I’m leaving in an Outback.

All my bags (and bins) are (mostly) packed; I’m (nearly) ready to go. As soon as Jenny Wanakena is retrieved from the mechanic’s tomorrow, where she’s been chilling for the past few days or so waiting for her final new part to arrive, and a few other odds and ends are taken care of, I’m loading her up and hitting the road!! “Lord-willing, and the creek don’t rise!,” that is, as my friend Beth Jones is wont to say on Adirondack high peaks trails.

I’m excited…and more than slightly terrified. Here’s hoping the creek don’t rise.

A few books I’m taking with me:

A quote I’m taking with me:

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.

-Wendell Berry, “The Unforeseen Wilderness: Kentucky’s Red River Gorge”

A few other things I’m taking with me:

  • 10 1/2 gallon zip-lock bags full of homemade granola
  • a various assortment of notebooks and pens
  • 1 small box of Crayola Crayons…why, I’m not sure
  • camping gear, including 2 Nalgenes: one from each summer camp I’ve worked at 🙂
  • a giant Rand McNally atlas my parents bought for me
  • lots of good advice, tips, suggestions, encouragement, contact info, and what-have-you from helpful neighbors, friends, relatives and random well-wishers
  • a whole bundle of nerves and ideas
  • a live beaver … just kidding
  • AAA membership (makes everyone feel better – me too)

A focus and a few other thoughts/hopes I’m taking with me:

  • The idea of seeking to make a transition/movement from the stance/mindset/conceptual identity of a nomad to one of a pilgrim; Nomadic Lifestyle —>  Patient (and Joyful!) Pilgrimage.
  • To simply enjoy myself as much as I can, one day at a time.
  • The Jesus Prayer (often associated with pilgrims): Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
  • The people I’ll see are more important than the neat things I will/won’t get to do, or the places I do/don’t get to, although places are pretty important, too! (But whether I arrive at all of them or not is less so.)
  • God is always with me; I am never alone and always in His keeping.

As is probably pretty apparent by this point, my mindset regarding this trip has definitely morphed into approaching it as a spiritual pilgrimage of sorts, way more so than I originally intended…we’ll see how it goes!

Meanwhile, two friends have gotten hitched, and a brother and other friends have come and gone in a wonderful whirlwind weekend that left me pretty tired and carrying an extremely full, thankful heart. In the days leading up to Saturday (the day of the wedding), I felt a little like I was riding just on the verge of careening out of control — like when you’re driving a car and take a corner just a tad too fast and freak yourself out there for the tiniest fraction of a second. (Not that I’ve necessarily ever done that myself.) So many people to see and catch up with in such a short amount of time; so much joy and celebration to pack into just a couple days…I’ve been missing people a lot the past month and a half; it’s been a bit dry and sparse, but then when it does actually rain, it pours, I guess. And then moves on faster than it came.

So now I’m moving on, too! Literally. And going to take myself to see other old friends and some family in their places, which are pretty much all places that’ll be new to me, as well.

I’m apprehensive and excited all at once. And kind of taken aback that this IS actually happening – wow!

And Lewis County is prettier than ever as we’re approaching peak color for the fall, and it’s a bit sad to be leaving just now as my favorite season is reaching its finest, even as I’m glad and itching to go at the same time. (Or perhaps it’s the best time to go? To leave with such a favorable impression that I’ll have one more reason to be happy to return home?) Either way, it was a joy and a gift today to quietly spend part of my last full day here (pre-trip) at the place that I am increasingly associating more and more with the notion of “home” — or as close as I feel like I can get for right now.

If home is where the heart is, than mine’s at Beaver Camp these days. And maybe (at least a little bit) for always.

Prayers appreciated for this upcoming trip of mine! And I know many of you (parents, grand’s, etc.) already are praying…so thank you. And if you don’t hear from me for awhile on here, don’t worry! More likely than not, it’s good news — an indicator that I’m trying to be more present to what I’m actually doing and where I actually am, immersing myself in the real, lived experience of being on the road and in interacting with other people I encounter along the way and all that…I love you all.

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