I cannot tell you how many times the Willy Nelson song, “On the Road Again” comes and goes from my brain! I am, after all, back on the road again. This time it is different. The road has changed. I have changed. One for the better and one, well, let’s just say it changed out of necessity.
I am currently in Southern Missouri. It is humid and moist out. Yuck. I did not miss this climate at all. We got a taste in MN, but not quite like this. I am just over a week since leaving the safe and secure womb of my summer job. I made a perfunctory, but willing, stop to visit my nephew in Iowa. I mean, it was on the way and all. It was fun and he was most appreciate to have a familiar face and person with whom to explore around. I enjoyed spending time with family. That is always a gift.
It was a culture shock, though, as I was urban camping and was in and around more city than I had seen in months. It took me some time to adjust. I mean, I grew up in the city, but it was never and continues not to be my home. I knew deep down, as a child and as I grew into an adult, the place I was raised did not give me peace or joy. That was not my home.
City camping is at times a necessity, as I take full advantage of the showers and electricity and even laundry when available. Mostly, city camping is close to towns and rampant with weekend warriors. These are the camping folks I have talked about before. You know, the ones that bring every fucking thing with them and call it camping. They have music and TV and friends over. I totally understand a family that camps with kids and wants something more “citified”, but these others just annoy me. I am almost always in the tent area, which means no electricity for sure, and sometimes you have to park in one place and walk your stuff back to the area. You do get a picnic table, fire ring, sometimes a pit toilet, though you have full access to the plumbed in bathroom, even if it is a ways away. I always pay less, but I always pay for even the remote conveniences. City camping makes me more nervous from a safety perspective, as these folks may not know or care about the etiquette of a true camper, explorer, or traveler. While these areas are patrolled and generally have a host, there is nothing to stop an evil minded person from driving through and taking any and all things left behind. I mean, every camper leaves something out! To this day, and pray moving forward, I have never had the sense that anyone has ever been in my camp while I was gone. Those of us that live this way or often partake, we know the rules and are happy to oblige. We also have nowhere to put YOUR stuff and generally only have enough room for our own!
But I digress. I feel more calm, more at peace this time. I am still bumbling along to a degree, but I am not as stressed or upset about it. I am happy with my upgrades – who knew a watch with the day and date would be so handy – and still learning where I put my various things. I did some repacking and have not yet memorized my new configuration. Yet, it does not bother me. I am still sitting at camp, with noon staring me down, and I don’t care. I have not eaten yet and still have tea in my cup. I am dressed, which is an accomplishment all of its own today. I feel like I want to land somewhere new, like I did in MN. I feel like I want to have a home base from which to explore. Not just camp for a few days, but a place where I live and probably work from which I can learn about another new area, new culture, new people. In one sense, I am shopping. The time I will take to learn about each new place will be time well spent as I search for my next home.
COVID has changed the road, too, and I would be remiss if I did not make mention. Thankfully, most of the world has adjusted and we are discovering new ways to live and work. Much has been figured out, though many still refuse to partake of this new reality. They can choose ignorance and resistance, but I will choose safety and precaution. I have no intention of getting, carrying, or bringing COVID to anyone, anywhere at anytime regardless of their beliefs.
I am more settled that I was previously. I feel like I have grown, which I know I have, and developed a deeper sense of myself and the world around me. I carry with me new people and new relationships; both make me smile. I have new knowledge and new understandings, as well as affirmations of those already present. I have shed some layers as I get closer and closer to my core. I continue to become my most authentic self. That feels good.
I sit here, in my tent of a home, listening to the leaves falling (did you know you can hear them?), the crickets or frogs or both chirping away, and the occasional bird making its presence known. I hear the occasional jet way up high, distant gunshot of a hunter, and rumbling of my tummy. Must be time to eat.
I wish for you a removal of your layers. I wish for you a truer sense of who you are and what you are about. Live for your core, your authenticity, your true self. Therein you will find peace.