Day 21 — Epilogue

Date: January 24, 2017 | Travel Miles: o | Location: Copa Vida, Pasadena, CA

photo by SarahAnn Photography

— It is the 21st day. I’m sitting in Copa Vida, the coffeeshop Frederick works at. Yes, I can look up and see him working five feet away! He told me which parking garage I should park in before coming. I walked around the block first to get a feel for this area since I will now need to know how to get around by myself. It is strange, the different perspectives you have when visiting a place vs. knowing you will now be living in a place. You increasingly become more aware of your surroundings. You instantly start imagining yourself in certain places. You immediately get more in tune with how this environment will affect you, how it will influence you, how you will interact with it. It was strange just looking at a google map from Frederick’s house to Copa, knowing that I should learn quickly how to get from one place to the other as it will become a familiar route for me I’m sure. —

Frederick had a break so I put this aside for a few minutes. What am I feeling? What am I feeling? Yesterday was a big, exciting blur in my mind. We drove most of the day, a lot of it through the rain and cold. I was so tired at this point in the trip, working off adrenaline and the knowledge that we were so close to reaching our destination. We got into town with that sunset I mentioned last night (day 20), then headed to his parent’s house where we were both crashing.

I pulled into the drive, shifted to Park, and turned the keys towards me. Engine off. Lights off. We had made it. Frederick became busy gathering things to get out and go inside. I couldn’t move. As soon as I turned the car off, I was slammed in the heart with the fact that I was here. We had finally arrived where we wanted to be. I began crying to myself, the feelings of exhaustion and relief coming in wave after wave.

I drove every single mile of this twenty day trip. 3,100 miles — 41 hours. Even though Frederick flew into TX to help me finish the drive west, there was something in me that needed to drive it on my own. I wanted to say that I drove from Nashville to Los Angeles, yes, but it was more than that. I wanted to own every mile of that trip. I wanted the challenge. I wanted the victory. I wanted the struggle and I wanted the relief. Now I had it, sitting in the parked car, and it surprised me still. All my tired moments from the past month flashed in my mind. The loneliness. The packing and unloading, the repacking and reloading. The communicating with my hosts and trying to figure out how to spend awkward amounts of time in random cities until they were available to meet me. The feelings of loss. The thinking time I had in the car. The doubting whether I should have made this trip so long. The doubting whether I should have committed to writing every night (take photos, upload photos, edit photos, write a coherent blog) when I was so tired after long travel days (seriously, what was I thinking?). The intensified feelings of homelessness as I kept moving and kept leaving. The joy I had in seeing people again. The moments of creative success with friends. The collaborations and conversations. The heart moments. The life moments. Every mile I drove held the promise of new interactions with people. Every mile I drove propelled me into new experiences that really have changed me. Every mile I drove got me one mile closer to my end goal: Los Angeles.

All of those feels, and more, brought on the tears falling out of my eyes. There has been such a build-up to arriving here. We’ve all been looking forward to it, expecting it would come one day. No wonder my heart lost control last night. I had planned up until that moment. I had everything laid out and prepared for that pull into the driveway. Once it actually happened, I was shocked to realize the rest was unknown. I had thought so much about the journey that I didn’t think about what happens after. What happens now. What does happen now?

I don’t really know. That statement freaked me out a bit last night, but I am coming to terms with it today. “Now” will figure itself out with time.

I would like to keep writing. This project has meant a lot to me, and I have found new parts of myself throughout it.

If you guys have any ideas or requests for topics you would like me to write about, please let me know.

I guess I can’t keep writing “Day 22, Day 23, Day 24…” even though I am sitting here avoiding finishing this blog because I don’t want the project to end!

I will have to come up with another “LA Life” series or something.

Okayyyyyyyy, I’ll go now. But let’s talk again soon.

To completing projects, to continuing journeys, to complicated feelings. To life and living it with the people you love. To the God who has let me live fully every day so far and will hopefully let me live many more. To all of you. To beauty, creating, moments, and love.

Be well,

Caroline

#caromovedwest #writeeveryday #create