It suddenly stuck me today that it is four days shy of a year since I set off on this crazy ride. I remember very clearly what I thought the year was going to be, and I also remember being slightly anxious that I could be wrong. Well, I was wrong, sort of, but fortunately I needn’t have been worried. There is no way in the world anyone could have mapped out this past year if they tried. The highs have been out of this world and the lows haven’t been so bad. The year flew by and I look forward to the next twelve months with even more excitement (and only a little anxiety) than I did a year ago!
Yep, I said it. Another year! I’ve often been asked how long I plan to “do this” and I am very quick to respond that I’ll keep doing it as long as I can. THIS is living. THIS is not being tied to stuff. THIS is the luxury to be involved in the things I want to be involved in. THIS is fun! However, THIS certainly isn’t for everyone! I don’t claim to be special in any way, I am fairly average by most standards…my passport has cobwebs, I drive a 10-yr old car, I shop at thrift stores, I haven’t hit a hiking trail in months, I never did learn Spanish, I still don’t drink tea, and I stink at sending letters and postcards.
The things that might scare others away: I keep a sleeping bag, a disaster go-bag, a bag of casual clothes, a suitcase of work clothes, and mobile pantry in my trunk ‘just in case’, I get my mail at a place I’ve never lived, my dentist and my doctor are in two different states and my hairdresser is in neither, I have keys to two homes and know where the keys are to two others, I sometimes forget what city my car is in, I sometimes forget what city I am in, I put my volunteer work ahead of my paying work, my only houseplant is a plastic solar-powered dash daisy, and for the past twelve months I have not snugged into the same bed for more than three weeks…until this month.
There have been broken cars, broken bones, broken hearts, broken bonds, broken bank accounts, broken phones, and broken spirits but those would have all happened regardless of where I called home. What wouldn’t have happened are the new friendships, the new passions, the new experiences, the new connections, the new memories, and the new perspectives.
Without this past year I would not have driven the PCH from San Francisco to San Diego, I would not have run a Mud Run with old Shipmates, I would not have ridden a train through the Royal Gorge before fire ravaged the park, I would not have visited Manitou Springs before floods swamped the town, I would not have stayed in a Hostel in San Francisco and Sacramento, I would not have camped by the Colorado River in Moab, UT, I would not have been invited to share my professional opinions in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and ten other Florida towns plus Detroit, I would not have helped out at the community garden in Norcross, or helped a friend move into a new home in Pensacola. I certainly would not have found myself cleaning up after tornadoes in Adairsville GA and Hattiesburg MS, or taking disaster-related FEMA courses for the fun of it. I never would have cooked a meal for 40 people on a camp stove. And I can’t begin to count the number of awesome people I would not have met or reconnected with!
And if I don’t keep doing it, I’m sure to miss out on the 15-day cruise in September, the return trip to Pt. Reyes in October, trips to Hell’s Canyon and Seven Devils in April and July, fall in New England, winter in Florida, precious time with my grandmother and family, and all the fun in between.
Maybe I’ll do a better job of bringing you along. Or maybe not. I mean to. I compose witty posts all the time but never seem to capture them. Keep up if you can….I’m looking forward to as much sunshine and water as I can find!