Christina Nealson has traveled and lived in the Southwest for over 30 years. She is a psychotherapist who left the world of corporation conformity to live a more simplistic, fulfilling life. During those years of self discovery, Nealson wrote about her journey to becoming one with nature and completing the work of her soul. She will be at Spruce Tree Coffee House on Friday, Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. to read and share stories from her newest, self-published book, “Drive Me Wild: A Western Odyssey.” This work of non-fiction finds Nealson and her husband leaving their home in Taos and selling all of their possessions, to spend the next five years in an RV, immersed in nature.
What prompted the journey you and your husband took together?
We had been wanting to sell our home in Taos for awhile and do something adventurous but we didn't know how to do it. One day, I was riding my bike and I had an epiphany of what if we sold everything, bought an RV and spent our time traveling. So we did. And that's where this story came from. It follows the five years we were on the road.
Where did you travel during this time?
Well we started in 1993 and we went to British Columbia and made our way down to the tip of the Baja Peninsula. During that time we crisscrossed our way through the Southwestern states.
Five years is quite a long time to be on the road; what did you do while traveling?
We weren't RV parkers. What we would do is something called boondocking, where we would find these incredibly beautiful remote locations and park our RV there for a few days. We'd spend time climbing, backpacking and writing together. It was a huge spiritual endeavor.
When did you come to the conclusion that living simplistically was ideal for you?
When I turned 40, I decided to leave my career in Boulder as a psychotherapist and go live in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains alone. I had a cabin built that was made of all recycled materials and it was energy efficient. I didn't have a phone and this was before the Internet. I lived that way for a year and loved it so much I continued for four more years. That experience led me to write my second book.
Have you inspired anyone with these journeys to get out and start their own?
I have had women come to readings and say 'I really want to do this' or 'I need to do this' and I always tell them they should. And months later I'll get notes thanking me because they finally did something. This book is about a spiritual awakening through travel. That's something a lot of women feel like they need once they reach a certain point in their lives.
Your latest release is self-published but your previous books were traditionally published. What was the decisionmaking behind that?
I have an agent who loved “Drive Me Wild,” and she wanted to get it published and buy movie rights but it fell through. I didn't want to wait another year trying to get it published when I could get it out in two months. I told her what I wanted to do and she said go for it.
Catch Nealson at Spruce Tree to hear excerpts from her book or purchase a signed copy. The following day, Saturday, Dec. 1, she will be at Kaleidoscope from 1 to 3 p.m. in Mancos to give a presentation on the pros and cons of self-publishing and how to get through the process. This presentation is $10 to attend and does not require registration. To learn more about Nealson, visit her website at christinanealson.com.