"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us." ~Hal Borland
The year's end is almost inevitably a time when most of us look back and reflect, although my favorite direction remains squarely in front of me. I don't like to live in the past or dwell on things, and that's probably good since I have a pretty terrible memory.
Several people have suggested that I author a book, and I haven't written off that idea, although I tend to think that I am, in general, not all that exciting or interesting. However, 2017 has certainly been one of, if not the most, eventful years of my life.
I'm a numbers person, so I'm going to indulge in a little breakdown here in that regard. Since embarking on my extended road trip on October 22, 2016:
- I've laid my head to rest in 70 different places.
- I've created 113 pieces of original art, and sold 84 of them. Seventeen remain for sale, and I'll probably crank out a few more before 2017 leaves us.
- I've visited 31 national parks and monuments.
- I've traversed four countries - the United States, Belize, Mexico, and St. Martin/Sint Maarten.
- I missed a catastrophic hurricane by a mere three days.
- I've driven approximately 30,000 miles.
- I've traveled by car, foot, airplane, water taxi, repurposed school bus, bicycle, taxi, scooter, colectivo, ferry, motor coach, and teeny tiny prop plane.
In my life, whenever I've left one environment for another, I'm interested to see how relationships change - with whom do I maintain contact, with whom do things diverge, and how to the nature of those relationships that continue become different? Having lived my whole life until now in one geographic area, I'm mostly referencing academic and professional transitions. This time, this occurred on a much broader scale.
There are certainly more than a few people with whom I feel that I've lost touch since leaving home. I never know what to think when this happens, especially when I become disconnected from people about whom I care deeply. I won't blame myself, but I also don't blame the other. I've always said that "the phone works in both directions," and it (and e-mail, text message, etc.) truly does. To those people with whom this sentiment resonates, I'd just like to say that I welcome the opportunity to become a part of your life again, even if I can't seem to figure out how personally, and even though we now reside 1,500 miles apart.
We've lived in Tucson now for over two months, and I'm enjoying slowly settling into the routines and surroundings of this Sonoran Desert wonderland. I took a Korean cooking class at the Jewish Community Center, am becoming involved with the Humane Society, and I'm hoping to take some art classes at the nearby Northwest Art Center in 2018. Most importantly, I almost never miss the opportunity to watch the sun's final light show each evening.
I've yet to find a fantastic spot to eat Indian food, but was pleased to discover some amazing Chinese dumplings at China Pasta House, something I could never locate in Louisville. I'm set on sampling all of the taco shops, taquerias, and Mexican eateries that exist here. If you Google "Mexican restaurants in Tucson" you get 2,440,000 results, so I might be just a minute. Stand by...
Aaron and I are currently sharing the use of one car, and for the most part, I'm enjoying that challenge and opportunity to rethink what's necessary. He requires the car for work far more than I do, but I honestly haven't felt very hobbled without unlimited access to motorized transportation. The area where we live is close to everything I could really need except a post office, we are close to a nice walking and biking trail, and the climate is pretty much perfect for being a pedestrian. I've also considered getting a bicycle, and still might (although I'm slightly daunted by pedaling up hills... er... mountains).
I continue to receive reminders that life is short and precious, and that we should accept risks and opportunities and give love and forgiveness as much as possible. I'm not much for the holiday season, and it's been nearly unnoticeable here in sunny Arizona, but these are the gifts that keep on giving no matter what time of year it is.
Much love and merry everything to you all!