I am on the road again in a car packed full with camping gear, platonic solids, and my father’s furniture for delivery to a brother in Ohio. My mother does not know quite how to say goodbye, but we do our best to thank each other for the stay. I do not know the way from my parents’ house to the Massachusetts Turnpike. I never drove much when I lived in this state. I roar on leaving blasted Wellesley and roar again to flee Massachusetts.
The New England states are little so I cross in one day Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, to arrive in broad Pennsylvania. I eat a sandwich at a Connecticut gas station and have an afternoon snack outside a mall in New Jersey. I am not used to so much driving. The seven hours ruin my neck and back.
I will camp my way west across America. The weather has improved with the onset of summer. The previous week camping in Vermont taught me how to live primitively out of my car.
I booked campsite number ten in the hills west of Gettysburg. I find the Pennsylvania state park deserted of people on a Wednesday night. I pitch a tent, inflate a new air mattress, and unfurl my sleeping bag. I warm up some spaghetti scampi that my father ordered last night at my brother’s birthday dinner. I read Mutiny on the Bounty and think of far away tropical islands. The mosquitos are brutal. The fireflies sing me to sleep.
Camping is a lonely life, more so when alone. Still, camping fosters independence and patience. I will revel and wallow in the quiet of nature before diving back into the bustle of San Francisco. I should not check my phone so much.