22 Sep Lessons from the Road
Sunday September 21, 2014, written on the flight from LA to NY. First day of fall, autumn equinox.
How perfect to return home on this day when the light and dark are equal. A mirror for the experiences I’ve had on this epic journey across America. The fellow next to me on the plane has the flight plan on his video monitor and within a few hours we have already crossed nearly half the country. I’m looking at that overview of the landscape I just traveled over many days and marveling that now in a plane that same distance is being traversed in no time.
Just a few days ago, Jen and I were welcomed in LA by a dear friend who was my gracious host for the several days. She asked me: “what was your favorite thing from the trip?” Wow! I was dumbstruck and had no idea how to answer that question. However,in thinking more about it I had a profound realization of something I’ve experienced before on cross country trips: the miracle of how the landscape, topography, geology, geography unfolds as you’re moving through it. One moment everything around you is flat with nothing in any direction as far as the eye can see, and the next moment you spy a few rivulets emerging. Then the rivulets begin to deepen and expand and are suddenly shaping small mesas, which continue to grow into larger mesas, and eventually become enormous high plateaus, and we are tiny specs in the valley below. And as a whole, this great American landscape we call home is really something to marvel at! We are blessed to live within this “land of the free” – to be able take off and explore the grandeur of the open road – this is my biggest take away from the whole adventure.
I let go. I hoped for a miracle, someone would find my bag, my stuff, an angel, and I let go.
That and the amazing lessons I learned when my bag with my precious journal and iPad went missing. Social media and Facebook are annoying to some, tolerated by others and addictive to many, myself included these days. I loved writing my daily blogs and sharing my photos and tidbits from the road on my website and Facebook page. But it wasn’t until I pulled myself together enough to write a brief post about my bag being stolen, that I truly understood the breadth of the community I’ve surrounded myself with. I received such a outpouring of love and support that I was truly humbled. People encouraged me to be strong and carry on and I really got that making it to the end and enjoying the rest of the trip to the fullest extent was what I needed to do.
I let go. I hoped for a miracle, someone would find my bag, my stuff, an angel, and I let go. I chose to be present and carry on. I even summoned up my courage to take a ride on the back of a motorcycle for the better part of the morning because “hey, when’s the next time I’ll have this opportunity?” It was amazing!
We persevered! We supported our fellow riders as they struggled with extreme heat going through The Mohave Desert. Even the trusty little Toyota Echo endured the heat and made it with flying colors all the way to the Santa Monica Pier and its new home in San Francisco. We were most grateful for that!
We said goodbye to our teammates and then Jen and I said goodbye to each other. It was poignant. This marvelous adventure had been completed successfully and now it was over. I had several great days in LA visiting old friends and doing yoga classes at the edge of The Pacific Ocean. I got a taste of the good life in Santa Monica and see why so many people love it there. But by now, I was feeling a bit homesick and ready to feast my eyes on our golden Catskill mountains and my sweet hometown of Woodstock, quirks and all.
The last day, just yesterday, I opened up my new iPad and finally went to my Route 66 page on Facebook which I hadn’t been able to log into on my phone the whole week. I opened a message there and my heart nearly stopped. A woman in Ash Fork, Arizona had found my bag and journal strewn about on the road (on Route 66)! She said they had been beat up a bit, but she was able to find the address on Facebook and wondered if I was missing something! My heart was pounding as I wrote back to her, YES YES I can describe everything I had and exactly what the journal looked like. I waited for a response. I looked her up on FB – was she a real person or another predator? I found her page and lo and behold she appeared to be REAL! And looked like a genuinely nice person! I sent her another message from my personal page thanking her and still waited for a response. And then finally she wrote back and told me that she had my iPad as well!!! Wow!
I gave her my address and told her how very very grateful I was and thanked her again. She has truly restored my faith in humanity! So now I will wait and pray for safe passage all the way around.
The lessons I learned from this great adventure on the road of life?
1) Trust – in the face of the great unknown, whatever challenge, I am supported by the goodwill of others, even total strangers. I am not alone.
2) Be open – to the miracles that are awaiting out of any experience, even those that on the face of it seem “negative”
3) Be grateful – for my good health and good fortune to be able to experience a journey so rich in every way. For my dear husband Richard who gave me his blessing to go, allowing me to feel so much more for having had this journey. For the love and support of so many who I now know really care.
4) Be willing to let go and feel the depths of my feelings. In doing so, I was able to be with the death of a dream, get support to carry on, create something new, and ultimately perhaps find the original dream all over again!
5) Continue to stay open to other insights that I haven’t begun to discover yet.
That little icon of the plane is inching closer and closer to the east coast and Richard and my sweet black lab Molly will be waiting for me at the airport and in a few short hours I will be back in the “security” of my cozy home and busy life. I will never forget the power of this journey of self-discovery on Route 66 and hope it has been enriching for you as well.