Planning Epic Transcendental and Mystical Journeys

I am so beyond stressed out from taking care of my father’s latest medical crisis, my brother’s continued mental problems, and my own lack of sleep because of caring for them that I can no longer find comfort in planning epic transcendental and mystical journeys. But here is an update for those of you who have expressed concern about my idea of walking up the Pacific Coast to Seattle.

Although I would take precautions, there is no doubt such a walk could be dangerous, but for now, that is not something I want to consider. In the past eight years, I’ve watched three people die slowly and painfully from cancer, and now I am watching my 97-year-old father die even more slowly from old age. Not taking the trip because of possible dangers would be merely saving myself for even more probable trauma in the future. Life itself is a danger. It does terrible things to people, taking everything they have until there is nothing left but a husk of skin and bones.

Despite all my thinking and blogging about an epic adventure, there is a chance this walk is merely a fantasy. I am not sure I have the physical capabilities of walking so far or spending so much time outside. I am not sure I can carry enough water and emergency supplies. And to be honest, I’m not sure I really want to do it — the thought could simply be a means of mentally escaping an untenable living situation. Still, if I take the trip, or try to take it, I will be as prepared as possible without carrying the whole world on my back. I’m looking into such things as mylar emergency blankets, down vests, bear spray (I figure if it can ward off a bear, the spray could ward off any human predator, too). I am also researching the best way of carrying things, and no, it isn’t on the back, it’s on the head, but that I won’t even consider. I want to look as if I am on a walk, not backpacking through the wilderness or trekking around East Africa.

The walk is only one possible adventure I am considering. I started out planning an extended cross-country road trip, perhaps visiting the national parks, sometimes camping out with full camping gear and sometimes staying in motels to catch up on civilization’s offerings, and this is still a possibility, especially if my car is running. (If I were to walk up the coast, I’m not sure what I would do with the vehicle during the year I would be gone.) Another possibility is to somehow use my ancient VW as a means of promoting my books, maybe painting it by hand to attract attention or letting people who buy a book sign my car while I am signing their boobedk. (Although I like that idea, I’m not sure how to market it. Marketing, unfortunately, is not my forte.)

And it’s possible I wouldn’t want to stop taking dance lessons, in which case I would take shorter long walks to prepare for the epic walk or go on weekend camping trips to gain experience in the outdoors. (Besides, my dance teacher says she doesn’t want me to stop, and it’s been a long time since someone wanted me around just for me, not for what I could do for them.)

In other words, despite all my blogging, thinking, talking, I have no idea what I will do when my responsibilities end.

Well, I do know one thing. I will sleep, or at least try to. Being responsible for others’ care is exhausting.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

11 Responses to “Planning Epic Transcendental and Mystical Journeys”

  1. smbysh Says:

    I understand what you are going through. Though my parent is not of that age, we are going through our own battle of sorts. And yes taking care of things is exhausting and not just physically. Hang in there. and always remember bad things can turn around into good things.

  2. cicy Rosado Says:


  3. katsheridan Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear you’re still carrying the burdens of others. Have you looked into respite care? Around here, you can check an aged relative into a nursing home for a weekend or a week, just to get some rest for yourself. I hope you have a grand adventure, whatever it may be. Personally, I’ve always thought a week in a Gypsy vardo (caravan) sounded sweet.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      What an interesting idea — well, two interesting ideas, both the respite care and the gypsy vardo. For now, dancing is my escape, when I can go to class, that is.

      One good thing is I am running out of people’s burdens to carry. When my father is gone, so I am. I hear adventure calling.

      • katsheridan Says:

        I can totally see you lolling about in a vardo in your belly dancing outfit! People who own/love them have regular gatherings from what I understand. Consider it camping with a roof over your head.

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          I’ll have to look further into a vardo. Seems like it would be light enough even for my VW to haul around. And so cute! I wish I were handy in that way — there are a lot of DIY instructions available. But maybe I could find something for sale. Such a great idea!

  4. Kathy Says:

    Talking about it is half the fun – maybe more than half – and a great mental escape when you’re going through tough situations. Don’t stop dreaming, planning, writing, and talking – it’s probably what you need. And dancing – love hearing those stories, too.

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