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S1 E1: Peace in West Texas (Full Transcript)

INTRO: You’re listening to Seize Your Adventure, the podcast that shares stories of adventure and outdoor living with epilepsy.

[Steel guitar music - Poignant Texas by Mark T]

JADE [over music]: This is the moment it could have gone south really fast. Back in the car. I could tell he was irritated, and I was mad at myself – but we had a bigger problem. We had no place to stay and the sun was setting fast.

[Music ends]

FRAN: Hello everyone, Fran here, and thank you all for joining me in the podcast realm. You just heard a little snippet of what you are in for with today’s episode but before we get onto that I wanted to give you a little bit more information about what to expect from these podcasts going forward.

And I wanted to start off by explaining a little bit more what adventure means to me. So to me, adventure is about spending time out of your comfort zone, it’s about being active in your own life story. And in particular it’s about getting outside and seeing where you can go and what you are capable of when you step out that door and away from the everyday.

So, this podcast is here to talk about and advocate adventure in this sense, for everyone by looking at some good examples of people who are already living that lifestyle whilst living with epilepsy.

These stories are going to cover a whole spectrum of activities, such as camping and surfing, through-hiking, skiing. We do have tales of close-calls, and life-changing journeys, but we also have narratives of the smaller moments spent outside, and simple pleasures that nature can give us.

And then, on the third Monday of every month, I’ll have a conversation with the writer of the story. These interviews are a chance to find out how and why the people choose to spend their time doing these activities, and of course how epilepsy fits into that lifestyle.

I hope that between these two types of episode, you will get a good balance of entertainment, inspiration, and a little bit of insight into the epilepsy side of things.

So to start us off, I have a story from Jade Nelson. Jade has done some pretty incredible journeys in the past, some of which you will hear about in the next episode when I speak to her. But here, she’s going to tell us about a three-day camping trip in West Texas. I wanted to start with this story because I think it encapsulates the idea of a spectrum quite nicely.

Camping is one of the simplest ways to spend some time outdoors, so when Jade was determined to get back out into nature, a camping trip somewhere she hadn’t been before seemed like the perfect option. She and her husband Eric decided to take a trip across Texas with their dogs to spend a couple of nights living outside.

I’ll let Jade tell you the rest of her story.

[Car door opens, closes. Car starts and pulls away on gravel]

JADE: We hit the road from Austin, heading west on the six-hour drive to a town in the desert called Marfa. Most of our journey was spent on Highway 10, a long, flat stretch of road that crosses Texas. The barren landscape allowed us to see for miles in all directions and it gave me the chance to see a downpour ahead. The rain was sheeting, moving quickly towards us, and we drove right through it to reach our accommodation just outside of the town.

I had booked us a little hotel for the first night because we knew we would arrive late and setting up camp in the dark didn’t sound like fun.

[Car pulls up on gravel]

Behind the tiny adobe building, the sun peeked through the clouds and was starting to set.

[Car door opens]

Everything looked deserted. We rang the bell [door bell] but nobody came. Eric dialled the phone number on the door. And I began to have a sinking feeling that I had messed up. You see, I have a habit of clicking ‘confirm’ before double checking when booking things. I did this not even two months before, with a plane ticket.

[Sound of rustling through items]

JADE (over noise): I reached into the car, searched in the glove box for the printed reservation [rustling ends] and sure enough it confirmed it: the date said the fifteenth of February, not March. I felt like I had physically been kicked in the stomach. I couldn’t decide whether to be mad that I had lost a hundred dollars, or just embarrassed. I took a deep breath, standing there in the expansive wide-open of the desert, and turned to my husband.

“Babe, hang up. We don’t have a reservation”.

He looked at me and knew that I had done it again.

[Steel guitar music]

JADE [over music]: This is the moment it could have gone south really fast. Back in the car. I could tell he was irritated, and I was mad at myself – but we had a bigger problem. We had no place to stay and the sun was setting fast.

[Music ends]

Without realising it, we were agreeing what to do next. It was as if we had subconsciously decided to not bicker about it. At that moment, I was consciously deciding to not even think about the money lost. No matter what happened on this trip, I was going to do my best to roll with it.

The next thing I knew, I was driving ninety miles per hour down the road towards Fort Davis State Park, where we had a campsite reserved for the following day. We had no idea if there would be a camp spot spare, but we were planning there would be. There wasn’t another car on the road, just us and the setting sun to our left. The red and purple colors were streaking across the sky and even in the mishap we could see the beauty. I looked at Eric and told him “it’s an adventure”.

[Ambient background noise of campground: dogs barking, people chatting]

We were lucky: the campground was packed but we found a spot. Eric set up the tent by the blinding car headlights. I put on my headlamp and fed the dogs before I unloaded the car and got dinner started.

[Ambient noise fades]

By ten o’clock we were eating, and by half past ten we were climbing into our sleeping bags.

[Zip of sleeping bags being closed]

In the dark, Eric turned to me.

“This is much better than a hotel” he said.

I agreed. Deep down, I was glad I had messed up because our trip started with us pulling together to make the most of the bad situation. As I dozed off, I noticed my phone had no cell service or internet connection. We were off the grid and it was liberating.

[Music - Dandelion.mp3 by TexasMusicForge]

JADE (over music): From that moment on, no longer distracted by social media, my computer and the endless emails, it was an opportunity to be completely present. Back home, our mornings begin with the task of brewing bulletproof coffee, made with butter, MCT oil and heavy cream. I practise the ketogenic diet to help control my epilepsy, and the coffee is a huge part of getting my fat ratio for the day. But we were without my fancy coffee maker and blender, so we had to improvise.

[Music ends]

Eric manned the tiny propane stove as the wind kept blowing the flame out. I took the ingredients and added them to a shaker bottle. When the coffee was finally steaming, Eric poured it into the bottle. I screwed the lid on and began to shake it like crazy.

[Shaking of coffee in bottle]

Not quite blender magic, but it got the job done. It took longer than it would at home and the inconvenience taught me a bit of patience.

Each day we did the simple tasks of making coffee, cooking meals, tidying up the campsite and planning the outing for that day. I found myself being slower in my tasks and because I had no distractions, I was more conscious of what it took to do them.

[Quiet click of dominoes and ambient outside noise]

JADE (over): Each night we played dominoes and drank coffee until the sun set. Life was unhurried, and my mind and all its thoughts had slowed.

[Background noise fades]

But the West Texas landscape didn’t meet my expectations and felt like an endless dirt pile. We had a dusty campsite riddled with gravel and a creek that was bone dry. I missed the lush green landscape of the Pacific Northwest, the endless mountains of California and the smell of a coastal breeze in New England. Instead, it was dry, brown hills covered in prickly bushes and an endless wind that blew dust and dirt in your eyes. It was not the beauty or amazing camping experience I was hoping for.

But I found that the vast space of West Texas was so disconnected from the world, I reconnected with myself, my partner and the small moments. All it took was stripping everything back to find the simple pleasures: a good camping meal; a twelve mile hike with the dogs; a few big rocks to climb. And quality time with my husband.

[Music - acoustic guitar interlude by graham_makes]

JADE (over music): We climbed into the car on our final day to take the long drive back to Austin, and I looked around me at the wide-open space and the endless blue sky. I took a mental picture to save in my mind, inhaled, breathed in the peace around me and tucked it away in my heart.

I decided that I could revisit that moment at any time. That when life was stressful or overwhelming, I could hold it in my heart and mind.

Peace in West Texas was a state of mind.

[Music ends]

FRAN: That was Peace in West Texas, written and read by Jade Nelson.

Jade is a motivational speaker and writer as well as being an Epilepsy Advocate and Licensed Massage Therapist. Her mission is to offer hope, empowerment, and educational tools to individuals with a whole host of chronic health issues.

She was diagnosed with epilepsy as a child and after years of changes in medicine with various side-effects, she now controls her epilepsy with the ketogenic diet. Her last seizure was back in 2014.

You can find jade on Instagram as @TheTrainInsideMe her personal website is and you can of course find her on the Seize Your Adventure website.

You’ll get to hear more from Jade in the Q&A in a couple of weeks. We talked about a number of things, and as you got my idea of what adventure entails at the start of this episode, of course one of my questions for Jade was what does adventure mean to her, so I thought I’d let you hear her answer:

JADE: (laughs) The funny thing is I thought about this question a lot last night as I was falling asleep, and the thing I kept coming back to is adventure literally, to me, is a state of mind. It isn’t any just one thing or activity, but you can find adventure in all parts of your life, it’s kinda how it makes you feel. But when I think about adventure, it’s usually planning exciting, challenging, completely off the wall things that everybody goes “oh I don’t think you should do that.” (laughs)

FRAN (to JADE): (laughs) I think for people with epilepsy quite a lot falls into that category, doesn’t it?

JADE: Oh yes, and that’s where my response comes - “well just watch me”.

FRAN (in studio): Jade and I have been talking via Instagram and email for over a year now, but this was actually the first time we had actually spoken to each other. So it was great to have a natter and the conversation got around some pretty deep stuff fairly quickly. You don’t want to miss this one, so please do subscribe. It’s going to be out on the 17th December.

Before you go, I wanted to take a moment to get down to a little bit of logistics.

Seize Your Adventure is unique as a concept. If you imagine a little venn diagram with ‘adventure’ in one circle and ‘epilepsy’ in the other, Seize Your Adventure is the only website, it is the only podcast and it is the only place on social media that is dedicated to content that encompasses these two topics. There is a big gap there in the middle section of the venn diagram, and people want to see filled in.

But here’s the awkward part: I’m running this podcast and website and social media in my spare time and with my own money. Jade and all the other contributors are kindly giving me their stories and time for free at the moment. And these kind of projects take that kind of belief and commitment from everyone involved, and from all of you.

So what am I asking you to do?

The first thing is, if you follow @SYAdventurers on social media, you will have seen that I have created some merchandise for you. There are handy postcards with an infographic on the Dos and Don’ts of seizure first aid, there are some notebooks to jot down your own stories and adventures and of course, the obligatory enamel mugs that every adventurer needs.

It is the season for giving presents, so if you know anyone who would like something like that to inspire them or help with their own journeys, the link to buys these are in the shownotes for you. Get them quick to make sure you get them in time for Christmas.

The next thing is: both myself and Jade are public speakers. Jade has and talked at Keto Con and Low Card USA. Some of you might have seen me at Yestival this year, I’ve done Tales of Adventure in London, I’ve done some school talks. If you are interested in one of us speaking for your event or organisation, please just get in touch. Jade is based in Austin, Texas, I’m in London in the UK, although I think we would both be perfectly willing to travel elsewhere if someone was paying the plane fare.

And the third thing is, sponsorship will really ensure the future of Seize Your Adventure. If you have a business or a project that you think our adventure community would be interested in, or the epilepsy community, please do get in touch.

That’s it for the logistics.

I hope that you enjoyed today’s episode, if you did please do leave a review, share it with someone you know would like it, and share it on social media. And feel free to get in touch with either myself or Jade directly. It is so important to get your feedback, and if it has meant something to you listening to this episode, we’d love to hear that as well.

Subscribe now to hear the Q&A in a couple of weeks.

Thank you all for listening and until next time, safe adventures!

Music for today’s episode came from

Dandelion.mp3 by TexasMusicForge

acoustic guitar interlude by graham_makes on under Attribution non-commercial license.

With original music from Mark T. Additional sounds from Zapsplat.


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