Our story begins in a season of life that moved slow, but with purpose. I was in the stresses of post-grad life and deteriorating health problems. Fern, otherwise known as Tom, was also in the post-grad life, but was preparing for an extended trip to the states. For a couple of months we wrote letters back in forth after discovering one another’s existence through an online community called the Medicine Tribe. Prior to meeting, we both were romantically burnt out, and expected nothing but a newfound friendship. But something stirred deeper, something we did not quite understand.
On March 18th, I met Fern’s eyes for the first time. Having had surgery only two weeks prior, I could only pitter patter towards him as I saw the flash of orange on his backpack glimmer on the other side of a greyhound bus station. With no words, I ran straight into his arms, and felt at home for the first time in a long time.
For the next month and a half, we enjoyed one another’s company through adventures, meeting new and old friends, and simply soaking in our newfound soul connection. Even in the beginning we could not begin to understand the depth of affection and the power in finding your soul reflected in another person.
Fern’s dreams reached high as he set out for the Pacific Crest Trail in May. I kept myself busy house sitting and pursuing my dreams as a writer. I stayed with friends trying to keep myself distracted of his absence. Just when I thought I could bare it no longer, there came a surprise. Thinking I would only come home to family, I was in shock to see Fern sitting on the back porch. My heart swelled with affection, and my mind with concern as he came home two weeks early. Without any technology to assist him, he made it back home safe in my arms with only beat up knees and a few scratches.
From there we began to plan our roadtrip adventure. I never really had any desire to drive around the states, because traveling abroad always seemed more appealing to me. But anywhere in the world feels like home with Fern, so we decided to leave on July 22nd. With a whirlwind of preparing, purchasing the family van, and long lines at the DMV, we embarked. Fully embracing this new adventure and new season for our lives. Eyes full of wonderment, minds filled with follies, and hearts beaming with love, here we are.
We first stopped in Tacoma, Washington to visit high school friends of mine. The couple that single handedly made me realize that my previous ideas of relationships were wrong. Their love for one another always inspired me to be loved better, and I am happy to have found that in Tom. I soaked in auntie time with the pups, as their two dogs curled up next to me as I worked. Although goodbyes never get easier. Each time I drive away, I know the next time I see them, life will look just a little bit different.
We continued onto Port Angeles, Washington to stay in a lovely international hostel called Toadlily House. It felt like being in a different country with the array of languages between couples and single travelers. I worked late into the evening, trying to get things done before we spend more hours on the road.
On Tuesday morning, we set off for Canada to meet Tom’s friend. We wandered the quaint streets of Victoria BC, and enjoyed brunch at John’s Place (a highly recommended restaurant that had gluten free options!). We (mostly Tom), enjoyed the tour through the Bug Zoo. Having grown up with a father that explained every bug, and having traveled and seen large bugs in real life, I was more than happy not to hold potentially poisonous insects, but Tom liked it.
We met up with his friend, who was the definition of confident and friendly. His lovely demeanor and approachability was similar to Tom’s, with their humor being both dry and subtle. We walked the streets and enjoyed coffee, meat pies, and blackberries that are growing in abundance along the sides of roads. Although it was painful to walk towards the end of our day, I suffered no further injury or spasms.
We said goodbyes and hopped in line to return to Port Angeles across the ferry. With panicked eyes, they were not going to let Tom on the boat at first due to a missing form. And I was not about to leave my sweetheart in a different country, so I did what any good person does when they are panicked. I prayed. The US customs officers were luckily very calm and willing to help, although we stressed one lady out by making her evening very rushed.
Thanks to one soft hearted sea captain, they held the ferry for us so the right form could print. We entered the ship through the bottom with the captain, and watched the twilight sky against the water as the boat rocked along. With a rather quiet ride home, I was reminded of the responsibility of borders and the generosity of strangers.
As we continue on, we are going on the US National Parks tour. Having purchased an ‘America The Beautiful National Parks Pass’, we have access to the many parks we hope to see. Next stop is Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Forest. Traveling and working is no breeze of a time every day, but it does promise to be a grand adventure. And we thrive on adventure.
Petal, aka Bethany Jane
**Photo Cred: Lacey C. at Henline Falls**