From California To Texas Again

A Mountain Woman’s Thoughts On Getting Laid Off During A Pandemic

Jasmine wears a mask sunglasses and workout gear. She stands in the middle of an empty road flashing a peace sign.

It happened slowly, and then all at once. One moment I was completely fine hiking with my friends in the woods after weeks of recovering from a bout of actual flu and pneumonia, and then the next I’m stuck in the house again for fear of dying from a new illness—Covid-19. I had started a new job the week of the beginning of the stay at home order in the middle of March in California.

I was completely fine that week, but then something happened when they closed the hiking trails to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus. I couldn’t think or figure anything out until they opened them up again with social distancing guidelines. It all clicked again when I went back out into the woods, this time with a mask on my face. When many offices planned to reopen their doors and end working from home, I was laid off.

Halfway through the pandemic, when they slowly began opening the trails, I found myself venturing out more. As time grew on, I stayed out longer. I always wore a mask, had eye protection, stayed away from nearly every human on the planet, and have set up a mobilized decontamination station that allowed me to get work done in the car. At the same time, my sister just drove nonstop to Texas.

“Did we just decide to drive to Texas the day before in the middle of a pandemic and figure out how to work 40+ hours a week still?” I looked at my sister, who was standing on the edge of Route 66 in New Mexico. We were on Navajo land and stopped to fill up my canteen with water from the 2-gallon jug I had in the back of the car.

Jasmine standing in the middle of a dusty desert road. She wears a mask and sun glasses and stares off camera.

It seems like every year around this time; I take off to help or visit someone. Funny enough, this is the second time I spontaneously decided to drive to Texas, planned a trip overnight, and then flawlessly executed it without skipping a beat. It honestly made no sense the way my schedule was dialed down to the second with military precision. I used my anxiety-driven master organization-level scheduling skills once again, to my advantage.

I squirted another pump of hand sanitizer into my hand for absolutely no reason and then turned to my sister. “Yeah, you said that like five times now.” My sister said, snapping a photo.

Everything worked off of solar energy, I had a hot spot, and I had converter plugs galore for the car. I was probably in a sports bra in the woods half of the time, but during the four months of my employment, I completed the second season of my own podcast, helped the company I work for start their own, helped lead a team, and started and finished a bunch of other projects. I did it all, and nearly everything was thought of and completed outside in my home element.

I’m readjusting my sleep schedule, though, and not getting up before the sun to work on stuff for that company. I can leave my phone in random places again without the worry of a missed meeting. I had proved to myself that I could literally make any work situation work and that if left to my own devices, I can completely change the game and still play by the rules. However, Covid-19 found a way to affect me anyway, and I was laid off due to the economic downturn.

I learned a lot about a bunch of things over the last few months. I’m eerily optimistic and ready to go with the flow and move forward on to my new venture. I may not know what exactly is in store, but here’s hoping that it’s good.

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