For the next month or so, I’m biding my time in the house where I grew up, keeping my parents and sister company and trying to hang on to a few pennies for my adventures outside of the country.
After weeks of road trips and hikes in majestic mountain ranges, new stories revealing themselves every day, I’m finding I don’t have as much to write about here in the comfort of my family’s house. I’m happy and relaxed, staying busy by reading voraciously, keeping a daily yoga practice, running, writing, and taking day trips around Virginia to see various friends. It’s not very exciting, but it’s important for me to have this downtime to tie up the loose ends of my previous life and prepare for what I hope will be at least six months of traveling abroad.
It’s surreal to visit my hometown now. I’ve changed so much even in just the last six months that it feels like I’m seeing the area where I grew up for the first time, even as I also feel like I’m returning home. When I make a grocery run to the store where my family has bought food for the past 20 years, I feel just as much like a traveler as I did on one of my many grocery stops in nameless towns across the country. But I don’t feel isolated, or lonely, or out of place. I feel excited to be seeing old familiar places with new eyes.
After a couple of years in the desert, the mist and fog and fuzzy, tree-covered mountains that I grew up with seem exotic. I still miss Reno’s dry air and constant sunshine, but I’m also enchanted by the rolling fog and heavy clouds that have blanketed the valley for the past few days. I began hiking avidly when I moved to Reno, and now I’m coming back to discover that my hometown is rich with hiking trails I never took an interest in before. On today’s hike, we ascended up through heavy fog and into low-lying clouds that brushed the top of the mountain we summitted.