Here I am, about to hit the road. To say it will be different this time is the understatement of the Universe! I left the road in February after traveling since the previous April. By that time, I had covered about 22 states and nearly 20,000 miles. I started my second year of this adventure as planned, securing volunteer work and a seasonal job. Then the wheels fell off. No, the wheels went spinning off at the speed of sound destroying everything in their path. COVID hit and all of our lives changed. Heck, EVERYTHING changed!
It is months later. COVID continues to dictate many aspects of our existence. Racial tensions are at the highest I have seen since the 60’s. RBG just passed and women are vulnerable, again. The Presidential elections are looming. Shit has hit the fan and it seems the world has spun out of control. I am not returning to the road as I knew it, but I am returning to a road that is more familiar than not. Changed, yes. Unrecognizable, no. I have adjusted and so has our society. To a certain degree, anyway.
I have been sequestered away in the Arrowhead of the northern most regions of Minnesota. I am challenged to find the words to really describe the entirety of this experience. I have been over run with joy and bursting with frustration. I have been humbled and pissed and at peace and in turmoil. I have been up and down the continuum of emotions, experiences and feelings. I have been stretched like a rubber band and am now changed. I will never be the same as when I arrived.
My world, my perspective, my understanding, and my views are altered. I am a more diverse, deeper, broadened and worldly human being. It is difficult for me to find the best way to describe what this feels like, what this time has meant for me, and to encapsulate these five months. I am more full inside. I have seen and done so many new things. This time has been priceless.
I will leave here with hundreds of phots, faces, experiences, and tales to tell. I am a better person for having spent time here. I have learned lessons and gathered information that will stay with me the rest of my days. I am changed.
I am also excited and anxious to get back on the road. I have my first two campgrounds planned out. I am visiting a family member and then heading into uncharted territory. I am craving alone time, not working, and making all of my own choices again. I will miss warm evenings, unlimited electricity and a bathroom close by. I am excited about my sleeping bag, hot tea every morning and being outside. I will miss some folks and be glad to leave others. It is a mixed bag.
In the end, I am done here. I have felt it for weeks. I have seen and learned and done enough. My tank is full and it is time; past time to move on, if I am being honest. I am more nervous about the road and the COVID changes. I am prepared to stay vigilant with my prevention. I know that some parts of my journey will be changed, and others a new familiar. I will travel and learn and adjust when and where necessary. I have all that I need and can alter my plans on a whim or as needed or as desired. I must trust and be confident. I can do this!
I have a lot on my mind. I also have amazing experiences, memories, lessons and areas in which I have grown. I hope I have left a positive impact. I hope that others have learned from me, felt supported and cared for while in my presence. I hope that I did some good while in this place during this time. I hope I leave good memories and warm feelings behind. I want to leave as much as I feel I have gained. I know that I take away more than I had when I arrived. Nobody can ask for a greater gift.
Cheers Gunflint Trail! Cheers Gunflint Lodge! Cheers to those who have already left and those I leave behind. May you have peace and blessings now and always.