(This post also appears on my travel blog at travelblog.org)
The return journey was not nearly as interesting as the way coming. After all the excitement of seeing new places, meeting new people, and enjoying new experiences, backtracking home in a rush just doesn’t compare on the same level of storytelling interest. But, I am a completist, and I will complete the story.
We only got about 3-4 hours of driving done on Sunday night, so that meant we had a long way to go on Monday. With appointments starting at 6am on Tuesday, and school for Nathan, we were going to have to make it all the way from Dunnigan to Sedro-Woolley in one day. We drove from a little after 8 in the morning until a little after 10pm.
There’s not much to tell about it really. It was straight up I-5 this time. No time to take the more beautiful scenic routes through Norcal, Eastern OR, or Eastern WA. Not that this way wasn’t beautiful, it was (especially the Northern California portion), but it was a lot more urban (read: grey and crowded). I was surprised how many homeless camps we saw going through Oregon. They might have more of an issue with unhoused people than we do in Washington, but I don’t know the statistics.
We stopped several times for Nathan to pee, and a couple of times to fill up the gas tank, a couple times for snacks, and only once to eat a sit-down meal. That was a lunch of nachos for Nate, and tamales (maybe?) for me, things that would travel well, and the leftovers served for dinner on the road.
The view was novel and interesting until somewhere around Olympia, where it became more familiar. The route from Seattle north is one I do all the time, so from that point on it felt like we were already home. We arrived in Sedro-Woolley quite late. It was straight to the shower and bed for both of us.
Unpacking the truck the next day, I was shocked how much stuff we’d managed to squeeze into the little cab of my truck and live with for a week! The truck itself was filthy from the road and the insects. There was a lot of stuff to throw in the laundry, dust off and put away, or sort into the trash and recycling. Cleaning the truck inside and out was a chore that took a couple hours, including a trip through the car wash. I felt a pang of sympathy for those living in their cars, with even more belongings stuffed in there, and without the opportunity to clean out and clean up after a week like we did.
At the end of this journey, I was refilled with life and purpose, challenged to rethink my path. These feelings of heartfelt reward and spiritual growth are the reason I do trips like this, trips that seem to add nothing to my material wealth or career ambitions, that are not “necessary” for the upbringing of my children or my providence for them, but trips that nonetheless call me to move, and I grow from them. This is part of my true essence and purpose as a human being: to be a wanderer, to be a witness, to grow in wisdom.
I am happy that we did this trip, and it left me with a handful of resolutions:
1. That I will visit the monastery in San Miguel again in the future, God-willing.
2. That I will endeavor to maintain the links with the bredren I met at King’s Canyon Nyahbinghi Tabernacle, and to visit there from time to time.
3. That this will be my last travel for a while. I have a lot to catch up on at home. So, don’t expect any new travel blogs in the near future.