I have come to realize that this trip is another Camino.

It didn’t occur to me till a day or so into the trip that I was leaving on my fourth Caminoversary…on the exact same date I left Virginia for Spain in 2008.  This wasn’t intentional…it was purely because Emily in Richmond was supposed to be my first stop out of town, and she had too much happening on the 7th for me to visit that day.  So she said, “Come on the 8th.”  And thus, Sunday the 8th became my departure date.

Also, like the Camino, I’m heading West.  I’ve come to believe that one should always travel in a westerly direction whenever possible.  If you rise early, you set off with the sun at your back, not glaring into your eyes, something that would be terribly demoralizing at the outset of each day…and by the time the sun IS in your eyes because it’s getting on towards evening, it’s usually a good time to stop, find a place to sleep for the night, and go for a drink or three.

I even decided, independent of all this stuff I didn’t yet realize, to bring my Camino rucksack instead of a suitcase.  So I’m even digging into the same bag at the end of every day.  (Ironically, while I lived out of that backpack for five solid weeks, I now carry twice as much STUFF into the hotel each night, simply because I’m traveling by car and CAN bring all that STUFF.  It’s a little embarrassing to my Camino soul.)

Speaking of STUFF, let me categorize a bit for you.  I’m traveling with:

  • three Vera Bradley bags (one full of yarn I haven’t touched)
  • two receptacles for toiletries (I didn’t bother getting travel-sized anything)
  • a hair dryer (what has this world come to)
  • a laptop
  • an iPad
  • an iPod
  • a smartphone
  • my desktop computer
  • a SWORD…yes, you read that correctly
  • a book on CD
  • an ass-ton of almonds and a grapefruit (neither of which I’ve touched, though I’ve plowed right through the Wheat Thins and Tostitos with Lime)
  • an entire case of Pinotage from Winestyles which I’m trying very hard to keep cool
  • two coolers, one huge and filled with wine, the other smallish
  • make that three coolers, one tiny and filled with crap that would otherwise clutter
  • a shamrock plant that up till Day 3 had ONE stalk…and then suddenly has like SEVEN…OVERNIGHT
  • a monstrosity of a thing in a pot that Mom bequeathed to me when she moved to Reno, and which I couldn’t leave behind because between its raggedy tentacles, it’d started to sprout lovely, brave new growth
  • a down vest (but no jackets or long sleeves…NONE)
  • a TENT…like I was gonna use a TENT….
  • my running gear (which has not yet been used)
  • an extra pair of tennies (so far used only to keep the shamrock from toppling
  • and a camera case with my mom’s fancy-pants adjustable camera that I LOVE using

And yet…


…as stated in the previous post, I packed with the idea that I’d be at my destination in 10 days tops…and I’d have all the contents of the POD in my possession in about 2 weeks.  I could re-pack before heading out to Reno…I could drop stuff off at the house, I could get hold of sweatshirts and such…I could take a few days and “settle” before the second “phase” of my vacation in Reno.

(“The house,” by the way, I probably haven’t explained yet.  In brief, I marketed myself on Craigslist as someone who was looking for housing for a year and wouldn’t have very much furniture…I’d like to have my own bathroom and live with only one other person…I’d like to live with someone who had a cat or a dog, as I missed mine and couldn’t get another of my own yet…and told a bit about myself as a person.  I got a few responses, including one from a 70-something gal in CA who had inherited her mother’s fully-furnished, 3-BR, 2-car garage house in downtown Ft. Collins when her mother had passed away some years ago.  Landlady kept the house because she liked visiting FC, had some relatives in the area, kept a car there, and wanted to let the property value accrue.  Plus, her mother’s 14-year-old Maine Coon cat was still there.  So Landlady rents the house just enough to cover its cost and utilities, and maybe a little extra for travel money, and asks for a week or two a year for her tenant to vacate and allow her to come visit.  She offered the place for a STEAL and, after a few weeks of indecision, I took it.  I’ll take care of Kitty at Landlady’s expense, and won’t have a roommate in order to more easily facilitate Landlady’s visits.)

Just about the time we were closing up the POD, the current, outgoing tenant of my house was writing to the landlady to say that she hadn’t been able to find a place and sign a lease yet, despite the fact that she’d given her notice to vacate back on June 3.  So suddenly there was a conflict of timing…would she be out by the time I’d be in?

Furthermore, Landlady had declared July 13-21 as her summer visit.  The current gal should have been out by then, and I wouldn’t be in yet.  But I’d be in town by that date, and could see the house (as yet I have only seen Google Maps street views, nothing inside), finalize things, and move in around the 21st as Landlady was heading out of town.

Sooo…I told Landlady that I could still come into town on time, stay a night or two, and then head on to Reno to visit my folks and spend some time out there…my nephew would be there soon…I’d see my cousins…hang out with family…just kinda tool around a bit.  I could give the girl till about the second week of August as wiggle room to leave the house.  It meant I’d have to wait on unloading the POD…and would probably end up renting it an extra month ($200 or so), but I wouldn’t start paying rent on the house till later, so that was fine.  I wasn’t PACKED FOR FOUR WEEKS, like I would’ve been if she’d said this EARLIER…but, c’est la vie.  Like my dad says, if I didn’t bring it, they probably sell it.

So there’s upheaval number one.

Upheaval number two came at midnight…MIDNIGHT…before launch.  8 HOURS before I left northern VA.  BEDTIME ON MY LAST NIGHT.

The girl didn’t wanna move out.

She’d written to Landlady and waxed poetic about the breeze through the windows and the sleeping kitty on her bed and the sanctuary of the house and…well, could Christine just be my roommate?  Do you think she might agree?


It’s not that I was opposed to having a roommate.  It’d be cheaper…less worry about the cat if I wanted to take a jaunt for a few days (weeks)…etc. etc.  The landlady didn’t want two people’s schedules to juggle with, but she was willing to give it a shot on her end.  Soft-hearted and all.  Understandable, I suppose.  And no one had signed anything…there was no legal binding to anything yet.

It was just…flaky.

And indirect.  She wasn’t writing to ME.  We were communicating through the landlady in CA, even though the girl had my information and could have contacted ME.

The whole thing just left kind of an icky taste in my mouth.  I resented the last-minute waffling.  I didn’t need the added stress the night before I drove out.  And, truth be told, I’d grown attached to the idea of my two-car garage, even if I did suddenly find I had to share it with the landlady’s car…I didn’t want to be booted out into the driveway just when I’d grown to covet the garage.  And then there was communication between the two of them that was being forwarded to me, about the space available in the house I still hadn’t seen, and where there would’ve been space for one, suddenly it was a furnished house with an extra person’s stuff there already, and just the discussion of it alone began to feel cramped.

I was ticked!

And I knew that I’d end up agreeing with it…I’d given the address to God and everyone already…but also that I’d have a hard time shaking the resentment and being cool with the whole situation as it had come about.

But I couldn’t even absorb the added brouhaha…I had to sleep…and then I had to drive…and the entire day would be filled with goodbyes….


About merlintoes

Amateur marathoner, constant wanderer, sometime teacher, and pilgrim for life. As of July 2012, I have picked up and moved my life to Colorado, a state where I know no one, have no job, and hear it is very beautiful. I don't understand it myself...but I'm gonna run with it.
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