It’s taken some time to settle back into the ranch life, after so many weeks on the road. I feel grateful to be home, overjoyed actually. But also jolted out of my roadtrip norm.
In the beginning it’s disconcerting not to get up and GO somewhere each day. I confess that quite often, while on the road, I rail against the forced march of a long drive, wishing that I could leave my toothbrush in its glass for just one more night, that I could get to the bottom of my suitcase and find something new to wear for a change. When I get home, the sameness of each day can be mistaken for monotony.
Here I am, eating my favorite yogurt with fruit for breakfast, going up to my lovely office with its yellow-painted walls and photographs and artwork, wandering out into the barn pasture to cajole my horse to come in so I can saddle him for a ride, catching up with much-missed friends, cooking dinners of my favorite foods. I can’t tell you how much I longed for those things while ill and gasping for breath one night at a trucker rest stop next to a garbage heap in the despairing huddle of Tuotuohe at 15,000 feet altitude in finger-cracking cold China. Yet now that I’m home and have those delights every day, how quickly I allow myself to dismiss them as ordinary.
In coming to terms with “ordinary” I’ve realized recently that where I live and what I do is just as full of eye-popping scenery and interesting stories as what I encountered in Tajikistan, Tehran or that memorably awkward hovel in Tuotuohe. Finally, after these years of travel, I have learned a valuable lesson, one which I didn’t even realize was there to be learned: that travel is wherever your eyes and mind and heart take you.
Looking at a photo like this one: of a Calcutta boy pumping water out of a street hydrant, it’s obvious that I was somewhere far away. And the tales of my travels also are obviously from places other than Walden. At least, it should be obvious!
Yet I find that the farther away I am, the more tightly I am connected to my world here at home. For me that’s a good feeling, knowing that I am so firmly rooted in a place that I can leave it… knowing that, in so doing, I commit myself to return.
Recently I have begun carving stories of my life here at the ranch. It’s the between season, no longer Fall and not quite Winter, a good time to be indoors, thinking, and remembering. In the 4-5 weeks since finishing the 9,000 mile drive from Istanbul to Calcutta, I have been spending many pleasant hours reliving experiences, small things really, which in my memory have become large. And vibrant.
I write about the aspects of life here that affect me, that make me laugh, that move me or stick in my memory for years, in the way street life in Kolkata sticks with me long after I’ve left. I tend to post notice of a new story on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/dashboarddina. I do realize, though, that not everyone uses or likes Facebook. The stories all reside here on my website. You’ll find them just by clicking on the tab that says “The Ranch” to find the latest.
Here are links to some of the stories. I’ve kept them short and divided them into sections, so you can read them as time permits.
There are more to come.
I hope you’ll check the website whenever you need a breath of fresh air, to read what’s new.