Travel Blog 11: Finding Faith

Magnolia Beach is labeled, “the last free beach to sleep in Texas.”  While I haven’t paid for even one spot in Texas, this particular location introduced me to travelers of all styles searching for places to park their wheels. RV veterans, van-lifers, skoolies, car dwellers, scampers, trailer-types, tenters, and everything between mixed it up at this windy, but amazing spot to stay for up to 14 days.

While sitting in the back of Blaze, I saw this very curious woman walking the seashell beach. I wanted to interact so I stepped outside as she passed. As the shells jabbed into my bare feet, she initiated the conversation by saying, “Well, I’ll say it for you... OUCH!”  I laughed and we bonded for what would become over three weeks of a travel partnership.

Faith has a history unlike any person I’ve ever met. In my mind of traveling, I don’t believe age, gender, race, orientation, religion, political views, or background have any significance to the individual that I’m interacting with directly in front of me. With that being said, Faith is a fifty-eight year old black woman who worked as a social worker for thirty-five years and raised two children in a Baptist church community in Camden, New Jersey. Roughly three years ago, she journeyed across Africa by herself, gaining a perspective on life that changed everything she ever believed. She returned to the states to flip a mini-van into her new home, follow the guidance of “bigger-picture” beliefs, and live her world on her own terms from now on. Faith has opened my eyes to several points-of-view, influencing me to further my own belief in purely living in the moment.

As we journeyed to Port Aransas, North Padre Island, South Padre Island, and Boca Chica beach together, we found a comfort level in another individual that neither of us had felt since we began living in our wheels. Though she doesn’t look at Christmas as an important day, we spent December 25th together along with two other women in the process of their own van-life transitions. It was the first time I found myself in a community of road-folks, and oddly enough I was considered a veteran. Gaining comfort with sleeping in wheels is no easy task. I couldn’t imagine it as a woman just starting out, but the ability to trust strangers is a wonderful aspect of life that can only be learned by traveling to foreign environments by yourself with no plan at all lined up. Figuring out life-on-the-go is one of the most fantastic challenges a person can experience. I commend and compliment anyone that has given it a shot or interested in trying. It is no easy feat, but guarantees to provide some of the most amazing interactions and memories a human being could ask for.

A side note story; even the most experienced of individuals make mistakes. Faith, Mary Ellen, and I watched the sunset together on the sandy openness in South Padre Island on New Year’s Eve. While they drove off, I decided to stick around in hopes of a good view of the local fireworks show that night. Once darkness took over, I realized I was the only car out there. I stepped out for fresh air only to realize the tide had come in on the bay and I was trapped on the only elevated spot with water filtering in. Nerves, fear, and panic took over as I was about to end 2020 in the absolute worst way possible. I tried to stay calm to observe my options, but they were minimal. Similar to a horror film, I wound up driving through a bog in 4 wheel drive with water splashing, weeds grinding the bottom of Blaze, and torturous concern in my eyes. Luckily the ground began to raise as I darted for the only building in sight, jumped a curb, and made it back to pavement after twenty minutes of “Oh no, how did I screw this up?” filling my mind. Sitting in the empty parking lot, I breathed and meditated my way through the panic attack before heading to the other side of South Padre Island where 4 wheel drive charged through thick sand for the sound of waves, my planned seafood stew dinner, a bottle of wine, and pleasant fireworks in the sky to finish out 2020.

Waking up on January 1st, 2021 provided the most amazing golden sunrise and a brilliant fresh start to literally everything in my life!


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