I am the worst at saying goodbye.
You would think, after having left home as many times as I have, that I would be the master of goodbyes.
When I first went to college, I went out of state to the University of Pittsburgh. That didn’t last long, as I soon came back to go to a local school while living at home.
Immediately after my graduation commencement (actually, about 10 hours later), I left on a bus for what I thought was going to be a six month long backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail. Well, that also didn’t last very long and I ended up back home about two and a half weeks later.
Feeling antsy just about three months later, I took a road trip across the country from Ohio to Washington, with lots of stops in between. But again, it was quite a short jaunt and my friend Alyssa and I arrived back home a little over two weeks after we had pulled out of the driveway.
I can’t remember exactly how long after that, I think it was about six months, I said goodbye a lot. Between mid-March and Mid-May of 2015, I took a week long trip to Iceland, took a one to two week long road trip to Austin, Texas, and finished it off with moving to the small town of Medora, North Dakota.
While living in North Dakota was a blast, it was also equal parts the worst thing I had ever done. I learned a lot about a lot. I learned about how I could walk for hours through fields of sage and forget about anything else. I also learned about how homesickness is the worst heartbreak I had ever felt.
My stint in the badlands ended after a few months, and RJ and I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan for that winter. We started out living in a hotel and ended up living in a basement apartment. Let’s just say, I liked my house full of mice in North Dakota better. We were in this dark apartment and all I wanted was to go home.
At this point, where is my home?
I felt so miserable in Michigan that so much of me wanted to move back to North Dakota that I pushed aside any memory I had about being homesick while I was there. And somehow, I ended up going even farther. And somehow, even more remote. In the middle of the Arizona and Utah desert and canyon country, my new home ended up being Page, Arizona. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.
I went back and forth emotionally as quickly as imaginable. Riding my mountain bike along the city’s edge and smiling, “This is the best decision I’ve ever made.” Then the next moment missing my nephew’s birthday party, for the second year, and feeling miserable. So where do I want to be?
In case you’re confused at this point and the timeline doesn’t make sense, here’s a simple version.
Cleveland, Ohio until 2014 (Pittsburgh for ~3 months in 2011)
Summer 2014: Appalachian Trail for 2 weeks, Road trip West for 2 weeks
Fall 2014: First apartment in Cleveland, Ohio
Spring 2015: Trip to Iceland, Trip to Austin, Texas, skiing trip to Colorado, backpacking trip to Washington, family trip to Grand Canyon
Summer 2015: 3.5 months in Medora, North Dakota
Fall 2015-Spring 2016: Living in Ann Arbor, MI. Trip to Virgin Islands in December.
Spring 2016-Fall 2016: Living in Page, Arizona. A LOT of weekend trips this summer to various places in the area.
Fall 2016: San Diego, CA for two weeks, three week road trip through California, Nevada, Oregon, and back to Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Fall 2016-Summer 2017: Ann Arbor, MI
End of Summer 2017: Living on a sailboat at a marina in St. Joseph, Michigan
I realized as I was typing that list that I missed a lot when I initially typed it out.
I am realizing as I’m typing this that this is not really that interesting of a post, but mostly I just wanted to write and I am not thinking about too much else right now other than how torn I am between how much I want to explore and see EVERYTHING and also how much I just want to be home (mostly how much I want to be playing with my nephews).
The problem is, I can’t do both at the same time.
So back and forth I go, saying lots and lots of goodbyes.