The last couple of days I spent in Maine were filled with endless errands, cleaning, and planning future house sits while packing the inevitable office-supplies-and-other-random-stuff box that always happens in a move. The best part was a 40th birthday party on Saturday night for a dear friend, which I wouldn't have missed for the world. There were plenty of tears on my part on Sunday, after breakfast and a quick goodbye, and a stop at the end of the driveway for a good cry, then it was off to the highway to get this trip underway.
My departure from Maine was quiet. I chose to follow secondary roads instead of the highway for the most part, traveling through farmland and over rivers under a grey and rainy sky, pretty perfect for a gentle launch into a big adventure. The understated Maine/New Hampshire state line appeared on a bridge and just like that, I was on my way.
I spent the first night with a friend in Dover, NH. We worked together 20 years ago and have been good friends ever since. Dover is barely out of Maine, but my only goal on what I knew would be a tough day was to get out of Maine. Over a couple of glasses of wine, we tore my car apart and repacked all of my clothing in Sea to Summit bags, my new favorite travel tool, which allowed me to ditch the giant, much-despised duffel bag. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to configure my car; it's definitely a work in progress and I'm not winning the battle yet.
On Monday I met my aunt and uncle at the McLane Audubon Center in Concord. We took a walk in the woods and spent some time in the raptor enclosure watching a beautiful Red-tailed Hawk swing back and forth on its perch. I haven't figured out how to post specific images or videos yet, but you can find some video on my Instagram feed.
Before I left, my aunt and uncle gifted me with this tiny prayer wheel. Tibet and Nepal are close to their hearts after years of living, working, and climbing in that part of the world, so this is an especially meaningful gift. I'll be traveling clockwise, just like a prayer wheel should always spin. As I move, the wheel will send out prayers and good wishes for every place I pass.
After a quick lunch in the parking lot, I headed for Pawtuckaway Lake in Nottingham to stay with my childhood friend in her amazing home on the water. The lake was fogged in and it was pouring rain, but we walked her dogs (so much like mine and great therapy after a week without them!) and caught up on years of news. After dinner she pulled out a stack of yearbooks and we spent a solid hour reminiscing. I managed to dispose of all but one of mine, so it was hilarious to sift through years of photos after years of not seeing them in what feels like forever.
The whirlwind of the first two days was completely wonderful and totally exhausting. I'm not yet settled into any routine (still losing things like it's my job) and the constant change is tough to adjust to, but I think I'll get the hang of this new life of mine eventually. Yesterday I landed in a new spot where I am staying for a couple of days, so I can catch my breath, catch up on posting here, update travel plans, get back into the routine of daily meditation, get a small yoga practice launched, and get some rest. I feel more relaxed and centered. The sun is shining, laundry is rumbling away downstairs, and I have quiet time to catch up on the blogging class I am in the middle of.