I moved to Portland in 1997, after graduating from college. I moved cross country with my boyfriend at the time, who became my husband, who has since become my ex-husband. I look back at the past 16 years and they are filled with joy and love and happiness. We met great friends in Portland and I've had amazing experiences here. A dog named Oliver I loved and a home that was out of this world amazing. The past few years were hard, devastating at times. Filled with loss and pain and sadness. And sometimes those waves of emotions come back. I miss things in my old life. Stability, security, holidays with someone, companionship…
But, I know these things will be a part of my life again, no matter where I live. Moving away from Portland doesn't feel like I'm running away from something. It feels like a new beginning. In a time that I'm already in a transitional state, with most of my belongings in storage anyway, it makes sense to move closer to my family and start anew. I'm scared. I'm scared to death. Feeling more uneasy about this then I did bicycling across the country!
Yesterday, Jamie a close friend and colleague in Kentucky, who will be my cross country companion and support as I drive away from this wonderful city a week from today mentioned how he and other colleagues were slightly making fun of me. He told me that he finds it incredible that I was able to bicycle 4200 miles alone (and be pretty much fearless), yet I want someone to drive with me the 2300 miles to Kentucky. It is ironic I guess. But, emotionally, leaving a city that you've called home for 16 years is harder than physically cycling across the US. Having a friend with me will provide the love, support and fun adventure I'll need into this next phase in my life. I told him he may have to deal with some tears along the way and he thanked me for the warning.
I received this today from a colleague in Atlanta via Facebook, "You are fearless and amazing. I could never just pick up and move like you are doing. Also, your bike trek was incredible. I enjoyed following your daily posts." And, another colleague in Arizona who recently purchased her first road bike texted me, "I don't know how you went across the US… I channel you when I ride." I know I've inspired many of my readers on my bike journey. And for that I'm glad.
This last week is filled with errands and packing and seeing people I love dearly. The fear and anxiety is there. I'd be lying if it weren't. But I know I can do it. If these legs can cycle 4,197 miles, my heart and mind can be strong enough for me to relocate.