Thursday, September 14, 2007
09/13/2007 0 °F
It's been several weeks since we returned home from our trip across North America. I decided to wait a few weeks to write this last entry -- I needed some time to reflect about everything we did and saw on the trip.
The first few days of being home were like a big whirlwind, with so many things to do. After being away for so long, neither of our cars would start (mice had built a nest under the hood of our Mustang and my Focus wagon's battery was completely dead), our pickup truck was past due on its inspection, my driver’s license had expired, and our biggest problem: we couldn't remember where things were in our kitchen :-) I couldn't even remember where I kept my coffee mugs, and I love my coffee!
But on a more serious note, I was overcome with many emotions when we returned home. I was incredibly happy to be home—I had been homesick the last month or so of the trip. I had a wave of sadness/grief return when something in the house reminded me of my brother’s sudden death at the beginning of our trip. I was stressed out about our truck's brake controller switch which was malfunctioning the last several days of the trip and caused a random dinging during our drive through the torrential rains. I was excited that we had actually gone on the trip that we had talked about for years, but I was also depressed because the trip was over. In other words I was somewhat of an emotional mess when we got home. And I'm not sure what I would have written if my final blog entry would have been written immediately after our return. I wanted my reflections to be about the whole trip, and not about the last week of the trip with its’ many days of long drives.
So, as everybody has asked me, "How was your trip?"
We saw so much incredible scenery, especially in Alaska! It was great having almost two weeks in Los Angeles with our daughter! Mardi Gras in New Orleans was fantastic! Big Bend National Park was fantastic! Disney World is always fantastic! Yosemite Valley -- incredible! Lots of major and minor league baseball games for my husband! So much wildlife--especially all of the bald eages and grizzlies that we saw in Alaska! We not only enjoyed the places we visited but learned so many things -- a wonderful learning experience for the three of us, not only Joe.
Plus we met so many interesting and wonderful people on the trip. A few of the most memorable people: the 50+ year-old woman who had recently retired and has adult children & an 11-year-old just like me, the gentlemen who was traveling to Dawson City to spread his parents’ ashes near the gold mine they used to own (and was having a good time fishing along the way), Pete and Jean (who were also taking their RV off and & on the Alaska ferry) with their wonderful sense of humor at the end of the trip when I needed to laugh, the woman who had lost two of her young children in the past 18 months by sudden deaths and was returning home after some needed time away from home—she reminded me how thankful I should be for my healthy children, and lastly the gentlemen from Fairbanks who argued with me that they get as much daylight in Fairbanks during the winter as we get in Pennsylvania (I asked other Alaskans about this and they saiy ‘no way’ do they get as much daylight in the winter).
As far as our favorite places: I actually was interviewed by Eric of Travelerspoint about the trip, so rather than repeat our favorite places, here is the link to the interview:
In many ways we had the trip we dreamed of! But...
I was homesick. I missed my family and friends. I learned that interesting places, beautiful scenery, friendly acquaintances, and new "things" are great, but eventually all I really wanted was to be home. I'm sure part of the reason for the homesickness was due to the grieving process over my brother's death--we probably should have waited a month to let me grieve at home and be ready to move on. For whatever reason I think 7 months away from home at this point in my life was too long. In theory a year-long trip across the U.S. sounded wonderful, but in practice it was too long. Well, ‘too long’ for me – my husband, who retired two weeks before the trip, never got homesick: he associates being home with working and he had no desire to return to the 9-5 grind (which was actually closer to a 7-6 grind for him). We had contemplated traveling through November, but cut our trip short when Joe and I decided we needed to be home for awhile.
That being said, we're already talking about what we should do for our next RV trip :-)