I spoke to my neighbor yesterday at a party. She had heard about my trip and was very interested in it. Her interest was from a different perspective than most people. She had spent a month in silence at a Zen retreat. From what she had heard, she believed my experience on the trail, and especially afterwards, was probably similar to hers. So she was very interested in my after trail experience and some of the stranger, more psychic kinds of experiences she thought I probably had during the trail.
As we talked she told me that even though she did the retreat 8 years ago, she still experiences effects from it. Her after-effects are similar to mine. She does not see a need to speak as much, for example. She also feels a special closeness to those she shared the retreat with, much like the special bond that hikers seem to have out on the trail. We shared an experience so we have a special bond that comes from a shared understanding. It's lonely on the outside for both of us since we are not around the people who shared the experience and the outside world does not understand, and is sometimes even hostile toward the experience.
She said she felt certain that I was not finished with the hike. She said she had done the retreat twice and it was the second time where she finally completed the journey and felt ready to move on.
I agree that I don't feel finished and ready to move on. I would like to go back out there and complete the journey. I struggle with feelings that it's imposing on Tony, that it's irresponsible, that I should not chase this dream again, that I should be responsible and sensible. Hiking the PCT is just taking a vacation, right?
Even with my classes, I would finish them in May and that would be about the right time to do my crazy idea of starting the PCT from Santa Barbara. It would be so cool to start from my doorstep and re-do the Sierras, not skipping any of it this time, and get all the way to Canada.
Maybe this time I could keep the weight off, too. Jeez my thighs are huge now.
Anyway, my neighbor talks just like my mom. She says don't worry about what is right, just do what your heart truly desires and let everything fall into place. It was nice talking to her, especially since I've felt kind of lonely and isolated lately. I'm not very happy at the pet shop and I had just come from working there. I need to find a different job to take its place. The nice things it has taught me are: 1) I do not want any jobs that require use of the telephone and 2) even a $9 an hour job makes decent money if that's the best you can do.
Meanwhile, the Pink Motel is up for sale. Tony doesn't want to buy it, though. It's a dump, almost literally (<- the last link is my own picture. I did not know that was the Pink Motel when I walked by). I don't blame him, though. It wouldn't be my dream location for a place to live near the PCT, either.