After a long winter at home, I can see the road beckoning on the horizon, and my little heart goes pitter-patter with excitement.
I have spent seven months straight at Mamma Bear Base Camp this year, a practical eternity to a hopeless wanderer, and as the end of my stay draws near I feel the need to take a moment to reflect philosophically on the emotional roller-coaster I have ridden.
Sometime in early June I arrived home fresh from a successful show season on the road, elated with the new developments, bursting with plans to conquer, and a little nostalgic for the thought of spending some quality time with family and friends.
Yet by the end of September the daily grind of normalcy was starting to take its toll. My part-time office job was pounding out new linear paths in the artistic labyrinth of my mind. Reconnecting with friends meant a parade of well dressed, first apartment-ed, newly wed, career focused fine upstanding young adults marching past. I even began to experience a sort of Stockholm Syndrome. I could be one of those be-suited socialites. Should I be striving to become a well-coiffed, demurely mature, subtly fierce young professional, shattering glass ceilings with a single spreadsheet? Perhaps. I gave it some serious consideration. I brushed off my resume and rattled off a few cover letters.
My exciting life of art and travel seemed so foreign and alien so quickly that not even the arrival of my long awaited vardo could reconnect me with the colorful fairy I loved to be. It sat awkwardly in our suburban driveway, squat and bright with its purple walls and orange trim, and dared me to remember who I was.
The memories came back slowly. The disconnect was real. Days of khaki slacks and office coffee, car payments and the thought of real estate had made an adult out of me.
Then I woke up this morning and I could practically smell the wild sage and desert sand of Arizona. I found myself craving a WaWa Sandwich…a staple of highway nourishment. I found I could actually focus on the thought of packing, an insurmountable mental block just a few days earlier. I mapped my route and learned I had not one but two of my best friends directly en route and simply demanding a visit.
This is the balance I fight to maintain. When I am on the road I love so much about it. The color, the energy, the new friends I meet and the adventures and misadventures I have . But I miss my old friends. I experience such hiraeth; longing for a return to my college days when all my closest friends lived just around the corner. But those days are gone. My friends, fierce young professionals that they are, have carved niches out for themselves all over the world.
But for me at least, perhaps they are still just around the corner. It is just that my neighborhood has gotten a whole lot larger. A trip around the block lasts from late January to early June and takes me on a lap around the continental United States. A visit across town is more like a journey across the ocean and a crash reunion with ex-pats and euro-rats.
I know it won’t always be like this. So until the day that I find my own niche to carve out, I’ll just stay happy with my endless wandering, and content myself with my road-dog routines.
Here’s to stale coffee and sandwiches. To counting the miles, singing out your heartbreak and happiness to the open road, and going crazy one white line at a time.
Until the day we can all be together again,