I sat on a toilet rather than hovering over the rim. I slept in a bed rather than on my tattered baffled sleeping pad. I showered under flowing, warm water rather than my half liter bottle of barely-above-freezing water. I hung out with friends rather than animals and strangers. I held verbal conversations rather than an inner dialogue. I hugged people, made contact rather than condemned to isolation, praying just to even just brush by another human in a doorway.
I cannot describe the loneliness and isolation that I felt at the end of this past trip. It started out subtle, overshadowed by the excitement for adventure, and then grew, and grew until I was ready to come home, but unwilling, simply because of the prospect of more adventure. I started driving a few days ago and made the 30+ hour drive at my own pace, but when I felt the presence of home, started hearing the familiar accents, knowing the cities and towns, seeing the state lines tick by, I started racing home, covering nearly the last 16 hours to get to my parent’s place in Blacksburg in one huge straight push.
I drove the last 3 hours to Richmond this morning and am so happy to be home and with friends and family. I can’t even express how good it is to be back. It was an incredible trip, truly a once in a lifetime epic, but I am human and crave the civilized life from time to time. I chalked my sentiments up to the tease of civilization that constantly surrounded me. On a backpacking trip I can completely get away, jump into the mountains for a time, away from the lights of town, the lit up Pizza Hut sign and scattered free wifi to allow me to check in with friends and family. But living in my car nearly always near a town, the civilization was always just a tease. I would simply rent out a booth at McDonald’s, but sitting and writing and reading without interruption was impossible. So to be here, laying in my comfortable bed, the gentle breeze of warm air rushing out of the vent above me, to be able to rinse off in a sink and slip back into bed a few feet away, simply amazing. To have a home. To know I won’t be woken up and sent away by someone telling me I was illegally parked and can’t sleep here. Tonight, I’m going to bed knowing that I can sleep here. And on that note, I wish you all good night.
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