In many ways it was surprisingly simple, driving five thousand miles across America. I woke up every morning, fed the dog and packed the truck, pointed us west and followed the road.
And the miles went fast.
I was somewhere in Montana when I thought about how I'd been in Pennsylvania just days before and how in many ways it felt like it had been a whole other journey at a whole other time.
And I couldn't be quite sure how'd I gotten from there to here except that I'd put gas in the truck and followed a map and when I blinked and opened my eyes again, I'd crossed half of the continent and given some book readings besides.
Of course, it wasn't that simple.
I'm back across the border in Vancouver now, and now that I've slept some and eaten, I can reflect on what a fun and remarkable journey it was, and not just complain about how I wish I'd had a few more people buy my books.
I can be grateful.
I'm grateful to my bestie, Alexis, who found me motels to stay in nearly every night I was on the road, saving me the hassle of finding a bed myself after a long day of driving. Alexis is indispensable.
I'm grateful to the bookstores and booksellers who had me: Print: A Bookstore, in Portland, ME; The Silver Unicorn in West Acton, MA; Aunt Agatha's and the Ann Arbor District Library in Ann Arbor, MI; Boswell Books in Milwaukee, WI; Fact & Fiction in Missoula, MT; and Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge Island, WA. It was a privilege to visit your wonderful stores.
I'm grateful to my friends Chris Holm and Katrina Niidas Holm, Ed Aymar, Stacia Decker, Bill Bride, Erik Arneson, Jon McGoran, Lynn Riehl, Bryon Quertermous, Nick and Margret Petrie, Joelle Charbonneau, Drew Halverson, Erica Ruth Neubauer, Jon and Ruth Jordan, Chris La Tray and Jim Thomsen. You all made the journey worthwhile.
I'm grateful to all of the fans and readers who came to see me, whether old friends or new acquaintances. It was so lovely to spend time with you all.
I'm grateful to everyone who offered support, encouragement and/or words of wisdom, from heartfelt advice to just chucking a like up on yet another #Lucygram, you all kept me going.
I'm grateful a flat tire was the only issue I had to deal with. That the weather cooperated and the trains were bountiful and that most establishments I encountered were enthusiastically dog-friendly.
I made it across the border on Friday afternoon, after stopping for lunch in Bellingham with my friend, the talented photographer Mike Thomas and his new flame, Olivia.
I felt immediately more at ease on the Canadian side, as I navigated through the suburbs of my hometown. It was like I'd never left, like the last four months away had been a blink.
The good memories and the unhappy memories came back very quickly, except now I feel confident that I'm better equipped to deal with them.
I have some thoughts about what comes next.
In the short term, I am going to relax and reflect and regroup for the next two weeks or so in Vancouver. Then I'm moving into a house in the wilderness north of Pemberton, BC, with two friends for the summer.
I'm excited about that. The urban environment has mostly lost its appeal, and I'm sure Lucy will love it up there, too. I'll have plenty of time to work on the writing projects I have on the books.
In the long term, I'm still working it out. I woke up the day after my last event in Eagle Harbor thinking that maybe I'd played out the logical string of this writing career and that it might be time for a fresh start.
Teaching, maybe. Or I'll go back to school and be a fitness instructor or a wilderness guide.
Or I'll keep writing but broaden my mindset about the best ways to get my work out there.
I don't know yet. Maybe I'll just stay the course and hope to land a few more contracts with what I'm writing next. I have some time to decide, anyway.