Going home for Christmas, or going home due to visa restrictions and it very conveniently being around the holiday season, had been perfect. I managed to catch up with most of my best mates and spent quality time with my folks, which mainly consisted of eating lots of unhealthy but extremely tasty food and talking about my dog, Monty Monster of much monsterness. My Mum and Dad now have (stolen) my dog after they kindly looked after him when I moved to Australia for a few years. I could have him back but the truth is that his life is so much better with them and his partner in crime Alfie, (their lurcher) so I gladly but guiltily leave him there.
Whilst I was back, I drank tea non stop, ate fish (no fish) and chips about 3 times, beans on toast 1 billion times and a full veggie English breakfast more times than I care to share with you. I enjoyed being surrounded by my fellow compatriots and simply loved being understood the first time I ask for something. Home really is where my heart is and I can’t deny how reluctant I was at heading back out to America. No offence intended of course, it’s just a case of what makes me feel happy. So, sat at Heathrow Airport departure lounge under the fluorescent lighting; trying to avoid that odd desire to buy unwanted items (I always want to buy a book or perfume at airports) and having just spoken with my Mum about a potential long weekend in the Cotswolds sometime when I’m back, I felt a strong feeling of sadness. I just didn’t feel the desire to go back to driving Jenny and having to “adult”, alone. Now, I’m fully capable of doing things on my own that need to be done and would go as far as to say that I’m an independent women (get out of my head Beyonce) but I don’t like having to do it, particularly the boring stuff like food shopping (YAWN) or getting petrol (a slightly less yawn as it can contain excellent opportunities for people watching). Basically, I like sharing the load and don’t we all I suppose. I learned from the previous run that although I am a slight introvert and I got used to driving this big ol’ girl, I still got fed up and a bit lonely; I realised that all the time we had someone else with us, it felt easier; I realised that maybe I can’t do all of this alone for the full run and that does sadden me but it’s simply the truth. I battle with wanting to be truly supportive but I also know that it’s a big ask and that Rob wouldn’t want me to do it under duress. Given how much we have also spent of our own money, it’s becoming very clear that we’ll not be able to afford both of us being here for another year. So this leg of the run will see me leaving before the end and returning home to work and maybe head back out at a later stage. I know that I’m going to feel horrendously guilty but I do believe that Rob will genuinely enjoy the challenge of going solo for a little while.
At least our return started smoothly. Jenny was well when we picked her up, with just a minor brake light fuse to change (thanks Liv) and we were heading out of the crazy of LA. The familiar routine has nestled comfortably back in and I hadn’t forgotten how to drive on the right side of the road or attempted to change gears on an automatic. We have our best friend Olivia with us for a bit and the company is so valuable. It’s someone else to share the daily tasks with and have company for any hiking opportunities that may occur through the beautiful Californian scenery. It was also very valuable when the driver’s electric window decided it was done with “windowing” and slid very abruptly into hiding inside the door. With me sighing and thinking “here we go again”, we knuckled down and used our skills to fix the problem using some wood we found and the teeny tiny mini saw, on our $15 multi tool, until we could get to Vegas and find a mechanic. That’s not what people normally go to Vegas for is it? But hey, what happens in Vegas right?
I do sit here now though, completely relaxed, and with great company, gazing out across the flat plains of the desert full with sprouting Joshua trees, edged by snowcapped mountains and think, hhmmmm, I wonder if I can make that flight home a little bit later?