Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My Travels with Black Betty: the Epilogue

I'm home.

The car is still not unpacked due to constant rain, but regardless things are slowly falling back into place. I'm registering for classes this fall, taking my dog Bess for walks, and generally settling back into life in New Jersey. During my last week of the trip I was itching for home, now two and a half months don't seem nearly long enough.

I dutifully kept up with the blog in the interest of honing my writing skills, and for my effort I now have a wonderful keepsake of my journey. Some posts are better than others, to be sure. I sometimes barely had the time to edit simple typos, let alone grammar and syntax. But I do believe I achieved my goal of keeping it entertaining and informative.

I can't thank you enough for reading the blog this summer. Yes, you. If you liked what you read, tell me! If you didn't and have constructive criticism, tell me! You can leave a comment on this blog or e-mail me directly at spartenheimer@hotmail.com.

During my time in Australia a few years ago, I took a nine-day trip from Adelaide to Perth with Nullarbor Traveler. The members of the trip were the usual United Nations gathering of a dozen young people, with the odd addition of a 60-year-old Sydney-sider named John. He was suffering from a degenerative eye disease and was attempting to see what he could of his home country before his eyesight failed him completely. At the end of our journey, Amanda from Holland asked John if he had any words of wisdom for us. He said he was so glad we were taking advantage of traveling while still young, so that we might "get it out of our systems" before starting careers. The problem is, that trip and others only served to get it into my system, and now travel is all I want to do.

I'm going to start sounding like Po Bronson or bloody Oprah any minute now, but it's true that not enough people spend time doing what they truly want to be doing. When I stood in Abigail's kitchen in Butte, Montana at 1:30am and she asked me if I was happy, it was a pleasure to be able to realize that yes, I was happy. I was traveling and writing about it (even if I wasn't getting paid for it yet). That's exactly what I want to do.

I am equal parts amazed and disappointed that I managed to complete the Great American Roadtrip - coast to coast, border to border - and come away completely unscathed. No broken bones, flat tires, muggings or break downs of any sort can be truthfully mentioned.

On a scale of batshit crazy, 10 being a barfight with the cast of "Charles in Charge" and 1 being a quiet night at home with a Leonard Cohen album and a glass of lemonade, I'd say this trip was about a 5. Sleeping in the car and getting woken up by the police, picking up hitchhikers, chasing ghosts in Texas and taking on the Grand Canyon in one day were all pretty crazy. All those hours in Starbucks and libraries were decidedly not. At some points of the trip I felt I would sell my soul for use of the internet.

Regardless of what happened, or what I wish would have happened, the trip is mine. Mine to savor, mine to brag about, to laugh about, to regret, to remember fondly on some dark winter's day while at Rowan in the coming months.

Some people told me I'm lucky to have taken this trip. I'm not lucky. I simply found something I wanted to do and I did it.


"Why, then the world's mine oyster,
Which I with sword will open."

The Merry Wives of Windsor
William Shakespeare

I'll leave you with a final thought, a refrain, if you will, first visited in the prologue: what is it you want from this world, and when are you going to take it?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm so sad its over : (

Really good reading. It was my sunday evening read, what am i going to do now?

Anyway hope you're happy to be home, looking forward to Eulogy on the 9th,

See you then

Georgex

Paul E. Shively said...

Absolutely brilliant. It was a pleasure to have read this and I hope that we can share many travels in the future.

Looking forward to Mongolia.

Ezra said...

It was awesome to read this blog. You've helped me come to the realization that I refuse to be stuck with a mind full of regrets. I'm starting to seriously think about what I REALLY want out of this world, and how I'm going to get it. It's an exciting prospect!

48statebus said...

I wrote this big long comment about how much I enjoyed sort of vicariously living the experience through your blogs...but then my computer messed up somehow and I'm not retyping all of that. However, I did enjoy reading about your travels and hopefully my trip in 8 months and 9 days will be just as safe and non-disasterous as your trip was. If any of your readers want check out our trip at www.myspace.com/48statebus

Anonymous said...

welcome home scotticus. i must say that i almost feel as though i have been on the trip as well. now we must celebrate your return.

lee

mike m said...

congrats on a succesful trip and one hell of a blog

bgibs said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. You did a great job of balancing the writing. There was always interesting background on the locations, humor, and introspection. It was something I looked forward to and read every time I could find internet access. You inspired Bill and I to do a blog of our trip - not as good as yours, but we have really enjoyed doing it.
Thank you for letting us share your travels and insights. Have a great year and we look forward to more travel blogs from you in the future.

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48statebus said...

I was talking to someone today about traveling and couch surfing came up, I told our story about how I read your blog and how we stayed with you that night and it made me think about your blog so I looked it up.

So I figured I'd give you an update on the 48statebussers.

I graduated the semester after our trip, and took a year long internship with the Student Conservation Association (AmeriCorps)working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. I just started my first full time position for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection at the beginning of January and I'm in Tallahassee, FL.


Jessica graduated almost a year ago and is working for Enterprise.

Me and Jessica got engaged Christmas Eve night and are going to be married June 5th.

That road trip was so special to both of us and really changed so much in our lives. I think it will be one of the defining moments in our lives (as you know from your own crazy travels!)

I hope all is going well with you and I hope to hear back from you.

Take Care,
Jeremy (48statebus)
426hpss@gmail.com