OK, probably not forever. But today, I left New England with absolutely no plans to come back.
In some ways, it’s scary. I’m leaving behind the area where I’ve lived my whole life. I haven’t traveled outside of it much, so I’m striking out into unknown territory. In most ways, though, it’s exciting. This is what I signed up to do when I decided to buy a van and live in it full-time. Yes, the timing of moving into it was decided by the fire, but I made the decision to do this months before. (Well, Trisha and I did, but it’s just me and Lister now.)
It doesn’t mean I won’t come back to New England. The last two months have shown me just how many friends I have here. I driveway surfed almost exclusively, and I still didn’t take up everyone who offered me space. And I still have a storage unit there that I’ll have to deal with at some point, even if it’s just figuring out how to get rid of all my remaining stuff.
I still have some structure to my journey in the near future. I’m at a Harvest Host brewery tonight, which seemed a good way to celebrate what feels like the first significant milestone of Smokey Coast to Coast. Tomorrow, I’m taking advantage of not working to put some miles between me and New England. I’m heading to a campground that’s highly recommended by Buffy, who’s loosely coordinating the Route 66 convoy I might join. It’s a good time and place for my needs, and a good chance to meet her and see if I might want to travel together.
Then I’ll spend a couple of days getting down to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for IMS Outdoors next weekend. (I will be camping onsite for the duration, so if you see me or the van, please say hello!) There are a couple of friends from online that I’m planning to visit, one near Pittsburgh, and another in Illinois. That one will commit my journey to remain somewhat north for at least a little while, which is fine as long as the weather holds out. I got the warmer blanket out last night, but I was fine overnight.
After that, who knows? Maybe I’ll do Route 66 with a small group. Or maybe I’ll strike out on my own, travel at my own pace and do whatever I want to do. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. I think I’ll pretty much have to wing it and see how it goes. And that’s important. I don’t want to plan TOO much, or I might miss opportunities that come up along the way. Unlike my writing for work, I have no deadlines except for those I impose on myself, which I’m trying to do as little as possible.
The Great Journey of Life continues.