Monday, January 12, 2015

32. Friends/Family Coming to Visit

Something weird happens when you go on a lengthy adventure. It feels like the world you left behind becomes frozen in time. That frozen time can become very alarmingly and delightfully shattered when you are reminded that time continued on without you, as is its way. It's like when you graduate from college, and then never go back to visit. It continues to exist in your mind, in an unchanging bubble, exactly the way you left it. Until you go back for a reunion and you are startled to find that the on-campus housing you lived in was long-ago bull-dozed for being an unsalvageable sinkhole of horror (I lived in the creative arts house! I have so many antibodies from living in that dump!).  

When we left for the trail, I knew we would be saying goodbye to a lot of really good people, and I knew that their lives would continue on without us. But for each person to whom I bade farewell, a memory of them was put into a pretty picture frame in my mind. When I see someone on a regular basis, they constantly change, but I am too close to them to see it happen. The picture of them in my mind naturally evolves beyond my conscious awareness. But if I go months without seeing someone, when I see them again, it's like a new framed picture explodes into frame to replace the one before, shattering glass and wood all over the place. 

It's like momentarily waking from a dream, to find you've been asleep for weeks.

Trying to coordinate with people visiting us along the trail was like trying to get a perfect bullseye on a dartboard that's moving back and forth at 60mph, at a distance of 200 feet. We didn't have a cell phone. We didn't know exactly when we'd be somewhere, because we weren't following any sort of strict schedule. People in the real world have jobs, and have to know things in advance. Because of that, we had a long list of people we were going to try to see, but we were only able to make it happen with around half of them. That made it all the more miraculous and incredible on the rare occasion we were actually able to coordinate successfully.

It's funny, DT and I lived in New York City for so long, and were separated from our families for months at a time, just living our normal lives. But as soon as we set foot on the trail, that separation took on an entirely new color. We were suddenly not only separate, but also unreachable. This made the reunions feel like coming together after being apart for years while living on opposite sides of the world. When friends of ours came to see us when we passed through New York (friends we'd only been away from for 4 months), my heart was so incredibly, profoundly full of love that my whole body shook uncontrollably and I cried and cried and cried.

It's also really exciting to have someone who can pick you up at a road crossing and drive you to a place where there's pie.

Mama Whistle (in the cowboy hat)!
Teaching Mother Trucker to make a kazoo out of a piece of grass!

Mother Trucker and Dump Daddy!

And again!

My bff Jessica's dad John! Arm wrestling to determine who will pay for dinner

John and Connie!

Hotdog's sister Kielbasa!

Whistle learning to spin from her aunt


My dad (on the right)! With Barbarossa!



Beautiful people in New York!

MORE beautiful people in New York!

Beautiful Melissa!

My sister and brother!!

Clever Girl


  1. Good post! I'll be hiking northbound starting in late April. Just forwarded this to my family to (a) entice them to visit, and (b) let them know that it's going to be logistically tough as I'll be in a bit of a twilight zone.

    1. Hooray, I'm so excited you're planning on starting in April! It's really good to warn folks ahead of time in regard to how tricky it will be to see each other, because as fun as it is for people to visit, it can be really hard to coordinate. Good luck!! Let me know how it goes, and if you're keeping a blog yourself!