We're Eating Cake
Updated: Dec 2, 2019
The lady at the grocery store asked me, "What's the cake for?" I stumbled over my words trying to figure out how to explain a milestone that covers literal and metaphorical distance. A cake to celebrate a year since selling my home and all the unfolding and unraveling that followed that key moment. A year since a house sale that made the rest of the adventure possible. A birthday? An anniversary? What was this cake?
"It's for...me and my partner," I mumbled. She gave me a quizzical stare. I packed up my groceries and got the heck out of there with my unexplained cake.
Last July 14th I sat in my backyard deliberating over 13 offers on my house and realized that the journey we'd dreamt up was actually going to happen. I was going to pick one of these offers, sell my house to that person, and - a few weeks later - hand them the keys. It was going to be their house then. I would actually be moving away. This backyard and home was going to be a part of my past instead of my present. I was excited and also a little nauseous. It was happening!
Sitting with my milestone cake I realize there are still many stories from our journey I want to share (and hope to). Until then, here's what I am celebrating from our past year.
First things first: we did it! We actually did it! We said yes to doing something different and a bit weird and definitely unexpected! I am celebrating us saying yes to each other throughout the evolution of Growing Home from ideation to reality.
A Gut Feeling & Listening
We didn't often share the heartache and BS we encountered on the road - and maybe we will one day and/or we will tell you in person over a stiff drink - but every single less-than-stellar incident we had resulted in some of the most beautiful and memorable moments of the trip. And that's because, without fail, when we felt we were in danger or needed out of a bad situation, we listened to our gut and course corrected (literally).
The changes we made to our trip in response to negative experiences resulted in: a beautiful exploration up the coast of Maine, an impromptu beach getaway, and a tiny home experience in rural NC. (And for those counting: yes, we had 3 bad experiences that became 3 wonderful ones - pretty good stats for a 5 month trip!)
I have never been more proud of myself and our partnership then when Joel and I honored our gut feelings and strategized together. We created space to change in response to things that felt off. Seeing the beauty and fun that resulted was further affirming of following our intuition.
The Most Goddamn Beautiful Humans EVER
The trip would have been NOTHING without the humans we met along the way. Yes we saw lots of wonderful clouds and gorgeous nature throughout the country and went to bookstores and museums and coffee shops and "cultural attractions" in the cities and towns we visited. And these things were great. But the thing that helped us know places and love places were the people we met.
There's something about changing your life that gets people to open up in a vulnerable and honest way very quickly. Humans all over the country invited us into their homes or met us at their favorite coffee shops or gave us a quick tour of their neighborhood. They took the time and shared something real with us about their life and their point of view. I am celebrating the vulnerability we experienced in the company of others.
Many of our hosts invited us to their dinner tables and made us spectacular feasts - from garden fresh vegetarian in Iowa to swordfish in Maine to tacos in coastal Oregon. They generously brought us into the fold of their families for an evening. There's something so special about sharing a meal with a new or old friend. We were lucky enough to do this with humans throughout the country.
Our Relationship Evolved
Sure, we argued and felt exhausted and rejoiced for other company by the end of five months on the road. Yes, we learned another aspect of introvert-extrovert partnership and how it can be challenging on a journey such as this one.
And also we shared THIS: this whole big and wonderful and messy and life-altering journey. At the end of the trip Joel marveled to me how many states he could now say he had visited; how many personal reference points he'd created as well as others he finally understood. Our relationship is woven into those memories and reference points. No matter where it goes from here, I am taking a bite of cake for relationship growth!
Before we landed on "Growing Home" as the name of this trip, we talked about our quest as "Finding Greatness." It was partially a big F-U to a certain political assertion that America needed to be made great again (uttered by he-who-shall-not-be-named).
More than that, our first conversations about the trip centered around our belief that good exists in this country and we would find it every single place we visited. It was a nod to our grassroots, activist hearts that believe in the good of people and the possibility of humans. Alongside the bad and the things that need fixing in this country - and there are many - we believed we would find greatness.
We found it.
When I got home with the cake, Joel said I should've told the woman at the store it was "a cake for Tuesday." And maybe that's something else - a philosophy, a particular point of view - that we nourished and grew on this trip. A cake for a milestone and also a cake for today. A cake for finding greatness and growing home, and also for being right here, now.
Tonight we are eating cake.