enter cloudland : nurturing your wild woman

As I pondered this transition into my new Wild Woman, I could sense that something was still missing. I was walking the walk, but could I talk the talk? ….Or was it vice versa?

I knew that I was going to have to get away. What I wanted was something private and secluded, where I could think and write. What I needed was something challenging, out of the norm, out of my comfort zone. I already live and work in some of the most picturesque country landscapes anyone could imagine. People pay to get away to where I am. But I needed something different. I still needed nature. I needed the mountains.

I found the perfect fit in a tiny house named The Wandering Gypsy. It was situated roughly 30 feet back from a cliff on the Georgia side of Lookout Mountain, near Chattanooga. And it had the most amazing views. Our first night there we watched the sunset from a hot tub that sat right on the edge of that cliff. We woke up to find ourselves in Cloudland – a mystical setting where one quick view out the window looks like you’ve found yourself transported to the Himalayas (but also the aptly-named Cloudland Canyon was right down the road). In the mornings, we’d sit outside and drink our coffee on a private piece of hillside where we could watch the clouds roll and drift away as the city below revealed itself to us. In the evenings, we had to make our own entertainment when we found out that our wifi connection wouldn’t support even one go-to-sleep episode of Seinfeld.

But that was the beauty of it. We were completely out of our element. We were forced to live more simply, and from that we thought deeper and spoke with even more honesty. We had plenty of time to hike, discovering secret-like waterfalls down 600-stair canyons, and plenty of time to take in parts of Chattanooga that we’d never ventured to before. On top of all that, our vacation took place over several weekdays, which led to an eerie and magical sense that we were all alone in our ecstasy of wonder and calm.

Chattanooga moves at its own pace, anyways. People are relaxed and friendly. Everyone wants to be outside and so they act and dress that way, too. Plus, there is a sort of mystical element to this city surrounded by mountains. Even our tiny house gift shop was selling handmade mala bead necklaces!

There was a thrill in knowing that we had all the control we didn’t even know we desired. It’s rare that I get to travel without a schedule, or without a host who has a pre-planned list of places we need to go. There’s a time and place for all that, but this was a trip that needed some flexibility. This was a trip that needed space for nothingness. This was a trip that encouraged us to seek what we wanted to find. And once we got there, we could spend all the time we wanted just sitting. Or getting up and going. Or finding something new.

Towards the end of Day 2, however, some reality decided to set in. Different worries from back home were beginning to plague our thoughts, as well as the feeling that anyone gets when they know their adventure is coming to a close. But we picked ourselves back up and headed out on the town – where, get this Nashvillians – event parking was a whopping $5. The event we stumbled on was a free music night, and it was like the whole city of Chattanoogans had congregated there in that moment to just have some fun. Our spirits were lifted once again.

When we got back to the Gypsy for our final night, we decided that our quiet solitude was the perfect opportunity to draw some tarot. The lights turned low, only the sounds of frogs and crickets outside the whir of our little window A/C unit, we each drew 3 cards – Past, Present, Future. And remarkably, the cards told us exactly what we’d been struggling with, and followed us into the calm we’d created in our little sanctuary . Whatever doubts and fears we’d allowed to creep into our time away had subsided. And this trip had done that for us. This trip had made our hearts and our minds truly wild.

Because being wild doesn’t have to be about hiking the PCT or almost being mauled by a bear. Being wild doesn’t have to mean we live in a tiny house or a van every day of our lives. But being wild can mean that we know how to be truly ourselves – with all our distractions set aside. No TV. No big groups of people. No special events. Just being. And embracing. And remembering. And then, out of that, creating. Just as I’ve been trying to do this whole week now that I’ve come back.

As I reflect on this now, just 7 days out of that wild and magical abandon that we encountered, now pitched back into my realities and responsibilities, I realize it’s already become difficult to call up that good energy once again. But sharing it here, seeing y’all read it, and comment on it, and feel something from it, is pushing me forward. And I thank y’all for that. It means the world to me.

Now let’s keep this feeling alive, together. Let’s do what it takes. Let’s be wild.