Week 1: we’re on the road!

by Kim on May 28, 2012 · 53 comments

We pulled out of Portland last Monday morning, our car packed to the brim, the gray skies spitting rain. We cracked the windows and the dogs pushed their noses into the open air, panting happily.

Bear smelled the whole northern U.S. 

The time was here, the time to leave, but it just felt like we were going on a road trip. Similar to my last day of work, setting off on the road didn’t feel like the momentous occasion it was.  It just felt like a slightly different Monday.

But I was feeling good, emotionally stable, no tears as we pulled away.  An hour into our drive my friend Wendy sent a text: Most people think it’s just a rainy Monday, but I know the real reason Oregon cries today. Then I lost it, bawling as we sped east down highway 84.  I cried for everything we left behind.

But there was no turning back and so we drove 2,680 miles, a whirlwind tour through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and then Ohio.  Home, but not home.  Ohio: where my roots are but not my heart.

A morning drive through Montana

Every time I come back to Ohio I find myself losing myself just a little bit, reverting back to the person I used to be at 19, less self-assured, a square peg in a round hole.  

It scares me to not have Oregon to return to, the place where I can regroup and go back to life as I know it.  But my life is on the road now, and I am trying to find my footing.  I guess that is a part of travel, even if you are traveling in a not-so-foreign place.  

But it’s not bad, really. We’re staying with Brian’s parents and they have been wonderful to us. The dogs seem to be adjusting well.  We’re spending quality time with our nephews and niece and they are adorable. And we’ve got a packed schedule visiting old friends and family.  I’m excited to catch up with these people that I love.

Brian with his dad and brother

Bear adjusts to her new home

But my heart is aching for Oregon, as it always aches when I am in Ohio.  And I’m dreading the day we leave the dogs.  So I feel like we are in a half-life.  Not yet traveling and not home anymore either.  I try to remind myself to breathe, to be patient, and to enjoy the moment as it is upon me.  I am mostly failing at this.  

On our ride out to Ohio we spent a non-driving day in South Dakota visiting Mt. Rushmore and Badlands National Park.  As we discovered the battered landscapes of the park I was reminded just how fun it is to explore, with no timeframe and no agenda.  It was our first true taste of freedom, a glimpse of what will come, and it felt exciting and free.  We repeated to each other, like a mantra, this is what our life will be like. That freedom is what I wait for here in Ohio; the freedom of new places.

Brian in Badlands National Park

This weekend we are headed to New York City.  I’ve never visited and want to see this great city in the U.S. before we see the other great cities of the world.  If you have tips on cheap places to eat and drink I’d love to hear them.

If you want to keep up on where we’re headed to next, you can view our complete summer road trip itinerary here.  For real time updates and photos you can also follow along on our Facebook page.

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Sophia May 28, 2012 at 8:24 am

What a great adventure you’re on! I think NY is one of the best places to visit. While you are there you should go to this place called Eataly in Chelsea. It’s like an indoor Italian market with a bunch of restaurants inside. But the best is the fresh focaccia bread for $2 followed by gelato for $3! Best deal in the city! Haven’t had anything like this since we were in Italy a few years ago. Also try to see a Broadway or off-broadway show while you’re there. Check out the TKTS booth for cheap tickets. Have fun!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:13 am

Wow, that sounds amazing! And you’ve gotta love cheap focaccia and gelato! I will look at TKTS for cheap tickets. I already wish we had more time in NYC!

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Fran May 28, 2012 at 9:09 am

Very excited for you both! You will never regret it… and just remember, the hardest part is taking those first few steps.
On a separate note: I am from NYC, so if you need any restaurant recommendations, real-people contacts, etc. when you arrive, give me a shout!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:13 am

Thank you Fran :) The hardest part really is taking the first steps… we are on our way!

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Maddie May 28, 2012 at 9:23 am

2680 miles in one week you crazy people! That is some hardcore road-tripping :-) Everyone says that it takes a while to realise that this is actually your life now, you’re not just on holiday. You will get there and it will be amazing! Have a great time in NY, looking forward to hearing about it.

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:16 am

It was crazy, my back was killing me! Looking forward to moving back west at a much slower speed…

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Kelly May 28, 2012 at 9:26 am

Great post, how exciting!!! I really want to do a massive road trip!! Thanks for the inspiration!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:16 am

There is so much to see and do roadtripping the U.S. I hope you do it someday!

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Hope May 28, 2012 at 9:26 am

Hi Kim, just looking at your website and looks like you are ready to go on your adventure. I’m sure it has been hard saying good-bye to all your family and friends, but you will see them again real soon. I’m am missing you here in Portland, but I am keeping up with recycling pretty good. Take care and I will keep checking in. Have fune. Hope

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:18 am

Hi Hope!! I’m so glad you are reading the blog and that you are still recycling!! Someone’s got to carry the torch around there ;) Please tell everyone I say hello.

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Ashley May 28, 2012 at 9:30 am

Ah, NYC :) Mamounn’s Falafel is one of my favorite cheapies, they have a location in the West Village and the East Village. I think the one in the West is cheaper, a few dollars for a huge falafel sandwich. Also, there are food trucks everywhere, and they ca be cheap and delicious. Another standby for us is Saigon Grill, which is near Union Square, on University, maybe around 10th st. If you go there, try the Papaya Salad, it is EXACTLY like in Vietnam. Pongsri Thai is on 23rd St between 6th and 7th Ave and has the best massaman curry I’ve had outside of Thailand. Go for lunch, they have great specials then. We miss living in the city, and if we think of anything else we’ll let you know. Happy adventuring!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:20 am

I love falafel sandwiches!!! Thank you for all of the wonderful suggestions!!

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wendy May 28, 2012 at 10:18 am

I didn’t mean to make you cry! Nothing but love for you and B. Went on a 10 mile run yesterday into Bend. Got lost on the trail and had to double back. Missed you staring at my calves. :)

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:21 am

I know you didn’t :) It was just such a sweet comment! Running here is INSANE! The humidity is killer. I can barely make it four miles.

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peach May 28, 2012 at 10:38 am

I remember when I was driving away from NYC for a cross country road-trip/relocation and just SOBBING as I got further away. It’s always bittersweet…But, my year traveling was amazing, just as yours will be.

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:22 am

Lots of tears, definitely. Bittersweet is the perfect description.

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Allison May 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Don’t cry for Oregon, you love it, it is home. Whether or not you are physically there or are from there, it can still be home. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll go back! Not this year. Probably not next year. Heck, maybe not for 5 or 10 years. But one day you may want a place to settle for a bit and that place may be Oregon.

After 4 years away, we’ve just moved back to Vancouver with the intention of having it as our home-base. We won’t stop adventuring, but we do want to be able to always come home.

Have an amazing time in NYC!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:22 am

Yes, I do need to remember that Portland is home even when I don’t have a physical address. Home is where the heart is, right?

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Lisa May 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm

The sadnesd will pass and your confidence and comfort will grow as you travel!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:23 am

Thanks Lisa, I think (hope) you are right!!

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Rhonda May 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Congrats on finally being on the road! But we have one very serious question for you… did a certain dog get to see Mt Rushmore up close & personal????
Enjoy New York!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:23 am

Rhonda, YES! I will write a post about Mt. Rushmore/Badlands and post the photo :)

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Rhonda May 30, 2012 at 7:26 am

fantastic! Can’t wait to see that one.

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Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) May 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I know exactly what you mean about the paradox of returning to the place you are from, but that no longer feels like home. At the end of June, Tony and I will pack up our Nashville lives (where I’ve been for the past 7 years) and move back to my parents’ home in Toronto… Even though I grew up there, it now feels really foreign to me, and I wrestle with myself so much when we’re there. I haven’t yet found a way to bridge the gap between the 22 year-old girl who left there, and the 29 year-old woman who returns. It’s honestly like entering a wormhole and traveling back in time, only I’m the one that doesn’t fit!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:24 am

Oh Steph, I totally understand. It is such a strange dynamic. I haven’t quite figured out how to cross that divide myself.

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Ayngelina May 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Bear looks adorable, I am sure she’ll be hard to leave.

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:24 am

Isn’t she cute? I am so totally dreading the day we leave those dogs…

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Kristi in LV May 28, 2012 at 6:59 pm

It’s not worth having if there is no sacrifice.

Congratulations on the first leg of your journey!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:27 am

That is true. There have been a lot of sacrifices!

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Lindsey May 28, 2012 at 11:03 pm

“setting off on the road didn’t feel like the momentous occasion it was. It just felt like a slightly different Monday”

I can relate to this! I think it comes a little from a fear that if you acknowledge this major change is happening, you’ll fall apart. I find my subconscious tries to shield me from that for as long as possible. Enjoy the time you have with the dogs before you leave, and don’t forget to take the time to miss home.

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:29 am

Yes, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. My subconscious is definitely trying to shield me from the sadness. I know this goodbye will be so sad…

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Hannah May 28, 2012 at 11:55 pm

I can imagine how it must feel to be caught up in this juxtaposition of emotions. I try not to think of the tears that will fall as I say my own goodbyes, but as our departure date moves ever closure, I find myself welling up often. Try not to weep for Oregon, there are so many other wonderful places out there, just waiting to steal your heart.

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:29 am

Hannah! There are so many emotions and so many tears. It is hard to say goodbye. And I know we’ll have many sad goodbyes on the road as well. I try to remember that I am lucky to have so many people and things that I love and have to say goodbye to.

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Tony May 29, 2012 at 6:04 am

AMAZING picture of your dog and what a beautifully poignant text from your friend… “Most people think it’s just a rainy Monday, but I know the real reason Oregon cries today.”

Love that. Great friends are the best… and so tough to leave.

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:30 am

Isn’t she adorable (the dog)?

Great friends are so hard to leave and I already miss them dearly.

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Jessica May 29, 2012 at 6:53 am

Papabubble, in the SoHo/Nolita area, is food for your eyes, sugary scents for your nose. They take a chemistry approach to making candy, turning vats of sugar into cylinders of candy with a face, a dog, your name, in the middle. The process is painstaking and miraculous. They were nice, in a no-nonsense New York kind of way. I discovered it through the New Yorker; they have a mini-cult following: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/reviews/2008/11/24/081124goav_GOAT_avenue_marx

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:31 am

Thanks Jessica :) That candy place sounds amazing!! You always know the cutest little places to go.

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Sarah May 29, 2012 at 7:22 am

Love the photo of Brian and that amazing vista! And of course your beautiful bear (she looks pretty comfy though). Everything you’ve worked so hard for, and given up so much for, is now upon you, and it must be insanely overwhelming. Hold onto your seat, you’re in for the ride of your life!!! Enjoy NYC (talk about starting with a bang!) xxx

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:32 am

I think she is pretty comfy. She has so much space in her new home!

I can’t wait for this ride to *really* begin (I guess it already has…)

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Leah May 29, 2012 at 9:15 am

To say that I am excited for you sounds so trite, but I mean it! I can vicariously feel the thrill of the adventures you are heading for – so many wonderful adventures.

It’s been decades since I have been in NY, but I have a couple of things to suggest:

One is to go to H&H bagels for a quintessential New York bagel. Unfortunately, they have closed their shop on the upper West side, the one that we used to walk to from the university, so now the only shop is at 639 West 46th Street. Worth it if you are a bagel fan, or if you are staying nearby. Also, I found remarkable the city’s Chinatown, and suggest it is worth a visit to walk around and see the sights. And eat! Portland has few, if any, really good chinese restaurants, and good chinese food is sublime. When I was there, it was not uncommon to have a waiter that didn’t speak much english, so eating required an adventurous spirit, but that may have changed somewhat. Some hole-in-the-wall places served outstanding food. Use your nose to guide you, and I hope you have a blast!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:26 am

Leah, I know you mean it :)

I looove bagels and it is hard to find a good bagel in Portland- I will definitely try to get to H&H bagels! Also, thanks for the tip about Chinatown. I’m going to add that to our list of things I really want to do!

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Ali May 29, 2012 at 9:25 am

The dog pictures are so cute!! In addition to Ohio being hard for the normal reasons, I’m sure it’s also that you’re still in the “saying good-bye” phase of all of this. Leaving the dogs behind and saying good-bye to your families will be tough but you’ll get through it just like you got through saying good-bye to your Oregon friends. You’ll make it!

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:26 am

Isn’t Bear adorable? I know we will get through it… I just dread saying goodbye to family and the dogs… Goodbyes are so hard.

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Patricia GW May 30, 2012 at 9:04 am

It’s hard to be in that state in-between – not yet traveling but not yet home. My heart goes out to you for the time you’ll be leaving the dogs. You’ll be able to push through, and they’ll be in your heart wherever you travel. It’s a blessing they’ll be taken care of where you know they’re safe and happy. As for being on the road: YAYAYAY!! Well wishes and lots of luck to you and Brian as you begin your grand adventure!

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Kim May 30, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Thanks Patricia :) Yes, I know that the dogs are going to be loved and well cared for and that I will somehow get over the heartbreak of leaving them… it’s just so hard to say goodbye. Especially to the dogs who are like our babies.

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Mike May 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I just wanted to say that I have been following your blog silently for a long time and have a great admiration for your courage to follow your dreams. My wife and I would love to travel and one day hope to embark upon a trip like this.
As far as NYC. We just came back from NYC a few days ago. A great place to check out in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoons is Smorgasburg. It is an ecclentic variety of all kinds of different international foods priced around 6 to 7 dollars. You can buy your food and sit in park along the East River and take in the Manhattan skyline.

Website: http://www.brooklynflea.com/smorgasburg/

Another nice little spot in Greenwich Village is Bus Stop Cafe

Website: http://busstopcafenyc.com

A couple of non food related items but are free:

MOMA: Modern Museum of Art is free Friday nights

Kayaking on the Hudson River, free all the time

Website: http://www.downtownboathouse.org/

Enjoy NYC and the rest of your adventure!

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Kim June 2, 2012 at 6:21 am

Thanks Mike :) Best of luck to you and your wife. I hope you do get to do it one day. I speak from experience when I say that getting over the fear of doing it is the hardest part.

Thank you for your NYC tips! I’m so excited to check them out. Especially the Brooklyn smorgasburg.

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Lucie May 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Oh enjoy NYC, good idea to go visit it before leaving for other lands;)

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Kim June 2, 2012 at 6:21 am

I’m so excited to see NYC!

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Traveling Ted May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Badlands is a desolate but really cool place. I visited it last year. I bet it kind mirrored your melancholic feelings regarding leaving a place you loved.

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Kim June 2, 2012 at 6:21 am

Now that you mention it, it did sort of mirror our feelings of leaving Portland.

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