And I Would Walk 500 More…

1087 miles. 11 days. The Mega Road Trip of Epic Proportions (That Are Really Epic) in the Month of January 2012 has, at long last, come to a close. Exeunt bear pursues with a sigh.

But, really. I drove for at least 800 of those miles, and have been living out of the same purple suitcase for the past eleven days, coaxing the last drops of shampoo out of my travel-sized Garnier bottle and forsaking all hope of keeping a neat and orderly pile of socks in the bottom right corner of the luggage. In a multitude of fashions i am utterly spent, ready to collapse into bed and sleep off my vacation in the remaining days i have before classes commence. And yet, i couldn’t have been more pampered or well-looked-after whilst caravanning about New England. My family in New York were lovingly attentive to every detail, from the coffee in the morning to the train schedules in the afternoon to the PBS programs at night. My family in Vermont were the best kind of adopted family members one hopes for when visiting friends: beautiful reasons for why you share in such precious space with such brilliant people. I have been hosted beyond my dreams. I didn’t start this post with the intention of writing a thank-you note, but as i meander through my thoughts, i realize it would be stupidly selfish and an inauthentic recounting of the journey without such a mention of the incredible hospitality i have so happily received. Thanks, friends.

For now, though, i am home again. That’s a complicated word, home. In a very real sense, i haven’t left home at all. I’ve just moved to other homes; homes in North Carolina, homes on the Metro North, homes along I-91. My home is the road, my home is my car, my home is a bed, my home is the people around me whom i love most in the world.

I was contemplating the complexity of the notion of roots, of home, as i was driving today. Nestled amidst the craggy peaks of Vermont-ian mountains was the winding highway that carried me back to another home, one i was both eager to see and somewhat reluctant to rush into. School-home means faces and hands belonging to people i’ve sorely missed in the last month, but also piles of untouched textbooks and pens full of ink. The promise of the new page, freshly turned, paired with the certainty of the anxiety over the unknown of such futures to follow. Last semester was one of my best and one of my worst; i emerged victorious, but as in all wars, there are casualties. Sleep and wellness were the two major contenders for most-wounded in the fall of 2011. And yet, i wouldn’t have it any other way. I take a kind of exhilarated delight in the madness of college; even when i am so dredged and tired and over-caffinated than i can barely make sense of the concepts before me, i relish in the intellectual exercise. The act is familiar to me, but the knowledge is beckoningly new and exciting.

As i made my way through the snow-capped peaks and few-and-far-between rest stops, though, my anticipation to get back grew. That was the phrase that was glued to my thoughts: get back. Go home. Return. Yeah, the work can be overwhelming, but i didn’t pick Mount Holyoke for its convenient location. In fact, i chose to go to a school seven states away from home to push myself – in every sense of the word. To travel, to explore a new part of the country, to endure cold. I chose to make a home for myself far from the home i’d known. I will, for the next few years at least, always be at heart in two places. Not to get sappy or pseudo-philosophical, but that kind of sucks – and is also pretty awesome. I mean, i get to bum my way from air mattress to futon across America with the nationwide friendships i’m making, so that’s got to count for something.

At any rate, it’s been an excellent eleven days of comfortable voyaging. No mosquito nets, no motorcycles, no dashing British actors, or Globe theatres, or fish and chips, but an adventure i will treasure for the replenishment it has granted me. And, you know, there was John Green. And Darren Criss. So not too shabby a tale to tell, i suppose.

Home is where the rambling heart leads me, after all.

current jam: if the title isn’t enough of a clue…

best thing in my life right now: THISTHISTHISTHISTHISTHISTHIS. (go to 0:13).

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