Made of this stuff

by Kim on June 21, 2012 · 25 comments

It’s hard to believe that we have been away from Oregon for a month already.  Time is literally flying by.

When we were first planning this trip around the world I was skeptical about starting in  the U.S.  I wanted to step on a plane and fly away to a foreign land but Brian wanted to fulfill a childhood dream of spending a summer in the National Parks.

We eventually agreed to start with a National Parks road trip and decided that, since we’d be driving around the U.S. anyway, we’d take some real time to see the people we love.

Living in Oregon did not afford us the opportunity to see our families very often and we only saw old friends when we’d dash across the country to spend weekends at weddings. One of the reasons we are taking this trip is to do and see the things we love. We penciled in five weeks to see our families and friends.

I was excited, of course, but I wasn’t jumping out of my skin excited. Starting our RTW trip by visiting family and friends in familiar cities felt safe and un-exotic. I wanted beach holidays in Bali or trekking trips Nepal. I am impatient in the most horrible way. I wanted adventure and I wanted it now.

But we took our time in Ohio and I am so glad we did because it was fantastic. We swam in the pool and cooked out on the grill and went to an evening baseball game. We sat on porches with friends and family until the wee hours of the morning listening to the crickets and watching the lightening bugs blink in the trees. It felt like summer in a way that summer never felt in the Pacific Northwest.  It was all sticky nights and cold drinks and talking, talking, talking with people we have known forever like no time had passed between us.

Unfortunately I was having too much fun to take pictures of these summer nights so here, instead, is a photo of Brian and his nephews.

After three weeks with our families and friends in Cincinnati Brian and I drove to Cleveland to visit two of our dear friends from college.  On the second day of our visit we headed out on a boat in Lake Erie. It was a gorgeous summer day: hot and humid and blue skies, the perfect day to be on the water.

The view of Cleveland from Lake Erie

As we zoomed through the Lake, music blasting, I found myself absolutely giddy with joy. I thought about the three weeks we’d had at home with our families and about the time we were spending with friends. I thought about how incredibly lucky we are to be able to do this. And I thought about how wonderful it was to be able to go home again and step back into the life that shaped me: country music and back porches and long conversations; woods and bugs and lakes and family.

My college roommate Kelly

Enjoying life on Lake Erie

Someone said that you can never go home again but I don’t think that’s true. I think you can always go home again, just not as the same person you were when you left. Home doesn’t change much, but if you leave it, you will change. Home, then, becomes the constant with which you measure your change against. Eight years in Oregon taught me that. I know that this will only be amplified the next time I am home, a whole world of experiences tucked into my pockets.

Thank you to our families and to all of the friends who took the time to see us, feed us, and send us off with love. Nothing matches the feeling of sitting with the people who have known you for years and loved you through them all despite yourself. We love you like crazy.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Somewhere June 21, 2012 at 9:01 am

Firstly I am so damn excited to be the first comment on this post!!! I know, I’m a geek. Secondly, I loved reading about your time with family and friends, and thirdly I love seeing your gorgeous (tanned!) self on that boat (insert wolf whistle) :)

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Kim June 23, 2012 at 4:54 am

You win! ;) I’m so happy to be tan! I told Brian that when we get back to Oregon in August I’ll be the tannest person in the whole state!

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Carmel June 21, 2012 at 9:45 am

Second Sarah’s wolf whistle. ;)

It’s probably a good idea for you to take this time to start learning to smell the roses. Otherwise you may have just raced through your first country or two without fully embracing the experience. Sometimes home has that relaxing effect on us.

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Kim June 23, 2012 at 4:55 am

Agreed. I do think that I am learning to move a little more slowly and to go with the flow. I am such a control freak but am learning (trying!) to let that go.

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Chrystal McKay June 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Making the time for family is always a great option. I don’t often schedule it in – but I’m heading home next week to see them. So starting your trip off “un-exotic” is still VERY exciting to visit old friends. I look forward to you setting off to “Exotic” locations to read your adventures. Those will make you feel more at ease having said goodbye to everybody at home.

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Kim June 23, 2012 at 4:56 am

You are right, it is still very exciting and it was so wonderful.

And, you are also right, it was wonderful to say goodbye to everyone. It feels right!

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Dustin June 22, 2012 at 7:13 am

I can’t wait to hear about yalls adventures in the National Parks!

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Kim June 23, 2012 at 4:57 am

Thanks Dustin, I can’t wait to write about them!

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Klaus Kommoss June 22, 2012 at 7:30 am

“Home doesn’t change much, but if you leave it, you will change. Home, then, becomes the constant with which you measure your change against.”
Yes, this is one of the greatest lessons we can learn when we travel. The one who comes back is another person. But there really is no constant to measure our change against; everything is changing all the time. What we come back to is just memories.
Coming home is such a funny thing: The mysterious thrill of familiarity. It is the dream of security and reliability, competing with reality throughout our lives. If we listened to our heart we could feel at home wherever we are, but against the faint, silken whisper of wisdom we only trust what we already know. Home is where Self lives
in a house with mirrors as walls. It is a concept we never stop making up in our eternally yearning mind. It is our beloved, self-made prison we immediately begin to construct wherever we stop and remain for more than a few breaths. It is that wonderful luring illusion, as fleeting and arbitrary as a wave on the ocean, something we grasp and cling to in a world that is ceaselessly changing.
In the end we never leave home but expand home.

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Kim June 23, 2012 at 4:58 am

Coming home really is a funny thing and I think I could think and reflect and write about it for a very long time. I love this: “in the end we never leave home but expand home.”

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Ayngelina June 22, 2012 at 8:11 am

I find as long as you don’t expect people to be the same or home to be the same it always works out well.

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Kim June 23, 2012 at 4:59 am

That is a good point, not to expect it to be the same because, as Klaus says, it probably really isn’t the same. It does, however, always FEEL the same… but maybe it is that we are just coming home to our memories of the place and those memories are what don’t change.

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Hannah June 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm

This time is so precious; it is laying the foundations for your new life. The love you are allowing yourself time to give and receive will be the bedrock from which your journey is built. No matter what lies ahead for you both, the love will keep you standing strong xxx

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Kim June 23, 2012 at 5:00 am

That is so sweet, Hannah.

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Bethany ~ twoOregonians June 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I love your photos looking back toward the city across Lake Erie! It sounds like your trip is unfolding at just the right pace. Your memories of time with sweet friend and family will be just as wonderful as treks and tall tales from far-off corners. Enjoy it all! xx

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Kim June 27, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Yes, Bethany, you are totally right. I am already savoring the memories.

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Ajay June 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Lake Eerie looks fab, any tips on what else we could see in and around cleveland? Will be passing thru this weekend on our way to chicago and can spend a couple of days somewhere/someplace along the way..

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Kim June 27, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Ajay, I really like this little neighborhood in Cleveland called Ohio City- it seems to have some great bars and cute little shops and just overall a good vibe.

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Ajay June 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Ohio City on our route now ! I just booked 2 nights in Cleveland !

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Kim July 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Nice! Let me know what you think.

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Lindsay July 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Kim, you are such a beautiful writer, and I so often relate to what you write. I too miss those hot sticky summers believe it or not, as well as quality time with old friends and family. I can’t wait to see you in August. Know that you are definitely missed here in Portland!

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Kim July 11, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Lindsay, I miss you too. Can’t wait to see you in August. XOXOX

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Cheryl Dinan December 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Hi Kim, I would like you to send me an e-mail. I hope you and Brian are staying out of harms way and stranger danger! I taught you this when you were young. Love, Mom

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