Sometimes things don’t go as planned or expected. Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say that things almost never go as planned or expected. At least not exactly so. I had formed my leaving around expectations for what I needed to do here before setting off and for what I expected to happen once I got out on the road. But. Things did not go as planned or expected. Gail is in her apartment, all settled except for the small details, and Knight is nearly ready to roll. So, the preparations for leaving took less time than I’d planned. My expectations for what would happen once I was out on the road also proved to be wrong in one major regard. Maybe two, actually. Or three. And I’m not even out on the road yet! So, I lied. What it all boils down to is that I am leaving two weeks ahead of schedule. The boys and I are shoving off on Tuesday, July 23rd, heading due west.
It’s still all a bit surreal. It feels strange being in Knight with just the three boys. Not bad. Not at all. I am a person who likes being alone. But different. Knight is still comfy and very much home, but the energy inside has changed with the leaving of Gail and Nola. It’s quieter, of course, but I like quiet. It’s also more than that, in a way that is un-nameable. The patterns of living in this space have changed, too. They’ve changed because now it’s just me taking care of the business of the day-to-day operations. They’ve changed because now I sleep in the bedroom instead of over the cab (which, by the way, I’ve kinda missed because there’s just something about being perched up high and waking up to whatever view is right outside the window, right at eye level). They’ve changed because now the boys allsleep with me, so while I’ve moved to a bigger bed, I think I have less space to sleep! They’ve changed because I’m now not doing the tiny space dance as two people maneuver around one another in small quarters. They’ve changed because now when I talk to myself, I do it out loud instead of just in my head. They’ve changed in all these small and not-so-small ways, but not one of these changes has felt uncomfortable or unnatural. The four of us seem to have just slipped into this new way of being in our space. This shift was not hard in and of itself. Don’t get me wrong, it was odd and a bit sad to have my best friend and travel partner move out. To have it actually happen. And it’ll be weirder still when I drive away from here on Tuesday. I am grateful for the technology that allows me to keep in touch with Gail and family while I’m out there. I like being alone, but I also like being able to maintain contact with people. I’m an introvert, not a hermit.
I’ve been wondering if I’ll feel lonely at all once I’m out there. I’m such an introvert that I’m inclined to doubt it. But It’ll be different than living alone in an apartment, with friends and/or family in close proximity (sure, I will have people in close proximity still when I’m at a campground, and I’ve promised to only boondock in places where I’ll share the general space with others, so I’ll not be, really, completely alone.) and a car to get to whatever I need or want, quickly. I really have no way of knowing, though, until I’m out there. Campers are generally such a friendly sort that I know I’ll still have the friendly greetings, small talk, and occasional substantial conversations with folks around me. But I won’t have friends or family nearby. I haven’t had that in…well…ever, I don’t think. I’m actually looking forward to that aloneness right now. For the opportunity to turn inwards more, to explore my inner spaces as well as my outer spaces, with no one but me around to distract me from the journey. What will I discover about myself in those spaces that I don’t already know? What will I discover about others when I have to count on the kindness of strangers for the challenges I meet and for the company I do keep? How will this journey change me? I know living in an RV and traveling for six months has already changed me, but this next stage in my journey will, without doubt, change me further still. It’ll be its own kind of adventure.
This past week-and-a-half has been challenging and busy, as the bottom fell out of my expectations and my plans for departure and being out on the road changed substantially. It’s been painful and it’s been frenzied. But the closer my departure gets, the more I find I am calming down. My mind is moving forward, mostly, to what comes next. I am nervous about how it will all go and what I now have to do, but I will meet the challenges head on. I know that the worrying is scarier than the doing. I will sort out where I stay and the details of living as I go. I have to trust the boys are up to moving more frequently, as I will have to drive the rig sometimes just to go shopping. But I’ll also do as much of my shopping as I can on my bike, which is now also ready to go (when I took my bike off the rack to clean it and pump up the tires, I discovered that the tires cracked from the weather, so I had to take my bike in to get worked on…now she’s got spiffy new tires, a new chain, and is all tuned up). I will find my way. This is how it was always going to be. That my expectations and plans changed does not change the truth of the big picture. I will find my path…and take it.
I will have to live small, smaller than I have been up to now, when I’m out there. But I will have the time and space to do what I’ve been unable to do standing still. I look forward to diving back into the story of my characters as I spend serious time on my second book. I look forward to having more to share here, both of my own journey and those of the people I meet along the way. I look forward to discovering those places to stay where the hiking is just outside my door, and a town is not too far away when I need it. I look forward to cooler (I hope) temperatures and drier (I know) air. Things did not go as planned or expected. They rarely ever do. The changes can create new challenges, but also new opportunities for growth and discovery. And so it has been and will be for me now and going forward. It is scary, but taking action reduces that lion’s roar to a kitten’s growl. I can handle the kitten better than the lion. Can’t we all? And so, I lied about how quickly things would take shape, but I hope the going forward still takes on the shape of adventure, promise, beauty, and love I’ve anticipated all along. I’ll see you all back here, very soon, from out there, on the road!