Upon returning home Clanc and I just weren’t able to keep off two wheels. This time it was on mountain bikes around a frosty Applegate lake. Rolling on single-track felt great - off road riding was something we’d craved all trip. Here Clanc stands next to a frozen trail marker.
Holidays at home with friends and family flew by in a fantastic blur. Clancy arrived home just in time for Thanksgiving with his folks. I crashed my Dad’s house for turkey day and ate so much I slipped into a food coma. Christmas came and went and we caught up with friends leading up to New Year’s. Everywhere we went people remarked, “Tell us about your trip!”: a logical inquiry that we’ve grown used to by now. Thing is, you can’t sum up the last six months of your life in one conversation, let alone convey the feelings associated with all the experiences we shared. I considered putting together a presentation for this reason but I doubt anyone has time for a 3,600 picture slideshow. Do we feel fulfilled, enlightened, complete? Hardly, but we are more rounded and much better for the experience. People say, “That must have been a once in a lifetime type of deal!” Nah - I’m sure it will happen again. Wouldn’t you want to replay the time of your life?
We miss the road. The life of a vagabond is uncomplicated - as long as your wheels are rolling you haven’t a care in the world. Here we sit in our homes surrounded by a plethora of things. Stuff, stuff and more stuff. These things should enrich your life I suppose but if you let it, this stuff can own you and not the other way round.
Moments of memory from the trip are incredible and abundant. Still frames, sounds, smells, tastes. I can remember lunch on the side of the road one day in Washington clearer than anything that happened yesterday. It’s almost like time travel. When you actually want to remember every moment of every day time seems to move much slower (in a delightful way). Who wants to remember exactly what they did at work last week?
When you pause to think about it, life can be a balance between living up to other peoples’ expectations and mindless self indulgence. Neither extreme is healthy. Still, I find that most folks are confronted with this issue on a frequent basis. A more concrete example: when I tell people what I want to do next they often reply with “You have a degree in blah-blah-blah, why would you want to go off and do something else like that?” I want to sail a ship, go to culinary school, make music, fly a plane, hop a train, visit Europe and New Zealand. I tire of complacent lifestyles, having the same routine day in and day out. Not to say it’s a bad thing - just not my cup of tea. An excerpt from a Jack Kerouac novel comes to mind:
“…because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are made to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn…”
This last month has gotten us stir crazy. Don’t get me wrong - it’s positively wonderful being close to friends and family. I just can’t sit still here when there are so many things out there. I don’t expect everyone to understand, but perhaps respect the decision. You only live once, right? Still, so many go on living in a way that prompts me to wonder - is this what you are to seeking to extract from existence? But alas, I am not here to tell you how to think and this is not a philosophy forum. I digress. It’s time get back on the road…