Graduation Goggles

Friday July 13, 2012

Lately I’ve been getting a pretty bad case of graduation goggles of my land based life just before we’re leaving.  You know, the relief and nostalgic feeling one has about a time in their life when it is about to end, even if the time was completely miserable.  And my life on land has not been completely miserable but there have been plenty of mundane days of going through the rat race of life that I won’t be sad to leave it behind to escape and enjoy a life less ordinary.  I don’t know if it takes most people a few weeks or months of being gone before they realize how much they’ll miss at home because they’ve spent all their time up until leaving focused on the goal of actually leaving,  but I think I can name a few before I even go.

Here are a list of things I already know that I’ll miss:

  • Spending time with family and friends -  I don’t think I can go into much detail on this one without writing a novel.  I think the title explains enough.
  • The convenience of a car -  Pretty obvious one, and not just for the ease of getting from point A to point B for pleasure reasons,  although different kinds of transportation will be part of the fun of traveling.  What I’m really going to miss is getting from point A to point B with a couple weeks worth of groceries in the trunk.  Now it will mostly be done on foot and that’s not going to be fun.  But it’s lot like we’ll be the first people ever attempting this and it probably won’t take long for it to become routine.
  • Hot showers -  They are so relaxing and a great way to unwind at the end of the day.  This may be one of the things I would not have realized until after I left, but it’s the number one thing you hear from other cruisers and I plan to fully take advatage of them while I can.
  • Netflix -  I know, I know.  We’re taking this journey to remove ourselves from the artificial world everyone has set up for themselves of TV, laptops, and cell phones so we can get back to nature and experience the world through our own eyes.  But sometimes after a long day of work when I’m cuddled up in bed watching an episode of Buffy or 30 Rock, my life instantly feels a million times better.
  • The coffee at my neighborhood gas station -  When we moved into Matt’s mom’s house last year it was the same time I started drinking coffee for my 8 am start time (with a 45 minute drive!) for my new job.  While filling up one morning I happened upon their coffee station with one dispenser labled Sweet Cherry.  Mix it with 1/3 vanilla cap and it’s so good that I have to get it at least once a week.  Sometimes twice.  (It’s the BP station on Post Rd if any of my GR friends are interested)
  • Having a dog around -  Although we lost Mazzii whom we were head over heels in love with back in April of 2011, Matt’s mom has had a dog in their house for most of the time we have lived there.  It really does make your day to walk in the door and have a furry little slobber ball waiting for you and wagging it’s tail, thinking that the best part if it’s day is when you walked in that door.  Dogs really are unconditional lovers and animals to be treasured.
  • Camping -  This one is a toss up and kind of hard to include since a lot of the things I enjoy so much while camping are things we’ll still be able to do while sailing.  Hiking, swimming, bonfires.  So I think what I’m going to miss is the specific campground we always used to visit, D.H. Day at the Sleeping Bear Dunes.  Every summer we’d travel up there with friends and enjoy breathtaking views from Pyramid Point, swim in the crystal clear waters of Good Harbor Bay, and kayak down the Crystal River.  There would be wine tasting at The Cherry Republic, lunch at Riverfront Pizza and window shopping at the boutiques.  Then the night is ended with dinner and live music at The Boondocks and followed with a bonfire and lots of beer and a sandy beach under starry skies.  Sound like perfection?  Its is.  And I’m going to miss the hell out of it.
  • Meijer -  This little store really is one stop shopping and they’re ALL OVER west Michigan.  Anything you need, just stop in and you’ll be able to find it there.  It’s a full grocery store with name brands plus their own Meijer and Meijer Gold labels.  There’s also departments for Electronics, Appliances, Home/Bedding/Bath.  There’s Auto, Sporting Goods, Clothing, Health & Beauty.  But might say..That sounds just like a Walmart SuperCenter.  Yes, it is.  But so much cleaner and so many more choices.  My parents who live(d) in both NC and AZ will stock up suitcases with things from Meijer when they’re in town.  When my mom is shopping at her new grocery stores with her reusable Meijer bag and someone who has been to one sees her they’ll stop and say ‘You’ve been to Meijer?  Aren’t the the best?”.  I’m sure there are going to be plenty of Walmarts in my future and I’ll be happy to have them, but in my heart, nothing will compare to Meijer.
  • Downtown Grand Rapids – Leave it until we start planning our exit from this town for it to become a modern and bustling metropolis.  Back when I was in high school people were doing everything and anything to get out of West Michigan as the town had become run down and unappealing.  Important people took notice of this and in the past 10 years the town has been full of renovation.  The downtown area is filled with bars and restaurants, museums, theaters, and there are always events.  From concerts by A list musicaians and sporting games at VanAndel Arena to Festival and Blues On the Mall at Rosa Parks circle.  People come from all over the coutry in the spring for the 5/3rd River Bank Run and in the fall for Art Prize.  It’s turning into a perfect little town and if we were to stay we’d be living in a condo on the river in the heart of downtown to have a front row seat to it all.

Some of these things are general, some of them are personal.  Some are superficial and some are genuine but they all add up to my life that I’m leaving behind.  World, you have some pretty big shoes to fill.

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