“Life… is like a grapefruit. Well, it’s sort of orangey-yellow and dimpled on the outside, wet and squidgy in the middle. It’s got pips inside, too. Oh, and some people have half a one for breakfast.” – Douglas Adams, So Long, And Thanks for all the Fish
One of the cons about travel adventuring is the collection of unavoidable bittersweet changes you come across. Goodbyes suck, but the world can be a pretty small place if you want it to be…
The past 3 months flew by, but also lasted so, so long. Today I said goodbye to six people I have essentially been living with (out of cars and tents) for the past three months. Most of us have basically spent the past 3 months together 24/7, and we’ve gone on ridiculous adventures to insane places like Moab, Colorado, Bryce, Tahoe, San Francisco, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and Zion. We’ve slept huddled together next to campfires under the stars trying to avoid hypothermia, we’ve squashed too many of us and all of our things into cars, we’ve laid on rocks in deserts looking for shooting stars; some of us have bled, some of us have cried, some of us puked up burritos in parking garages. We’ve told too many secrets, drank a little too much Franzia, and we’ve would-you-rathered, riddled, and hot-seated each other to tears.
It’s weird because there’s a lot of exciting things to look forward to — moving out to Tahoe for the winter, trying to find a place to rent, tracking down a beat up old car to buy, starting a new job for the winter in a few weeks, and going home for a bit in between, and not to mention just being super relieved about not having to sleep outside in the freezing cold anymore (snow has officially started falling out here). It’s sad because the crew is all going our own separate ways for the first time in literally 3 months. Some going west, some back east, some north, and who knows when or if any of us will ever see each other again… (of course, some of us will, but if one of us really wanted to, we could go our whole lives without ever seeing any of us again) I don’t know. Weird.
Anyway here’s a list of things we’ll never have to worry about again:
-Shopping for food to last 8 days whilst achieving the delicate balance of only buying enough food to fit into a 5 gallon bucket, but also keep yourself fed for 8 days, and also feed 8 other people for one night, and also have it be a reasonable weight to carry 4 miles into the back country in your pack.
-Where we’ll be sleeping at night (well, hopefully… actually this worry is nowhere near over for some of us)
-Hanta. Google it.
-Mice burglarizing your tent in the night
-Mice eating all of your food
-Overweight squirrels eating all of your food
-Getting wet boots that may lead to trench foot and/or frostbite
-Getting wet chaps and having to drag around 10 extra pounds of water while operating power tools
-Wearing PPE at all times ——- ear pro, good effing riddance
-It being too cold to groove
-Seeing several other people’s poop on a daily basis and also sitting all too few inches above it every time you groove
-Such an overabundance of cat holes around that you accidentally dig up someone else’s poo 🙁
-Accidentally licking and ingesting a mouthful of sand off of your tent floor as you sleep in the night
-Sand in, on, around, in between, under, and mushed into everything you know, love, and eat
-Waking up with frost on your sleeping bag
-Waking up with frost on your face
-Cutting down Russian Olive Trees
Two very specific things I’ll miss besides all of the obvious ones:
-Having the ability to relieve myself almost anywhere I want, amidst outlandishly gorgeous scenery
Also, one last thing. I’m not sure who actually reads this stuff, but if there’s someone reading this that hasn’t done Americorps or doesn’t know this… if you work for Americorps, they give you an education grant. The longer the project you work on, the higher the ed grant (this is in addition to the living stipend). I’m not sure if people know about this, but if you’re just graduating from school and buried in debt and unsure of what to do or unable to get a job —- do an Americorps thing. Seriously. It’ll get you some kind of fun/interesting experience, you’ll meet people, and you’ll be paying off your debt in a realistic kind of way!
“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.” -J.M. Barrie