Greetings Everyone! So last time you heard from me I had been living out of my car in Colorado. Ruby and I were doing great. We had a routine and a system down, and I was enjoying the nomadic lifestyle. The past few months have definitely taught me how to appreciate the little things and that life can change within a second, and that is exactly what happened to me.
About 4 weeks ago I got a text from my boyfriend (Andy) saying he was coming back out to Colorado. My thoughts were pure excitement and then immediate stress because there was no way a six-foot man and I could fit in the back of Ruby. The comfort level during sleep would surely plummet into the negatives. So we upgraded from a car to a Coleman tent, vestibule included! There was so much space! We were lucky enough to find a perfect spot on BLM land with our friend Abby that was right on a stream. This spot was perfect! There was shade throughout most of the day. It was nestled in a grove of trees perfect for some afternoon hammocking. You could hear the stream flowing at night that put me to sleep instantly. This spot was camping paradise.
We soon learned that we were not the only ones who wanted to join the oasis. One night we came back to a tent and car parked right in the middle of the site. We thought this was quite odd. It was a European couple that was just passing through and needed a place to crash for the night. It seemed a bit odd because I would never consider just pitching up camp on an occupied campsite but they seemed harmless so we let it go. However, we thought it was even more odd when a few nights later at 1am in the morning a group of people pulled up to our site, we were already in bed, and start wandering around. They shone flashlights at our tent and started walking around in search for who knows what. It was very strange and quite uncomfortable. They started rummaging the woods for firewood and soon we hear the crackle of a fire and the snap of opening beer cans. They had made themselves quite comfortable. I was about as shy as a mouse so I stayed hidden under the blankets while Andy asked what they were doing. They said they would just be hanging out for the night, so we just tried to go to bed. We made it to the morning and found the group to be a harmless swarm of millennials, but over all it was a strange situation I did not enjoy. Anyway, that wasn’t even the worst of our problems. A week later or so is where it got really complicated.
One night the three of us and some friends were enjoying a lovely meal of beef stir-fry and s’mores over the fire when a Ranger’s truck pulled up. At first we thought he was coming to tell us there was a fire ban and that we couldn’t have our fire. But long story short, because people had complained, he ticketed us for exceeding the allotted number of days on BLM property. We were not able to return to BLM property for another 30 days or camp on BLM within 30 air miles. Well damn, we were screwed. Hearts start racing, tears start falling, blood starts bubbling. We had nowhere else to camp without risking getting caught again. So full panic mode commenced. But within a twenty-four hour period I went from pure panic to calming relief because Andy found us a roof to stay under in one day! It was like a magical feeling knowing that we had a place to sleep because the feeling of not know where you’re going to sleep at night is indescribable. The next day we moved into a cheap 2-bedroom apartment in East Vail and will stay here for the next six weeks.
After dealing with a tornado of frustrations and emotions it is such a weight lifted off our shoulders now that we have a safe place to stay. And you know what, I wish I could bring back from the dead the person who invented indoor plumbing and personally thank them for the best invention in the world. Indoor plumbing is the most wonderful and glorious invention on this planet! I’m in love with it! I no longer have pee splattering my legs when I go to bathroom and I can wash my hands whenever I want! It is a glorious feeling. And when you live in a house you can eat TOAST!!!! There is nothing better than a late night piece of toast made in a toaster that you plug into a wall where electricity comes out! Then after you eat the toast you can wash the plate with water that comes out of the faucet! Oh how I have missed flushing a toilet and hearing the pop of a toaster.
I feel no regret in moving back to a house. I endured and enjoyed the camping life for a little over two months and I am proud of that. It has made me appreciate the little things in a life so much more and has taught me to just go with the flow. Life can change in an instant; everyone knows this, so you just got to keep pushing through because things do get better. Situations may suck for only a day like mine, or a week or a year, but it will eventually get better. It all has surely been an adventure; an adventure filled with strangers and friends, mice infested cars (yes, Ruby had many late night visitors while living in the woods), broken stabilizing bars (yes, Ruby decided to break herself while all of this was happening), late night fires, early morning crow calls, and a whole lot of love and appreciation.
As a final thought, I ask everyone who reads this to spread their love to the world. Our world is experiencing a lot of fear and sadness and hatred right now. During all of this darkness we need to keep spreading the love to whomever we can. Tell a stranger hello or good morning. Buy the man sitting on the street corner with his dog a sandwich. Tell people thank you. Pick up trash you see on the street. Hug a tree. High five the grocery bagger. Compliment someone’s awesome shirt. Just share the love you all have, because this world certainly needs it. Dream big.
Amanda wore the Electric Tie-Dye Organic Harem Pants