Real Nomad Life With A Sprinkling Of Cosmic S**t

Sadness, Grief, And Changes On The Road

I’m single again.

Thought I’d never have say those words. Again.

Being on the road with heartbreak is … well … especially heartbreaking.

I can’t just lay in my bed, turn on Netflix, and indulge in ice cream therapy all day like I would in a stick and brick dwelling … there’s chores to be done, water to be fetched and filtered, the cooler to be drained and maintained … all the constant little minutiae of van dwelling.

Therapy.

I started out solo in June 2017, and became the other half of a couple by New Years Eve 2018. I’ve been in nomadic partnership for 2 years out of the 2 years and 8 months I’ve been on the road.

If you’ve followed my journey or read my book, you know we were very happy together, and very much in love.

And just before the 2020 WRTR, the annual gathering of women out in the Arizona desert, (Women’s Rubber Tramp Rendezvous) we separated.

I’m Lost.

I’d traveled with my beautiful partner for over two years … and forgotten how to be alone.

I feel homeless for the first time since embracing nomadic life.

The funny thing is … I lived alone 8 years, very contentedly, before hitting the road.

I haven’t achieved the second phase of a breakup according to Chandler Bing on the sitcom Friends,Get Drunk And Go To A Strip Club,” but it’s been 12 days, and I can finally hum Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares To You” without a complete meltdown.

I’ve never been in this particular depth of heartbreak, and I’ve been through some for sure. I don’t know if it’s because I’m across the country from my entire family, that I’m doing this as a nomad, or that I’ve become somewhat isolated being the other half of a couple … but this has thrown me into a deep depression.

There were moments I was barely functioning, but thankfully I’m starting to come back to myself.

It happened right before the WRTR started, and in between episodes of crying and the onset of a frightening depression, I forced myself show up at the WRTR and RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous) … and kept my volunteer commitments. It was the only thing keeping me going for the first few days.

I guess it’s good timing this happened right before the WRTR/RTR started and there are so many nomads in the area … I found a group that offers support and safety for nomads just like me. It’s a group that deals with depression, anxiety, and other mental illness on on the road, an incredibly valuable resource for nomads. (Nomadchapter.org)

My fellow campers at the Nomadchapter group understand that there are some days I just need to hole up in my van.

On the other hand, talking to women making it to their first WRTR, and listening to their incredible back-stories, shone a little shaft of light into my heart. This WRTR will be my third, and the women who make it out here is one of the main reasons I keep attending. Their courage, and stories of sometimes just throwing stuff in a van or RV and traveling solo across country to get to the WRTR is inspiring.

I’m Here To Tell ‘Ya, Women On The Road Are Fucking AMAZING.

So, it’s gonna take some time.

I’m starting over with new routines, new friends, and a new-again identity as a solo nomad.

As nomad YouTuber Deborah Dickinson likes to say, I’m a gonna’ Keep On Keepin’ On.

If there’s one skill successful nomads have it’s the the skill of persistence, and damn do I need that right now. Part of me just wants to give up, (that’s just grief talking) but I won’t … because I am one stubborn-ass bitch.

I’ll be on my feet again eventually … and movin’ on down the road.

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10 Comments

  1. Kodey

    Hang in there. You’ve got this!!

    • Reikicoach

      Thanks! It doesn’t feel like it yet, but I’m getting there! Too stubborn to quit!

  2. Hi. Thanks for the great article. Followed the link from Facebook group. ❤️

  3. Richard Genovese

    I am so so so sorry to hear! And so very glad you have support!! Only through your words can I speculate & imagine the depths & consequences of your experience & what you are going through. So many thoughts come to mind but perhaps they are better left unsaid. Sometimes at a time like this all the cliches & well wishes are just noise & all you want to say is Yeah Yeah Yeah Whatever!!! That being said I will venture to put this forth, as I said to your sister when she was talking about RVing, “everyone who loves you will root for & support you.” Other than that I wish I had my own words that would help you feel better but I don’t. However these words do come to mind;
    “But me, I’m still on the road
    Headin’ for another joint
    We always did feel the same
    We just saw it from a different point of view
    Tangled up in blue,
    And when finally the bottom fell out
    I became withdrawn
    The only thing I knew how to do
    Was to keep on keepin’ on like a bird that flew,
    Tangled up in blue”
    XXXOOOXXX

  4. Kit

    Oh, my heart.
    I’m so sad for your heartache Mary Ellen. I’m sad with you both. What a journey you shared, and nothing will ever change that. I send love. I know it takes time to move through it all. To sort it all out, and to heal. I’m so glad you are surrounded by love and care at the WRTR and hope you continue to drink from the healing spring of community whenever you soul needs a sip. XO

  5. Cheri Lawson

    I love you MaryEllen..I’m sorry you are so far away from all of us at this moment in time, but know we are holding you close to our hearts..Your journey is our journey..you got this girl!

    • Reikicoach

      Awww thank you so much Cheri! It means so much to hear kind words right now, they’re a lifeline! xo

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