Driving through the mountains to Weaverville, CA by myself. I left my brother at the campsite right outside of Douglas City. Deep in the woods, he seemed happy enough reading on a rock by the river. Douglas City turns out to be made up of a post office, and a vacant lodge. The people at the post office were kind and shy. Avoiding eye contact, but once you caught their gaze they were opening up.
Weaverville was five miles away, and had the closest diner. So I took the winding highway West, and ended up at Mamma Llama’s.
Driving along Main Street, I realized that I wasn’t as out of place here as I thought. Weaverville is a mix of seeming hobos and hippies. Dreadlocks and unkempt beards. Sunglasses and dirt and weather worn baseball caps with scraggly hair creeping out from underneath.
Parking the car, I came face to face with this baby deer. Big ears, big eyes. Just staring at me, and I stared back. It started walking closer to the car, and for a few seconds I thought it might try to stick its head in the window. But then it turned away and leaped over a white picket fence into someone’s yard.
Sitting in the diner, to my right is an old hippie man with a gemstone tying his beard into a pony tail. He’s got a yellow and orange gypsy scarf draped over his luggage, and he’s drinking a milkshake.
There’s a guy on a laptop in front of me, drinking his coffee and getting to work.
There’s a young guy who just walked in with a newspaper and a sullen look on his tanned face. His two friends join him with similar expressions, breaking into laughter moments later.
There’s a family right behind me that seem to be visiting from another country. I’m trying to hide my writings from them.
“I just hitchhiked for the first time yesterday.” Gemstone beard is telling a friend.
I am starting to miss my crazy anarchist family from this past year. I knew they were special at the time, and I knew I would realize even more how special they were once I left them. I think one thing I’m going to realize on this journey for the next month is the importance of community. And having people around you who get you. But isn’t that a cop-out? That’s my fear, staying in one place. But then again, it is a bit unsettling to be out here where no one knows you or cares about you. I don’t want to stay stagnant just to be comfortable. But I’m also realizing there is a certain amount of comfortable you have to create in order to avoid stagnation, as well. Sometimes you need to be uncomfortable for awhile alone to reach higher, and to prepare yourself for the new people you’ll meet who are still closer to who you want to become. But you also have to learn how to make a situation yours, and how to find comfort and confidence in what you’re embarking on.
Everything will change. Worship the change and the chaos.
Just talked to Diana, escaping to Chicagoland to write with her for a few weeks after I get back in the fall. Also thinking about an intentional community for a few months. Also thinking about volunteer jobs and jobs in KC.
Went back and picked up my brother at the campsite. Passing Douglas city again, and driving past old trailer homes and paint peeling box houses. Dogs running around, and discarded items laying in the dusty yards. Big piles of wood and a certain haze to the whole picture, conjuring images of imminent doom.
Back at the campsite, brother is loving the nature. As we’re driving out of the campsite, we pass the old, tattooed men that look like they’ve never seen a day of shade in their lives. Or a day of using a razor on their faces since they hit puberty and threw that shit out the window. They are rough looking, and the type of people you expect to be camped out at a secluded campground for months, years, decades on end.
One of them walked past swinging a beer bottle in his hand last night, and I pretended to be busy with the tent, visibly shaken. He smiled and waved at me though, and I felt a little better. He’s just a person, too. Probably just living his life and hoping not to be judged for his more alternative lifestyle. There is no reason to fear these people out here. These are people that probably have great stories just waiting to be told. But I’m still fresh on the road, and getting my traveling feet back. I need a little bit of time before I can engage with strangers again. I need a bit of time to myself.
I really want to come up with a writing objective for this trip. But first I need to take a few days, or a week, to situation myself into the real world. There are so many things I want to do as catch up– letters to friends and contacts that I’ve met throughout the past year, and people I left behind to travel this past year.
So I’m going to spend a day writing letters.
And then I’ve got these other things that are on my mind, that I want to take care of as well.
And then hopefully I can sleep peacefully in the tent tonight.
Last night the moon was so bright on my side of the tent, I felt like I was in Alaska with the midnight sun again. I almost put a sock over my eyes like old times.