Steve'sTravels2010/11 travel blog

See you in the next chapter.

Another chapter finished.

It’s been quite a run.

This little segment of my journal may catch some of you off guard, as my comments become a little more personal and soulful, if you will. For others, it may light a spark, or offer food for thought, and I hope it does.

I just began reading a book that was recommended to me by my friend Terri, entitled “The Power of Myth”, and I offer you this quote by Joseph Campbell: “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”

What began as a sort of pre-destined journey to get away from it all, to grieve for Melinda, to see family, to see the country and generally participate in, and enjoy the romanticism of, the great American dream (at least mine), has turned out go be quite the character building experience in the end.

Beyond the more obvious aspect of travel, as publicly depicted and reported in my web site, the more personal aspect of this experience offered an even greater opportunity for inner growth, an opportunity for reflection, an opportunity to remove myself from the familiar and confront the unfamiliar, an opportunity to experience and understand the difference between solitude and loneliness, an opportunity to take a more in-depth look at who I am, and an opportunity to assess what is really important after all.

Yes, the trip was worth the effort. There were numerous ups and downs, positives and negatives, true adventures and misadventures, rewards and hardships, emotional roller coasters, visits to places I can live without, visits to places to which I would like to return, self-discoveries and self-realizations, perceptions realized and perceptions negated. But I’m glad I had the opportunity.

It’s interesting that I’ve always thought of myself as an independent cuss – you know, doing my own thing, going off by myself for a day or three, comfortable with being by myself. There is something I discovered, however, that became an almost immediate realization during this journey – that maybe I’m not as independent – in the overall scheme of things – as I thought I was.

It’s actually nice to be “settled in” now, without any departure deadline looming. Quite honestly, during the last few weeks, the routine of driving each day, or setting up and taking down the trailer, and not being able to stop at locations along the way because of the trailer, became a bit tiresome.

My other great misconception was thinking I could go anywhere in the south and be warm for the winter – wrong! There were more sub-freezing days in Texas than I’ve ever experienced in Oregon in one winter. The day I left to head towards Florida, it was 19 degrees, and my slide awning mechanism froze up, delaying my departure.

And where were all those nice warm swimming pools?? Texans, I guess, must believe in the Polar Bear theory, by not heating their swimming pools in winter. Who wants to go swimming when the water is 36 degrees?!! (possibly a slight exaggeration here) I guess it saves on chlorine – or at least the circulation keeps the water in the pool from freezing over!!

So, in many ways, this little adventure may not only have quenched my independent traveling appetite, but may have given me a needed inner growth spurt at the same time. I’m not sure that I would go so far as to say that I have “changed”, but certainly I have come to appreciate and understand a little more of who I am and what is important to me.

And along the way, people sometimes enter your life unexpectedly, perhaps for some mythical reason not fully understood during initial contacts. I need to acknowledge Terri – who has become a very special friend during these past few months. She was my one and only constant contact and companion throughout this journey. Not only was Terri my daily weather reporter and occasional tornado watcher, but I am indebted and very grateful to Terri for her caring, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, guidance, personal suffrages, self-sacrifice and wisdom. Terri and I have discovered that we share a great deal of commonalities, and I believe that as we continue to share in each other’s lives, we will both “feel the rapture of being alive”.

So, thus ends one chapter in my life, as another begins. The next chapter, I suspect, will take a different tangent and take me into a new reality. Even though this new chapter is just getting started and much is yet to be written, I feel that it will be filled with challenges, excitement, new experiences, wonder, a renewal if you will, contentment, sharing, giving and the realization that perhaps it was meant to be.

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