It would be a book, really. If I tried to write it all down, every meaningful, discouraging, and/or hilarious story.
There have been years of my life that could be summed up in a chapter or paragraph (or, in the case of “9th grade sucked.”, a sentence) but this was not one of those years. When we were in Nashville recently, a friend at church attempted to pin me down on an answer: “Okay, so level with me: scale of 1-10. Be honest.”
I almost didn’t have time to think before I responded: “One and Ten, and not much in between.”
Heather said it best, a few months ago. “When you look at this year on the Macro Level, it’s been amazing; a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The things we’ve seen, the people we’ve met; getting to know people whose names I’ve heard from your previous tours… this is how I’ll remember it. But if you stopped and looked at it on the Micro Level, there are days when I’m stuck in an RV and I wonder how I’ll make it through even one more day.”
*points to nose*
So here’s the entry where I tell you about some of the Tens.
The Ones make for better stories, and I’ll get to that sometime this week. But for now, I just want to cover some of the highlights:
– Toured with our good friends Jenny & Tyler, and made new friend Vanita Joines
– Visited 45 States (only states missed: Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii).
– Went to an Alligator Farm in East Texas
– Went to the Beach in Pensacola, FL. It was freezing and wonderful.
– Saw the Grand Canyon
– Went to Disneyland
– Bend, Oregon is nice.
– A day in Pike Place Market, Seattle
– Mount Rushmore
– The 2014 MLB All-Star Game, during which we ended up on the big screen.
– A mini-vacation in Maine.
– Spent time in Ferguson, MO
– Met, and made friends with a few of my heroes, including Jesse Lacey of Brand New, members of Manchester Orchestra, and this guy: Hall of Fame Radio Broadcaster Eric Nadel:
-In one day, saw the Imperial Sand Dunes, Slab City, Salvation Mountain, and the Salton Sea
– The Redwood Forest in Northern California
– We got to pet and feed a Giraffe in Colorado Springs, CO:
– Niagara Falls
– We took the kids to the French Quarter in New Orleans, LA.
– Fell more in love with my wife, as I saw the spectrum of her emotions; from the awe at the size of the sky in Arizona to the teetering edge of madness in Kansas City, but mostly how much time she spends balancing gracefully between those lines; how great a mother she is, and how desperately I need her when I am vacillating wildly between wanting to change the world and wanting to disengage from it forever.
– Learned that I was allowed to have a bad day, even when I was living my life dream (more on that in the “Micro” post).
– Introduced many of you to my family, and them to you. All of you who have been my family away from home; it meant everything to me to be able to have my family with me this time, to merge what had felt like two separate lives I was living into one, for which I am genuinely in grateful and humble awe.
– Kept a list, subtly at first, but more out in the open as the year went on, as to where we would end up when this year of traveling was over. A list of ~10 cities narrowed to 5-6, then three, then two… And late last month, before the last two shows of the year, we made our decision: When I come back from Europe, we will drive to Nashville to play one final full-band show, get our belongings from storage, and trek once again across the country that we criss-crossed for nearly 300 days, en route to our new home in…