Now I'm safe home, I'm having occasional amusing muscle-memory lapses. Driving my housemates' cars, for example (both of which are significantly smaller than Dark Star), I find myself reaching to the wrong place for the gear shift — or I wonder with some alarm how someone can drive with their butt so close to the ground like this! The other night, too, I woke up in the darkness of my bedroom and had a moment of extreme disorientation — where the hell was I?! Things are settling in my head as time passes, of course, but it's caused a bit of amusing cognitive dissonance.

Now I'm back I'm also hearing a bit more about how other folks saw my trip. I was surprised to learn from my sweetie that everyone he talked to about it thought it was crazy to do something like this on my own. What if something bad happened? What about potential dangers? What if I got lost?

Let's be blunt here: I'd have loved to have traveled with a friend or two! I'd even have been happy to have a week with one person, another few days with another, and so on as I crossed the country. However, I also knew as a student I had access to time off during the summer that folks with more regular jobs did not. I certainly don't feel any upset that no one dropped everything to go with me — nor would I have asked that of any of my friends, let alone sweeties. I'm just thrilled I was able to get my sweetie to fly out and use up a week of his vacation time with me in Florida at my folks' place. I'm even more thrilled — considering how stressful his work has been recently — to hear he had a nice, relaxing time.

I also planned ahead as best I could for calamity. I have excellent health and car insurance thanks to my sweetie's job (but no thanks to you, stupid useless DOMA crap!), I had not one but two GPSs, I had my first aid kit, my cell phone, my little valkyrie (which is what I call my wonderful and rugged little laptop), the knowledge that McDonald's provides free wi-fi, plus an extension cord, an inverter to plug into Dark Star, and chargers and rechargeable batteries for all of the above electronics. I also have what I consider fairly good instincts, in that I don't tend to blunder into dangerous situations with crazy people. Finally I had perhaps the most powerful magic item ever, along with the knowledge of the requisite gestures and incantations to make it work beautifully: an empty credit card in my name.

Admittedly, the credit card isn't empty now, but it's an almost exhilarating feeling to be able to simply swipe that puppy just about anywhere — and then be able to powerfully charge up your mount for the next side-quest. Boss monsters: beware the awesome stampeding wrath of Collie and her Dark Star! :)

Ahem. Sorry, got myself back under control again. ;) So, to continue! Also interestingly, I found my most useful tool on the trip, after the credit card, to be google maps! I started with the GPSs, of course, but rapidly discovered if I didn't know the precise address I wished to go to (which I didn't, for example, within Yosemite), then they were not just incredibly slow, but next to useless. Google maps, on the other hand, allows me to ask for the closest McDonald's or truck stop to where I am, then zero in on the location to make sure that's the correct route for what I want. I can also have more than one map open at a time, and I can open other browser windows to do things like read reviews of where I want to go, or make a room reservation at the hotel of my choice for the night, or check my email, or even just say hi to friends! As I've gleefully noted previously: I live in a spaceship! :-D

All that being said, of course… I still find myself somewhat interestedly confused at the attitudes I'm seeing and hearing about. I have to ask: if you (generalized you, of course) hear of something wonderful to do — something you've always wanted to do, something you've happily daydreamed about for years — but you can't find anyone else to do it with… would you really feel you shouldn't do this longed-for thing — simply because you might have to do it alone?

I'm asking sincerely here, and trying to respectfully understand different perspectives. Let me know your thoughts, please? Thanks! :)

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