On July 24, 2013, I started this blog under the fun little metaphor “No Return Ticket.” In that first post, I confessed my desire to have a “f*%k it” attitude about my writing and get over my fear of putting words out there into the internet world where the trolls and assholes live. If I were better at curating my life experience to be internet-ready, I would be writing this reflection on that post exactly four years to the day later. But with a nod to the how real life is utterly uncurated, here I am, three years, 10 months and 30 days after my inaugural post, at an airport preparing to board a flight literally. . . wait for it. . . with. . . No. Return. Ticket.
You can’t make this shit up.
If I wanted to, I could give an existential nod to a friend who tells me to open myself to the universal vibrations (you know who you are Posey) and I might be inclined to think I serendipitously titled my blog No Return Ticket for this very moment. Alas, I don’t believe that. Three years, 10 months and 30 days ago, I thought I was mightily clever. I thought I was embarking on the ultimate dream – engineer and cubical ogre who takes a one-way journey to become a content and awesomely happy culinary and food guru. . . excuss me, I meant FAMOUS and content and awesomely happy culinary and food guru.
There was no plan to catch a flight 3000 miles away from that life of nearly four years ago and hide away in my brother’s in-laws’ mother-in-law apartment taking yet another survey on my life so I could ironically blog about how I had no return ticket home. But here I am, doing just that.
It’s been a strange few weeks – saying goodbye to people in a manner like I am actually never coming back. I am coming back. At least I am pretty sure I am coming back. Awww…hell, I don’t freaking know if I am coming back to stay, but what I do know is that I plan to ride a motorcycle across this whole freaking country sometime between now and then. So, I am coming back. When I come back is something that is a bit obscure.
So, I’ve transitioned from airport bar to waiting on the tarmac. I am two beers happier and in no position to change my mind without making a plane full or people really unhappy.
I announced this little trip weeks ago. Likely, I was saying it out loud to make it real to myself and with each time I repeated it, I was just building up my courage to actually go. It started with an invite to stay in the Eldorado Hills (thanks Sam, Alexis, Kay and Bill). Then, I was researching what it’d cost to rent a car for several weeks. Turns out, some motorcycles cost about that or less. Nevermind I didn’t actually have a license much less know how to ride.
Next thing I’m doing is buying a one way ticket and signing up for riding classes. I blame the guy I bought my helmet from for getting this crazy cross country ride in my head. He casually said “Why ship a bike back? Ride it?”
Ride a motorcycle back.
Ride a motorcycle 3000 miles across the country.
Ride back to Massachusetts from California.
Seriously, why not?
As we climb into the sky, we are likely passing over the home I lived in for the last eight years. Aside from the two ridiculously large bags I packed that I hope are in the belly of this aircraft, the rest of my things are crammed into boxes piled into the crevices of the small spare bedroom of that house.
As I boxed up my stuff and packed it into that room, it was weird and sad to see 42 years of life packed into a 12′ x 12′ room. It felt small. I was a little spec in that big house which was a little spec in that big town which was a little spec in this world.
Today, as we climb above the clouds, those boxes feel more like a bungeee cord, tugging me back. I will be back for them. They are the tether strapped to my untethered life. Part of me thinks I shoulda just put a match to it all, but too late. I am in the sky with no return ticket except for the beckoning of boxes of stuff that I won’t need for at least the next several weeks. They are the promissory note guaranteeing my return.
So, here I am, three years, 10 months, 30 days after I metaphorically said “No Return Ticket” literally with no return ticket.
Until we meet again, happy cooking (and researching, and writing and riding)!
Postscript: After my last post, several people asked about why I am not taking Jethro with me. Unfortunately, he fears two-wheeled vehicles, even human powered versions. Never fear. He is not alone. He has a good doggie dad (don’t tell him I called him that) that he adores. He is in good hands. 🐾🐾🐾