The Things I’ll Miss

I’m gonna miss my cozy bed when I’m sleeping in a tent or on the 28″ wide plywood platform in my SUV. I’ll miss stretching out under layers of cotton flannel and an airy comforter, snuggled into a pile of pillows. I’m definitely gonna miss my bed.

I’ll miss seeing my sister and the dear friends and neighbors who look out for me. Quite a few of them attended a “happy trails” party for me Friday night, and I felt loved and blessed by their presence, well wishes, and protectiveness. They gave me thoughtful travel gifts including cash cards for gas and groceries, a rescue whistle, a solar-powered phone charger, and a half-dozen vacuum-packed, home-dehydrated onions and sweet peppers. I’ll reconstitute those and use them in scrambled eggs cooked in a cast iron skillet gifted by another beloved friend. (Here’s the Smoked Whiskey Campfire Cocktail recipe I contributed to the party. I wasn’t sure people would enjoy a drink that tastes like campfire smoke, but they loved it! I used Ardbeg Scotch.)

When I’m unrolling t-shirts from Ziploc bags in a black plastic bin, I’ll miss my bedroom closet, and when I’m digging dry goods out of a zippered storage bag or fishing perishables from a Coleman cooler, I’ll miss my kitchen pantry and fridge. (Note: I don’t have commercial sponsors but people have asked for travel tips, so I’m offering links to products that I’m finding helpful and purchased myself.)

I’ll miss my dog, who will guard the house when Bella and I hit the road. She knows something’s up, since she has been sleeping in my room instead of my daughter’s. I’ll miss daily interactions with my daughter, even though I can text and call her and her sisters any time. The dog will just wonder what happened to me and her pesky little buddy.

“I’ll miss my dog, who’ll stay behind when Bella and I hit the road.”

I’ll miss my huge desk at which I can work standing or seated, especially when my travel “desk” is a 12″x 12″ (yes, that’s inches) shelf hanging from the back of the front passenger seat. It will take a while to learn how to juggle an after-dinner glass of wine (aka a plastic tumbler) and a laptop by the light of a headlamp.

I’ll miss my Unitarian Universalist congregation — singing in the choir and as a soloist, listening to and reflecting upon sermons (or delivering them), and being in a spiritual community of people I’ve bonded with over decades. On the upside, I’ll be visiting UU congregations across the country, which will be a treat.

I’ll miss running to the market without a care, since on the road, I’ll have Bella with me 24/7. Even moderate temps rise drastically within minutes, turning parked cars into ovens. I’ll cross my fingers for dog-friendly farmer’s markets and roadside fruit stands. I bought a backpack to carry her in, on the off chance that allows me into places otherwise inaccessible with a critter. When I stay with friends, I’ll be leave Bella behind while I restock supplies; after all, there are only so many days I want to survive on Wasa Rye Crisp Bread, peanut butter and honey.

I’ll miss working, too. For a while, at least, I’ll itch to check work-related email and Facebook groups. I enjoy my job, especially answering challenging questions and helping people solve problems. But, the point of this sabbatical is to get away from work-related demands, to renew my spirit, and to gain new perspectives that will help me do my job better upon my return. I’m committed to making those goals a priority.

I’ll miss my current ability to quickly fly across the country if my elderly dad takes a turn. My sister does a wonderful job managing his needs, but if she needs help, I want to be there for her and him. Being on the road with a dog would certainly make that more challenging.

I’ll miss a lot of what makes my life comfortable, happy, and safe, yet I eagerly anticipate the journey ahead. The first two days on the road, I’ll still be working, albeit remotely, tying up loose ends on a few projects. Then it will be full-steam ahead on the coddiwomple. For photos, visit me and Bella on Instagram @uu_circuitrider

I invite you to consider what you would you miss if you took a long journey. What might you bring with you to make your new location(s) feel like home?

Happy trails, Melanie