Wanderlust 2021: Week 1

Wanderlust 2021: Week 1

Campground: Circle CG Farm, Bellingham, MA
On Sunday morning last week, we finished packing up our seasonal campsite at Oak Haven in Wales. Close-up weekend was a lot easier this year since everything we left on site was left underneath one giant tarp. All other supplies came with us, and I got to skip my least favorite task every season: mouse proofing (or at least attempting to) for winter. 

It was our first time removing the camper from our site and Brandon nailed it first try! The one hour drive from one campground to another was anxiety inducing for all of us. The wind and some milled pavement on the highway made for a bumpy maiden voyage. We stopped to grab something to eat once we arrived in Bellingham and then we pulled up to our home for the next 7 days, Circle CG Farm. Our site was located in a nicely wooded area, not far from the bathrooms and laundry room which is always a nice perk. We parked the camper, leveled everything off and got hooked up and then we unpacked and set everything back up inside. For the drive, I put all of my plants in the kitchen sink. Sadly, a few of them didn’t fare too well with all of the bumps, but my bamboo, money tree and a few of my succulents are doing quite well. 
Once we were unpacked I headed outside to relax for a little bit in my favorite chair. And the feelings of home sickness starting sinking in fast. I didn’t realize how different it would feel being in the exact same camper in a new, unfamiliar campground. The tears started to flow and suddenly I felt like the same lame kid I felt like at sleepovers in my childhood- the one who always wanted to go home. 

Monday was a nice distraction from this feeling, and the day was spent running back to western MA to run errands and finalize a few things before leaving the area. Tuesday was our first fun day, with a trip to Cape Cod planned! 

We headed to our favorite spot first, Mayflower Beach in Dennis. If I ever had to dream up a paradise in my mind, this beach at dusk would surely be included. It was our first time visiting off season, though. So, cold water and lots of wind made for a shorter than usual stay. Once lunchtime rolled around, we ventured to one of our favorite eateries in Hyannis, The Black Cat Tavern. And then spent some time wandering around downtown Hyannis with the kids! Wednesday was a campground day, to give us all a chance to breathe. As usual after a long stint of very busy living (packing up a whole life and business in about 30 days is no small feat, as we learned), the first chance I got to rest was greeted with immense levels of anxiety. I have struggled with panic attacks since my early 20s and this summer my panic symptoms became a more frequent occurrence as I started my journey towards healing from childhood trauma. When I slip into this feeling of darkness, it is very challenging for me to shake it off. I decided to take a trip to run errands in an effort to work through the anxiety. Instead, I found myself wandering through the aisles in Stop & Shop, trying to hold my shit together until I could get out to the truck with my groceries.
One huge part of my recovery from C-PTSD has involved recognizing the self protective strategies I have successfully managed to gather over the years. And when it comes to a public panic attack, I have always been able to maintain my physical safety by “keeping it together” until I am in an okay place to let it all start to fall apart. I let a few tears fall once I climbed up in the truck, and then I had to get myself calm enough to make the 5-6 minute drive back to camp. "Just breathe and drive...breathe and drive." As I turned down the street that the campground is on, the hot, stinging tears started to creep out of the corners of my eyes. I just couldn’t hold them in a second longer. By the time I pulled in, they were flowing. I gave myself a little time to cry and breathe and smoke a bowl. I pondered reaching out for help. And almost instantly decided that suffering alone was thing of the past. Asking for help is a sign of great strength, rather than a weakness as society leads us to believe. I sent a text to my therapist and knowing he likely wouldn’t be able to respond for a bit, I also sent a text to one of my close friends who is always able to help me process these harder moments. 
She instantly called me to talk when she saw my text and I poured out all of my frustrations, fears and anxiety. As each individual anxiety/trigger was spoken into existence, suddenly it carried less weight. The more I shared, the lighter I felt. And by the end of our 20 minute conversation I could feel a sense of safety sinking in once again. By the time my therapist was able to give me a ring, I laughed and told him he got off easy today because my friend beat him to it. I spent the rest of the day taking care of me, allowing myself guilt-free time to breathe, feel and ground myself. And as she usually does, just as the feelings of “did we make the right decision” started to slip into my brain, the Universe sent us a dose of hope. 
The camper next to ours had a family with two kids that we hadn’t yet had a chance to meet. The kids walked over with their mom to ask our kids if they would like to play, just moments after I got off the phone with my therapist. As we started chatting we learned that our new friends Jenn and Chris Borda along with their two kiddos were also a full time RV family, that have been on the road since the beginning of the year. They were currently “stranded” in Bellingham as they waited for their truck to be repaired. Our kids were so excited to have friends to play with, especially friends who are living the same RV and home/road schooling life. 
As we spoke to Chris and Jenn about their experiences so far on the road, I started to remember just why we did this. We did this because life as we knew it no longer felt right. It may have felt “safe”, and it made total sense that in the middle of a PTSD emotional flashback, the safest option always feels like the best choice. But safety isn’t a place, it’s a state of being. Learning to create safety for my trauma wired brain is a daily task, but as with any other task: practice makes (near) perfect. But once safety was once again established in my brain, I started to allow myself to relax and start the FUN part of this adventure.
We decided to take a hike on Thursday at a local state park with the kids and Ozzie. We did about a 1.5 mile loop through the woods, saw lots of fairy houses and beautiful foliage all along the way. 

On Friday, we had to say goodbye to our new friends, whose truck was finally fixed and ready to tow them to their next destination! (GO FOLLOW their journey on Instagram, @travelinglightrv) We promised to stay in touch and hope to meet up again later on in our travels down the east coast! 

As for our family, we had a nice Friday surprise for the kids planned! We took them to their first larger size zoo, Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, MA. We saw lots of super cool monkeys and other primates, giraffes, lions, tigers, cheetahs and leopards. We even got to feed some birds seed sticks right from our hand! By the end of our zoo adventure we were all totally wiped out! It was a lot of walking and a whole lot of fun. 

Our final day in New England (Saturday) was spent back in Hampden at the inspection for our new home (it went great…YAY!!) I cannot lie, leaving Massachusetts is going to feel a whole lot better knowing we have a home to come back to. If all goes well, we will close the week before Thanksgiving! I can hardly wait to take in this view every single day, while I drink my coffee. 
Until then, we will be chasing other views and some fun adventures down the east coast. Next stop: the Poconos in PA! 

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