Sunday, September 17, 2017


Home is where the heart is.

This phrase does not ring true for me.

I feel grateful to love most facets of the life I live, but I am one with an unsettled heart and a constant search for the unnamed intangible thing that I know to be missing.

From this stems my wanderlust.

Home is a place for sleep, dinner, and breakfast during the work/school week and a base camp for the one weekend a month my son averages not at his dad's house or on a grandma curated adventure.

This weekend's wandering brought me to Winthrop and the North Cascades Mountain Hostel, my favorite home away from home. It is rare to meet someone at the hostel who is not immersed in their own wanderlust. Coming in late Friday night I was welcomed by a big group, each on their own path.

A woman in her 20's had ridden her bike here. All the way from Boston, MA. I asked her what inspired it and she simply said she thought it would be the best way to see the country. Saturday morning she set out again, heading through Washington Pass to Marblemount. So many of us let fear get in the way of such a long solo journey. Her confidence in a limitless life inspired me.

A man in his 20's with the brightest of ice blue eyes, an accountant as it turned out, was staying a night on his way to complete the last section of the PCT. He had left his job in Wisconsin and started on the Mexican border earlier this year. His employer had given him great freedom in that he can return if he likes, but he understandably said that after life on the trail the last thing he wants to do is log back into SAP.

A woman around my age, was having the best of times reading tidbits from the guestbook to all of us and drawing in her sketchbook. Next on her path is volunteering for a month on Whidbey Island and as of yet unplanned adventure after.

Two Canadian ladies around my mom's age were down from Vancouver at the start of a two week road trip. They were old high school friends and proud to still know one another, full of spunk and fervor for their travels ahead. One slept on the bunk below me and offered me to share in their stash of wine stored there.

Saturday night a fresh group of travelers came in. I had just gotten back from my Patterson Mountain 6-peat and pizza with a local hiker I'd met doing his own 5-peat. After a much needed peppermint soap shower I was putting things away and noted a fresh hiker pack and poles on a nearby bunk. Their owner walked in and I asked where he had come from. He had just finished the PCT! First he told me his trail name and then realizing he was no longer out there introduced himself again by his first name, unsure which identity to grab. I climbed down and gave him a high five. The fires had changed up the last bit of his trip and he'd been given a ride down from Rainy Pass by a ranger. He's been decompressing, in his own words, unsure what to do with himself in such a big transition. Sleeping in a bed, taking a shower, all those little things we take for granted that become a novelty after a long period without.

Someday I would like for my wanderlust to take me away from the world for 4-6 months on the PCT or Appalachian Trail. First, my son must grow into a man and I must garner the finesse and influence to talk the employer I'd like to stay with for decades into such a leave of absence. For now, weekends are my wanderlust.

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