Hello, my name is Kerisa and this is my messed up story of how I got here. I love to travel, especially with my dog Butters. Growing up in Southern California, I didn’t travel a whole lot, yes we went camping, visited family here and there, the occasional big trip, but the world was so foreign to me, I never thought about going to Europe, or what it would be like to snorkel in Fiji, or see the hot air balloons rise over New Mexico at sunrise … the desire of traveling was what originally attracted me to my ex-husband.
We spent our “3 month dating anniversary” on a 30 day long backpacking trip through Europe. I remember having that epiphany moment about 2 weeks into our trip, majorly sleep deprived, roaming the streets of Rome, when I snapped and told him I couldn’t do this anymore, I wasn’t good enough for this! He told me to “Look up!” and there, in all it’s astounding glory was the Roman Colosseum at dawn without a soul in sight. I can honestly say that moment changed my life and I promised myself right there to never doubt myself again, and to never say no to an opportunity, but most importantly I needed to see everything this world has to offer.
Fast forward a year or so and we would be getting married and moving to Boise, Idaho where we spent 3 years traveling the Great PNW and beyond every moment we could. We hiked, we put thousands of miles on our vehicles, we rode our dirtbikes all over Idaho, we crossed a lot of things off my ever-growing bucket list. But traveling isn’t enough to keep a marriage alive and healthy, but that story is for another time and another glass of wine…
I remember the day I walked out of that Ada County courthouse still numb from signing those divorce papers, looking at the mountains as we drove back to what was once my home, seeing Butters as happy as ever to see both of us walk in through the front door as we had over 1000 times, and I had a moment of panic … Butters loved fishing with her dad, Butters loved waking up in her camper, Butters loved running up to her favorite creek in Stanley, ID. I remember picking her up and taking her outside to go potty, and before I set her down I promised her. “I promise. I promise to take you to the ocean. I promise to take you to the mountains. I promise to take you to the desert. I promise you and your cat sister Tiskies will always be safe. I promise you will always have adventures. I promise you a lifetime of love.” I cried a good damn cry and I began to get ready for the rest of my life.
I moved back to my hometown in Southern California and took the kind of desk job that makes you pray for 5 p.m., but pays the bills for those weekend adventures. So that’s what we’re doing. I started with a tent, a Coleman stove, and a plastic plate holder as a makeshift cell phone 10 second timer holder (hey it works, and it was my dad’s idea … go figure). I saved up enough money to buy my teardrop camper with cash, and my Subaru Forester hauls it perfectly. I am filling every weekend I have here in California with keeping my promise to Butters. I am taking her to the ocean, mountains, and desert. I am conquering my fears and paralyzing anxiety. I’m proving to those who say I should play it safe, that it’s not my way of life anymore. I’m spending every extra penny I have on gas, while paying for an apartment in SoCal (ouch) so we have a roof over our head Monday through Friday.
I thought I was going travel solo forever, that is until Anthony came along. I had been single for just over a year when I met him. We spent hours talking about my past, my travels, and my future plans and apparently he thought I was the coolest girl he’s ever met. Anthony is a wee bit of a nerd, he grew up playing video games while I rode dirt bikes, he watches anime while I watch nature documentaries, he can count on one hand the number of national parks he’s been to while I know Yellowstone like my own backyard. But we both enjoyed hiking and camping, and our first date was a tough and sweaty hike on the Chumash Trail near Malibu. He never questions my past, my independence, or my stubborn attitude. He knows who I am and how I got here.
I’m forever thankful for my ex-husband for lighting this wanderlust fire inside of me, but I’ll take it from here.