Five years ago, I bicycled across the country (http://timsbiketrip.blogspot.com/). I enjoyed the solitude and freedom of biking solo. But I also imagined a future trip shared with others: days of biking fairly independently and evenings of chautauquas; solitary observations and reflections on the road and communal nourishment of body, mind, and soul in the camp.
The final destination of my solo bike trip was the wedding venue of cousin T in Oregon. A couple days ago, she wrote a letter which reminded me of my dream of communal biking—or hiking:
I've been having an interesting existential midlife crisis this past year. I think it's being on the other side of motherhood, quickly approaching 40, and feeling like I'm not using my full potential in my career. [My husband and son] fill me with immense joy and deep, deep, gratitude. But outside of those two loves, there are question marks.
And then the election happened. And like almost everyone I know, it has leveled me. Knowing how crushing it has been for me, I find it impossible to imagine how it has felt for your family. It brings me to tears, over and over, thinking about it.
I've been at my job for ten years and it sometimes feels stifling. However, those many years have helped me accrue a nice amount of yearly vacation. So I've decided to dedicate this year to making the most of those days, knowing I may change careers at some point.
You know where I'm going with this, right? My heart needs healing. And I can't imagine anything more healing than being in the woods, on the trail, with some of the…people…I am lucky to call family. I just keep coming back to this dream lately. Right now, when things hurt the most and feel the most confusing, I'm craving those family talks about everything and nothing, silence and laughter, sleeping on the ground, no showers, and reconnecting.
I'm not sure if this is logistically possible for anyone in the family and I'm not sure if you were planning to go back on the trail this summer, but I wanted to put it out there. Any thoughts? Any interest? I was thinking I could go for 4-5 days. It would be just me, because [my son’s] hikes sometimes involve picking flowers and rocks for hours, and not making it more than a few feet. (Which is wonderful and needed sometimes). Feel free to share this letter with any of the family, if you'd like to fish for interest.
Sending you guys love, hugs, and support.
Relatives of T and me: Email us if you would like to go on an outing of this type. Here are some possibilities:
Trails we follow,