6:46 am - Thursday - September 7th - 39º F, humidity 57%, wind 2 mph out of the southeast....partly cloudy with a lot of smoke haze this morning....forecast high for Gardiner, MT is 87º F, and 82º F in Mammoth Hot Springs, WY.
In about a week we will pass the three month mark since we arrived in Gardiner, MT and rebooted our summer plans. As I sit here composing today's missive June 15th seems so, so long ago. We feel comfortable.....we feel at home.....we get along with all our co-workers.....we love our manager, and we love working for Delaware North. We are asked on a daily basis if we will be back next year, and that is a reasonable question. Initially I felt a little defensive when I answered 'no' to the question. If I like it so much, why not return? The answer is not complex, and comes from lessons learned. The whole point of this lifestyle is to travel...to see new places, meet new people, and returning to the same place even two years in a row now seems the antithesis of that premise. As one of my co-workers advised the other day, it will not be the same next year, and she is right. We tend to idealize experiences and assume if we return it will be the same....why not, right? The problem with that assumption is that we will not have the same people again next year.....we may not even have the same manager next year. The people you work with, and the person you work for make the experience what it is. I guess that is where the famous saying comes from....."You can't go home", which is to say "It will not be like you remembered it.....it will no longer feel like home".
When we moved out of our sticks and bricks home of 25 years back in February of 2011 and leased it out for the next 5 years it ceased to be our home, and every time I returned to visit our property I had this feeling of disappointment......it looked like our home......everything looked the same, but it was no longer our home....it was someone else's home. The neighbors were different.....not good, or bad, just different. Nothing felt the same, even though TLE and I had created 25 years worth of memories there......that 'home' resides only in my memories now. Now our home has 6 tires, and we can change our view without going through escrow. I always tell TLE after we have closed the curtains for the night.....'We're home'.....another well worn saying "Home is where the heart is" has never rung so true as it does this morning.
Over the next few weeks we will be saying 'Until next time' over and over again as more of our co-workers depart for new adventures, new views, and at the end of that we will be the ones departing. I love the sense of excitement, anticipation and adventure which floods over me as we nose the Newell out on to the highway after a long stay in one place headed to towards new views, new experiences, and new friends.
At any rate, I say that to say this.....I had come to look upon Tahoe Valley Campground as my home, and had come to tolerate things I told myself I would never tolerate again when I retired. I had to turn a 'blind eye' to many things to return each summer, and coming face to face with that reality this past May/June was a bitter pill to swallow....I had compromised the entire premise of our new life by returning summer after summer to TVC.....I kept thinking it would be like our first summer....each summer we arrived earlier and left later, but that feeling never returned.
Now, as I look back upon the last 3 months, I realize how much I was short changing our life.....that love of the new adventure has returned. Each Monday as we set feet upon a new hiking path I do so with anticipation of seeing something I have never seen before. I am no longer content to return year after year to hike the same trails, to return to familiar places and familiar patterns.
We have a long shared history with Lake Tahoe, and there is no doubt we will return again in the future, but we will never return to TVC. The good memories we retain will be just that.....memories. Lake Tahoe is a large area, and there are new memories to be made there in the future. The number of days we have left to put one foot in front of another are unknown, but we do have this minute, this hour, this day and we are going to embrace today as never before.
Thanks for stopping by!