Autumn in our hometown of Ashland, Oregon is truly a thing of beauty. For a leisurely stretch of several weeks, the valley is painted with rich reds and golds, the weather is generally perfect, and the holiday season is ushered in with the most outrageous Halloween parade and street party imaginable.
We usually return home once a year in our travels, and stay for about a month. This year, of course, was very different with Eric’s unexpected health crisis and surgery. We arrived just in time for the fall colors, survived one of the coldest, wettest, longest winters in history, and are now enjoying the spring blossoms.
Sitting still in one place for seven months (seven months!!) was certainly not what we had planned when we started our full-time journey almost four years ago. But if we’re going to be settled down somewhere, Ashland is where we want to be. It’s been wonderful to reconnect with friends, and to even share our hometown for a few days with fellow full-time traveling buddies MonaLiza and Steve (Lowe’s Travels), who came to visit in mid-October.
It’s a bit disconcerting to realize that so many months have passed. I can’t quite tell you where all of the time has gone—but suddenly, we’re just weeks away from leaving town. It’s a strange feeling to have had something of this magnitude happen, and to have had our lives rearranged for us for such a long stretch of time. It certainly puts into perspective the illusion of control.
I’m excited about resuming our travels, and also feeling a bit tentative. Part of me wants to go, and part of me wants to stay in our beautiful hometown, surrounded by people we love, doing things we enjoy right here in our own backyard. This is a familiar internal tug-of-war. I don’t know that I’ll ever reconcile the two.
But as I think about our summer and fall plans—the Oregon Coast, Olympic Peninsula, San Juan Islands, North Cascades, and Glacier—I feel the spark of adventure rekindled within. And in my mind, I hear the words of my favorite poet, Mary Oliver, nudging me along: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and wonderful life?” For now, travel wins.
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