That is why we need to travel. If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder. Our eyes don’t lift to the horizon; our ears don’t hear the sounds around us. The edge is both comfortable and limiting. We wake up one day and find that we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days. Don’t let yourself become one of these people. The fear of the unknown and the lure of the comfortable will conspire to keep you from taking the chances the traveler has to take. But if you take them, you will never regret your choice. — Kent Nerburn, Letters to My Son
My belongings have all been shipped, packed, sold, or donated. I wrapped up all final tasks with my job and said my farewells to friends both on the Coast and in Portland. The home I enjoyed this summer is clean and tidy and ready for the homeowners to return. My car and teardrop trailer are loaded up with all the supplies I need for the road.
Tomorrow, Cole and I bid farewell to Oregon and embark upon an 11,000-mile rambling journey of a lifetime throughout the western United States. Our first stop will be the Olympic National Park in Washington and at some point in the next couple of months, we will arrive in Delafield, Wisconsin after having crossed several mountain ranges, deserts, and forests throughout 16-states. We’ll see sunsets, canyons, waterfalls, mountains, scenic overlooks, lakes, rivers, flowers, trees, wildlife and so much more. I’m hopeful my camera is up to the challenge that this trip is going to present it.
I’m excited to see how this new way of life fits. As a natural type-A planner, it’s somewhat counterintuitive to live in a way that requires so much flexibility and adaptability and has so little surety. I suspect there will be difficult times ahead but those are precisely the kind of times that lead to significant growth. Experience has taught me that the most significant and important growth in my life happens when I am most uncomfortable.
I would be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t a bit nervous. My brain likes to think of all the things that could go wrong. What if my car breaks down? What if I get into an accident? What if I back my trailer into something? What if I run out of money? What if my back goes out? What if Cole gets sick? What if I cross paths with some psychopath with ill intent? I think it’s natural to have these thoughts anytime we consider making a big change in our lives. In truth, most of these things probably won’t happen but if they do, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. I remind myself that so far, my track record is 100% on getting through every challenge I’ve come across. Why would this be any different?
What I choose to focus on are all the things that can go right. What about all the possibilities that I can’t even fathom yet? My whole life could change. I could meet some amazing people. I could learn something new about myself and the world we live in. I’m looking forward to seeing new places, meeting new people, connecting with old friends, and living each day without schedules, deadlines, alarm clocks, or expectations. This, all with my best pug bud Cole by my side. What a gift it is to let my curiosity run loose and live with such freedom. At a minimum, I will walk away with some amazing photographs and memories, and at the end of this trip, I am rewarded with the gift of reuniting with my best friends and family, and most likely a fresh perspective on life. What could be better than that?
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