Mind Games in Big Bend

Mind Games in Big Bend

Solo camping navigating. I’ve been trying to teach Pugsly, but she just wants to sleep.

Ow. Don’t mess with Texas.

I learned to use duct tape to get those near invisible prickly pear prickers out! Works!

It took me two hours to go 10 miles to my new campsite. It’s great!
The Chisos mountains and the doggies are my companions.

I got to do some outdoor reading, but this giant orange threatening wasp looking creature kept hovering around me, so I went inside to the camper.
Still, not too shabby. I’m here for two days.

When I was 17 my dad took me to Lake Tahoe. He’d gotten some kind of great deal on a resort room, so we went north from his apartment in Berkeley.

The views were spectacular. Gigantic mountains jutting out of a vast deep blue lake. After about half a day, or maybe just a few hours, I refused to leave the room. I’d rather read, I said.
I didn’t know what was wrong, only that it felt really uncomfortable to be outside.

At first, my dad thought that I was being a petulant teenager, but after a while I was able to communicate to him some of what I was feeling.

The mountains were too big and too far away and when I looked at them I had a dread sense of disconnection with the world I was viewing and that was so unnerving I retreated inside to the safe, small room.

My dad immediately understood. He’d had panic attacks when he was in his early 20’s and saw those same symptoms in my words and actions. He made me go sit on a pier and talk to him about it. I thought that if I spoke the words of the fear, that it would get worse. Like feeding a monster. He said that the opposite would happen. That when you give light to fear, it expels and dissipates the fears.

We sat on that pier next to the waters for hours. At first, I was bundled up in a blanket, wound tight in a little ball, but after a while I realized that we were just having a normal conversation and I wasn’t tense anymore.

I started having debilitating panic attacks in my early 20s, and have carried those tensions with me to this day. I no longer have panic attacks like I did all those years ago, but I still have anxieties that can stop me in my tracks.

The benefits of the road and the pull of my nomadic soul outweigh even the most sleepless of nights. Walking on this desolate road near my current campsite is fraught with tensions, fears, wonderment, and desire.

Why do we so often seek out that which scares us?

Some hide from it in various ways: in an 8-5 job, by buying things in attempts to push away the quiet dark… television, interwebz, video games… escapism.

Others run headlong towards it. It hurts sometimes.
Maybe I’m not quite right on the head.

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