I begin this trip, not in the best of health, physically, financially, and some would argue, emotionally. But then, when are we ever in tiptop shape? When are we ever prepared for the unexpected? Change comes at us when we are least prepared, so here I go. I embrace it. I throw myself into the journey, exiting my comfort zones of home and friendship, and vow to embrace the new, the different, the challenging, and the sometimes, frightening.
I take along with me, both my fear and my creativity. As, Elizabeth Gilbert once said, both are allowed on this journey, but fear cannot touch any of the controls, not even the radio, and it certainly, cannot drive!
I would like to begin with a quote from the great John Steinbeck. His, Travels with Charley begins like this:
“When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fiftyeight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked…..once a bum always a bum.”
I am sorry to admit that I never read Travels With Charley. It wasn’t until today, 10 days before the beginning of my solo road trip across America and 3 months before I also turn 58 years old, that I finally opened the book I bought years ago and started to read. Finding out that he was my age when I took his journey has only reassured me that what I am doing is right. My only regret is that I wont have my Charley, my Acacia, along with me for the ride. But I will take a bit of her ashes, and some of the ashes of my first dog, Murphy, along with me. They are always with me spiritually, so that comforts me as well.
And so I begin. Months of preparing and researching I am sure will prove fruitless. With more than enough gear, borrowed or procured on Amazon, and will assuredly regret bringing so much crap, but at least I have it and can toss it when ever I need to, a la Cheryl Strayed! And I’m off.