After 6,479.5 miles and 144 hours 31 minutes in the car, Sunday evening Jim and I returned home.
It’s Tuesday, and we’ve unpacked Mae and said goodbye to that trusty companion. We’ve cuddled the cat, watered the plants, and little by little are putting things back to the way they were. But not everything; not yet. Maybe never.
As I sit at my desk, looking out a window instead of a windshield, those 31 days on the road feel surreal. It would be easy to get back into the routine, such as it was, of our lives pre-road trip. Get up at 5 or 6 a.m., check my e-mail on my phone as I’m brushing my teeth, freak out because I’ll never be able to reply to all of those messages, forget to eat breakfast until Jim makes it for me, work straight through, stopping only for a hastily heated bowl of soup, figure out what to make for dinner and finally eat around 8:30 or 9. Go to bed and do it all over again.
I don’t want to do that any more. After this trip, I don’t think I can.
When every day is different, routine is lost. One morning I’d cook sausage and eggs on the Coleman stove, wearing five layers to keep warm, and the next we’d be eating strawberry scones in a century-old homestead. Lunch was a turkey and ham wrap before hiking in the canyons of Southern Utah, or an avocado club sandwich as we waited for our scenic train to depart in Arizona. Dinner was just as varied, and there were many nights when I was asleep by the time we’d normally be sitting down to eat at home.
Frequently we had no connection; that combined with our packed schedule meant I couldn’t slavishly check my email. And you know what happened? Nothing. Or, I should say, exactly what should happen. My autoresponder provided instructions for the most oft-received requests, and it worked, keeping the messages that required action to a minimum.
I worried traffic would plummet. It was up 15%.
By stepping away from something that’s consumed most of my waking hours for more than a decade, I’ve realized that it doesn’t have to control my life. I can find balance, and I can create something new without losing what I’ve already built.
We covered thirteen states in thirty-one days, but the real journey begins now.
The photo was taken at Bryce Canyon. I was thrilled to be standing in shorts in the snow – something that’s definitely not in my normal routine!