I have known for a long time that this tour would be a BIG thing. I knew it would be expensive. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be exciting. I knew it would be rewarding. I knew all those things, how many miles, how many days, how many rest stops, how many places I might expect to be greeted by friends and family. I knew it was a once in a lifetime experience.
I have planned carefully for my husband, whose health is somewhat fragile, to be home alone with the dog and the cats. The freezer will be stocked, the larder will be full. Friends will keep him engaged and alleviate his loneliness. He was a househusband for 20 years, so he knows how to manage things. He will have a car (unlike on some of my shorter trips) and be able to go anywhere, do anything he wishes. There is email, texting and Skype. That is all under control.
And today it hit me. In six weeks I will be leaving home for TWO MONTHS. I have been away from home for that long before, but not for quite a while and under completely different circumstances. For two months, I will not be reading the local news. I will not be knitting with my friends. I won't be riding bikes with Susan and Dan or chatting on the phone with Doris. I won't be tripping over the cats or have a big Maremma head leaning against my shoulder as I sit at the computer. I won't be sleeping in my own bed or eating at my own table.
Having been through it before, I know what that "out of the loop" feels like. Even in this very electronically connected age, I will be "disconnected" from my real life into a world where little exists but riding bikes and spending time with new friends. It will be a lot of things, a lot of wonderful things, but it won't be my real life. And my real world will go on without me in it, and when I return there will be a period of re-entry.
Reentry is a rather otherworldly feeling, a rather detached view of things. I want to use it to reassess what is important to me, develop new habits and patterns, and really appreciate "my" world. That may also be a once in a lifetime opportunity.