Let me start by saying that I had a great trip this winter. Two and a half months of freedom, independence, and adventure seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. Surprisingly, I did not get tired of camping, but savored each day spent outdoors, away from the quotidian tasks associated with maintaining my regular routine back home.
Yet, as Dorothy said, “There is no place like home” – and she was spot on. I visited many lovely places on my trip, but nothing filled me with as much wonder as driving over the French King Bridge and being greeted by the simple beauty of the town of Erving, MA. As I drove up the road to my house, I couldn’t believe my good fortune, and I kept asking myself, “I actually live here?” When I finally pulled into my driveway, I felt that I had hit the jackpot. I’ve always loved where I live, but I guess absence really does make the heart grow even fonder.
I suppose I did wonder how I would feel about being back in the cold, but having been in warmer climes for the last couple of months, I realize that I have no right to complain even if I wanted to. But I don’t want to. Whereas my friends feel bedraggled after 3 months of winter, I feel like a puppy ready to go play in the snow.
I think that part of the reason why I came back when I did is because I didn’t fully believe that I would appreciate spring as much if I didn’t at least experience some of winter. After all, there is nothing more magical than experiencing the first hints of spring – a robin’s song, the white bells of snow drops, the green tips of day lilies.
I’ve been asking myself what I got out of my winter adventure. Other than the obvious warmth and change of scenery, I suppose I would say a fresh perspective. There is nothing like taking a road trip (with very limited funds) to force you to be resourceful. Being an independent sort, I loved being challenged and having to figure things out on my own – and finding out a way to make it work. I guess it just pushed me to think outside of the box, and that’s always a good thing, in my opinion.
It’s funny – I was just talking to my friend, Marcia, this morning about the reactions that some people have to a woman traveling on her own. By and large, almost everyone I have encountered has been incredibly supportive, for which I am extremely grateful. At the same time, I definitely got a lot of concerned looks and comments along the way –people who I met that asked, “You’re alone?” in disbelief. It didn’t make me upset, but it did make me think a lot about what’s expected of us – as a woman, a man, or just general societal expectations. I suppose we all have them. But I guess if I take anything away from this trip it’s the idea to live life as YOU see fit, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Be happy, sad, silly, wild, free, fun, quiet – but just be you.