I’ve been fixing up my little 10-foot vintage trailer for some weeks now, in anticipation of taking off from Portland, Oregon, and driving around North America, discovering small picturesque hamlets and exotic deep-fried foods in out of the way places on small country back roads. I’m looking forward to meeting up with friends I’ve known forever and new friends I’ve never met, Facebook friends that feel like part of my family and actual family members both real and imagined. Wandering from place to place, I envision an adventure the likes I’ve never experienced before.
Seeing as how the plan is no plan, that’s exactly what I’ve been planning for all along and that’s exactly what I’ve gotten. Don’t you just love it?! Serendipity at its finest!
The no-plan included my dog, Dinah, and my cat, Louise, and me traveling for several hours a day, in some direction or another, finding a stopping place next to a cute little diner or in the driveway of a friend, setting the parking brake for the night, and settling in for a restful and relaxing afternoon and evening, watching the sun set over the horizon, chatting with abandonment, and munching on some local foodstuff that, previous to that day, I’d never heard of before.
The no-plan took a seriously unexpected left turn when Louise the Cat decided to instantly leave Planet Earth by having what was probably massive heart attack as she was walking through the laundry room where we’ve been staying. My enthusiasm crashed and burned, the flame went out of my lantern, my days became grey-er, and my heart grew heavy. I’ve grieved her physical presence in a way I didn’t think possible, feeling like there was actually a physical hole in the fabric of our little 10-foot-long universe. To balance this grief, I also willingly accepted the offers of every serendipitous cat who showed up, in unlikely places, at unexpected times, to be petted, scratched and held. (I know Louise sent them; why else would cats just start showing up like they have been since she left?) The pendulum swung crazily back and forth between the two extremes of grief and enjoyment, finally settling in a place where I celebrated Louise’s life with me and her time with us on the road. She was indeed a very special kitty traveler – I will miss her her furry purr-y self but I know her magnificent spirit is still here and always will be.
Then finally last Thursday morning, after weeks of preparation, I felt like I was actually ready to take Li’l Homey out for a shakedown cruise. I hooked up to the Montero, ran Dinah up her ramp into the back of the car, turned the key in the ignition, put my foot on the little skinny pedal on the right, and set off down the road for what was to be at least two weeks of trial run. Woo hooo! Freedom, here we come!
But after three days, some “technical difficulties” morphed the 2-week maiden voyage no-plan into a plan that required us to return to our working base at our friends’ house south of Portland. Along with these unexpected issues has come a need to quiet myself, get centered once again with the no-plan, and to make sure that this is the direction that I am to go. Being out in farm country, with the neighbor horse greeting me at the door each morning, and having supportive friends nearby, has been a boon for introspection and reflection. So for now, I’ll get right to work on the repairs and try not to distract myself from the necessary meditation that will bring into focus the plan for moving forward.
See? Even if there is no plan, there is still a plan. Rock on!