Vacay unpacking: more than laundry

20180704_092501.jpgWe knew this was going to happen…the post-vacation crankiness. The “holy-buckets-that-was-more-than-I-could-have-asked-or-imagined-thanks-Colorado” world of returning home to Manhappiness, Kansas (ranked 2 of top 100 places to live in the U.S.!)

After driving in from where I left my car at the Amtrak station in Lincoln, Nebraska, I pulled everything out of my backpack and gear to sort before crawling into bed. There was laundry, reading material and rocks. I came home with plenty of each. And a few thoughts.

No car meant I walked everywhere while on my own. The 10K steps I sometimes struggle to log each day were easy while à pied in that mountain town. Wallet forgotten in the BnB? No worries. The walk back was just as lovely as the first walk out and I might get to pet that fuzzy pup again.

20180702_174920.jpgAll those early Wednesday mornings spinning with Dave and RJ paid off as I standing-pedaled a vintage cruiser bike (with a wonky pink horn) around the mountain town – ponytail flying – and trying to avoid becoming a giggling middle-aged public nuisance on two wheels. Note to self: become a public nuisance at home more often – ride bike.

Glenwood Springs is a college town. I love college towns. Even with the hearty tourist element, the college-town vibe permeated that very interesting and warm climby-paddling-soaking community. It was easy to feel at home.

I met people who live in Glenwood Springs and have never done some of the hikes we considered and adventures enjoyed. The idea of becoming a tourist in your own town is a good one. Do it.

Typically, Taco Tuesday is met with lukewarm enthusiasm in my mind. That was until I ate at Slope and Hatch…a few times. What they did with curried lamb and later fish almost made me a true believer. Seriously folks. I rarely rave about food. Take a detour to Slope and Hatch when you are in the Glenwood Springs area. You’ll buy the t-shirt, too.

Playing Trivial Pursuit via cards in a cup at the Bluebird cafe became a memory unto itself. Small unplanned moments can become big deals. Even and especially at home. Stay awake and on the lookout for the small adventures everywhere. They are often what make life worth navigating.

Good traveling companions can make a good experience into a great adventure. On the California Zephyr from Lincoln to Glenwood Springs, I met an 18-year-old human named Ryan. He had stepped in to help a mum singly navigate her kids, gear and exhaustion while boarding. Later, he took up residence in the observation car – the car with windows in the roof and chairs facing the outside world. I heard his story over several hours and a few shared Clif protein bars. His is a good story and added to my wonder of the trip. Thanks, Kiddo.

More on good traveling companions: the best traveling peeps learn with, challenge and encourage us along the way. Because of my traveling pal, I won a piece of dark chocolate which is always a big deal. He had a feeling I’d know a bit of literary trivia and suggested I try to answer the “which author was also a Royal Air Force pilot and tester for Cadbury chocolates?” question posted in the window of a book store. Roald Dahl. For many nifty reasons, my good companion made an A+ vacation into the Master Class of adventures.

Homecoming can be hard. The relaxed schedules, cool evenings and magnificent people met while slogging up a rocky path make laundry and returning to work a little challenging.

But reliable work, vacation and laundry are the realities of a fortunate few. This is important to remember. And I am glad to work with such people.

Again for the people in the back: vacations and work and laundry (and reliable healthcare and education opportunities) are ridiculous riches in a world where most people still struggle for their daily bread. We need to be “for” one another. Not against. I do not want to be known for what I am against, but for what I am “for.” On this excursion, so many people of so many shapes and sizes and stories made it easy to remember what I am for – people, community and kindness.

There is more to unpack from this vacation. It will take more running, more working and more adventuring close to home to sort them out. Hopefully, the joy and wonder of the last week will last and weave itself into the everyday ordinary of this working life.

DerringDo in the everyday, peeps.

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