It’s been a weird month.

Not a bad month. Indeed, in a lot of ways, a really good month. I got to enjoy hanging out with the Best Brother Ever, both on our incredibly long and tedious drive to Florida and at the Airbnb he rented. I also got to spend quality time with my dad and stepmom while also being useful, which is always gratifying. Helping family is not transactional, but I like being able to give back to people who have given so much to me. Plus I saw so many Florida friends that I hadn’t seen since pre-pandemic. Lunch/dinner/fun & games in person are so much better than over text!

Still, it was a weird month. Everyone has pandemic stories, some of which felt pretty bleak. Sitting in the hospital with my dad was inevitably reminiscent of the last time I spent hours in the hospital, ten years ago with my mom. And I can’t, of course, be in Florida without thinking of my son. I have many more good memories of him than bad, but the bad ones hurt.

I also sold Serenity. It went reasonably smoothly: I never did advertise her on RVTrader, but I posted the fact of her sale to the Facebook Travato Owners and Wannabes group, and a single woman (with dog!) in Tampa reached out.

Serenity’s new dog, Bandit, who immediately recognized the proper seat for a Best Dog.

I took care of getting new batteries first, and also wound up reducing the price to cover the propane repair because it would have taken another month to get the part to fix it, as well as taking $$ off for a couple other minor problems. (The awning never worked & the electric step stopped working on the way to Florida). I was still satisfied and the buyer was satisfied, too, which is the best way for transactions like that to go.

Serenity next to her new travel buddy.

It was still oddly hard. An incredibly kind friend, Frisbee, drove to Tampa to pick me up and bring me back to central Florida. When I’d buckled my seatbelt, he said, casually, in the way one does, “So how are you doing?”

I replied, “I think maybe I need to cry.”

Being a peak thoughtful human being, he immediately apologized for not having brought tissues, so I laughed instead. We started talking and I never did cry — the moment passed — but the feeling remained.

It’s not that I feel like selling the van was the wrong choice. I am completely delighted by the thought of not driving anywhere for a very long time. Today I’ll drive an hour so to get back to Mount Dora (borrowing a friend’s car) and tomorrow I’ll do the same in reverse, and that’ll be the last time I drive for probably weeks, maybe months. I love that thought. Love, love, love it. But still… a great adventure has come to an end and a time in my life is over and that means… well, some blend of nostalgia and mourning, I guess. It’s bittersweet, in the truest sense of the word.

But yesterday, I went to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival with C and Frisbee. We had a perfect day. The weather was remarkably tolerable for August in Florida, the lines were short, the food was great, and the company was outstanding. It was a day of Disney magic, filled with moments like getting the best possible seat on the Soaring ride and still making it out in time for the fireworks.

Along the way, we were eating griddled cheese with honey and pistachios in Greece, and for some reason I remembered the video I made eleven years ago, of a family trip to the Food & Wine Festival. I showed it to C & F while we were perched at a table overlooking the water, Epcot’s giant golf ball in the background. When I made that video, I had no idea what the next ten years would bring — none of the bad, of which there was plenty, but also none of the great, wonderful, amazing, and fun. It was a potent reminder that ten years from now, today will be just a distant memory. Even without Serenity, I expect that there will be plenty of good adventures before I get there.