Small House Big World

32

Disappointments and Decisions

Anna Edgren • July 27, 2016

Time for a personal update. I feel like sharing right now because I’m feeling pretty alone. I think writing about things might help me feel better. When I found myself single and alone again at the end of March, I felt sad of course but also had a lot to look forward to – figuring out how to RV solo was a fun challenge. Crossing the country from California to Michigan by myself to go to 2 friends weddings was my goal. I was also very much looking forward to spending a month with my family resting and recuperating and reconnecting with them. I did those things, and they were good.

Then my plan had always been to go from family time in Michigan back to Denver and spend a couple of months in Denver. Part of the reason I wanted to go to Denver and spend time there was to build relationships. I have a couple of friends in Denver, and I also feel like Denver is the type of city/culture where I could meet someone – like a romantic interest. Lots of people with shared interests. 

And wouldn’t you know it, I met a person who lives in Denver who I was excited about getting to know better. My journey back to that area went from being a decent plan to an EXTREMELY exciting possibility. Unfortunately, due to a complication of circumstances and bad luck, about a week before my arrival to Colorado, I found out it wasn’t going to happen. All plans cancelled and I’m back to square one.

Now, I am not heartbroken, I can’t possibly be, because to be honest I didn’t know this person very well. I know we had chemistry, and I know we had a lot of great things in common, but I definitely didn’t know enough to justify the amount of disappointment that I feel. I am pretty shocked by how sad I find myself at this turn of events. I knew that I had gotten my hopes up when I shouldn’t have, but my goodness! It has been a very rough week.

The problem is that that the idea I had in my head is gone. I had fantasies about things working out, me having a partner again, the thrill of getting to know someone new and interesting again. Remembering what it feels like to have someone to hug and hold on to. And then having that fantasy taken away in one fell swoop really stung. Who knows if it would have worked out. But the opportunity is gone. And it made me feel about 1000 times more alone than I did before. 

I’ve been doing some reflecting on the fact that I got so emotional about this issue. And I’ve come to a couple of realizations. As much as I love to travel, I don’t think its particularly conducive to meeting someone. And at this point in my life, I am interested in meeting someone. I have to accept that fact about myself and embrace it rather than fight against it. I don’t mind being alone, I just would prefer to have a partner. Unfortunately you can’t just decide to meet someone and make it happen, life doesn’t work that way. You can only do what you can to put yourself in the right path and try to get out there and hope for the best. 

My plan post-Denver had been to go to Utah, then the south west to Arizona and California for the winter. But now in my mind, the thought of sitting in an RV by myself in California, regardless of how beautiful the weather may be, does not excite me. Yes, I do have RVing friends (hi friends!!) but at the end of the day, I’m sleeping alone, and I’m waking up alone, and I’m tired of doing that. Why would I want to be isolated when I could be connected? Wouldn’t it make more sense to stay put for a little while and try to make more connections? I know the argument against this is that if I like traveling, and I continue to travel, maybe I am more likely to meet another person who likes traveling too. Fair enough, but I have many more interests than just traveling. And I have many different ways I can conceive of living my life that do and do not involve traveling full time. The point is, I feel like moving around all the time is going to limit my options at a time when I really don’t want to be limiting my options. It just doesn’t feel right to keep wandering. I feel aimless and directionless. 

I’m here now, in Colorado. I’m pretty seriously considering storing the RV for the winter, renting an apartment, and staying here for a while. I have reservations at a campground until August 13th, so I might shoot for September 1. I have not committed 100% to this in my mind, because I know I am still kind of in a state of emotional distress, and I want to really think it through. One good part of this plan is that if I change my mind and want to leave again, I can. I am not selling the RV. I just think I want to stop for a while and see how it feels to try to make some connections. 

I will want to be closer to the mountains and further away from Denver, but still within an hour of the city. It is still very important to me to be outdoors as much as possible and close to the wilderness. That has brought an incredible amount of joy to my life and I don’t want to lose that if I’m living in or closer to a city. At the same time, I want to be close to PEOPLE. I need to have options and opportunities. I need to put in some effort to finding a connection that is important to me. 

So that’s my only somewhat pathetic story. Life can be disappointing and confusing and it can be hard to roll with the punches. But you have to keep moving forward and make the best decisions you can with the situations that are presented to you. I am in the process of trying to figure out how to do that. 

Thanks for reading. Comments are appreciated here if anyone has advice or can relate! 🙂 

Anna Edgren • July 27, 2016


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Comments

  1. grace shackman July 27, 2016 - 11:45 am Reply

    I think you should go with your gut feeling. it sounds like that is to stop traveling for a while. it doesn’t close doors, it just lets you try something different.

    • Anna Edgren July 27, 2016 - 11:58 am Reply

      Agreed @ going with the gut feeling. I think I need to wait a week or so and let myself settle down and get my mojo back a little bit before I make any final decisions just to make sure my gut is accurate! 🙂

  2. Corinne July 27, 2016 - 11:53 am Reply

    No comments…just sending you a virtual hug. We all need one now and then.

    • Anna Edgren July 27, 2016 - 11:58 am Reply

      This is true – thank you! 🙂

  3. Libby Riemersma July 27, 2016 - 12:18 pm Reply

    I love reading your posts. The ups and the downs. Thinking of you during this time of transition. BTW, a good friend of my son’s will be starting at K-college this fall. 🙂

  4. Nancy Asin July 27, 2016 - 12:55 pm Reply

    You have nothing to lose by storing your RV and staying put for a while. Colorado certainly seems like a place where you can meet like-minded people. I so admire your ability to be honest with yourself and really analyze how to go about achieving what is most important to you. I look forward to seeing how you go about making the connections necessary to put yourself out there.

    • Anna Edgren July 27, 2016 - 2:03 pm Reply

      Good point about nothing to lose – agreed. Thanks for the nice note Nancy! 🙂

  5. Kate July 27, 2016 - 12:59 pm Reply

    Definitely not a pathetic story! Thanks for the reminder about our need for something as basic as human connectedness. Wishing you happiness from afar my friend.

    • Anna Edgren July 27, 2016 - 6:33 pm Reply

      Thank you Kate! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your support! 🙂

  6. Jenny July 27, 2016 - 2:05 pm Reply

    I love your honesty ☺️ Don’t ever apologize for expressing what you want and going after it!

    Hugs!❤️

    • Anna Edgren July 27, 2016 - 2:11 pm Reply

      Thanks Jenny!!! 🙂

  7. Mary Cronin July 27, 2016 - 2:11 pm Reply

    I also think staying put for awhile is a good option for you, especially if you want to meet people. I have always found that love comes when you aren’t looking for it. You might consider taking a class ( grad school?), which is a good way to meet people. There is being alone and and then there is loneliness. Connect with your friends. They also have friends.

    • Anna Edgren July 27, 2016 - 6:37 pm Reply

      Yes, trying to get more involved in activities and focusing on the things I like to do will definitely be part of my plan regardless of where I am!

  8. Kelly Beasley July 27, 2016 - 4:20 pm Reply

    Yo! I hear ya. I have not really been ‘alone’ on the road much. At all. I mostly have been caravanning and/or parked next to friends, ever since I met you! And I HAVE met someone on the road. He lives in a house. Which now causes me to ask the same question. Do I stay, stop traveling, for love? I am staying for now- to feel things out with him. Not sure what to do for the long run. He’s fine with me going off on my own and doing my thing. He does that sometimes as well, so… There’s that.

    This life makes it tough to be in a relationship for sure. We don’t HAVE to keep living this way. Will I? Will you? That’s to be determined. For me, it depends on what happens with me and this person. But, traveling has gotten me to this point, and I don’t regret a second of it. Thinking of ‘settling down’ right now just doesn’t quite feel right though, nor does stopping this adventure and checking things out with the relationship. That’s pretty confusing! So is life, eh?

    Anyway, yeah, I say go with your gut. It won’t lead you astray! Can’t wait to hear what you decide! (Side note- I feel like I have a better chance of meeting new people while I am on the road than I do staying put ‘traditionally’ in a house here in Colorado. We have the young(er) full timer thing in common, and that’s special. It’s crazy how cool everyone is that I have met on the road. It’s just that they come and go….)

    (PSS- Yeah, If I do park my ass anywhere, I want it to be in Colorado!!) : )

    • Anna Edgren July 27, 2016 - 6:36 pm Reply

      Kelly! Thank you for the update it’s so good to know you are thinking about some of the same issues. That is a good point, you do meet some great people traveling. I am going to wait a bit and see if the answer becomes clearer to me – right now leaning towards staying put for a bit. The best thing about this set up is, I can go back to the RV at any time if that’s what I want. I’m sure you appreciate that luxury as well! Good luck to you with the new love interest!! 🙂

  9. Art July 27, 2016 - 4:45 pm Reply

    If you ever find yourself in California, know that you have many friends here to keep you company thru good times and bad. Sending you a big virtual bear hug!!

  10. Carol Kilar July 27, 2016 - 4:47 pm Reply

    Do what your heart tells you. Having somebody to be with is an important thing in our lives. Best wishes to you.

  11. Kerensa July 27, 2016 - 6:54 pm Reply

    Hey Anna,

    I’ve seen similar sentiments going around. I’m sorry I have no advice, but you do have our support and an ear if you ever need it. Say hello to everyone!

  12. Marshall July 27, 2016 - 7:04 pm Reply

    Hey, you musta read my blog post from yesterday! 😉 So, yeah. I feel you. However, I’m not ready to stop traveling to be with someone. Still holding out hope to meet someone doing the same thing so traveling can continue. But that really isn’t a #1 priority of mine, though sometimes it seems like it is (as you know, having read that post of mine).

    All in good time. All in good time. (repeat that 1,000 times and you might start to believe it).

    • Anna Edgren July 28, 2016 - 9:21 am Reply

      Yes, Marshall, you definitely inspired me to open up on this issue, so thank you. I really enjoyed your post. You are right – all things in time.

  13. Elizabeth July 27, 2016 - 11:12 pm Reply

    Loneliness sucks! So sorry you are there right now. I am sure you will move away from it but, while there, it is so brutal. Love you a lot and am holding you in my thoughts. Can’t wait to meet who you find.

    • Anna Edgren July 28, 2016 - 12:03 pm Reply

      Thank you Liz! Appreciate the thoughts 🙂

  14. Emi July 27, 2016 - 11:28 pm Reply

    How about Seattle? Close to the mountains and water;). Always here for you and sending you lots of hugs and love.

    • Anna Edgren July 28, 2016 - 9:26 am Reply

      I have always loved Seattle!! 🙂 Who knows maybe I will do a stint there at some point. Thanks for the well wishes 🙂

  15. James James July 28, 2016 - 12:22 am Reply

    I havta tell ya Ms Anna, this blog post might have actually changed the direction of my life/future plans.
    Ive been toying seriously with the idea of ‘retiring’ young and traveling the country in an RV and living a life not overly different than the one you write about in your blog. I have the income thing sorted, and an RV picked out and I’m about to list my house in a few months. My plan was to give myself 2 years of that lifestyle, and then find a place to ‘settle down’ in….close to the mountains as well. Ive traveled domestically and internationally my whole life, so I figure that I would naturally adjust to this new lifestyle effortlessly. Ya know, south in the winter, Pac NW in the winter.. bbqs at hipster makeshift campgrounds, singsong nights around campfires with traveling bands that sound (and look) eerily like Mumford and Sons. #Instagramheaven right? Lately though, Ive been wondering about the loneliness thing. Being a single, still vital man … how will I do with being alone that much? And is it more than I think (the alone time). Sure, visiting friends from state to state is awesome, but how long does that last before that runs out? I crave adventure like oxygen and girl scout cookies, but at what cost?

    Rambling as I am at the moment, I have no advice for you except I feel your struggle. It is very specifically the same as mine this very day and youve caused me pause and rethink whats important to me. I may still go fwd with my plans …. but I might not.

    Thank you for flying the flag of what youre feeling today.

    James

    • Anna Edgren July 28, 2016 - 11:43 am Reply

      Oh man, James. Thank you for writing. The purpose of this blog has always been partially to help inspire other people to get out there and go exploring, and the thought that I might have inspired you to do the opposite is upsetting! So I have a few things to say: The year and a half that I have spent living in the RV has been one of the most interesting, challenging, and FUN things I have ever done. I have seen so many cool things. I have made so many good friends. I have learned how to live a traveling lifestyle. It’s a truly beautiful thing and I am so thankful that I did it. I RVed with my boyfriend, and now I’m RVing alone, and yes its very different. And yes there are periods of solitude and loneliness. But sometimes its good to challenge yourself to accept that solitude – you can learn things about yourself and about what you want.

      I am so thankful that I have gone through the experience of RVing solo and wouldn’t trade the things that I’ve learned, or the fun times that I’ve had, for anything. At this point in time, I think stopping – at least for a little while – feels like the right thing to do for me (although I am making no promises quite yet). I wouldn’t be making these plans to stop if I had to sell the RV right now and give up on the idea all together. I am so glad that I have this option and know how to live this way – because its amazing. Maybe in a year I will want to go back out again. Maybe I will meet someone to bring with me. Maybe I will meet someone in CO and stay here forever. Maybe I will want to move to ANOTHER city and stay THERE for a year and then decide all over again. Maybe I will want to go international. Who knows? That’s the beauty of creating a life with location independence – you have all those options all the time. So, I don’t know you, I don’t know your situation, so I can’t really advise you. But maybe this will give you a little more to think about as well. Best of luck to you in your decision making! I know it’s freaking hard! 🙂

  16. Sabrina July 28, 2016 - 12:30 am Reply

    Colorado is a beautiful place to land for a while. I personally recommend Boulder or Golden as close-to-the-mountains-yet-close-to-Denver options. Note- both can be pricey for apartments. Best of luck!

    • Anna Edgren July 28, 2016 - 9:24 am Reply

      Yes definitely considering both of those as options – seems like golden may be cheaper but maybe more availability in Boulder… We’ll see!

  17. Travis July 29, 2016 - 2:33 pm Reply

    I was in Denver for about a month this summer. I wish our times there overlapped..

  18. ConstantCritic July 30, 2016 - 5:38 pm Reply

    Anna,
    I have just crawled out of the wilderness to find your existential realizations profoundly familiar.
    I feel like I have a thousand bits of advise accumulated from a lifetime of philosophical pondering.
    But here’s just one. Don’t take advise from someone who has failed as miserably as I have at personal connections.
    I have taken over 100,000 pictures over the years and the only people in those records are strangers framed by accident.
    I’m a ghost in my own life. People don’t see me. I don’t exist. The one thing that brings the greatest awareness of my absence is not having shared in this journey.
    I never would have thought my life would have had this social void, it’s not like that in my dreams.
    But the calendars keep changing and the scenery keeps changing and I am moving but static.
    It seems I am in a world of couples. Everywhere I go, it’s couples happily sharing their moments. I can move among them and be unseen, unrecognized. Then they’re gone or I’m gone.
    There’s something about knowing there’s no home to return to, to ground you, or nobody there who knows you or cares about you that invalidates your existence.
    So life for me is like what it must be for seniors. I’m just living to die. Except for that 80 year-old couple I met riding a tandem bike down the 101.
    I don’t wish this for you. I’ve read your blog since the beginning and you have so much to share. It’s in your words, in your smile, in your eyes and in your heart.
    Traveling alone is hard. Even harder with the size of your rig and toad.
    Travel may be part of your journey, but it’s not the meaning in the journey.
    I have no doubt you will find your partner. But it shouldn’t be just someone to fill the void. You’ll just feel the absence of connection. Being in someones comfort zone is not always the most comfortable place to be. It’s no mystery to me why relationships don’t last. That’s the blessing.
    I may be fading but you have yet to shine your brightest.
    Looking at all the response to this post, clearly you are not alone.
    Thank you for sharing this part of your journey. I feel you.

    • Anna Edgren August 1, 2016 - 3:15 pm Reply

      What an incredible post, thank you so much for sharing – you have a beautiful way with words. I am sorry to hear that you have felt this absence in your life and can relate. I have spent a lot of time thinking about relationships and their meaning, so I have a few thoughts here.

      I think being lonely and feeling alone are an integral part of the human experience. We all have a sort of ideal version of what it would be like to never feel alone, to always feel loved, to always feel connected and cared for. We all crave this closeness and understanding, yet it is always to some degree elusive, because that’s the nature of reality. Each person is their own little separate bubble of experiences and hopes and dreams and feelings. As much as you can share those experiences, no one else can ever truly know what it is like to be you, or know who you really are. They can’t know every moment, they can’t understand every thing that you’ve felt. And you can’t know everything about that person either. There is always a gap.

      We all strive towards achieving this connection, and maybe we do finally get it here or there, for some period of time. Some people may get to experience it for longer than others. Maybe you find the right person, and they pass away. Or they leave you. Or they turn out to not be who you thought they were. It happens to people every day. People come and go in our lives.

      When not in a relationship, it is easy to think that everyone else has found this ideal sense of connection and belonging and togetherness. And maybe there are people who out there who feel like they are truly connected and truly known all the time. But I think even people in good relationships still struggle with that sense of feeling misunderstood, unappreciated, and unfulfilled. So many people in relationships struggle to love and be loved in a way that is fulfilling.

      I think there is a beauty in accepting the ultimately solitary nature of life, and in finding the strength to carry on alone and find happiness in the ways you are able to find it. Knowing that other people flow in and out of your life, they may understand pieces of you, you may understand pieces of them, and then they are gone. Maybe you find a lasting connection somewhere, or maybe you don’t. Having yourself as a solid foundation, to be your own rock, to hold your own hand, is something I strive to do and I think there is value in that.

      I will also say, life moves in ebbs and flows. It cycles. Sometimes I will feel like a feeling will never change, it will never go away and give me peace, but then the next day everything is changed. That’s one of the best and most exciting things about life – it’s always changing, and you can’t predict what will happen next. Every day is an opportunity to do something different and experience something new. There’s so much hope in that. And you have to keep that hope alive.

      Anyway – my 2 cents. Thanks again for writing, I’m glad to hear you’re following along and I very much appreciate the well wishes.

      • ConstantCritic August 1, 2016 - 8:50 pm Reply

        Wow. That kind of writing is the reason I follow you.
        In the ultimate bit of irony, over the years, while on hikes, I have been asked well over 100 times to take a picture for a happy couple in a beautiful location, after which I quickly continue on my way. Selfies have lessened this request considerably. The last time may be the most interesting because I engaged in a lengthy conversation with this girl and got to know her life story. When she finished she asked me to take her picture. After which I quite habitually quickly continued on my way. It didn’t occur to me until much later that she might be interested. She did make it point to let me know she was single. I am typically oblivious. What’s interesting is this girl looked so much like you. She never took off her oversized sunglasses but same smile.
        I’ve really been craving a Moe’s Broadway Bagel lately, so when you happen to be in Boulder, could you stop in and order a tomato cheddar, toasted, with artichoke parmesan cream cheese? You’ll have to sit on the patio with Max and feel the warm sun on your face as you bite into the warm crisp deliciousness. As waves of satiation shatter the vastness of the universe I will feel with you the intense gratification of palate and soul. If you happen to have a hazelnut/French vanilla cream coffee to wash it down, all the better. And you can’t deny Max’s hopeful lingering gaze. Offer him a bite as well. This was my routine for years. If you enjoy this one, I have a couple more.

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