Today is our final day on the road, as we head back home from Las Vegas to Oakland.
We drive through the Mojave Desert for miles and miles. Huge brown and maroon mountains crash down into the yellow, gold and green speckled land below. Fields of cacti fly by us, each one amazing and unique, twisting and reaching for the sky. The sandy earth lights up the ground, elevating the muted grey-green color of the brush that covers the landscape to vibrant.
As we crest each hill, we catch our breaths from the sweeping views of purple and blue mountains disappearing into a grey sky—swaths of silver earth in the distance giving the illusion of large bodies water.
I still can’t believe this is our last day and that our trip is over.
Once we get back, we will have driven over 8 thousand miles through 30 states in 33 days. I am still unsure how to reintegrate back into regular life once I get home. This past month has been filled with constant movement, the stillness of stories and the sweet glow of friendship. I want to take my time to reflect on the gift that was this road trip. I want to remember all the moments and sights and feelings. I feel a slow sadness knowing that I will never be able to remember it all.
I want to remember the desert and the South; the heat of the Northeast and the coolness of the Midwest; the rainbow color pallet of the Southwest and the rivers and snowy mountains of the West. I want to remember the late night talks and the vulnerability and love; the zest, risks and quiet care; and the steady deepening of trust and joy. I want to remember the way it felt to embrace some of the people I love most in this world, whom I rarely get to see, and those who have helped shaped who I am and who I will become. I want to remember the fun, the laughter, the singing, the desserts, the BBQ, the homemade meals and the silliness. I want to remember the long drives and the scenery flying by me in the passenger seat, listening to songs we love. I want to remember every landing after a long day on the road; every warm greeting from friends and storytellers, welcoming me into their homes and stories. I want to remember the kindness and the sunsets; the remembering and the letting go.
I want to remember the journey, the adventure and the blossoming. I want to remember all of it. All of it.
Thank you all for being on this journey with me. Thank you for helping to make this work possible. I can’t wait to start editing the stories I have. I hope they will be as precious to you as they are to me and those who shared them. Thank you for your trust in me to hold these stories and this work well, I work hard to do right by you. Thank you for the faith you have in me, it is something I hold dearly and know that it is nothing to be taken lightly.
From one survivor who has been on her own life-long journey towards love and healing: thank you.