Military Mode

Where in the world is Jessica Burke?

Good Question. I thought that I would try taking my chances in Tofino, but once I arrived I quickly found out that all of the campgrounds have closed for the winter season. Whimps. So the first night upon arrival, I was exhausted from driving all day and exercising Jeremiah, but not eating for two days, and anyways, I caved and bought a motel room. For a whooping 150$.  It would have been closer to 200$ If I had said I had a pet with me, but apparently you have to book in advance for a pet friendly room, so I set up Jeremiah in the van for the night. The amount of anxiety it gave me to do that, was apparently the same for him, because when I went to him in the morning he had torn up the foam I had just bought. It was a weird night. Lets retrace a bit here.

After my trip to Salt Spring, which was like a warm comforting blanket of love from so many familiar faces. I probably should have stayed, but Salt Spring always sucks me in and I’ve really wanted to just be alone. I needed that little visit though. I needed to be reminded that I have so many people, almost an entire island, that has my back. I got a job for the spring/summer season lined up. I made new friends. And I remembered how much easier it is for me to live on Salt Spring then it has been anywhere else. I put my time in there. I made real connections that will last a lifetime. I tend to forget these things when I isolate myself. Maybe I felt like I had nothing to give back, after it felt like I had been completely drained from the disaster of a break up I had gone through on that island, and everyone witnessed, I was ashamed.

This time around, it’s different. Everything is different. I have a better grasp on how to handle myself, with my virtues and a little more experience. This time I know which roads to stay clear of…or at least, I have more self awareness to be able to handle the obstacles that arise along the way.

Courage, Honesty, Diligence, Patience, Self-Reliance, Humbleness, Strength, Mindfulness, and Faith. 

For those of you that read my blog, but never like my post or leave comments, thank you? I do appreciate a good thumbs up every now and then, or a “I feel ya” comment. Every now and then I’ll receive a message from someone that tells me they read all of my posts and they appreciate that I am being real and they can relate and it brings them joy to read. I know you’re out there. So I’m going to keep writing for myself, and for you.

So the truth, unfortunately I can’t go off with all the dirty details of what’s been going on in my life, because it’s unfair to everyone that isn’t me. But, I can say this, after falling hopelessly in love, as I easily tend to do, I was crushed when the inevitable truth became evident. Even if we could be civil again, and laugh at each other’s mistakes, there was no going back. I would never forget what we were capable of and I knew that as much as it would bring us discomfort from the disconnect, I had to pack my shit up and leave. I turned my heart off and I didn’t look back. I went into military mode. Not the first time I’ve said that. Military mode, is when you don’t think, you don’t stop, you don’t look back, you just keep going.

So I’ve been in Military mode ever since. I haven’t stopped moving. I haven’t stopped to think about how I feel, until the end of the day and I’ve found a spot to sleep and then the wheels begin to turn and I begin to replay everything.

When I am with my friends, when I am with my dog, when I am outside and breathing the fresh air, I am appreciating the present moment. I am right there,  in the now. So most of the time, Im happy. I love my life. I love myself. I fuuuucking love my dog. I love my family. I love my friends. I love where I am, except for the motel room, that was a waste of money. I feel so blessed and so appreciative that I can live this way, but I do have hard times. Maybe I don’t say that enough. Maybe I am slightly manic depressive, or just an over-thinker. Sometimes I lose myself to my mind, and that’s been something Ive been working on for this past year. Mindfulness. Self- awareness.

So let’s go back to that first night here, in Tofino. I arrived at the Motel. I went out for dinner. I sat alone at the bar, and stayed open and friendly enough to get to know the part-owner and be able to get a job there if I had a place to live. Not that getting work has ever been an issue. It’s finding somewhere to live through the winter, with a pup, a hound pup at that. Anyways, drank a couple beers and tapped out. Walked back to the motel, took Jeremiah for a mini-walk. Set him up for the night. Felt terrible. Should have snuck him in. Then I went to my motel room and didn’t know what to do with myself. So I did nothing, but lay in bed and think. About everything. Everything built up very quickly and I stepped out of military mode for the night and let myself feel it. Then I felt it all. The empath in me, smiled, laughed, and cried.

I woke up and took a long bath, with a cup of the shittiest motel drip coffee. I brushed my hair and lathered my body in the remaining luxurious body lotion. I blew dry my hair, I put on my earrings. I wore my good jeans and a clean shirt. I put on my new socks from the dollar store, since I still haven’t done laundry. And gathered everything up in my arms and I checked out.

I went straight from that motel to the beach. And I let Jeremiah run his heart out. Then I began to feel like myself again. I walked and walked back and down the same beach. I went back to my van and introduced myself to the people parked next to me.

I made a couple friends. One was an older gentleman going through a divorce that gave me a huge chunk of smoked salmon and halloween candy. He gave me his number and told me he was going to buy some land in Costa Rica and he goes to Columbia often and he told me it made his day meeting someone like me. That felt good. He said it was cool to see a girl that was perfectly content with all she had for once. Thanks Gary!

The other was a girl that worked at a resort, who offered up her number and said she’d ask around for me to see if anyone knew somewhere where I could park. I thanked her and said I was on my way to get some food.

Then I went and bought a tuna burger, and ate it in my van with Jeremiah drooling over my shoulder. Then I decided to that I wouldn’t give up here. So I went back into town to scope out possible locations to campout. I remembered from when I had stayed at an airbnb to get my SUP training certification that there was a road I could probably just park at the end of and no one would notice. I ended up finding another beach in town to let Jeremiah run some more. Then I decided to go back to the big beach for the sunset. Having a dog is great, cause then you make friends with people with dogs. I introduced myself to a couple couples, let the dogs play, and then I made it back to my van just before the sun disappeared. Which meant I was driving down winding roads in the dark, very slowly and people were not happy with me. Oh well. My engine light came back on. Which it occasionally goes on and off. I tend to ignore it, but it gave me some added anxiety.

I drove around town for awhile, seeing that people were “stealth” camping everywhere. Then I pulled over and a cop crossed my path, driving very slowly. It freaked me out, so I pulled out and drove out of town. Back to that area where that airbnb was, next to a restaurant that I could have possibly drank too much at. I didn’t leave my van, I didn’t eat or drink. I just curled up with Jeremiah in my arms and he was tired too. He began to snore and my body began to fall asleep, but my mind was still alert. I slept with one eye open as they say. There were a few times, we could hear drunk people passing by and Jeremiah would bark and growl. I had to hold his snout and whisper in his ear, “Please, please be quiet. We are safe”.

This is not the trip I had imagined myself to be going on. I thought I’d be able to sleep at a campgrounds, with a hot tub, and a sauna, and surfing rentals, I thought I’d meet people. But instead Ive been in a constant state of anxiety, my nerves are shot, and if it weren’t for those beaches I would have called it quits. I can’t go surfing because I don’t have enough caloric intake or rest to be able to survive. Which is ridiculous, but the truth.

So Ill go back to that beach another time. On to the next.

One thought on “Military Mode

  1. Hi Willow, I suspect that you are the sweetest vagabond in Vangroovy today, and for that I raise a glass to you. The Cove is a brighter place with you bellied up.
    I will need a headshot, so let me know if you are game.
    Safe travels

    Liked by 1 person

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