So, here I am…

Today, I leave for a two (or three)-week roadtrip out of Oregon and through California. It is really something monumental at this point in my life. Without being too wordy, but still being honest, I’ll try to explain what I mean.

December 2010, I graduated from college with some dreams that were ready to become goals (not uncommon, I know), and moved back home to catch my bearings, and make some money by working part time. Things were put on hold by January 2011, when my sister had major surgery. I spent the next month helping to lift her out of the recliner she had to spent her days and nights in, and assisting her walking, and then another couple months driving her places and lifting anything over 5lbs. She was brave, and it was a long recovery.

About the same time she was recovering, my mother’s fight with chronic back issues came to a head. She started having medical procedures every other week that would leave her bed-ridden for two days, and pretty slow for another three or four days after that. With my sister still unable to do the labor, it was up to me (though she did do a lot, but in other ways). Unfortunately, the procedures didn’t work, and she was scheduled for August spinal fusion surgery. She was in the hospital for a week, and rehabilitation center for three weeks after due to complications. Seeing her in that state was among the hardest things I’ve had to go through. It has now been almost seven months since that surgery, and I have been too worried to leave home for more than two nights because she has been recovering much slower than they anticipated. She cannot drive, sometimes needs assistance going down stairs, and many other tasks that require bending are nearly impossible. She will be starting physical therapy this week I believe, but to be honest, I feel like a bad son for leaving to do this, even though I have her, and my sister’s blessing. There is a palpable sadness in my heart while making my final preparations – and a feeling of selfishness. However, I see that I have done very little to make myself happy in the last 14 months, and it has taken its toll. I’ve nearly forgotten what it means to care about myself, and I fear I will lose complete sight of my goals if something doesn’t change. So, here I am…

I don’t know what to expect from this adventure. I’ll be visiting national parks, cities, friends, and friends of friends. I’ll have a notebook, and a camera, and I will fill you in when I return. My best friend, who I’ll be traveling with, also has a blog. He has a laptop and a digital camera, I however have neither, only a medium format SLR so I have to get the film developed before posting. It’s possible we will collaborate on some posts, since he will be the one with the means to instant gratification of digital technology. You’re welcome to check out his page (by clicking anywhere on this sentence). He does great work, and has been to some amazing places in the last year – you won’t be disappointed.

I look forward to catching up with you on the road, or at the end of the trail, where hopefully I’ll have recovered some key parts of myself that can then be shared with you.’Till then, I hope you all stay well in body and mind (or go temporarily mad enough to create something incredible and life-changing).

29 thoughts on “So, here I am…

  1. Ah man, every road trip is a cause for celebration! Possibly I have an over romanticized notion of life on the road (I blame all the Kerouac) but there’s nothing, and I mean nothing that compares to that sense of freedom and adventure. Sure, things have become more ‘sanitized’, but that sense of sheer possibility surely remains. I’m so happy for you, James. And I wish you a wonderful journey. Fill that notebook & camera, and above all simply let it happen, you shouldn’t expect anything, simply be in the moment – yeah, I know what that sounds like, but it’s true, no? And after all that you and your family’s been through lately, after all you’ve done and contributed, I’m sure they wish this for you, this joy.

    Good travelling, brother. So looking forward to seeing the results!

    1. Just returned – it was a great experience, and for many of the reasons you mentioned. I am looking forward to the results as well – film needs to be developed and scanned, and writing prompts elaborated on.

  2. Loving this post today. Don’t know you but feel proud and empowered by your decision to be brave and reconnect with yourself. Nothing will ever tug on our heart strings like family…..especially those members in a vulnerable place whom we feel responsible for. You seem like a man with a big heart so I can only imagine the many directions you feel you’re being pulled in. It takes great faith in one’s self to take your needs into consideration and what you’re doing gives me strength in my own life and similar conundrums. Your trip could be life changing or just one of many experiences you have but either way you’ll know you made yourself a priority and that’s so, so important. Have a fabulous time! Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    1. It’s more easy to push ourselves aside than to push others aside for some reason. Sorry you’ve been put under similar strains. If you haven’t already made the leap, just start planning something – even that helps. Thanks for the comment.

  3. James you definitely deserve a break to relax and just ‘be’; to follow your heart and your feet wherever they may take you. Thanks for the link to your friend’s blog – I am following it now as well 🙂 … Wishing you both a safe and exciting trip; see you when you return! ~ Julie 🙂

  4. if there’s a “love” button of this post, i’m gonna press 100 times.
    some tears is just rolling in the eyes, i’m gonna try to keep them fall off, lool.
    james, you just exactly perfectly illustrate one part of “love”, responsibility and sacrifice. and it beomes more precious as you make this when you are this young.
    i guess most of young people as we are want to explore a lot of new things especially new places, like your best friend did, travelling through asia, europe in the last year. this eager, curiosity, passion are just natually born with this age.
    “burden” is not a suitable word, but i guess you know what i mean, sth that hold us back. especially when it comes from love, it’s gonna be damn hard struggling feeling inside.
    there’s never a “perfect”, so i would say “set yourself free” 🙂 sometimes accepting help is not an easy thing. so i guess your sister, your family would be really happy to see you happy. and never underestimate the energy you bring back after your journey. cuz you are happy, and you will make your family cheer up too!
    fucking enjoy this 2 week. YOU DESERVE IT. BE FREE 😀

  5. Hi James, I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, Congratulations! – please visit my blog (when you get back) for more information ~ Julie 🙂

  6. Back home? I hope you managed to clear out some of the clutter and work through to what is next in your life. You’ve done some great things for your mother and sister, and those will reverberate into who you are even as you decide who you might be going forward.

    1. Yessir, I arrived home on Thursday night. It was really liberating, and while I wouldn’t say it feels ‘good’ to be back, the experience did smooth my feathers a bit. Thanks for the wisdom, I’m going to try to keep that in mind.

  7. Nice to read about your journey – I wish you well in keeping your forward motion going. Your family is lucky to have you, and you do deserve to explore and connect with this beautiful world.
    My story parallels yours, only at the other end of the age spectrum…

    1. Thanks a lot for your words. It was a great experience, and it definitely created a spark in me. I will make sure to check out your page later on today. Take care.

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