Maryland [8 Days and Counting]
Trip Start Jul 19, 2006
22Trip End Sep 19, 2006
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Well, that is quite inspiring, isn't it? Few images engender such an insatiable wanderlust as that of an open sail and an open landscape. Perhaps a rocky peak held high by its own stubbornness with a soft light melting beneath its shadow on a warm tropical valley below. Perhaps a few barely-recognizable birds flutter across the sky. There must be a large body of water somewhere in this image, too. There's something about gentle flowing bodies splashing against rough, immovable giants that makes you feel like an alien on your own planet, observing nature as if for the first time.
It's a Tuesday here in Maryland and I am far from any of these scenes of grandeur, but not that far. The trees outside of my bedroom window stand tall and dark in the setting sun, making one last plea for me to stay here. Look at us! We are green and tall and magnificent, too! You don't need the Amazon! Stay with us! Perhaps my mom has been speaking with them.
I am going to South America.
My mom reluctantly condones my travels. She is protective, and I understand that. She just doesn't understand where I am coming from, perhaps because she has never really seen where I have been or where I am going. "Look mom, here's a picture of me swinging on a vine in the Costa Rican rainforest!" "You're lucky a snake didn't eat you. Don't go there anymore." "Sure, mom."
I know that my dad understands this trip, even if my mom seems to think Colombian drug lords are going to kidnap me. When my dad was about my age, he hitchhiked across the United States. He made it through every one of the contiguous states except for two...I think one was Rhode Island and I've forgotten the other.
My grandparents were not happy when my dad left his traditional home in Titusville, Pennsylvania on what I like to think of as a sunny day in the early 70's to explore the country that he'd always belonged to but that had never belonged to him. Almost too much of a cliche to believe, my grandfather told my dad that if he walked out that door he could never come back. My dad went. Way to go, dad. Many stories and adventures later (that's for another travelogue), my dad made it to California. He called my grandfather only to hear the very cliche "We love you, you're welcome to come back whenever you're ready!" Things tend to work out in the end.
In one sense, I think my grandfather did hold firm to what he first told my dad. I don't think my dad really could ever come back once he walked out that door. My dad as he was when he stepped out that door was gone for good. My dad would change, I'm sure, and become a new man that would have new ideas and views and dreams. How could he possibly be the same person after an experience like that? I guess that means I'll never really come back to Maryland. I step out that door in 8 days. I hope you'll come with me.
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