• Peter Rejcek

Catching up

My last post was on Oct. 31, 2015. A few things have changed since then, starting the following day, when we became homeless.

No, we didn't lose everything in the stock market or to a wily prince in Nigeria. We rented out our home in Denver for a second time, with a one-year lease, meaning our gap-year that started around April 2015 was definitely going to extend into a gap-year-plus-one. Time to hit the road.

But we didn't get far immediately. In fact, we barely made it out of Denver, just down the road to Englewood, where we were housesitting for some friends who had deployed to Antarctica. It was definitely a good place to land for a while until we could get organized and develop our future plans, which only had us housed until the end of February.

Big Sur coastline.

The month of November passed quickly. I continued to wean myself away from the U.S. Antarctic Program, but the additional work helped offset our stateside expenses. Mel was busy organizing our travel arrangements and reaching out to her vast network of friends across the country and the world.

On Dec. 1, we hit the road again, flying to Chicago, where Mel grew up after she moved to the United States with her family from Hong Kong at age 6. We spent about two weeks in the Chicagoland area and a few other locations on our typical whirlwind tour of friends and family, driving up into Madison and MIlwaukee as well. Mid-month we returned to a blizzard in Denver, which delayed our planned road trip to California by a day.

Despite snow-packed roads, we eased our way through the city and mountains on Dec. 16 and arrived in Las Vegas that evening for a couple of nights. The big highlight was riding in a 55-story-high ferris wheel above the city.

The drive from Las Vegas to Santa Cruz was uneventful. We stayed with our friends Stacy and Marty at their cool little beach bungalow home. It was a nice stop before our trip south to Big Sur where we spent a month at the Esalen Institute, a hippy-dippy retreat-resort where I contemplated a life of contemplation in a Buddhist meditation workshop and Mel worked on her massage skills in a separate class. We both worked in the kitchen to help defray the costs of housing and food. More later on this experience.

We were back on the road by mid-January, traveling farther south to visit more friends, as well as to attend a funeral of a very good friend's mother. We seem to be reaching that age of funerals.

Our sturdy little Subaru station wagon brought us back to Denver for the month of February, where I worked on my first big freelance writing project and finally ended my relationship with the USAP after more than 12 years. There was little time to reflect before we prepared once again to hit the road.

Mel at San Antonio mission.

By early March we were poised to drive north, all the way to Vancouver Island, where we had set up a housesitting assignment for two months through the TrustedHousesitters website. At the last minute, the gig fell through and we switched to plan B (which at one point had been plan A), and moseyed down to Texas to visit my relatives and friends, some of whom I haven't seen since graduating in 1994. Yikes.

Five weeks in the Lone Star state ended in mid-April. Yes, once again time to hit the road: St. Louis, Chicago, upstate New York, Brooklyn, Dover (New Hampshire) and now Cape Cod, where our very generous friend Kelly has put us up while we prepare for the big jump over the Atlantic from Boston to London. Mel and I have cobbled together more than four months of house-sitting assignments.

Seven hundred words for seven months of our lives. Seems a bit inadequate, to say the least, but that catches us up.

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