For a few weeks now I've wanted to process my French journey. But re-entry is tough, and being here now - critical (always, but especially in transitions).
The first day or so back in Ashland I love it - I'm landed, with family, running around getting wheels and winter clothes, enjoying the incredible colors of an Ashland autumn. A wine tasting with a good friend. Lunch with another. Then it descends like a dense fog, a funk, a post-trip depression. And friends start asking, "what's next?" as if I've already processed this latest journey or have any idea of my future.
I jump on Craigslist to sell my car, seek an island rental. Stay busy, the time will pass quicker, I think. I'm hit by a bug and go down for a week. It's cold, and in only five days winter has come. At 6 am it's pitch black. Oh dear...I am not ready for this. I start wondering why I booked so much time here, instead of flying straight on to Hawaii. Oh yes, I wanted time with Ashland friends, to enjoy this beautiful valley I have called 'home' for 6 years. To remember.
Here's the rub. For those of us who travel, the rest of the world seems stuck. I have come 'home' different. Friends are not. They seem too busy, too habitual, too stuck. My friend Yvan says, " he road is like a drug; it allows you to be time and space. You don't suffer hours as we feel when we stay in the same place."
I'm still not done with the open road, the road less traveled, my adventure-lust. Coming back to my former home feels like an anticlimactic end to a life changing experience. And although I can't yet clearly articulate those changes, they are real. Maybe I belong on the road.
In 2 weeks, I fly from Ashland to the Big Island for Thanksgiving with my daughter and her family, missing Marche Forville, my café and pain chocolate, a simpler lifestyle. As efficient as the French are, they haven't sacrificed beauty for efficiency. I miss the beauty...and the efficiency, the culture, the people-oriented benefits (great transportation, healthy food, consumer protection, better governance).
But this island has beautiful beaches...and I am always at home on a beach.
Next week I fly over to Maui to see my youngest son...and maybe settle in for awhile. I need to consolidate, meditate, write...and earn a bit of kala for my trips. To spend the winter near a warm beach, soaking it all in, making sense of my love-affair with France - this could be a great little trip...