reboot: to start anew with fresh ideas in a way that is consistent with the principals of the original, but not unnecessarily constrained by what has taken place before. – from Urban Dictionary
There are times while traveling – especially independently – when you’re faced with modifying your plans. Sometimes it’s for fun reasons, like you were headed over here but someone told you about a really cool place over there…or you click with some fellow travelers and decide to wander with them for a while. Occasionally it’s because of something more serious, like a natural disaster or a personal crisis. There are travelers who get sick or hit a wall they can’t get over and decided to just go home, travelers who fall for a place and decide they are home, travelers who completely change up their trip to travel with a new lover or friend, and travelers who start on a journey only to realize it’s not the right path for them.
I promised myself when I started planning my America the Beautiful tour, that I would respect my body (and my bank account). After driving 4500+ miles in just over 5 weeks, I was challenged to do just that. It’s been many moons since I undertook such an epic drive and I completely underestimated the physical stress of being in a car for so many hours. And – even though I knew the longer drive days would be challenging – I failed to get out of the car often enough to stretch. I drove 11 straight hours from Asheville to St Louis and my legs have been bothering me ever since. When they didn’t feel any better after a few days back home in Texas, I postponed my departure to Santa Fe. A few days later, with my legs still twinging, I sat by the water and listened to the voices. My mind and heart and spirit (and body) were all longing to walk in crazy canyons and soak in hot springs, but my body was also screaming “Nooooooooooooooo…not the car”. Truthfully, I couldn’t fathom getting in the car again. I had to be honest with myself – driving the second leg of the trip was unrealistic.
When I told my friend in Oregon how I was feeling, she commented that I did the trip backwards. In a way she’s right. The places I really wanted to see – the new stuff – is all out West. But the reason I started in the southeast – the workshop with Christine Kane – left me incredibly inspired. And then I rolled into Asheville and found myself in a place that just felt right. It’s a small but cosmopolitan city (at 75,000 some might say big town). It has a with a vibrant arts and music scene, a slew of craft breweries (hello, Beer City USA for 3 years running), and a progressive, creative community with a strong emphasis on the local movement. And, of course, Asheville is surrounded by the stunning Appalachian mountains – mellow and wise and green. Western North Carolina offers a gazillion opportunities for enjoying the great outdoors: hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking and some damn fine porch sittin’. The big thing missing is the ocean and I think I’m OK living without the waves for a while. So, yep, I’m packing my things and heading that way. More on this in a future post.
And what about my trip? Well, after mourning (literally) for a few days, I decided I’m unwilling (unable?) to completely it let go. So I’ve thrown all the options into the hopper and figured out a way to make part of the trip happen. In a couple of weeks, I’m flying out to California for a much-abridged AtB part 2. Here is the tentative itinerary: I land in LA and check out Santa Barbara where I (hopefully) take a boat to the Channel Islands National Park (if you’ve never heard of it, you can learn more here). I then spend a couple of days hiking in Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks. From there, I drive to San Francisco to meet up with Steph and a group of wild women for the weekend. Assuming we survive, she and I head into the wilderness for a backpacking trip in Yosemite, followed by a soak in some amazing hot springs…ahhhhhhh… The trip ends with a few more days in the Bay area where I’ll visit with some Austin ex-pats and check out some coastal towns. It will be a pretty cool little trip. I’ll be staying with friends, camping and utilizing California’s excellent hostel system to keep costs down. It’s shaping up to be a pretty cool little trip. I’ll be reconnecting with several friends, enjoying some west coast beach time and visiting 3-4 National Parks.
I admit I’m still grieving a bit over my original trip. Despite accepting both my changing priorities and my physical limitations, it’s been difficult to let go of. And at the same time, I’m incredibly excited to create a life in Asheville! It’s onward and upward, as I continue to embrace and enjoy my transitions. My word of the year for 2011 is “NIMBLE”. I think I’ve embodied it quite well, don’t you? ♥