Welcome to Refinery29’s Feel Good Diaries, where we chronicle the physical and mental wellness routines of women today, their costs, and whether or not these self-care rituals actually make you feel good.
Today: a musician on tour spends her week exploring the Pacific Northwest, working freelance gigs at a Starbucks, and climbing mountains.
Location: On the road
Occupation: Online personal trainer / musician
Location: On the road
Occupation: Online personal trainer / musician
Editor's note: This diary was written in March 2022.
5 a.m. — I wake up early to go backcountry touring, but after some texts back and forth with a friend we decide we don’t feel great about the avalanche conditions. Most mountainous regions have a forecasting center that predicts the likelihood and severity of an avalanche based on the snowpack and weather conditions each day — it’s then up to you and your group to interpret that forecast based on your objective and decide whether or not to head into the mountains that day.
I’m a vocalist and bassist currently on the road touring with my band. We live in a trailer while touring, although we have been based in Montana the past two summers to record and play shows locally. I don’t have a permanent address though. We have a tour booked that ends in Baja next spring and beyond that is the great unknown. We do marketing work for an off-road trailer company and they provide the trailer for our tours. It’s a small pop-out trailer with a bed, seating, and storage.
It’s raining heavily here in Washington and sounds so lovely in the trailer, so I’m pretty happy about the extra sleep. I put on an audiobook, 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think by Brianna Wiest, from my library app and drift in and out of sleep for a bit.
10 a.m. — My friend and I grab a coffee before we head to the trailhead. We’re both antsy to move our bodies after the skiing plans fell through. My friend is in town from San Francisco and I'm just in the area for a few days so our timing feels serendipitous. She is one of those energizing friends — full of ideas and excitement. I love settling into the comfort of the community I have in the Pacific Northwest. It's something I've really missed while traveling. ($5)
8 p.m. — My partner and I stop by Safeway on our way out to our camp spot for the night, mostly because I'm craving chocolate. Not a gas station candy bar, no — I want some extra dark squares to nibble on. My nutrition has definitely taken a hit on the road but I try to be gentle with myself. ($4)
Daily Total: $9
9 a.m. — My partner and I decide to post up in one of my favorite Seattle neighborhoods to work for the day. There are tons of cute coffee shops in the city but I like the Starbucks here because it's big, open late, and close to the water when I need to take breaks from work. I grab a grande matcha with oat milk and pop a supplement called Neuro Optimizer. I manage my ADHD without medication and I find taking this supplement with a little caffeine just before getting ready to work helps me sink into a nice, happy hyper-focus for a few hours. Besides being a musician, I also have online personal training clients and run a 12-week program to prepare women for larger objectives such as climbing Mount Rainier. Most of my clients are outdoor enthusiasts who want to be strong for their sport and develop an appreciation for their body beyond aesthetics. I designed my training business around being mobile so I’m able to do it on the road. It definitely adds a layer of complexity when paired with touring, though. ($5)
1 p.m. — My sister and I chat on the phone while I walk around the neighborhood, admiring the new flowers and gorgeous homes. It's raining but Seattle in the spring is undeniably beautiful. My sister and I have lived apart most of our adult lives but continue to grow closer with age. Even though she's younger, she's always so grounded and wise. I'm grateful for the call. It feels strange to be back in a place I lived three years ago, like another life, another dimension. Last time I was here I was still married and running a business I have since closed. Now, I'm booking a fall tour for my band.
8 p.m. — My partner and I split a chicken dish from a Caribbean spot I love. This place makes the best maduros so we splurge on a side order and laugh at how insanely good they are. We find a spot to park the trailer for the night and cozy up to finish the series Bad Vegan.
It's funny: Before we left a few months ago, I had such an idyllic picture of what this tour would be, and who I would be on tour. Cue the TikTok montage of green smoothies and sunrises and mountain panoramas. Some days come close, but a lot of it is just sorting through logistics. Stopping to pee. Stopping to pee, again. Where are we camping tonight? Where is the cheapest gas? Sometimes curling up and watching a TV show amidst the constant movement is exactly what you need. ($22)
Daily Total: $27
7 a.m. — We wake up in a Walmart parking lot this morning. We've got a trailer that's pretty comfortable but the ambient noise of this small town and the wet weather make it hard to get totally comfortable. My partner and I opted to snuggle and do a To Be Magnetic manifestation together before heading south. I've signed up for the yearly membership the past two years and it ends up being $18 a month.
I'm not always consistent with the work, but I keep my subscription and I'm gentle with myself regarding ebbs and flows. I love the framework of the program and that I can use it intuitively and as needed. I did listen to the free podcast for a year before finally committing to a membership. My partner isn't as into the “woo woo” as I am but I endlessly appreciate him for always trying and participating and listening. His open-mindedness means so much to me.
10 a.m. — Now that we’re in Oregon, we stop at one of my favorite places to work in Portland and order some Kava. It's a much more mellow focus than the coffee buzz I was riding yesterday. After getting through some emails I take a break and walk down the block to pick up some Mom Grass CBG joints. I've been wanting to try CBG for a while since almost all of my weed experiences have been anxiety-tinged. It’s $35 for five joints. ($43)
6 p.m. — We head to the mountains in anticipation of an early morning start. In the time it takes to drive to the mountain, the forecast has changed and we decide to push our climb back two days. We drive into town and grab beers with our climbing partners. The forecast was already a little touchy and it seems like everyone's a bit relieved to be drinking instead of climbing. I've had such mixed emotions around climbing lately. I had to put a lot of personal goals on hold last year after my divorce and I'm still trying to figure out how to squeeze all the things I love into this life. I haven't had as much time for climbing as I've had in the past and it makes me question myself and my place in this community. ($10)
Daily Total: $53
8 a.m. — We order a big diner breakfast to split while we get to work for the day. I prefer cooking to eating out and I can't wait to be back in a place with a kitchen. Lately I've been yearning for a place to meal prep and make healthy snacks. I want to make a big ass salad that doesn't cost $20. I want a blender. God, have I been craving smoothies lately. This is the first time I've spent months on the road and I've realized that eating the way I would at home is just going to take a bit more intention. I'm hoping the warmer temps will make cooking and food prep and cleanup easier. ($17)
6 p.m. — I'm feeling antsy and opt for a sunset lap on my touring setup at the resort. I've lost count of the times I've skinned up this slope and I love the feeling of familiarity here. It feels like one of my places, and I have a sense of grounding that often feels elusive on the road. My partner opts out, which I appreciate. I am an extrovert but I deeply value alone time, especially for my creativity. Being together 24/7 can cause tension, although we are always quick to move past it. We're working on building in more time apart which is challenging when you live on the road and work together.
8 p.m. — We settle in for the night in the parking lot of the ski area. My partner gifted me a book I've wanted for ages called "I Married Adventure" and we've been reading it aloud to each other. We're both adventurous spirits to the core and reading about this Midwestern couple pursuing dreams so similar to ours one hundred years prior gives me goosebumps. It's one of those books I want to read slowly so as not to finish it too soon.
Daily Total: $17
9 a.m. — We post up in the lodge to work for a few hours this morning. It has massive wood tables and cozy chairs to sink into. The sweet restaurant manager offers me coffee even though I explain we're not guests. With the fire going, it's a lovely place to work for the morning. While we live on the road and seem to have a lot of freedom from the outside, we tend to fill up our free time with work. No one is giving us days off or weekends, so we have to build in breaks for ourselves. It can put a lot of pressure on us because if we aren't booking shows or doing freelance work, we don't have an income. It was a huge leap of faith to take this path but sometimes it feels like a freefall.
4 p.m. — I head back into Portland to grab some things from storage. My whole life is packed in boxes in the house I used to share with my ex. After I swap out some winter clothes for spring items, we grab Thai food and catch up. It's still a bit awkward, even though we are on friendly terms. I've dealt with my emotions regarding the end of the relationship but for some reason it's having all of my stuff in boxes shoved in a closet that makes me emotional. It sounds a little silly but some days I miss having a place for all my stuff. I really do have everything I wanted. I try to center back into gratitude. This nomadic, creative life is exactly what I wanted… except on the days it isn't.
8 p.m. — My partner and I get back to the ski parking lot later than we planned and we scramble to pack our bags in the freezing rain. We split a CBG joint to try to unwind before an early bedtime. I'm surprised by how much I enjoy the CBG. It feels like my body lets out a huge sigh as we finish off the joint. I'm excited for our climb tomorrow.
Daily Total: $0
2 a.m. — We are up early to start before the sun hits the mountain and makes ice fall an issue on the upper mountain. I stuff the day-old Taco Bell bean burrito I purchased last night down while we pack the last of our gear. My past orthorexia would wince but I've learned that sometimes what's considered "junk" on the ground is actually great, caloric, slow-digesting fuel on the mountain. Food is just food. It’s a good mix of carbs and fats to get going. ($2)
8 a.m. — We make it to the upper mountain and feel uncomfortable with the snow conditions. I've summited this mountain six times and I hesitate for this to be the first time I turn around. It's a tough call to make but ultimately the group decides to head back down to our skis. I handled the turnaround so differently than expected. I thought my ego would have a fit, that turning around would add more doubt to my already tenuous emotional ties to the mountains, but I felt great. I felt more connected than ever. I could see for miles, the mountains to the south, and I was enjoying the time with new friends. We didn't summit, but it didn't feel like a loss.
3 p.m. — My partner is napping in the trailer but I'm wide awake. Wired and tired. I decide to walk to the general store and grab a kombucha. I settle into the passenger seat of the truck and drift back and forth between a TV show on my phone (Life & Beth) and a new book on my library app (Between Two Kingdoms). I doze off for a bit in a crouched position. ($4)
The alone time feels so sacred. I keep my jacket on but roll down the windows to soak up the warmer spring air. So much of this trip has felt like surviving. We thought it would be brilliant to line our show dates up with ski season to really maximize the adventure. We failed to realize how uncomfortable it can be when you can't escape the cold after a day of skiing or ice climbing. The change in temps has made everything feel lighter.
Daily Total: $6
8 a.m. — We camped at a distillery last night and they have a breakfast cart that's open in the morning. We split a breakfast burrito and iced coffee. It's been a challenge to maintain any set routines and it's something I really miss about being in one place. Prior to being on the road, I had a morning routine that would include journaling, meditating, and working out. It always kept me grounded but it's impossible to be that rigid on the road. Flexibility is key on this journey. I add in trail runs and hit the gym when I can but it is strange to not be lifting in a gym six days a week anymore. All of those practices require a little extra effort. ($11)
10:30 a.m. — We take our time driving south. My partner and I love looking for vintage Western apparel at thrift shops so we stop a lot along the way. I realize we are cutting it close with an energy-healing session I have booked, so I drop my partner off at a coffee shop and take the call in the parking lot. It's hard to even describe what happens in these sessions but they always floor me with how accurate the reading is. Some of the call is spent on energy work, some of it is spent speaking to spirit guides. It's flowy and lovely. I don't know the woman outside of these sessions and it's wild how spot on some of her insights can be. It's like she can see through to exactly what is in my heart and affirm it. She's got a lucrative gig in design so her sessions are very affordable and her readings are sincere. I get off the call feeling more optimistic than I have all week. ($30)
1 p.m. — We finally arrive in Bend, Oregon, and find our way to a state park. We pay $5 for the entry fee. Rehearsing is virtually impossible in the trailer so we sprawl out along the rivers and work through some songs. We've got a gig tonight at a brewery and my heart is so full knowing some friends are coming out to the show. I strip down to shorts and a sports bra and never want to leave this patch of sun. It feels really good to work on some of our newer songs and play through some of the songs we haven't touched in a while. This is absolute bliss. ($5)
Daily Total: $46
Weekly Total: $158
Reflection: In the past I spent a large portion of my budget on “wellness” products and services. I would buy supplements that were recommended on podcasts or skin products that were hyped on TikTok. Now that I am in constant motion I have leaned into using all of the products I already own and it’s made me realize how much I spent before trying to “fix" various things. I've realized on the road that self-care is really just giving yourself what you need, when you need it.