A new reality?

A new reality?

It’s been some time since my last post. And when I say ‘some time’, I mean years. Can it really be so long that we took that year to do what we dreamed of and saw all those wonderful places? Returning home in 2016 and today being 21st April 2018, I can only conclude it was.

I’ve steered clear of blogging since our year ended. I felt that, while we were on our US adventure, I could justify the self-indulgence of putting my thoughts into the world in this way. Folks at home were reading, as well as new friends State-side, and personally I enjoyed the challenge of distilling into one post all that I’d seen and experienced in any given state or city. But back in Blighty, work beckoned, and with it a feeling that this time was gone and I should be thankful for it but not over-egg it. Stiff upper lip etc…

Back in Shenandoah, our final National Park

As anyone who has travelled for a sustained period knows, coming home is a sweet sorrow. You return to those you love most, to your country, house, and so on, but you are changed and few of the people in your home life will really see or understand that. Not because they don’t care but because what comes from travel, or at least for me, is a change in how you look out at the world, not necessarily how the world sees into you.

I dealt with this in a number of ways. One was to try to hold on to the wonder I felt at all I had learned about the natural world; to walk as much as I could outside and watch and listen and feel joy at birds and flowers and sunsets. I had never done that before and I realised that even looking from my bedroom window, I could appreciate the changing seasons and the beauty in an English country garden. I set up a nesting box outside the kitchen and on the day I had a feeling that the blue tit family was about to fledge, I set up camp on the work surface, camera hanging out of the window, and caught the chicks flying the nest for the first time. When the winter came, John and I walked incessantly after work, in the cold, in the rain, in the deep dark of a Fen November night, just to breathe the air after hours in the office.

Blue tits fledging in my garden

On the other hand, I boxed up our adventure. Both literally, and figuratively. I organised all the mementoes I had painstakingly saved – the black topped leaflets I’d kept from every National Park, the stickers I’d purloined from cafes and shops and anyone who would offer me one along the way, the pins I’d collected – and I put them in a drawer and vowed that one day I would make a scrap book. And in my mind, I put all the wonderful memories in their own box, realising that people don’t want to hear every day about that one really neat camping spot high on a mesa in Nevada, or about the time that the trailer window blew out crossing North Dakota. I couldn’t hear them either, I needed to forget for a time, focus on being at home and not going mad living in a house again, going to work in an office to earn money to pay for the house, and learn to be grateful and happy for all that I have here.

Boon docking in Nevada…Well it was a neat spot!

Part of that, however, meant that I abandoned my writing. John and I have had wonderful experiences in the last two years. We’ve been to some beautiful places in Europe, and also taken time to better appreciate our own country. This little island is full of charm, not to mention universally free health care and the BBC, but I haven’t written about any of it. I am missing that outlet and I would also like to see whether I can sustain an interesting blog while not “living the dream”. If I can, then maybe my longer-term dream of living independently of a given location might become a reality. All feedback welcome…

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