Volume I : Chapter XX
The unexpected ride home hit us hard and fast. After taking over five months to get to Louisiana we realized we were almost at the 182 day mark (the max allowable stay for a Canadian) when we were celebrating our 150th day on the road with our friends in Baton Rouge. I don’t know where those 150 days went but I can guess; breakdowns, cold snaps, avoiding goodbyes and just living without a schedule overall. We weighed the risks, the rewards, checked the budget, called some friends, called a lawyer and had to make the decision. We had to come home. If we overstayed we risked an automatic three-year ban next time we tried to enter. We were coming home to nothing, and it was the middle of winter. No apartment, no jobs, two suitcases and very little money left. All we were coming home with had to fit in the backseat. We had to leave our trailer in Louisiana and haul ass backwards on those roads we took across the country. With not enough time to really stop and revisit many people or places, we went against one of our biggest rules of the road; “no long haul drives”.
We got through Texas in a day, took a little detour to the Gulf and woke up to a foggy, opaque morning, made time to run on the sand. Got back in the car. Hauled down the 10, as the drives got longer the music got louder, the coffee stronger, we felt lost on the same roads we’d already been down.
We made stops in Arizona, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Saw some familiar faces and we needed that. Even those places were different this time around, everything felt disjointed, running backwards.
By the time we made it to the Canadian border we were exhausted, uninspired, scared and most of all, unprepared. This was not part of our plan and we weren’t ready. We felt torn from a dream and that’s exactly what was happening. We were back in the place that once felt like home and it was the last place we wanted to be. We moved onto a sailboat, continuing our rent strike and living without a shower was something we had already grown very accustomed to so it wasn’t a huge adjustment from living in the trailer. The first few days home were a haze, incredible highs and lows between seeing friends and family and being completely aimless when we couldn't keep ourselves busy. Those quiet hours where you had nowhere to go, had nowhere to be and nobody to talk to, they were so long. I had learned that time was relative in the last six months. It started to look like we were settling in for a while and all the optimism that carried us forward and so far was falling away.
This was the last chapter of the first volume.
Words by: Kyla Trethewey