I don't want to go back. It feels too soon. But, my car is there and this is the next step in my journey. I will get in the car and travel across the States, going where the road takes me. Spontaneity is the goal...no plans, to the best of my ability since having a plan seems to be something that is comforting to me, a security blanket, but it is something that I want to discard.
After our Vipassana, Randy and I find our way back to Vancouver, where I enjoy a Starbucks Cafe Mocha. We travel back to Seattle to say our good-byes. He is heading back to Hawaii and I will figure out my flights to get back to the East coast, to Connecticut where my car has been. (My brother has been using it, and I feel a bit sad that I have to take it back since he has benefitted from it.) I am filled with mixed emotions as I say good-bye to Randy, having so much gratitude for this kindred spirit who inspires me to live nomadically, authentically. Simultaneously, I am looking forward to traveling alone again. I give him one of my suitcases to use - lightening my load even more. When he leaves, I meditate. I am feeling quite at a loss having to live in the real world, to be without the silence and the profound connection that I felt during my Vipassana.
In Connecticut, my family welcomes me, and we catch up. I get in the car and go to the place that I had called home for so many years, Boston. It feels different going back, but it does feel like home. I'm not ready to live there again, but it is great to be with my long time friends. They remark on the changes in me, and I savor the feeling of being changed. I am lighter, not just physically, but emotionally. I am starting to get past the burnout and the joy for living has come to the forefront.
My car is packed with my few belongings, including camping gear. I am off to beach hop down the East coast. However, my first stop is in D.C. to visit my nephew who is going to school at Georgetown. I have gifts for him from his mom, my sister. After a short visit, I find my way to the Hyatt. I have splurged on a hotel room which overlooks Arlington National Cemetery, where my father is buried. It has begun to snow. The bed is plush and I crawl into this luxurious environment, grateful to Hotwire.com that allowed me to get this for a minimal cost. I even was able to overlook the judgmental looks that I got when checking in with my casual attire, backpack and especially when they saw how I managed to book a room at the Hyatt for so little money. I am elated with the freedom that is before me. I pick up the phone and call Jeff, my good friend who is supporting my every step. Eventually, I will arrive at Jeff's, who lives outside of Atlanta, GA.
My next stop is Virginia Beach, where I will stay for 3 nights. I am almost there, near the ocean - I can sense it, but I am getting lost and it is getting dark. Since I am trying to be spontaneous, I haven't booked a room. I start to get nervous. I want to be settled before dark. Another fear to walk through while traveling solo. At this point, I accept that the darkness triggers fear and I get my bearings and I find a place on the ocean. It is a relief to get out of the car and to be in my room.
It is off season (February), the weather is cool but I am able to walk the beach daily. And, I opt to keep the windows open in order to be soothed by the ocean waves during the night. I rest, to recover from the energy that was required to be back in my old life. It was a drain despite the enjoyment of seeing my family. I had to use more energy than I wanted in order to not slip back into old patterns and not to feel the guilt that I had left - that I was living a life that they couldn't comprehend and I couldn't find the words that would help them to understand. Or, maybe they just weren't hearing me when I did provide an explanation. They are often caught up in their own lives and are not always present when I am talking. This has been an issue for me - not being heard, not feeling as though my life has the same importance as their own is to them. I don't think they do it intentionally. I know somewhere along the way this dynamic was established, and I participated in it. And, they have found themselves in the mainstream of a busy life with obligations I no longer want or choose to participate in. To them, it doesn't make sense - I don't make sense to them, or at least this is my perspective. To me, it is difficult to navigate my way out of it without the mixed bag of emotions and the emotional drain.
So, I go to the beach. I resonate with the beach. It is healing. I am here to continue to recover and find a way to become the secure, confident, and life-loving person I know that I am.