Phase One of my move out of Portland has begun. The RV (aka: The Beast) is on its way to Southern California. But I'm not driving it this time. No. Behind the wheel you will find my lifelong friend from Switzerland, Eve Kamer.In the front passenger seat is Eve's friend and co-worker, the smiling and bouncy Brigitte. And lounging comfortably in the rear are Eve's two teenage daughters, Anouk and Meret.Their plan is to see -- as is often the case with European tourists -- the ENTIRE West Coast. "Go ahead, drive all you want," I said. "Just make sure you change the oil before you set off, and bring it back clean with a full gas tank and an empty waste tank." Clearly my rental requirements are exceptionally minimal. If I seem relaxed about handing off my RV for this marathon road trip, let me assure you I am not.I say this because after Team Switzerland finished one last breakfast (by the way, note the apple pie in the bottom left corner of the picture!) I walked them out to the RV and said goodbye. As I watched the RV pull away, down Aspen Avenue, without me in it -- without Marcus in it -- I had one of those tortured moments, the kind when you have to give yourself a stern lecture in the privacy of your own head. "Let go," I argued with my conscience. "It's just a vehicle. If anything happens to it, it's replaceable. Eve is a good, confident driver. It's going to be fine."
I told a friend later, I'm trying to "practice Buddhism without being a Buddhist." If I am to move forward, to leave Portland -- which, in my twisted little grieving mind also means leaving Marcus -- then I need to practice detachment.
"Let go," I warned myself again. "Let go." So I swallowed the lump in my throat, rubbed the sick feeling that was lingering in my stomach, and waved goodbye as Eve & Co. rounded the bend. "Drive safely," I said again, even though they could no longer hear me. I even added it in German for extra assurance. "Sicher Fahrt."
Here's the good news. Some reshuffling of travel plans means I will be arriving in LA just a day or two after the RV. I will be reunited with my home-on-wheels. And that's a good thing because for now that RV is going to be the only home I have. Considering I never wanted Marcus to buy The Beast in the first place, it sure has come to play a hugely significant role in my life. My new life.
And now, I need to start packing boxes. Let the adventures begin. "Sicher Fahrt" indeed.