Happy New Year! Happy 2020! Week 300 last week was an amazing coincidence of Loren’s and my bringing our Journey to an end on this blog, though we were still traveling at the beginning of this week. I will share more of our week below, but, first, here is a brief summary of the first couple of months of our nearly six years of travel:
We began our Journey Toward Wholeness in April, 2014. We spent a week in Las Vegas, then split up for me to attend Bikram Yoga Teacher Training for nine weeks in Los Angeles, while Loren spent two weeks backpacking in southern California, then split the next seven weeks between visiting his Mom in the east San Francisco bay area, and our friends in the south bay. The only time we saw each other in person was when we met up in New York for my father’s funeral in early May. Then Loren joined me in LA for my graduation in June.
Loren and I returned to the bay area for a couple of weeks, then started off again in our van, that Loren converted to house a bed. We stopped in Petaluma, on our way to Clear Lake, California. It turned out that I taught yoga for two months in Lower Lake, and, our friends there insisted that we must end our trip in Clear Lake…
Loren and I were still in Castro Valley finishing up petsitting for Loren’s sister at the beginning of this week. She returned home from Seattle and we had a nice dinner together before Loren and I left the next morning. But, before I say more about this week, I must mention a couple of major occurrences two weeks ago — these have confirmed for me that Loren and I made the right choice to return home at this time, even though our travel wish list is not complete:
The first incredible experience was when we had dinner with dear friends. I had told Loren that I would need to buy a car, as we had sold mine before we left home. Car shopping is not high on my list of fun activities, and I had no idea what make or model to pursue. Over drinks with these friends, we learned that she has bought an electric car. And we heard her saga about trying to sell her old car. Her partner connected our needs, and during the conversation he talked her through a most reasonable price. We were all delighted with the transaction. He even helped make sure all was in working order when I picked up my “new” car on December 26th.
The other invaluable occurrence was when another dear couple offered to help us move into our home that had been rented out. We had given 60 days notice to our tenant who then responded with 30 days notice. That provided us earlier access to our home than originally planned. We accepted our friends’ generous offer, and we four spent most of the afternoon of December 27th moving the heaviest furniture and larger rugs into our house.
Alas, I wish I had taken more photos of these two events…
Loren and I left Loren’s sister’s home on December 29th and enjoyed a wonderful holiday brunch with cousins in Calistoga. It was a lovely catchup visit together.
After Loren and I arrived at Clear Lake, where it was quite foggy, there was a Forty-Niners football game that evening that Loren had especially wanted to see. We found a local bar, where, after the Niners won, the manager offered everyone a complementary shot. We accepted!
Our AirBnB included the first day’s breakfast and we had a lovely conversation with our hosts. That evening we had dinner with our friends who had planted the seed for us to finish up our Journey at Clear Lake, and we toasted being “home.” Our AirBnB hosts had kayaks for us to borrow, and our second day at Clear Lake dawned a perfect one to enjoy them. We paddled around Soda Bay, and thereby learned the reason for its name. We also saw muskrats, herons, ducks, mud hens, anhingas… all delightful to see. That afternoon, our host’s daughter invited us to spend the New Year’s evening with her and her friends along with her parents, and we had a wonderful time ringing in 2020.
The next day was cooler but still good enough weather for a hike up Mt Konocti. And I mean up, straight up. I bailed out before we’d gone a half mile, but Loren continued on to summit Wright’s Peak at the top.
Before we left Clear Lake, we had one last lunch date with our friends there. Then we returned home on January 3. Thanks to the help of our friends, we had had a good start on setting up our house. All we had left to do for that first evening was to put sheets on our bed. Even after a full week, we are nowhere near done unpacking, and Loren and I are happy to take our time to fix things up, even better than before!
We have felt so welcomed home by our wonderful neighbors. There are about six houses in direct proximity to ours where the loveliest people live, and one of them gifted us with a beautiful tulip to commemorate our return home. Here you can see Loren is hard at work, pruning one of the trees in our front yard.
I have already signed up for a 60 day challenge at my home Bikram Yoga studio. Our timing to return home could not have been better. The studio was relocating within the same shopping complex, and I was able to take the last class in its older space. Loren joined me to celebrate it’s closing with a potluck that evening. This was all reminiscent of the other time that my studio moved within the complex before Loren and I had left home, so it felt absolutely right to be there. The next morning I took the first class in the new studio at 6am. It has been wonderful to reconnect with many friends and familiar faces in this compassionate and empowering environment.
We also attended our Unitarian Universalist congregation last Sunday where we felt welcomed home as well. We had memorable lunch dates this week with a couple of fellow members, both who are also world travelers. In a fitting coincidence, the placemats at one of them’s home had the image of a Moose, which is a recurrent image and an elusive icon of the search for meaning and wholeness of Loren’s and my Journey.
In looking through this friend’s photo album from Africa, I came across this prayer. It seems fitting to share for this week’s post, in summation of our Journey.