have even known about if we hadn’t opened ourselves up to life in this way. Our it could take us down a meandering path to nowhere.

In dark, sleepless hours, my worst fears taunt me. Kate and I will grow sick of each others’ constant company and will annoy RV park neighbors with our incessant bickering. The lives of people we love here at home will founder without our support. We’ll return home with our savings depleted and find that renters have destroyed our home. We won’t be able to wedge ourselves back into the job market. Our friends will have become indifferent to us. And the warm, full, rich and comfortable life we have established here will feel thin and ill-fitted.

Sorry, but it’s there. We might look like a couple of carefree optimists leaping blindly into whatever the future holds, and most of the time, I can pull that off. But I’m only a few steps ahead of ragged-breath fear.

I try to remember that my life is a series of blind faith moves that have proven successful. (And if some fork unchosen would have led me to fame and fortune, I’m blissfully ignorant of it.)

Our Brookdale cabin.

When I was 21, I struck out for California in a canary yellow van, with nothing but a gas card, $100, and a few leftover food stamps. I ended up as a nanny in Beverly Hills, and when that went sour, drove up to Santa Cruz and snuck my Irish Setter into my friend’s dorm room until I found a room in a mountain cabin for $50/month. I lived in that cabin for 8 years, with Kate for the last two. She had just moved in with me in 1986 when we decided to look for a sperm donor and start a family. We met Tony and after a cup of tea and a checklist of questions, chose the father of our first child. In two days, I was pregnant. Three days after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, we left our rental in shambles, strapped the kids into our VW van, drove to Eugene and bought a house, with only enough extra to pay two months’ mortgage.

Hell, my whole life has been out on a limb. It’s only the last couple of decades that it’s settled into standard issue. Compared to journeys of my youth, this adventure is cushioned in luxury and safeguards.

I can do this. We can do this. We’ll be okay. My new mantra at 3:00 in the morning. And when daylight comes, I tackle another project on my list.

11 thoughts on “Blind Faith

  1. cwalberg

    So looking forward to this blog. You may want to consider a last ditch financial plan B for when you return so you can sleep better at night. Taking a leap of faith at our age, with eyes wide open, is such a big deal. I wish Paul and I had your gumption.

  2. Susanne

    Jennifer & Kate ~
    When you open a door and step through it with as much passion and enthusiasm as you two have for this adventure that means you have caught a glimpse of of your Higher Selves and Why-you-are-here and What’s-your-gift-to-bring-to-this-world. Or maybe this is just the lure to get you out of the rut of a comfortable & cushy life that might be missing the point. It might be the nudge you needed to get you out there where you will live every single minute with more consciousness……..
    In this heightened state of awareness, you will be able to much better hear the ‘orders’ for next steps coming from ‘Miss Universe’ – or whatever you call the higher power that oversees this chaos.
    What you are doing is perfect and takes courage. The trepidations are always there when you step through an open door, when you make a change. They work with your fears, they use your fears. Take the high seat inside yourselves and watch them pass by like clouds floating by. If you don’t give in to them they will eventually give up.They are not you, they are what’s trying to keep status quo and comfort, etc. at all costs.
    I admire what you are doing. Every day will be a conscious decision. And YES, it will change your lives, it will change you ~ let joy be your guide!

    I love you two adventurers!


  3. Laura Davis

    Love your honesty and this post. Those 3 AM wake ups can be really hairy. I’m sorry fear goes with the territory, but you guys are doing a great thing. And if you find you don’t like it, you can change your mind (and your plans, loose as they are) at any time. Thanks for being our inspiration! Fear and all.

  4. ehbidmon

    You described, perfectly, exactly how I felt when I made the decision to retire at 50. I had a great job and continuing to work until “retirement age” would have ensured a more comfortable retirement. On many levels, it was a huge risk to leave. Scary. Very scary. But, like the two of you and this trip, I knew I had to do it. It was the right thing at the right time, even though I couldn’t fully embrace my decision. Now, three years later, I can’t imagine having chosen differently. Taking that big risk changed my life immeasurably! I am sure the same will occur for you and Kate. My heart and spirit are with you as you take off on this great life adventure! Bravo to you both for being brave and listening to your hearts.

  5. Nadine

    Happy new year on the road to both of you! I am so not surprised but the risk and the adventure. I think you have been living your life this way for many years!!! When you decided to have children for example… Wasn’t it the biggest leap of faith… At that time it was such a bold decision really… It certainly was for me when I decided to do it at 42… I truly believe that we always grow when we jump… I think of you often these days wondering where you are. In Berkeley it is colder than ever! Noam is home from college and it has been very intense to say the least.., will you come by Berkeley on your trip? Jocelyne is arriving next week. I send to both of you many hugs and kisses! Love you both. Nadine

    1. Jennifer Meyer Post author

      At this point, it’s looking like we might not leave Eugene till March. When we do, we’re heading south for sure. I definitely want to see you, and my friend Marianne in Oakland. But I can’t quite imagine parking this rig in Berkeley, or even driving it there. So we’ll have to see what we can work out. Let’s have a phone catch-up soon.

  6. Jan

    As a fellow traveler/kindred spirit in our youth, it is good to remember that it is the journey that is the gift, the fool’s misstep to have not taken it. It is the good and the bad, the push and the pull that creates the texture and tapestry of one’s life. So keep on and remember, we ain’t dead yet. Love to you both.

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