Sent: Sunday, September 16, 2001 7:20 PM
Subject: I'm sitting here in Tahoe...
They say when something happens like the events of
last week, you never forget where you were when you first heard the news.
I was in the Bayview campsite, right next to Lake Tahoe. My cell phone
rang at about 6:50 am PT, It was my Dad calling to ask me if I heard the news.
Even as he was filling me in, I dropped the top on the van and started down
the road, looking for anyplace with a TV. I listened to the events
unfolding on NPR as I drove up to Tahoe City. There I was able to find a
restaurant serving breakfast with a TV on. Around 10:30 I checked into a
motel in town and except for leaving for brief run and to get some dinner, I
sat there and watched until about 10:30 that night. Periodically through
the day I talked to friends and family in order to have some contact with
other people as the events played out. I was already experiencing some
uncertainty as to where I wanted to go next on my journey, and that day made
it all the more uncertain.
The day before, I had written an email to update
everybody a little bit as to where I was and how I was doing, but somehow I
didn't feel like sending it last Tuesday. For the sake of continuing my
story, I have included that message below, and will be catching up on my
narrative over the course of this week. I hope everybody is doing as
well as possible in this very strange time.
...But I know it won't be long
I'm sitting here in Tahoe
Got some time to search my soul
I'm sitting here in Tahoe
I don't know where life will lead me
But I know where I been now
Sitting here in Tahoe...
Where to begin? I have about 6 weeks of
traveling to catch up on in these narratives. I am now a week removed
from Burning Man which was a remarkable experience, but I don't know how I
could possibly describe it in an email. I am currently sitting in a
coffee shop on the Western shore of Lake Tahoe and thinking about where to go
next. I have tentative plans to meet some friends in Utah to go hiking
in Zion NP sometime in September, but those plans haven't been finalized.
I have noticed that I am at an interesting transition in this journey.
Until now, I had several beacons that I was heading toward, first, get to
Glacier NP, and then to Burning Man. Now that those are over I am
wondering what to do next. I am no longer a beginner at this
traveling thing, having figured out how to do it reasonably well and I
have survived a few van crises. Went on a 10 mile day hike along the
shores of Lake Tahoe yesterday (it is very beautiful out here) and had some
time to ponder where I have been and where to next. Burning
Man was an amazing experience, and people I met at the VW Bus Camp felt like a
second family by the end of the week. The transition from that intense,
very personal experience to traveling alone again has been a little bizarre.
I got to see my Bus Camp neighbors Erin, Jason, and Eamonn in Reno this
past weekend when they came into town to get Jason's van, which was great, but
I had to say goodbye all over again which was hard. I have been thinking
about the "unwritten" rules that I have been living by, and am
starting to challenge them a little. I have realized that the purist in
me felt like I had to explore every destination fully, and not be just a
typical tourist passing through. One of the things I enjoy however is
the motion of traveling to new places, so I have decided not to feel guilty if
I only spend a day or two somewhere checking it out. The other
realization was that I thought that for some reason I had to stay away
from the place I came from on this journey, but I am throwing that out the
window. This trip wasn't about running away from anything, so I
don't need to stay away from anything. The ups and downs of forming new
friendships and then leaving have helped me to realize ( I kind of already
knew) how important being around people is to me. So I am thinking about
flying home for a week or so around my Birthday and taking a little vacation
from living in a van. Knowing myself as I do, I'm willing to bet that at
the end of that visit I will be itching to get back to the van and on the
road. And by then there will be some snow on the ground and I can start
thinking about Snowboarding!!!!! Which is what got me started on this
whole thing anyway. By then I'll really be looking forward to visiting
my Burning Man friends all over the West coast (ok, I'm looking forward to
that now..). The feeling of transition is very distinct, It is kind of
like when you are reading a very large novel, it starts out kind of slow, and
then completely draws you in. Just as something dramatic happens, you
turn the page, and there is a blank page, and then on the next page, in large
(usually Times New Roman) font are the words Book II.
And for the first time you pause to think about what has happened, you might
even flip back to the table of contents to see how many sections there are,
you start to wonder what will happen next, and then maybe even think a little
about how it all ends. I feel like my hand is slowly turning the page
with the words Book II on it, and I have no idea what comes next and I am
alternately excited about what comes next, and a little melancholy at the
ending of what has passed already. It is a great place to be. Even
in the hard moments I know I am alive.
For those of you anxiously awaiting the next
installment I am working on it, I have about 400 digital images to go through
and edit to catch up, but I expect to make progress in the next few days.
Thanks for being patient, and for letting me know how much you look forward to
these installments, having an interested audience ensures that
eventually I will write these things. I hope everybody is
doing well, and I will catch up soon!
P.S. Many of you have expressed an interest
in more trivia questions, so here goes: Who can tell me why whenever I
hear "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison I take a moment to silently
curse The Chiffons?
P.P.S. What is the name of the song and the
artist who sings it that the lyrics at the top of this message are based on?