April 17, 2024

I took Solo Trips in a Camper Van and realized I was a Lesbian

  • I decided to do a solo road trip in a camper van and started in San Diego.
  • During my trip, I got to read, journal, and do yoga in the dirt.
  • Most importantly, I came to terms with my queerness and decided that I needed to end my marriage.

“You’re not gay; you just hate men.”

Our marriage counselor put it simply – like a fact laid out in plain sight for everyone to see, but me. For weeks, I couldn’t get his statement out of my mind. It went in a circle and went around my body like an itchy sweater I just wanted to get off but I couldn’t.

My husband and I then quit marriage counseling and decided to take some space from each other – from our marriage. It felt strange to break up because we still loved each other and had no doubt that we would eventually find him and come back together, stronger than ever.

I bought a newly refurbished Sprinter van and booked a one-way ticket to San Diego, where I would pick up the van and take a week or two to travel the open road. Just me, me, and that itchy sweater. What I discovered about myself on that solo trip ended my marriage.

I started my solo journey in San Diego

Traveling alone was not new to me or our marriage. During our 10 year relationship, I often reserved a few days for myself in a sunny place and came back refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to tackle whatever life threw at me. My ex-husband was always supportive and confident that I knew how to take care of my needs.

But suddenly I felt stuck in my home, my marriage, my body, my work, and my life. I tried coping, I tried counseling, I tried picking up countless new hobbies, I tried medication, and then, I tried to end my life.

It didn’t work. Nothing worked. And then, with multiple medications and therapy appointments scheduled twice a week, I boarded a plane to San Diego, picked up my van, and drove.

I spent the first night parked along the Pacific Coast Highway, overlooking the ocean. It was a sleepless night full of excitement and fear. I was finally embarking on a journey where I lived only within the confines of Pinterest and Instagram, but at what cost? My safety? My marriage? The two?

The next morning, I woke up to the sound of waves crashing on the beach on one side, cars pushing past the van on the other, and a parking ticket on my windshield. I boiled some water on the stove top and immediately scooped a tablespoon of coffee into my new mug. I spent the rest of the morning journaling and reading with my door open and my feet up. It was perfect.

“You’re not gay; you hate men,” I wrote in my journal.

It was again – that itchy sweater.

I suppressed that itch again. A week had passed, and I was finally feeling like I was getting the hang of this van thing. I spent most of my days in remote locations, off the beaten path, and only had enough cell service to Zoom my therapist. I spent my days journaling, reading, and doing yoga on the dirt.

During my trip back home, I continued to make “one more detour,” and ended up extending my trip for another week.

It wasn’t until the second week deep in a forest somewhere in Arizona that I started asking myself the tough questions

Do I hate men? Or am I gay?

I started going back through the timeline of my life and every relationship I’ve ever had. My first high school boyfriend was to whom I lost my virginity. There was my high school sweetheart, the all-star athlete destined for the Ivy League who would occasionally leave me bruised and bloodied behind closed doors. That one lasted for years. Then there were the college boys: The ones who called only when they were drunk or slept with me only when I was drunk, the one who gave me IGT, and the one who gave me my first orgasm.

And there she was.

We met while bartending during graduate school and became fast friends. Eventually, we were more than friends – much more. I chose to ignore it.

It started with the occasional drunken makeout session. Our relationship quickly progressed to more than a casual make-out session. Eventually, she moved in next door. We worked, traveled, and spent much of our free time together. I was always a willing participant, but over time, it became too much for me. I became dismissive and shunned. ​​​​​​I then found a reason to end our friendship. She eventually moved out, and we both moved on to our different careers and lives.

I spent a few days in my van, reliving those memories, taking each one apart, and putting them back together under a very different lens. Was I gay long ago?

I typed into Google: “How to know if you’re gay?” As I sit here today, I can confidently say that if you need to Google “how to know if you’re gay,” then you probably are.

I spent the last half of my journey shedding more tears than I knew was humanly possible. I was sad and mad and confused. Why did it take me so long? How did I miss all the signs? Hindsight is always 20/20, and it’s easy to look back on answers. Now, it was time for the really hard part: Going back home to tell the husband I loved him that I was gay.

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