There is a phrase that comes to mind when reflecting on the first five months of our pilgrimage. Dr. Joan Boryshenko coined the phrase, “the place between no longer and not yet” and it feels about as right as words can be.
After traveling across the country, covering over 18,000 miles, we now know that we have barely started. We know we are no longer the people who bundled up on a bitterly cold December morning heading into the west on a pilgrimage of great mystery. Nor are we yet able to imagine what lies ahead because it is not yet here.
We see that we have been coaxed into an easier relationship with the unknown; developed a heightened curiosity for our surroundings; deepened our appreciation for stillness and presence; opened to the reality of community as fluid and ephemeral; experienced a new sense of “home” in our hearts; experienced grace, generosity, and kindness; and imagined the limitless potential of continuing to lighten our lives.
Toward that end, we have decided to continue this nomadic lifestyle, living on the road for the foreseeable future. We traded in our first travel trailer – the dear little hard-sided Trailmanor we had christened, “Traveler” – and its sister tow vehicle. Noble little troopers that they were, these five months revealed that we needed a travel trailer that was more durable, more adaptable to weather, easier to live in, to set-up and to move along in.
Our new home is a 2015 Airstream 25 (foot) Flying Cloud we are calling T-2. We picked it up from the dealer in Albany, New York towing it behind our new Ford F-150 truck. In the banner above, you can see the two trailers, side by side for the first and last time, on the dealer’s lot.
Since the last post at the end of May, we have returned to New England to exuberant reunions with family and friends, all eager to hear more about our pilgrimage, and the tidbits that were most meaningful to us. Fortunately, there are as many of those precious stories as there are reunions from North Carolina, Ohio, New Hampshire and Connecticut. We are spending these next weeks between my sister’s home in Connecticut (our base) and Keene, emptying the storage units, so hastily packed when we left in December. We are lining up appointments at consignment stores, donating clothing to thrift shops, registering our new vehicles, and arranging for mail and bookkeeping support before resuming our pilgrimage on August 3. More on that to come.
In between, in July, we travel with 22 members of Liz’s extended Vincent family to the birthplace of her paternal grandparents, the island of Sao Miguel, in the Azores. We will visit the village where they were born, attend Mass at the church where they worshiped before coming to America in the 1910s, and walk the streets of this island whose spirit runs deep in Liz’s blood. Her cousin from Toronto, who was born on the island, has arranged for us to meet the Mayor and some local officials at a reception/reunion with relatives not known to us.
And then, on August 1, we travel to Hillsboro, New Hampshire to a reunion of Peter’s extended family, including a distant cousin from Finland, the ancestral home of his maternal grandparents.
What exquisite timing for this interlude between pilgrimages.