So, as it happens, all that time I spent looking forward to leaving my house behind was nothing compared with how I felt when I actually left my house. It's just like Joni Mitchell says, "you don't know what you've got til it's gone." I kind of loved my house. I was proud of it and I'd spent a considerable amount of time decorating it and thinking about it. When it was emptied out and I was sleeping on an air mattress, I definitely spilled some tears. I also came to terms with the fact that I like having a place to land and I won't have that (other than my van) for the next year. That's all part of this experiment and I basically planned it that way. Still, it was a little painful to have to face.
I drove out of the driveway of my home on September 8th. I drove all the way to my dad's house in South Carolina (Birdie in tow) and immediately pooped out on the sofa. It was so hot and I was both emotionally and physically exhausted. So, it was lucky I had three whole days to recover before I dashed off to Atlanta to help my best friend with her wedding.
Of course, it was beautiful and moving and one of the best days of my life. And I flew home on Sunday feeling like I was walking on air. Monday, though, the exhaustion hit again. I spent most of yesterday napping and sipping water trying to replenish myself! My newly married friend, K, told me that she worried about me doing all of this emotional stuff all at once. I scoffed at that. She was right, though. It's been a lot and I have needed some recovery time.
In the next two weeks, I plan to change my Driver's License (I'll be a South Carolinian), sort out the details of Birdie's long-term boarding (another source of tears for me), pack the final items into my van, and see one last doctor. I'm keeping a running list.
When I first planned this year-long experiment, I never dreamed I'd find it so daunting. I knew it wouldn't be easy, that was a big part of it, but I couldn't have imagined how much sorrow I'd have over selling my home and walking away from the life I've been living for - more or less - the last 13 years. Seeing everyone's Back-to-School pictures and posts gave me pangs of nostalgia while also making me feel a tremendous relief at not having to go back this year.
At the wedding this weekend, several people asked me what I'd be doing after this year of travel. I don't really know, yet. I know I want to live closer to people I love. I want to explore some new careers. I want to feel more at home in my body and my surroundings. How I'll get there is anyone's guess.
This week, I'll be posting a video tour of my van so stay tuned!