Most of you already know that I changed my plans and came home early. What you don’t know is that I surprised my parents, and one of my closest friends, by coming home early…a fantastic feeling, if I do say so myself!
I had already planned on cutting my trip short because the funds I had set aside were running low and I didn’t want to get into the middle of the US and have to turn around and come home. But I ran into some very odd homesickness that made me realize it was time to come home.
The night before I came home I had decided that I was going to end my trip in Kentucky and head home the following Tuesday, which happens to be today. I told Mom and Dad and a couple of friends. I was talking to EJ when I said I couldn’t wait to sleep in my own bed. Then I described exactly how comfy my bed is after he asked how long it had been since I’d been home. Boy, did that make my hotel bed that night uncomfortable.
The plan was to drive around Long Island taking pictures of lighthouses and spent the night in Brooklyn, drive around LI the next day looking at more lighthouses and stay in Newark, then go to the Ellis Island and Liberty Island. Well, around 1:15 that afternoon plans changed. I got a little misty-eyed as I crossed from New Jersey into New York that morning but brushed it off as being in my home state. Well, that misty-eyed problem got stronger until I was full on crying while driving down the Long Island expressway. Crying because I was in NY and my bed is in NY, I was only 5 hours away from my bed and I wasn’t even gonna be sleeping in it. Now came the point when I mentally cussed out EJ for asking me how long it had been since I’d been home, then cussed myself out for describing how comfy my bed is, and then I mentally cussed out Nick for making my bed so comfy (that sounds kinda wrong…let me explain, he bought me a better-than-down comforter and a better-than-down mattress topper for my bed as Christmas presents a few years back). Basically, there was a lot of cussing going on between the tears.
So, I cancelled my hotel reservations and told Mr. Herbert I wanted to go home, for those that don’t know Mr. Herbert from Family Guy is the voice on my GPS (he and I had a VERY tumultuous relationship throughout this trip). I thought about calling home and letting someone know I was going to be there that night but I thought surprising the parentals would be much better!
As I got closer to the NY-PA border I was getting more excited. Not so unexpectedly, I started crying when I saw that Welcome to New York sign as I was leaving Pennsylvania. I had an hour and a half to go!! When I got home I was so excited that I forgot to put the car in park before I turned it off and left the keys in the ignition, thankfully we live out in the sticks so it didn’t matter. I “ran” to the front door (we all know that I can’t run since the accident and when I do it looks like a wounded, retarded gazelle), barged in the front door and asked if they might have an extra room I could use for the night.
Mom’s response, “Would you like some dinner?”
A couple of hours later, I was going through my mail and my mommy walked up to me in the kitchen, hugged me and said, “I’m glad you’re home.” A moment etched in my heart forever. I know my parents love me, but some moments just stand out more than others.
It felt GREAT to be home and sleeping in my bed that night was SOOO fabulous. After I crawled under the covers, I sent some mental thank you’s to Nick for making my bed so damn comfy. LOL
The next part of my plan was to surprise Michael. Not an easy task! While his schedule is generally the same week to week things change and I had to figure out how to get him to tell me whether he was working that night without letting on that I was home. I would now like to thank God for my ability to deceive and I promise to never use it for evil. Anyway, I found out he was working that night and led him to believe that I was still on Long Island. I went so far as to wish him a good night at work as I was on my way to see him.
I walked into the bar at the hotel and leaned against a couch while he was cleaning off one of the tables. The look on his face when he looked up and saw me standing there was absolutely priceless! The patrons sitting at the table looked my way because he was just standing there, staring. Fabulous! That moment is one I will carry in my heart forever and why I couldn’t be happier that he’s my friend.
Over the MANY weeks I was traveling, I had numerous people ask me if I was trying to find myself. My response was: I know who I am, I am happy with who I am, I figured out who I was and that I like who I am 5 years ago after a near-fatal car accident. I’m doing this to see things I’ve never seen before. Then they would ask me if I had a favorite place that I had visited. That answer was so much harder to come by. I always responded that I hadn’t seen everything yet so I couldn’t really tell them where my favorite place was.
I can say, without a doubt, that I now know where my favorite place is, actually where my favorite places are…
…Wherever those I love are.
There is nothing like the love you see on someone’s face or feel in someone’s hug when they are as glad to see you as you are to see them.
My best day on this trip was the day I came home to the family and friends that love me because of and in spite of everything I am.
(I hope you all stick around. I may not be traveling anymore but I still plan on sharing some of my nonsensical musings here from time to time.)