We had always known Nate’s departure date was coming, but somehow it still really seemed to sneak up on us. The morning he left we had a sit down breakfast to reminisce about the trip up to that point and the experiences we’d had. It seemed all too soon that it was time to pay the bill, take him to the airport, and… that was it.
He was headed to a weekend with family, then home to Visalia to start a new job and a new chapter in his life. I, on the other hand, still had a lot of road in front of me, sure to be full of challenges, difficulty, and adventures. To be faced alone.
I am competent and OK with being on my own, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Being with a friend is easy. You support each other. When things go wrong you can talk them through, and when things are good you’re partners in adventure, exploring a new area and sharing the experience. Having that companionship for three weeks and then suddenly being left alone in South Dakota, with an old, potentially unreliable vehicle triggered another one of those hollow feelings in the pit of my stomach.
I was far from home, still heading east into cold, dreary weather and it was lonely. In my mind the questions started racing:
What am I doing here? …. Who am I to take a trip like this? …Will this motorhome really make it? What if it fails?? ….Everyone else has a job, why don’t I have a job? ….Is this trip really helping me further my life goals? What are my life goals??
I drove away alone, quiet with my thoughts, not yet reaching for the iPod, cell phone, or radio dial to keep me company. I did not want to run from the solitude, I wanted to experience it, understand it, and move through it. In this state, I continued to drive, unaware of any destination, lost in a mental abyss.
Suddenly, something snapped me out of it, back to reality and now I saw the signs and realized where I was headed. My subconscious had me going in the right direction the whole time.
“Mount Rushmore – 15 Miles”
Instantly, the loneliness evaporated, and a steady flow of excitement took its place. Mount Rushmore was just down the road! The thirst for new adventures was revived, and I was looking to the East again with eager anticipation instead of worried insecurity.
This trip is about finding myself and my country. I’m trading in my old views for a more accurate map, based on my own experiences. I welcome the challenges that lie ahead. They help prepare me for a future full of challenges; where continuous learning and persistence will be my bridge between failure and triumph.