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Just a Boy & His Subaru

On a Journey to Find Themselves

Tag Archives: road trip

I awoke in the middle of the night, just a couple of hours after resting my head on the pillow, in a frightened state.

After being awake for nearly 24 hours, 14 of which were spent in the car and nearly six in a blizzard, my partner in crime was losing her cool. It wasn’t her fault, I’d drugged her with a Vyvanse to keep her awake and lively on the journey.

If you’re unfamiliar with Vyvanse, it’s designed for those with ADHD to help them concentrate. If you don’t happen to have ADHD, you’re essentially wired and overly focused on the world around you. It comes in handy when you’re making long, monotonous journeys across states like Nebraska and Iowa.

The downside? Like any other drug, your body has to come down from the high. It also curbs your appetite, so when you come down you’re hungry, cranky, exhausted and want to sleep, but sometimes you just can’t.

Naturally we wanted to get on the road as soon as possible. It was only a few days before Christmas and we were sure traffic would be heavy. Gretchen was working until 5pm, so the original plan was for me to sleep during the day and drive the first shift while Gretchen slept until I got too tired. It would require driving overnight through Nebraska and Iowa on I-80.

If you’ve never driven across Nebraska and Iowa on I-80, I encourage you to do so, then read this over again.

Our families had warned us that they were calling for blizzard conditions in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. We had been watching the weather religiously, and although in retrospect all we had done was convince each other that we’d be fine, we didn’t see any reason not to make the 14 hour trip. Besides, our families both worry too much. We were driving the Subaru, we had packed blankets and jugs of water, we’d be fine, we were prepared.

In what seemed like an initial blessing on the trip, Gretchen was allowed to leave work early, putting us on the road at 2:30pm. The excitement of our first road trip together was enough adrenaline to get us through the first two hours. Then we were both over it.

Insert Vyvanse here.

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When I was a young boy, about the age of seven, my family and I were visiting my grandmother for her birthday. Typically the youngest in the group, I could be found outside playing with her beagle, Jake. On this particular day, when adult banter became too much for my tiny brain to tolerate, I went to run around with Jake and found him dead in his dog house.

In my memory, this was my first encounter with death.

The last thing I wanted to do was run inside and tell my grandmother that her dog had died on her birthday. It’s what I did though.

My grandmother was devastated. They had been inseparable for as I’d been on this earth, and since she lived alone, he gave her a sense of a purpose (something we all need). I’d not seen so many people in one room cry, and at such an intensity; Jake was a good dog that we all had fallen in love with. No one was taking it as hard as my grandmother.

My mother made arrangements to stay a few extra days in case my grandmother needed the company.

There’s never a good time for life to happen, it just happens. When it does, you can look the other way or you can handle the situation.

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Well guys, keeping up with this blog while trying to escape life has been more difficult than I anticipated!

I’m going to pull it together, I promise. I’ve been hiding in Chicago since Saturday enjoying the moment as best I can. Each day has been a bit better, but I can’t say my heart doesn’t still hurt.

Driving into the sunset was the highlight of my departure. Until that point, the weather was as gray and gloomy as my mood. There was something about seeing the sun force its way through the clouds that resonated with me. No matter how hard someone tries to steal your sunshine, it’s still there.

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Next stop: Mom’s house.

Once I’m there I’ll add some pictures that I’ve taken along the way documenting the journey. I’m trying to remember to catch everything.

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December 7, 2013, 0900 hours

After much anticipation, my journey officially begins tomorrow morning.

Yesterday my tires were delivered and installed, and since that was the missing puzzle piece, there’s no reason not to begin this next chapter. Today I finished a few small packing tasks and tied up various loose ends. The weather didn’t permit me to start packing the car, but after some shut-eye I’m sure I’ll be able to get it packed in the morning in less than an hour (note to self: watch how long it takes you).

Chicago is my first official stop.

As I suspected, all of the emotions from those very first days have resurfaced. Their intensity has yet to be matched, but I have felt notably sensitive today.

In my life, I feel I’ve sometimes been very naïve. Not to any sort of crippling point, but I find myself wanting and believing that the best possible outcome will take place. On top of that, my expectations for people and situations tend to remain unrealistic. How do you not try to see the best in everything and everyone?

This boy’s too young to be singing the blues.

The lesson I’m trying to learn out of this is that you can’t keep worrying about things that are out of your control. You also have to give people the benefit of the doubt, but it’s more important to recognize when someone is showing you their true colors. As cliché as it sounds, my feelings are hurt, and they’re mostly hurt because of someone else’s actions. But honestly, I’m beginning to believe that it’s not the action, it’s me caring about the action. It’s not my business anymore and the sooner I get that in my head, the better.

If I’m correct (and this is my first go-round, so no promises), that last sentence will finally sink in after tomorrow. Being here and watching my ex move on was difficult. It was like a sick form of self-cutting. As evident by last posts, I went back and forth on this. Overall, I’m going to suggest you never do this. It honestly just makes the situation more difficult. I don’t regret it, but if I had to do it over I would likely not. Unless you’re looking for what a friend of mine referred to as, “an unnecessary test of character.” It does make for a better story though (it’s really all about the story).

Well, I suppose it’s time to get going.

Oh, I’ve finally decided my future lies beyond the yellow brick road

Boy, with these new tires the ride down my yellow brick road should be relatively smooth.

 

 

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Normally I would refrain from starting out a post with a quote, but it’s just too perfect.

“Bottom line is, even if you see ’em coming, you’re not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are.”

This is the week, folks. My journey is set to start. I’m finally flying the coop. This is the big moment.

Damn it if it didn’t just sneak up on me.

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One thing I learned very quickly in life is that when it rains, it pours. With that in mind, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I came down with a wicked case of strep throat last Monday.

In the middle of job hunting, packing and constructing my itinerary, my body shut down. It was so awful; I can count on one hand the number of times I had the energy to sit upright last week. Plus, if I’m being completely truthful with myself, I forgot that it really is nice to have someone taking care of you when you’re sick. That’s not to say I wasn’t fully capable of nursing myself back to health, I can take care of myself, it’s to say that there’s an added factor of comfort when someone is making sure you get well.

That brings me to the epiphany I had while I was in bed-lock: my ex is not the guy for me; I am not making a mistake. The fact that I could barely drink my water or break my fever didn’t seem to weigh on his decision to go out. Should it have? Should he have been here taking care of me? That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that I’ve realized we are two very, very different people. And while previously I felt that living here with him until I left town was a mistake, I feel now that it has helped solidify my decision to move on with my life.

I still love him, very much, but I can no longer hold him in the same esteem as I previously have. With a full understanding that I see life with a different paradigm, the man that he is displaying himself as now is not a man I would like to be close to me. My goal in life is to surround myself with people who love me unconditionally and care about my feelings and my emotions. There must be a mutual respect. And while I spent some time being angry over how he has acted, I’ve let it go. It serves no purpose in my life. Each time I catch myself feeling angry or sad about the situation or his decisions, I remind myself that we are no longer together and it is no longer my responsibility to worry about him.

I’ll always care, but I can no longer waste my time and energy being sad or upset over someone that doesn’t have a mutual feeling for me.

Don’t take that as a promise that I won’t still have demons to sort out about this whole ordeal when I hit the road, because I’m sure I will, but right now I’m feeling good. So good, in fact, that I’ve officially made my itinerary:

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In less that two months, I’ve lost my job and my partner of three years. Our apartment, our cat and our routines are just a few of the things I have to say goodbye to. I’m not good at goodbye, so I thought this might be a good way to face my demons. Did I mention I’d put effort into building the last three years of my life?

In less than a month, I’m packing all of my belongings in my 2007 Subaru Outback and hitting the road. Where? I haven’t quite figured that out yet, but I know that it will come when I get in the car (or at least that’s what my friends are telling me). Though, likely, my end destination will be Denver, CO, my stops will include St. Louis, Chicago, Iowa City, Columbus, New York (in no particular order).

It’s going to be a raw, emotional journey.

Love is stronger than any drug, hell, it is one.

There will be tears, selfies (happy & sad), terrible impressions, random feelings; the equivalent of hormone replacement therapy, I gather.

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