Life After the Mold Avoidance Sabbatical: Our Rebirth in the Southern California Desert


Sunset just off Highway 62 near Morongo Valley, California.


April 17, 2017

By Kim Crieger Goodwin

It’s Easter.

My husband and I have been out of Mystery Toxin since July of last year.

Mystery Toxin was killing us.


Overlooking a rainstorm in Lucerne Valley, while driving up to Big Bear.


It took a real Sabbatical leaving our region to realize this fact.

Doing it three times and returning each time.

We didn’t intend to do it that way, but it was very illuminating.


The Morongo Preserve oasis in Morongo Valley. Though located in a hyper-arid desert, this oasis has cottonwoods, willows, and a myriad of other moisture-loving plants.


Now we feel reborn.

I don’t mean to blaspheme, but I do feel like I came to life after being dead.

And in Hell, not Heaven.


On the way to Mission Creek Preserve, just to the west of Desert Hot Springs across the 62. Masses of brittlebush were blooming in the distance.


Like birth, it was very painful.

Minutes felt like hours.

So much chaos, stress, uncertainty, and times when we thought, “Did we make a huge mistake?”

But those three trips in and out of the Mystery Toxin had shown us – we knew we couldn’t go back.


Mission Creek Preserve, with probably the cleanest air in all the Coachella Valley.


Now Trey and I can do a lot of things we couldn’t in Oregon.

Trey just started jogging again.

We hike a lot and do a bit of physical work, with no exhaustion or illness afterwards.

It’s phenomenal.


Mission Creek in the Mission Creek Preserve. With a rare sighting of a wooly labradoodle.


Here are some pictures from our adventures in the So Cal desert.

It’s not all roses, of course.

Desert roses, instead.


Mission Creek Preserve. Looking toward the San Gorgonio Mountains. The Pacific Crest Trail crosses in the distance. Brittlebush a’bloom.


What can’t be seen is that a lot of these pictures are from when we had to leave the house to ozone, repeatedly, after getting Hell Toxin contamination.

So we’d go places we could take our dog, the different preserves and such that allow it.


Cholla Garden in Joshua Tree National Park.


That’s the reality of a Mold Avoider.

It’s a new life with new experiences, new ways of existing, and we can’t go back to the old ways.

But it’s a rebirth.


The result of walking through Cholla Garden in Joshua Tree National Park.


Now, being out of most toxic exposure and having found the medical help we need, we finally have the bodies and minds to experience the beauty of it.


Another view of the Cholla Garden in Joshua Tree National Park. It’s bigger than it looks on the map. And full of spike-bombs.



A dry creek in a canyon in Mission Creek Preserve.



Bunch Cactus flower. So beautiful I want to eat it.



Within the oasis in Morongo Valley in the Morongo Valley Preserve.



Joshua Tree National Park. Rocks with sun behind.



A Bedouin and her trusty desert doodle.



Mt. San Jacinto viewed from Morongo Valley, CA. Idyllwild is on the other side of that mountain. It’s 80 degrees here, still close to freezing up there.



A palo verde in full bloom, just outside Dr. Steve Nelson’s office in Palm Desert.



Another pretty picture with brittlebush in the foreground and San Jacinto in the background.



This shows a little of those stone houses at Mission Creek Preserve. They have picnic tables in them. I want one to convert into a house!



Kim and her husband Trey at the CalEarth Superadobe Workshop.

About Kim Crieger Goodwin

After many years of struggling with chronic illness – including MCS, migraines, CFS, EI, IBS, fibromyalgia, POTS, extreme food sensitivities, and lung collapses – Kim finally discovered a clue: biotoxin-induced illness.

Two years after leaving their moldy home in western Oregon and failing to regain what they felt was an acceptable level of health, she and her husband took a Mold Sabbatical to a new region – the Southern California desert north of the Palm Springs area.

Kim wrote about some of her previous experiences in June 2016 in a Honey Colony article called “How I Discovered I Was a Mold Warrior.”

She also wrote a previous Living Clean blog article called “Kim Goodwin Explains How to Make a Low-VOC, Low-Cost Tent.”


More From Paradigm Change

Mold avoiders who are interested in the Locations Effect may want to check out the new Locations Ratings section on the Paradigm Change site. This is a Yelp-style forum and average ratings are plotted on a U.S. map.

Locations are discussed frequently in the Mold Avoiders group on Facebook. New members should read the Paradigm Change blog article “Ten Things to Know When Joining the Mold Avoiders Facebook Group.”

Those who are new to avoiding mold will want to read our introductory guidebook, A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance. It is available as an Amazon Kindle book as well as free in  PDF format to those signing up for occasional emails on mold avoidance topics.

Those who are already familiar with the basics of the mold avoidance may benefit from reading our book on more advanced topics, Erik on Avoidance. It is available as an Amazon Kindle book as well as a free PDF download. 

The Paradigm Change website provides a wide range of information on the topic of the role of mold toxins in chronic illness. Those signing up for occasional emails will receive a copy of the popular book Back from the Edge, which provides a summary of the remarkable life of mold avoidance pioneer Erik Johnson.

Find out about new information about recovering from chronic illness and living a healthful lifestyle by liking the Living Clean in a Dirty World page on Facebook.

Another Facebook page from Paradigm Change provides updates on the Locations Effect.

Links on this page are in orange (no underlining).

Thanks very much for reading this blog.