I can’t believe it’s been nearly 5 months since I left Oakland. And while I know there haven’t been a lot of posts in that time, I promise there has been a whole lot of living. I’ve survived living in a tiny house on wheels, visited many new places within a smallish geographical location, dealt with sickness, sadness, and homesickness, made new friends, fell in love with a city, fell in love with someone, had adventures and misadventures, and learned so much about myself in the process. I know I have a lot of stories to write, but the one I find myself writing now is what is happening at this moment.

Tomorrow, the Chinook and I are heading back to the Bay Area. If you read my guest post as part of Torre DeRoche’s Love and Travel Week on Almost Fearless, then you know I’m really missing loved ones.  So you can imagine that after all of this time, I’m so excited I don’t know how I’ll make it the 11+ hour drive without jumping out of my seat. But at the same time…

I’m scared

You see, the timing of this trip isn’t random.  On Tuesday, if everything goes well, and I want it to go well, a couple with a newborn baby will be handed the keys to the first house I ever co-owned. The house that I sank countless hours of sweat and love into (while documenting it all), made first-house memories in, and that I left thinking Francisco would be able to keep. Sure, I left our house willingly in January, but it’s so much harder to imagine neither of us being there anymore. And on Friday, I’ll sign what’s left to sign, and it will become the property of strangers on Tuesday.

I’m also saying another farewell to Francisco, and I don’t know when I’ll see him again. With the house being sold, he has decided to leave the Bay Area and travel as well. Unlike in so many instances where there’s an amicable split, we won’t be in the same town to get coffee every now and then or have one of us be in a static spot the other can visit. As much as I know our split was the right decision for both of us, and we’ve both moved on, ten years is still a really long time with someone, and I’ll miss him. In many ways I already do. In this time since I left, we’ve been in contact via email nearly every day, communicating about the house with our broker, and with that process coming to an end, I know that will too.

And then there’s my stuff. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that when I moved out, I left a lot of things behind, and then I further downsized before taking off in June. What is left, are either sentimental things I don’t want to part with, or things I didn’t have the emotional strength to deal with then. But now I think it’s time.

There are my rings- my 1920’s diamond engagement ring- the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen, the vintage ring box Francisco bought for it, and my 1920’s wedding band that are occupying space in a safe deposit box. It’s time to let them go to someone else now, and yet as certain as I am of that, I can’t imagine making it so.

And then there is my wedding dress. The one my former sister-in-law, a famous fashion designer, made especially for me. The one I flew to Buenos Aires alone to have made while I stayed with my in-laws and studied Spanish in the month leading up to our wedding. I can’t imagine ever wearing it again, so why keep it? And yet, I don’t know how I’ll hand it over to anyone.

I’m also clearing out my storage locker and loading the Chinook with the rest of what I own and bringing it back to Portland, where I can scan my photos, further downsize, process, and heal.

So, as excited and happy as I am to see those I love and miss so much, I’m just as scared to make this trip. It’s so strange to think that what I’m afraid to see for the first time in 5 months- Francisco, my house, and my things- I’m even more afraid to never see again. All I can do is muster all my emotional courage and take off with the intention of handling everything in the kindest, most genuine, honest way I know how, and to enjoy every minute with my friends. And who knows, maybe I’m stronger than I think.

61 Responses to “Returning “Home” to the Bay”

Comments (61)
  1. Lorna! I want to give you a hug! That is way too many good-byes all at once. I am tearing up reading this. But you know you are strong. Good luck! I’m always so happy when you write!

    • oh abby, thank you!!! boy, have i ever had a year of goodbyes! ha ha. and i’m being reminded by those i trust, that i need to slow down for a bit, acknowledge all that this year has held in the way of drastic change, and give myself time to heal- and i intend to listen. :) and you know that i know how to change my mind if something doesn’t feel right, so if i get there and am not ready to let go of something or anything, i won’t make myself! :) you’re so kind about my writing! it’s so good to hear that even when i write the tough stuff, you’re happy to read it. the feeling is totally mutual. :)

    • Abby expressed exactly what I was going to say. I have tears in my eyes, as I can’t even imagine departing with some of the things you are going to depart with. Please know that I’m ALWAYS here for you!!! Remember change is good for the soul. I can’t see where this beautiful journey of life takes you next babe.

      • thanks so much andi!!! i do know that, sweetie! you’ve been there during some toughies! yeah, it’s all going to be okay, i really deep-down know i can handle anything, and i trust myself not to rush or push myself into something i’m not ready for, but this is really some of the tough stuff. funny thing (or not! ha ha) about me, is that i often make a big leap (or decision) and then i freak out right before i face the consequences, then i handle the consequences just fine! it’s just that initial, “oooh! i just made a scary decision” reaction. i signed over the deed to my house today, and in the end it wasn’t so bad. a nice family will love and care for it, and likely be just as excited to do so as francisco and i were 4 years ago. that feels nice to think about. :)

  2. Best of luck, my friend! And welcome back to the Bay Area (though I’m technically gone now myself)!

  3. I don’t know you, but this post made me want to just reach out and hug you. Good luck!

  4. Keep on Rockin it girl…

  5. You’ve gone through so much Lorna and we’ve enjoyed following you in your chinook ever since! ;) If you’ve come this far, you can DEFINITELY keep on going – and still come out smiling at the other end. Best of luck with your return.
    Julia

    • thanks so much julia! gosh i’m so glad for you and the rest of our cheerleading travel community. you’re right- it’ll be okay no matter what. it might just be tough at points.
      so appreciate your support as always. :)

  6. Good to hear from you, Lorna. It’s been an eventful time, hasn’t it? Everyone needs to deal with the things from their past in their own ways, but if I can throw my two cents in —- If it seems too hard to part with such important things as your engagement ring and wedding dress, don’t do it yet. Hanging on to special items doesn’t mean that you are hanging on to that previous life. They are just special things that you really like. Maybe there will come a time when you want to get rid of them. But I’m the type who hangs on to things, so that’s just me. Best of luck with whatever you decide.

    • thanks cathy, it has! my life in 5th gear should be the name of my autobiography, ha ha. so grateful for your 2 cents! i know some people never get rid of such things- even wear them still, but the practical minimalist feng shui-minded person in me says that i should let them go. therein lies the trouble i think, making practical matters out of emotional experiences. ;) i will absolutely heed your advice and do what ultimately feels right for the time. thanks friend. :)

  7. good luck lorna! i sometimes wish i could switch the sentimental part of my brain off. it would make life so much easier. but like cathy said, there isnt any rush. do it when it feels right.

    • thanks jamie! LOL yeah- i get that! it’s true, as far as the stuff goes, it is a self-imposed timeline. no one’s making me do it, and if i’m not ready, i won’t. but you know when you feel ready and don’t know if you can ever handle it all at once?! that’s kind where i am, ha ha. deep breath and we’ll see how it goes! thanks for that reminder! :)

  8. It’s so good to see you posting again. I’m so happy for you that the sale of the house went through! We need to catch up!

    • keep your fingers crossed for the final stretch christy!!! leaving this morning and supposed to sign those papers tomorrow- this post is happening in real time ;)
      thanks for being so supportive for so long. you’ve been able to understand so much of what i’ve been going through and that’s been such a comfort. yes! let’s catch up when i’m back! i know i’ve missed a lot on your end too! :) xo

  9. Oh Lorna, I do feel for you. But you know you *are* ‘stronger than you think.’ You’ve come so far already, just keep on going and keep on writing!

    • thanks so much jools!!! appreciate all you’ve said so much- especially the encouragement to keep on writing. sometimes it’s hard to do it while feeling this way, but ultimately it helps, so i’ll take your advice! :)

  10. Writing this post proves that you are stronger than you think. It is inspirational to see you making difficult decisions and taking action to live life the way you want.

  11. Wow you really poured your heart out on this one? 10 years is a bloody long time.

    How is the Bay treating you these days? Settled back in yet?

    • thanks will! it IS a bloody long time! ha ha. i just arrived less than 24 hours ago, and have already had both extremes- fun and sad, but truly- both are just what i need to have right now. when i head back to portland on wednesday-ish, i’ll be all the better for it. :)

  12. Wow – good luck with everything! Sounds like a very transitional time – I’ve been through those, completely leaving a place, though without the extra things you have going on with Francisco. You need those periods to heal, though. Hope you get a lot out of it =)

    • thanks andrea! it is…again! ha ha. just had my first day here today, but trying to stay present with everything and go really slow. i’m so happy i made the choice to come back right now- do think as you say, i needed it to for the next stage of healing. appreciate the well-wishes. :)

  13. Wow! I always love the way you write, succinct yet full of thought.

    I think it’s good that you are really thinking about the memories and questioning parting with them. I feel like a lot of people (myself included) go the band-aid route and just get rid of things that they’re not ready to truly part with for the sake of minimalism or avoiding dealing with emotions or whatnot. So hold on to them if they really make you question parting with them until you’re ready.

    • thanks so much erin! i love getting nice comments on my writing. still new and often unsure about it, so thanks for your kind words. :)
      and WOW! the idea of dumping things so as not to have to deal with the memories associated with them hadn’t occurred to me, but yeah, i’m sure that happens quite often, right? i think a part of me thought i HAD to get of these things. as in, how could i ever wear them again and why would i keep them if not. but just from reading these comments and talking with my close friends here in the Bay today, i’m beginning to wonder… guess like you say, for as long as i remain unsure, i should wait to act. :)

  14. Good luck with everything! It sounds like new adventures are on the way. I’m sure new doors will be opening in the months ahead.

  15. I can tell from this post that you are going to be just fine. Thanks for opening your heart to your readers.

  16. Sometimes that pain of this entire process never ends. Just when you think you are over it all, seems you are finding something new that makes you confront this all over again. In time, there will be healing and you will be able to move on. While this may be hard, the best thing that may come from this is closure. Even though you had been on the road for quite a while, you didn’t have the closure that you are going to have now. Yes, you are going to confront the things you missed but in the end, down the road, this may be a good thing.

    • thanks jeremy! yeah! gosh- you’ve just reminded me of the non-linear nature of grief…which i wrote about in my breakup post! gee, guess i was so “good” for a while that i totally didn’t expect another wave. makes sense given everything that’s coming to a close right now though. you’re right- it’s a good thing. i’m so glad i came back to the Bay to handle it. was definitely the scarier option, but better as you say in the long run. appreciate your support so much. :)

  17. Sending lots of strength and courage your way. Best of luck in the coming days. Hang in there!

  18. Welcome back! I found returning home is always a mix of excitement and anxiety, somehow though we always get through. The brain has an amazing way of dealing with these good yet difficult situations… as for the items, you will know when it’s time to release them from your life- perhaps today, next month or even next year isn’t right, but someday it will be. Best wishes!

    • thanks jillian! you’re right about our brains- mine already surprised me today. :) as for the stuff- yeah, i’m hearing from so many folks what you say here. i’ll see if it feels right to let them go, and if not, i just won’t do it now. appreciate your kind words! :)

  19. You have done A LOT of growing and self-exploration since you left the Bay Area, and you started at a pretty high level to begin with. You tend to handle things with grace by default, but I think you might be surprised and how “strong” you can be during this emotional capstone event. Of course, Kent and I won’t be surprised.

    You got friends who are only a Skype away if things get heavy. :)

    • thanks so much caanan! so great to have friends who can remind me about what i’m made of! yeah, i can do this. i have lots of love around me, and more as you say just a skype call away. thanks for being in that gang, friend! :)

  20. I have been dying to know what you have been up to lady!

    Best of luck on getting the loose ends tied and things finalized. I miss your “face”.

  21. It’s so hard to get rid of sentimental items sometimes, even when keeping them is impractical. *Sigh.* Damn things tug at our heartstrings!

  22. are ya coming to portland with the chinook? oh if you are, we must, must get the chinooks together. please, please.

  23. Big changes for you – you do deserve a hug!

  24. I promise you, you ARE stronger than you think. It takes a while, and I’m not sure it’s possible to shortcut the process, but you WILL be fine–better, actually. Hang in there!

  25. What a touching post! Life’s like that, we have to say goodbyes even when we don’t want to…but think positive, if there is no goodbye, there will never be new hellos :D

  26. I am sure it must be such an emotional time. Some days I don’t know how you do it but just think the adventure ahead will make all of this a distant memory.

  27. Thinking of you!! These things are never easy, but they are what make us strong and ready for what comes next which WILL be better than anything you’ve dreamed of. Not sure of when, but it will happen.

  28. You had and long trip and i am sure that you have experienced much more during the trip. I think you are really travel addict so that you can travel so long.

  29. Hey what gives, theres not been an update for ages on your blog, you given up? :(

  30. great blog.. very true .. just loved it

  31. Looks like it’s been a while since this post, have you gotten to travel much since returning to CA?

  32. Appreciate the article and kind words!

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