I am not going to speak about the events that occurred while I was home for 9 days because that’s not what is important, except my brothers wedding which I will speak on. I would like to reflect on the trip so far and the idea of home and the thoughts I had getting there and leaving there. I knew the effect of being home would be one of two things; utter disdain for going back or complete revitalization for completion.
Although the memories of the past four and a half months have been extremely wonderful and the people I have met are truly gifts from God there is something to be said for going home, even for a short while.
Thinking back, I can remember the night before my driving test and the thoughts running through my head. “I am going to be able to get in a car, drive down the street to Brian’s house with the windows down and the music up, BY MYSELF!”. A quick drive down the street represented this freedom, not necessarily from anything holding me captive but the opportunity to travel away from home. I am now in a car making my way towards that place I readily and consistently left with ease. This trip has come to focus some thoughts that were once scattered and unclear.
The excitement of travel is palpable but the appreciation for home is sublime. Many people wrote that my walk has inspired them and I am so thankful for those thoughts but for me it is the establishment of home and family that had kept me going. There were so many times walking down a lone stretch of road that I would begin to focus on home and getting to Boston. I would literally be in my head for an hour at a time with these kinds of thoughts and be completely immersed in the sensations of seeing familiar faces and then some sort of mechanism in my head gave me a physical snap back to reality, a moment in which my eyes began to focus on the road once more. A road that never seemed to want to end. In the early days, weeks, and months; Idaho, Wyoming, and Nebraska roads spurred these thoughts, they would sometimes bring tears to my eyes because I knew what was between me and home. I would enjoy these wonderful yet small moments in a mental oasis but soon realized they were not beneficial to my mental well bring on this trip. I feel God felt these strings being pulled and he worked and put these wonderful people in my path along my journey to give me a home away from home.
I was welcomed into so many homes by so many people across this nation of ours. A nation that so many people think is in ruin. I can truly tell you that if we as humans could focus our energy not on the Jones’s but on the stranger walking down the street, this world, our countries, our states, our towns, and our communities would return to Eden. I say this because the establishment of home is something we all cherish and it was not only the generosity of these people and their families that humbles me but it was seeing the importance of family in their own communities. This may sound odd but sometimes it is easier to be more kind to a stranger than a person in the family. In almost every home I entered than was a sense of family that was shared, a place of safe haven for those who knew it. Yes, I felt like part of the family when I was welcome but I was more humbled by the sense of family they have created for one another. My family is not the only family in the world obviously, but we are all someone’s son or daughter, mother or father, all looking out for one another. We should not only be a brother to our own blood but a brother to someone who needs water. Blood is unintentional, love is saintly. We are all called to be saints.
Driving home to see my family was a series of moments that I had thought about for so long it was such an interesting place to be actually making that trip home for my brothers wedding. All memories were temporarily put on hold, yes I told stories to Tim, my friend who came and got me in Syracuse, but I felt as if I were repeating something I read in a book, rather than something I had experienced. My full attention was directed towards the thought of home. I knew this week was going to be filled with answering the same questions and telling the same stories but I did not care, I was going to be able to allow my body and more importantly my mind to relax in a place of familiarity. Although I did find myself thinking about walking from Syracuse on the ride home to Massachusetts. I had to stop myself and say, “This is not why you are in this car right now, be in the moment you are in, you are where you are, you’ve seen what you’ve seen, heard what you have heard. That is how you got here; be.”.
The whole week went by in a blur, I was so looking forward to my brothers wedding and enjoying the energy in which family would be celebrating two people love committing to one another. I also dreaded it because I knew when the wedding was over that I would be going back to walking soon. I do have to say, by the time I reached Syracuse, I was being to resent the journey in which I was on. Once again do not get me wrong these ideas of home were what kept me going but at the same time there was something about this methodical way of life that I was getting weary from. Everyone says “You are so close!”, this was true but it did not make it any easier, it actually made it more difficult.
The wedding was a blast. When it came to my turn to say a few words at dinner I had to mention that I have two great brothers that I now consider my best friends. We may not always get along but there is nothing I would not do for them. I have parents that supported me walking across the U.S., I mean really! I had family constantly sending me good vibes, prayers and encouraging words. The church community that has embraced me was a foundation that was always solid and never stopped supporting me and it was wonderful to come home and be greeted with warmth. After my little speech so many people came up to me and were in awe that how close me and my brothers were and that they had regrets fighting with their family through the years. They told me to hold onto it and make it work. And when the band came on and I saw my family all join in and dance, celebrate, and have a good time, I was in awe of how blessed I truly am. Once again there are spats here and there but the fact that my WHOLE family gets along is wonderful and something not everyone has. I think I may take that for granted sometimes. When our family gets together there is nothing but the now and the reminiscing of good times and learning from the bad. We are a group in it for the collective good. To see it in other families is wonderful but to be a part of it and inspiring.
Going back to the walk was difficult but on the spectrum of disdain to determination, I was now determined to finish. I was about two weeks away from completing what I set out to do, travel across the country on foot. Not every inch of the nation was covered on foot but that is not important, that was not my goal. I never had a true goal of walking every step, I only knew this is the means in which I wanted to travel when the opportunity presented itself, which it did on a day to day basis. So here I am Syracuse, two weeks away from completing a goal. I hope this is easy but ready for it to be difficult.
Start of my Break; Home!