Week 12 – Last Leg

On the road...

Part of this long road trip with my family was about the journey around the United States.  But part of it was a good time and space to disconnect from the life I was living before, and figure out what to do next.  Another part of the figurative “journey” was also to abruptly change our family dynamics.  My husband and I were living “non-traditional” roles in the traditional way that people do these days.  Except we were not very happy.  We each wanted something more in our lives.  We had to search for that more.  We had to find it for ourselves.  Rather than sit and dream about it one more day, we went looking.

It’s been both comforting and disquieting that at the end of our road trip I found myself in Portland where I’m now realizing my journey had just begun.  Until March of 1993, my life was going one way.  My dad drove me to Lewis & Clark College.  I was on an expedition, of sorts.  An expedition in a foreign land called Portland, OR.  I met new people and had new experiences.  Then I got homesick.  Everything changed after that, and my dad drove me home from Lewis & Clark College.

Standing in front of my dorm with two littles by my side, I realized I had been feeling like a quitter all this time.  I always urge them to persevere, but somehow the lesson of perseverance skipped a generation, and was coming back to haunt me.  I’m the one who didn’t stick it out.  I’m the one who came home for no good reason.  The one who crushed under the weight of homesickness.  With my heavy heart we walked around campus and I remembered all those times.  I stood on the bridge crossing the shadowy ravine, I could hear them laughing.  I could hear their voices tell our made up stories – with Minnesotan accents.  Those girls, those characters from the story of my early life, their words still ring in my ears.

Keeping the entire LC Posse in my back pocket, we walked around the Bone. I started to notice how small everything was.  I was aware of the dark, drizzly, damp surroundings.  Looking around as a fully functional adult I knew for the first time that I had not been prepared for that place.  It was the furthest out of my comfort zone I had ever gone.  And like a rubber band that has been stretched to it’s greatest length, I snapped back to my resting state.  And I stayed there for many years.

I know I was meant to go back to Portland to see how far I had come.  This part of my journey has taken so long.  And in so many ways, I’m at the same place I was all those years ago.  I’m standing on the precipice of something big in my life.  I can feel it all the way to my soul.  I have the knowledge and the choice to go forward bravely.  It is exciting to have been given an opportunity that I can use and not squander.

Maybe perseverance isn’t measured in the short term.  Maybe it’s value is the sum total of all the ways a person tries, fails and learns.  Perseverance doesn’t mean sticking it out at all costs.  The power in perseverance comes from having the courage to try again.  It’s the difference in waiting for something to happen as opposed to choosing for it to happen.

And then we go home.


Week 11 – Coastal

On the road..., Uncategorized

We made it to Seattle and spent a wonderful week there with our family.  For most of our trip we avoided large, urban areas because of our parking challenges.  Let’s be honest.  We just liked to avoid large urban areas.

But, Seattle.

We visited  Pike Place Market and saw the proverbial fish toss. We watched magic tricks at the magic shop.  We lunched at Lowell’s for the sole reason that as we looked at the menu, someone walked up and said it wouldn’t be a mistake to eat there.  Then we got to business.  We picked up fresh herbed pasta at Pappardelle’s, then headed across the street to Beecher’s to watch the cheesemaking process, and to buy some cheese.  From there we started wandering in search of dessert and found Metsker’s Maps which was really the coolest travel store.  Our final destination:  Trophy Cupcakes.  I know we didn’t hit the mothership.  We just went to the mall location, which was kind of disappointing.  I’ve heard that the Wallingford Center location is in an old school house and it’s super cool.  Nonetheless, the cupcakes were pretty great.  As we walked back to our car we found the Seattle Antiques Market which was a must see before we headed home to make scratch Mac & Cheese.

Our second day in Seattle we spent all morning at the Seattle Aquarium, and did the Underground Tour in Pioneer Square.  We spent too little time at Magic Mouse Toys, the most amazing toy shop ever.

Next, we went to the Pacific Science Center, and we spent a whole day there.  When the kids were worn out from the inside of the museum, they played and climbed and made music at the park outside.

On our final day in Seattle proper we hit the EMP Museum which was pretty fabulous.  It was all things pop culture including newly designed games, a Hello Kitty exhibit from Japan, and hands on music opportunities.  I’m certain the boys could have stayed there all day.  Instead, we enjoyed our last hours in the city walking around finding the most amazing shops:  Pike Street Press and Ugly Baby, and riding The Great Wheel.

We spent the weekend with friends, and somewhere between gingerbread houses and Hallmark movies they asked where we were headed next.  In true form, we had no idea.  Suggestions were bantered. The idea of going to the place where my first travel adventures began put a little spring in my step.  That and being refueled by family and friends. We decided to spend our last week enjoying Portland, Oregon, the Coast and the California Redwoods.

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