As a solo traveler, I was committed to the idea that I would be doing everything myself. From hitching up to breaking camp, pumping out tanks to deciding when and where to go, it was all on me. Yes, it’s fun to camp with others and set up social occasions, and I enjoy that. But when the rubber meets the road (literally!), it’s just me and Bella and the Breeze out there, a trio of intrepid adventurers wandering around the USA.
I didn’t think much about what might happen to change that. A job offer I couldn’t resist? A place I absolutely would fall in love with and couldn’t leave? A well-matched traveling companion? What I didn’t think of was a broken hand. Suddenly, not only my wonderful summer plans (bye, Great Smokies and Shenandoah), but my very independence felt like it had flown out the window as I entered the weird and unpredictable world of Rehab-Land.
It wasn’t an easy summer and I must have looked lost or unreachable at times, and honestly, I kind of was. The first few weeks were a haze of hand pain and figuring out how I was going to live. I don’t have a home base, so it wasn’t like I could just pack it in and go hide out at home for a few months. The reality of full-time living in a trailer in bad times was kind of a shock: how to cook one-handed, wash dishes without getting the cast wet, and drive with a left hand that couldn’t even work the turn signals. And then when the cast came off after a month and I realized how useless that hand was and how long it was going to take to get back into shape, I was discouraged to the point of tears in the doctor’s office. I just wanted my old life back, the one where I was footloose and fancy free, flying down the road with my trailer to new adventures. Instead, I got 8 weeks of physical therapy twice a week, and countless hours on my own stretching, kneading, pushing, and pulling my fingers and hand back in the direction of normal.
This was a summer of learning patience and persistence. It was also a summer of learning to accept help, to ask for it, to admit I couldn’t do everything on my own.
So thank you to Deidre, Mary, Paris, Shawn and Ron, Linda, Bruce and Donna, Karl, Jack and Lee, Ralph and Tricia, Jim and Dale, Peg and Larry, JAM, Betsy, Donna and Tom, Peg, Sue, Paula, Mike, Connie, Dick, Janet, Deirdre and Barry, Carl, Dave and Jane, and Sherry and Vald for such kindness, providing everything from a safe haven to a good meal and conversation when I needed it. And thank you to family members, rally friends, Altoistes, Facebook friends, long-distance friends, and blog readers who called, sent me messages, or wrote comments, cheering me up and cheering me on. Each one seemed to arrive just when I needed a little something to keep me going.
This summer wasn’t about places, it was all about people. And I wouldn’t change a minute of it.
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.