‘Almost’ Home.

It isn’t the most awe-inspiring or word-provoking of places I have wrote, but the small gray table with a window to the right (mountains within squinting distance, small parking lot immediately to the side) provides a station for my verbiage as I compose near the ending of this journey which has lead me to here and now.

It is not the roasted chicken salad with honey mustard sauce, the postcards I purchased or the morning omelets with Brodie that is knotting my stomach- it is the realization that the time I thought would be long and slow ended up being quick and wonderful. It is the knowledge that for all my dissent and moaning about the US of A and the rock solid belief that I already knew the most wonderful people that existed, I am wronged. My ego is once again reduced to a hamburger like mush as I humble myself before the universe (and my computer screen).

Never did I anticipate liking Salt Lake or finding the amazing bike rides. Nor did I expect enjoying the massive warehouse, the silent but delightful bike mechanics or the crews of the trips I ran. I didn’t think that driving in the car for days at a time would be therapeutic and would provide me with a forum to answer the most basic of questions (at which small town should I stop for coffee next?) to the most complex (where do I want to be in ten years?) and also provide a common ground to a group of strangers as we buggy lug back and forth across a nation to which I originally (and arrogantly) believed I had already seen it all (or most important parts thereof). I didn’t think that people would capture my interest, capture my heart and capture my memories that will hold steady through the upcoming months and years. (Especially that of my first roommate who stayed with my for a majority of the journey. It was Morgan who taught me why you should invest in $80 wine. It was Morgan who mercilessly made fun of my accent and ‘oh yas’ –which are apparently not common in US slang- It was Morgan who joined me on morning runs, laughter and food. Morgan convinced me to stop at Ozark land and buy a t-shirt, Morgan who loved to dance in Nashville and Morgan who helped me pull over somewhere in the middle of Kansas and tape my broken camping trailer awning back to the trailer, and 10 miles later helped me rip the same awning off the trailer. Morgan, now in Thailand, here’s to you!)

So I am rendered wrong and ready to return home to Calgary after five and a half weeks –cough, cough, six months- of absence. I anticipate having left in summer and returning in winter. I look forward to the presence of my family and friends and sharing the ‘simple pleasures’ otherwise forgotten during a five-week whirlwind: a cup of tea and a good conversation (um, or wine), reading SLAM Sports at my leisure, a full Olympic distance swimming pool and more then 4 colors of t-shirts. This, I feel, might be a slice of heaven on earth.

So I remain, gray table, words abound, ready for the last leg of my journey home.

Morgan (left) and Jess at Ozarkland. Their hats say "I'M THEIR LEADER. Why are they lost?"