De Ma Cuisine

roadtrip Archive

Wednesday

23

November 2016

1

COMMENTS

Finding Our Place

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

nebraskasunset2

On Sunday we packed up the car to head out again. I simultaneously like and dislike it. Tim pointed out that there’s something comforting about getting back in the car after a stay. And he’s right. It’s our home base right now. It holds all of our possessions, it carries us from place to place, it provides warmth to our toes on cold days. But, packing up again means one more place that we’re not going to settle in to and make home. One more place that someone else has successfully tamed that we won’t. One more place that’s not our final destination.

We didn’t expect anyone to take us in permanently. Some have offered that we can come back, that we could stay as long as we want to. We haven’t wanted to overstay our welcome (although we’ve tried – sorry parents). We’re looking for permanence in the midst of constant change. That’s tough for me.

I’m a homebody and an introvert. I like my routine and my schedule. I like to know what’s coming. This trip has freed me from a lot of that. It’s shaken things up. But, still, I long for home. Maybe it’s the home we left. I’m anxious to get back, to purge, rearrange, and reacquaint. Or maybe it’s just a home, any home, where Tim and I can settle. I want to find a place for Brando’s bed. I want to set up the kitchen, then move everything again when I realize the silverware is in a wonky place. I want to arrange and rearrange the living room until the couch is in just the right spot.

brandokansas

I find myself dreaming about houses we’ve stayed in as I’m trying to fall asleep. Where I’d put our furniture, whether or not I’d have a cellar, what room I’d choose to be the library – all these occupy my mind as I’m drifting off. We’ve moved many times in the ten years that we’ve been married. Each time I find so much joy in setting up our home. This time feels different though. We’ve never searched this long for the right place before. And I start to wonder if we will know it when we see it, or if we should just settle on something, anything, so long as we can afford it.

Friday

18

November 2016

0

COMMENTS

Just Go

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

nebraskasunsetI got pulled over the other day. I was going five over the speed limit and with the flow of traffic. I also had California plates in Wyoming. I think I was profiled. Now it’s back to my grandma-like style of driving. I had to sit in the cop car while the cop ran my license. He asked me questions while another officer talked to Tim. I was told that I didn’t have to answer if I didn’t want to. I like to talk about myself. I told our whole story. The officer was kinda jealous of our four month road trip. Most people seem to be. Why do people think they can’t do something like this? There are always a million reasons not to do something.

uncleelmer

Because of this trip, we’re getting to experience things we’d never dream of. I’m not talking big things. Just little things like helping Uncle Elmer bring the herd of cows in from the pasture. There was no fence between us and these huge animals. They were scared of us, not realizing they could squish us if they’d wanted to. After that Uncle Elmer told us we could climb the grain holder building thing and look at the view. I didn’t want to, but I did. Really fast. Without looking down or thinking about how well the stairs were bolted on.

trbcar

If we’d said that we’d love to take a trip like this but came up with a million reason why not to, I wouldn’t have the memory of that one time I was brave. I wouldn’t remember the fear of being asked to sit in a cop car, and then realize later that what hadn’t crossed my mind was that I would be ok because of my skin color. I wouldn’t remember the sunset, or my dog with his bad hip jumping off the porch because it was the quickest way to us. And you know, there are a million reasons why we shouldn’t have gone on this trip. It costs money we don’t have (borrow). The dog might not travel well (he does). We might put too many miles on the car (we’re somewhere around 10,000). We might miss our bed (sometimes). We might get tired of being together (nope, opposite). We might discover how awesome life is somewhere other than Burbank (it could happen).

rachfeedscow

I’m a pessimistic realist who looks at the glass as half empty. Even the idea of this trip is a stretch for me. What started out as a search for direction has turned into even more of a gift as I’m finding me in little bits and pieces here and there. Little cracks of unexpected joy. In the black and white faced three day old cow that let me bottle feed her. My dog sticking his nose in cow poop because he’s never smelled it before. Giggling with Tim over something stupid (usually one of us quoting Gilmore Girls or The Office, or him laughing at how weird I’m acting because he’s recording me for one of our videos). Pieces are falling into place. They’re tiny, insignificant even. But when put together they are beginning to create a masterpiece.

Monday

7

November 2016

5

COMMENTS

Too Much Stuff

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

brandocarWe have – what, about 45 cubic feet in the back of the car. The dog takes up about 10. Not a lot left for our worldly possessions. So we’ve learned to make do with very little. A few pairs of pants, t-shirts, and sweaters. Too many shoes (although I’ve worn all but one pair). And it’s turned out to be plenty. We don’t have new outfits to pull out for special occasions. But, we’re clothed, warm, and happy.

I don’t really know if it’s 45 cubic feet. It’s almost 1am and it’s too cold to walk outside to measure. We do have a measuring tape along, so I could if I cared enough.

Now that we’ve extended the length of our trip, doubled it really, I’m thinking again about what we brought. If I could have a do over, I’d change a few things. But, mostly what it’s teaching me is that we can live so much simpler. I’m sure that when we get home I’ll be thrilled to see some of the things we left behind. But, truthfully, I’m more excited to get to purge. I want to live with so much less stuff.

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Tim and I both come from families of happy packrats. They have so many things that are important to them. It’s their prerogative, their lives. But, I think about my grandpa’s house. There were bundles of old newspapers, stacks of music, paths between piles so you could cross the room. I want to break the cycle.

rachdrive

As we’re continuing along this journey and thinking about where we want to be and what we want to do, one thing that I see clearly is that I want things to be simpler. Stuff clutters our small house. There are two closets that are stuffed from the bottom to the top. Furniture lines the wall space and has even started to collect outside. We can’t say no to a free solid wood dresser. There’s too much potential. But, it overwhelms me. I don’t know when I’ll ever need 86 glasses at the same time, those pants that shrunk in the closet, or my old cell phones. Some things stay because they have nostalgic ties. There are texts on those phones from when Tim and I were dating. The glasses are a collection of yard sale finds and treasures from grandparents who are gone now. They’re old, beautiful, and have the class of a different era. The pants have no excuse.

We could make do with four glasses. If we need more, we can borrow. But, we don’t do that much anymore, do we? Everyone has their own everything. Lawnmowers, sleeping bags, and barbecues. Extra sheets, towels, and a guest bed for the guests that visit twice a year. Snow boots, hats, and mittens (silly for us in California). One or two of these things isn’t a problem. But, we have 9 of the 10 things on the list. Add that to the four boxes of Christmas decorations, the tent we’ve used once, and the Halloween costumes, and it’s enough to break my brain.  windyroadstop

I wonder, are we really using our space well? Are we making good use of our things? I’d like to make do with more of the essentials, and live without some of the extras. We’ve joked about a possible next step for us being a tiny house on some property, or buying a van and traveling for a year. I almost want to pick one of these options just so that we can be forced to downsize. Oh, the freedom that this represents to me!

So, stay tuned for a sickeningly adorable new blog about decorating our tiny house and tiny kitchen… (Not really, but who knows at this point?)

Wednesday

19

October 2016

2

COMMENTS

Traveling with Brando

Written by , Posted in Dog, Pets, Thoughts, Travel

superiorpanortI could learn a lot from my dog. All he needs in life is food, water, and to be with us. If he has those three things, he’s good.

brandoselfiestealerrt

Brando does travel right. He’s always super excited to get wherever we’re going. He doesn’t know the itinerary, but he’s pumped. He can’t wait to have his seatbelt unhooked so he can jump out of the car. He will run around, smelling everything possible. He just wants to experience it all. He’s the best at taking it all in. His main source for information is smell, but we will also catch him staring off into the distance, watching a new animal, eyeing the strangers.rbcar

When we decided to take this trip, there wasn’t any discussion about whether or not Brando, our 8 year old puppy, would come with us. He’s a part of the family. When figuring out what we’d bring on the trip, we paired down quite a bit because we knew he would take up three quarters of the back seat. He’s the best little companion. We couldn’t leave him behind.

He knows the word “car”. He gets really excited about it. He can’t wait to jump in. He’s content to sit and look out the window, but mostly he gets comfy and snoozes while we drive. If we’re eating something delicious he might open his eyes to see if there’s a taste for him. There usually is.

Along the way he’s been loved on by so many. Some, he could have done without (sorry, Harrison, he was only tolerating your holding his tail hostage). Others he couldn’t get enough of (he whined anytime he was indoors and my dad would walk by). He’s a good little friend.

A few things that we brought to make his travel more enjoyable:

A comfortable bed – The backseat of the car is comfy, but we wanted him to have a semblance of his own space. We wanted him to have something familiar in the midst of all the new places. We bought a new bed for the trip, so we weren’t taking his smelly old bed along to stink up the car. The bed is a bit small for a dog his size, but it fits perfectly in the backseat, and he curls up nicely on it.

Plenty of food – Brando doesn’t eat a lot when he’s in a new situation. We brought along part of a big bag of food. For the first two weeks he ate very little. We were with so many people (and many kiddos) and he was just nervous all the time. Once we settled at my parents’ place for a couple weeks he relaxed and ate like normal.

Personal Care Items – Our dog sheds a lot. All year long. It’s never ending. I can’t count the number of times we’ve apologized to people we stayed with because we knew how much fur Brando would be leaving behind. We brought along a fine tooth brush, to help a bit. And then the rest of his toiletries – poop bags (don’t count on rest areas to have them), flea meds (because we don’t want to bring any critters into anyone’s home, or into our car), and treats and toys (for when he’s finally relaxed enough to enjoy himself).

brandorun

In L.A. Brando is an indoor dog. We have a small yard that we spend time in, but nowhere he can really run, explore, and play. After spending time in the Ontario countryside, and then the northern woods of Minnesota, he may be ruined forever… Tim and I might be too.

Tuesday

11

October 2016

0

COMMENTS

Is Canada a Foreign Country?

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

fallcolorsrtWe left my parents’ place last Tuesday morning. We drove the long way up and around Lake Superior to get to Minnesota. It was probably the prettiest drive we’ve had so far. The leaves as we drove through Ontario and then Michigan were amazing. I love this time of year.

It was a bit weird to cross back into the states again. We realized, on this trip more than others, that Canada really is a foreign country. There are different laws, units of measure, and customs. Words are pronounced differently. They don’t use pennies, but do have loonies and toonies ($1 and $2 coins). And the health care system, I’ll just leave it at I miss the Canadian system terribly. I’ve been asked many times what the differences are between the two countries I’ve lived in. I usually say that they’re not so different really. But, this time, I saw things through a different lens.

rinmnrt

I haven’t lived there for fifteen years. I’ve spent most of my grownup years in the US. I’ve voted in 3 presidential elections and for only one prime minister. Many customs come back naturally. I can still fit in in Canada, but it’s a bit more of a stretch these days. I feel like a foreigner. rstreetbostonrt

I know people change as they grow up and move away from home. They discover more about themselves and who they are at their core. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more comfortable in my skin, with my quirks and imperfections, and with my values, that have become more set in stone. A lot of this happened after I moved away from home. I’m sure that’s common. We grow up, are nurtured by our parents or caregivers, then set free in the world to figure out where we fit. I wonder where Canada fits in with me. Will I always feel a bit like an outsider? Maybe… But, the Canadian part of me will always be there, even if I don’t say “eh” anymore. It was a wonderful place to grow up, boasts one of the most beautiful countrysides, and as it is home to so many that are dear to my heart, will always be one of my favorite places to visit.