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On the Road Again


On the Road Again

You know you’re in trouble when a road trip to Lincoln, Nebraska, sounds exciting.

We’ve been back from our year on the road for two weeks now, and, I wouldn’t say that the re-entry has smooth, or that we’ve managed to achieve even a mild state of euphoria being back in the home and city we left last summer with such high expectations. Quite the opposite. We seem to be back in form only.

Julya has been tired since the minute we pulled to a stop in our Honda alongside the house after 23,000 miles on the road. She goes to bed tired, wakes up tired, and is tired all day. You could call it “listless.”

As for me, I got the flu a few days after our return, and have had it ever since. Twelve months on the road, seven different countries, God knows how many restaurants and hotel rooms, and not a single illness, not a split nail or a cough or a jammed sacrum.

While Julya has been working hard getting the house up and running, the place still looks unlived in. Most of the boxes are still in the basement. None of the art is up on the wall. I’m wearing the same clothes I took on the trip. We don’t even have our cat back. We keep thinking that tomorrow morning, or the day after that, we’re going to pack up our suitcases and head out onto the road and the unknown once again.

Julya calls it “psychological decompression,” not a bad term. The constant stimulation of new things and new people, the anticipation every morning of the new day, living outside habits and routines, absorbing your environment with all your senses—all that seems to be in the fading past. The very big world has suddenly gotten very small, and, apparently, our minds along with it. We can’t even find any movies we want to see or restaurants we want to go to.

A friend’s daughter is getting married in Omaha this weekend. We have hotel reservations in Lincoln (my home town). It was with some trepidation yesterday that I admitted to Julya that I was really, really excited about our trip (a boring 500 miles across desert and cornfields). She lit up. “I am too,” she said. “I can’t wait to get in the car and take off.”

It’ll only be for three nights. But we’ll be on the road again. Eating stale raisin bran for breakfast, talking to strangers, complaining about the pillows or the shampoo or the view from the hotel window, waking up not quite sure where we are, but looking forward to putting the new day together. You could say it’s kind of sad, after everywhere we’ve been, but at this point it’s surely a blessing.

The kids are ready to go. They never really unpacked either.

Photo: Children of the Corn.  Goslee farm, Skidmore, Missouri.

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