I arrived in Allentown almost a month ago. The trip was my sixth solo cross-country drive, and I’d concluded along the way that I really didn’t ever want to do it again. Cross-country, maybe, but not solo. It wasn’t an unexpected thought. I’d been realizing, pretty much since my V-day in early May (when my vaccinations reached full effectiveness), that I’d lost my enthusiasm for the road. Instead of V-day translating to, “Yay, freedom to head to new places!” it had felt like, “Yay, freedom to invite people over for dinner!”

I loved so many great things about living in Serenity and wandering the country — there were so many beautiful moments, so many sparks of joy and wonder — but I’d gotten really attached to my life in Arcata. Who was going to give the chickens treats with me gone? Who would provide a kitten-free zone for Gina, #notmycat? Who would cook interesting dinners for Suzanne? Crucially, I also didn’t want to spend my scarce dollars on campground reservations and van updates: given the choice between new batteries for Serenity (a typical necessary expenditure after five years) and an overhead fan for Serendipity or a grill, I really wanted that overhead fan.

I also wondered if maybe I was ready to give up writing. Not just give up on indie publishing, but give up on writing entirely: not only fiction, but also no more morning words, no more evening reflections, no more journals or blog posts. To investigate that question, I decided to stop writing entirely for a month, and see how I felt about it. Spoiler alert: the month isn’t quite over yet and I’m writing, so the answer is probably obvious. It was a good exercise, because I truly do have a love/hate relationship with the act of arranging words into meaning, but not doing it at all for a month was a lot like giving up caffeine. My life felt flatter.

Will giving up Serenity feel the same? I sure hope not, because I’ve been planning and wavering, and cleaning and organizing, and planning and wavering, ad infinitum, but this morning Suzanne said, “If you’re ready, let her bring that same joy to another person,” and it felt like a beam of sunshine on a cloudy day. Of course that’s the way to think about it. Of course!

So very soon I will post that Serenity is for sale on FB in the Winnebago Travato group and probably soon thereafter, I’ll put an ad on RVtrader.com. I’ve got an appointment scheduled for her at the RV dealer next week to get some things fixed (the propane and probably new batteries, maybe the awning that’s never worked), but someday after that, she’ll be bringing someone else the joy that she’s brought me. I hope, anyway! And if not, I’ll make one last cross-country run and take my time selling her in Arcata.

But I am in more of a hurry to get back to Arcata than I thought I would be, because another thing that happened during the last month was that Suzanne’s next door neighbor (who runs a dog rescue, Redwood Pals) sent me this picture.

To which I replied something like, “OMG, yes. But I won’t be home for a couple months and taking care of a puppy that long is a pretty big ask.”

It is a pretty big ask, especially when asked of someone with a full-time job, three cats, a dog, and baby chickens. But Suzanne is a pretty damn amazing friend. The puppy on the right is now named Sophie, and Suzanne is sending me regular pictures, as well as updates on her assimilation into the pack. (Olivia Murderpaws says “Yes, I will play with this creature, thank you,” Riley D says, “Why have you done this to me?”, Gina #notmycat says, “No!” and Momotaro has no opinion as long as his nap time is not interfered with.) Sophie’s already a lot bigger, and I definitely want to get home before she decides that Suzanne is her one and only person.

First things first, though — next on the agenda is a drive to Florida. The BBE and I leave PA on Friday & will get there on Saturday. I’m so looking forward to seeing the family and friends that I haven’t seen since pre-pandemic times. And so grateful for the vaccinations that make it safe.

(In other random news, last week I tripped over a combination of a step I didn’t notice and a dog gate I couldn’t then avoid and managed to mildly sprain my ankle and badly sprain my wrist. This disjointed post has taken me literal hours to write (and some ibuprofen) because typing one-handed is hard and I keep starting to use my right hand and then regretting it. So annoying!)