Monday, June 13, 2016
Vacation is over. Over 2000 miles under our belts in 10 days. We hiked a mountain and biked a beach and ate so much food, I should be in eating time-out. Am I glad I went? Without a doubt. Did I learn anything? Life-long learner-- that is me.
I learned that sunsets are different every night. Even from the same spot plopped in the wet sand just where the tide can reach me. Some sunsets turn fiery orange and some remain a spotlight on a stage. They all make the trees on the horizon feel like I'm on the Lion King set.
I learned everyone sees things differently. Where I see a charming arch of shady live oaks, others might see a claustrophobic endless tunnel. Where they see delicious salt-water taffy, I see dental bills.
Luckily, I am easily entertained anywhere I go. I like watching the fudge-makers on the strip in Gatlinburg and I like watching the body surfers try and try again on the edge of the Atlantic through my half-closed-to-the-sun eyes. The glinting ocean water mesmerizes me and finding pink daylilies is worthy of a photograph even if they are at a rest area on the interstate. I'm curious with my eyes.
I learned that Charleston is full of streets named for their function. The church is on Church Street and the bay is on Water street. Early townsfolk had twenty pounds of petticoats in one hundred degree temps leading to a need for privacy before entering their homes -- to undress.
I learned that I am capable of forgetting. Forgetting about the crises and tribulations of my workplace. In fact, within hours of getting out of Dodge my mind had moved on to mile markers and the comparative quality of bathrooms at various gas stations.
I learned that while it is good to go somewhere I've never been, it feeds my soul, it is also good to get to know a new land enough that it becomes the new familiar. When I pass the Angel Oak Road or the roundabout I am almost to my temporary home.
And like every trip, whether it be overnight in Chicago or two weeks in China, or like this one, a mammoth road trip with four people traveling east, I learned it is ok for vacation to end. Coming home has its reward, and one of those is gratitude. Gratitude that I was able to learn all that. Gratitude that I fulfilled my wanderlust, and am ready, yes I am, to sleep in my own bed and make coffee with my own pot. Even if I'm not ready to go back to work tomorrow, since we did not win the lottery in any of the five states we played it in, I will go back.
But also like every trip I've taken, I spent the last 500 miles thinking about where we might go next. What adventure should we try? What part of the country is calling my name? Oh I'm not going to make reservations yet, but planning the trip is where I zen out. It will likely be more than a year until we can afford another vacation, but it will come and I will be ready. To leave and to come home.