Finishing Things

My past two weeks have been riddled with endings.

Jóna and I completed a road trip around the US, managing to visit all 48 continental US states in under 60 days, traveling only on Greyhound buses.

Then Jóna left the US, heading back to her home in Iceland, which ended our traveling together, and also ended the relationship we’d enjoyed for the past year-ish.

Finally, a few days ago I completed my newest book; a sequel of sorts to My Exile Lifestyle, entitled Iceland India Interstate. It tells the story of this past year, and all the adventures therein, using the relationship with Jóna as a chronological red thread.

Of these three completions, the relationship with Jóna brings with it the biggest lifestyle change. I didn’t plan to date her for a whole year when we first met. We’d actually only intended to date for the final month I was in Iceland. But it ended up being an incredibly valuable experience, and the past year has been my best yet, as a result.

Finishing up a road trip, especially one that goes on for two months, is a big lifestyle shift, as well. We spent about 60 days running from place to place, spending an inordinate amount of time in Greyhound stations, sitting on buses, staring out windows, interacting with impoverished and sometimes legitimately crazy people, and visiting folks in different parts of the country, all of whom had different lifestyles and world views from us, which we had to adapt to while on their home turf.

When I was young, and a Boy Scout, I went on a few day-long canoe trips, and when they were over it would be tough to sleep: I would still be able to feel the rocking of the boat any time I lay down. I’m in a similar state now. I find myself mentally preparing to pack my bag, grab my ticket, and head for the station, but then I’ll realize I don’t have to. I can hold still.

But in holding still, I found other things to fill my time. My new book has been knocking around in my head for a very long time, and being able to sit down and write it was therapeutic. After a few weeks of doing little but write, however, I’ve come to another ending. Although there are still edits to make and a launch to prepare, I feel my brain crying out for stimuli. I’ve been taxing it for so long, loading it down with adventures and projects and relationships that now, sans these things, it feels like I’ve hopped off a trampoline, and my legs are still accustomed to being able to push me higher.

This feeling won’t last, though. It never does. I have a new project already conceived and two more books I’d like to write before heading out to Romania in June. Moving to Romania, of course, will be a new adventure for my brain to revel in.

So for now I sit here in Columbia, Missouri, happy to have some time to visit with my family and sit quietly (a rare treat). But also ready, always ready, for that next new fix. That new start, which will give me something to finish.

Update: February 16, 2017

I still find that I’m a little sad, not quite depressed, but definitely down, after finishing a book. The process is so lifestyle-defining for me that no longer having such a central process and habit in my life leaves me feeling untethered and listless. I’ve been working to make adjustments to this cycle, and the book I’m currently working on is being written a chapter a day, rather than at a more frantic pace, so we’ll see if the post-book hangover is better or worse in the days following its completion.

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