We are stuck. We spend our free time reading other travelers blogs, sucking up the nervous energy of those just preparing to embark, the excitement and joy of those on the road, and the reflection of those at the end. We exist in a rather odd place in the middle. We have, in a sense, already “been there, done that”. We’ve previously taken off on our own long-term journey when we backpacked around the world in 2007-2008. We were scared and more excited than we had dreamed possible. I remember, like it was yesterday, the overwhelming sense of adventure, as we prepared to head out into the world for a longer than the typical American holiday.
What do you get your parents for Christmas? That baffling question that rolls around once a year, just about this season. By the age of 77 and 80, Jim’s parents have acquired everything they really want or need. In an attempt to NOT further clutter their house with stuff, last year we chose to, instead, present them with an experience. A weekend away at their choice of destination- the beach, Bend, Mt. Hood?
Darkness had fallen by the time we pulled into camp. Immediately greeted by Ron and Dario, talking over eachother, regarding the “situation”. While still at the office I had received the text from Dario advising us that they had taken over our campsite, swapping out with theirs, just next door, but we had no idea of the drama that would ensue.
The silence was deafening. And exactly what we were looking for. Day to day life had, in recent weeks, become exhausting. Yes, a certain amount of angst is simply due to restlessness in our quest to return to the road. But busy days at work, many chores at home, and spending most weekends away from home, the last admittedly self induced, had created an intense need to not just go away…but to get away.
Away from cell service, away from people, away from the cares of the world.
The old guys across the way looked on in awe, somewhat startled to see us donning fake mustaches and posing for pictures with martini’s in hand. Next up, several rounds of ladderball, still with cocktails in hand. Yes, it’s right, we have taken camping to a whole different level!
We recently camped at East Lake, in Central Oregon, for the first time and what a joy! Sitting at 6500ft elevation, in the Newberry Crater, it is absolutely a summer outing, but the gorgeous lake, high desert landscape, and endless night skies, more than make up for the chill in the air.
I tried to slip deeper into the corner as the six or seven men crowding the room chopped and stirred with deliberate haste. The youngest of them crouched on their haunches, low to the floor, in that way some cultures seem born to do and I have yet to master. Chopping boards rested directly on the not so clean floor as they chopped and sliced fragrant garlic, onions and tomatoes. Upon seeing the amount of chilies being added to the mix, I knew we were ensured a fiery curry tonight! Two men worked feverishly over large, dented metal pots, cooking down the mutton and vegetables, as the fragrant smell of spices circled above them. In spite of the cool desert air, perspiration glazed their skin.
I stood in awe, incredibly honored to have been asked to watch the dinner preparation, for in India, women did NOT cook outside the home. Intimidated by being jammed into a 10X10 room with these hardworking cooks, I reflected on the miracles of time and place that had brought me here.
Three knives, two cutting boards, and a two-burner hot plate. That was all required to serve up a fantastic dinner that fed the entire camp of over twenty. It forever changed my view of the “necessary”.
Two years ago today, while still reeling from the loss of Maddy, and completely unsure we were ready for another dog, I nonetheless sent Jim to the Humane Society to look at a black dog named Jones. I then received a text picture of a dog named Porter and the message “Meet Porter, when I hugged him, he just leaned in for the hug”. That evening, Porter became a Delameter.
“We’re sorry, but we’re not going to make it this weekend”. The words rang hollow as we prepared to head to the beach for a weekend of camping with friends. Barview Jetty was the destination to join our dear friends Ron and Dario. Our friends Dave and Anne decided they would come along. Next Dario’s childhood friend Sheila and her boyfriend Randy thought they would make the trip as well. But on Thursday afternoon, Ron let it be known that they would not be joining us.
I dream of travel. My nights are spent luxuriating on the beach in Mexico, eating my weight in SE Asian street noodles, being awoken long before dawn by the roar of an African lion. Sometimes my dreams aren’t quite as vivid, rather than memories of past journeys, they consist of the anticipation of what is to come. These days those dreams have a lot of llamas in them.