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  • grace

i get nostalgic and watch ducks do their thing.

A gray, melancholy sort of day in Boise, walking along the Boise River Greenbelt.

I'm sitting in a cafe in Sisters, Oregon right now, treating myself to a Golden Matcha latte and watching traffic drive by in the two-block town. The coffee shop has "up north" vibes, but with an Oregonian flair, and Django and Grappelli-esque music play softly over the speakers. I am the only one in the shop besides the barista because it's a Monday afternoon.

I'm both preparing myself for the last leg of my trip and reflecting on the last few weeks of travel with both an air of nostalgia and gratitude. I can tell it will feel good to be settled in a place for longer than a few days, but I also will miss the spontaneity and freedom that only a roadtrip can give.

I have spent time with loved ones along the way, and have also met new family and friends. My time on the road has been marked by nothing but love and support, and although the experiences I've had a places I've adventured to will always hold a place in my heart, the people have truly been the most touching part of my journey. For those who have given me a place to stay, food to eat, and good company, thank you; I can't tell you how much it has meant to me to have your support and words of encouragement as I do this thing that I have to do.

More nostalgic times on some boulders along the Deschutes River in Bend.

As I made my way to and spent the night in Boise, I started to feel a sense of loneliness and homesickness. The thrill of adventure had waned. Without friends around me and nothing I really had to do besides drive, nostalgia and melancholy began knocking on the door. I let them in graciously. I allowed my mind to ask the questions it'd been shoving under the rug, like, "what am I doing out here?," "why am I doing this alone?", and "what am I actually hoping to find out here?"

A hearty breakfast, made by Kathie.

As Rumi reminds us in his poem The Guest House, we must let those doubts and fears to enter, and we must do so with grace and acceptance. They are guides "from beyond." The hardest part of the journey is the first step, but unfortunately, that's not the end of it. Uncertainty and angst start to re-enter the equation once we've had time to settle into our selves and ground, and that's just part of the journey.

For me, the melancholy and homesickness reminded me that I have something to lose. When I love, I love hard. I'm all in. And when the objects of my affection feel far away, I ache. I feel my heart stretching, trying to meet them halfway. It can feel exhausting sometimes, but also so incredibly precious. I know love, and therefore I am also well-acquainted with grief.

Kathie and I on top of the Butte.

Moving on from my existential angst; Bend was absolutely lovely. Kathie, my aunt Connie's older sister, welcomed me into her home with open arms. I felt truly relaxed and comfortable in her home and in her presence, so much so that I ended up staying an extra day before making my way to Portland. Love you, Kathie! I hope you find a good book club to join and new adventures to be had around The Bend.

Map of the Butte trail.

Saturday, Kathie and I hiked up Pilot Butte and were graced with a beautiful, 360 panorama of the city of Bend and the surrounding mountains. At the top of the butte (an isolated hill with steep sides and a flat top, in this case having been formed by volcanic activity hundreds of thousands of years ago), a sundial was poised in the center, a map of all the surrounding peaks. Some of them were as far away as Washington state. It was totally humbling.

The meal that did me in.

I was starving afterwards, and while Kathie went home to rest, I went out and grabbed a pizza and beer from a nearby brewery. Because I hadn't eaten much since breakfast, I actually ended up getting a little tipsy, and after I'd finished the 'za, I meandered around the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District, watching the ducks do their thing and being nostalgic.

The ducks doin' their thing.

I'm off beer and pizza for the foreseeable future, because the next morning, I woke up feeling like poo. I spent the whole day vegging, re-bingewatching the Netflix show Sex Education, and drinking soup. It was just what the doctor ordered, and today I'm feeling refreshed and ready for the last leg of driving.

Tom, Karen and I after our impromptu meet and greet.

Later that day, I ended up going on a short walk to meet and chat with Tom (Kathie and Connie's brother) and his wife Karen, who live just down the street from Kathie. It was absolutely charming, and further affirmed my resolution to continue meeting new friends and family once I arrive in Portland.

Spring is coming!

It feels like the time has come for me to wrap this up and get my butte back on the road. Wish me luck as this new chapter of my journey unfolds!

Sending my love to all back home and all those I've met along the way.

xoxo grace

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