…and exactly one week before I leave the familiarity of the West Coast. Next Monday I’ll be leaving my grandmother’s home in Bellevue, WA, and crossing through Idaho, Montana, and then Idaho again (I’m bypassing my trip to Yellowstone because it’s still hitting -8F there – brrr!) before heading into Utah for a WWOOF gig at the Krishna Community in Spanish Fork.

I think I expected more to have changed since I left; I thought that I’d feel more capable and confident in my path, be more minimalist and organized, have more planned, and have made more progress on my photography and this blog. When I set out, I believed that this year would give me the space to become the person I’m supposed to be. Mostly I thought that with the burden of finishing my BA finally off my shoulders, I’d be able to learn and do and be everything I haven’t had time for.

Maybe I’m expecting a little too much for 50 days.

It’s easy to expect – and want – big changes in ourselves when we drastically change our routine. Every school year I’d finish summer break certain that this was the semester when I’d stay ahead of the game. We think we’ll be able to be a different person when we move to a new city or start a new job, leaving all our bad habits and negative experiences behind.

We are who we are, and while we can never truly recreate ourselves – especially through something as simple as changing our location – we can grow and change our habits and be better than we were. And I think it’s harder to recognize the little transformations when you’re hoping for the big ones.

So maybe I haven’t completely adopted a minimalist life. But I downsized from an apartment to a car and haven’t really missed much. I’ve learned to  better organize what I do have and I’ve started setting aside things I can leave in San Diego when I’m there for my resupply. I still eat at restaurants, but I’m cooking more and I’m not ordering Thai takeout every other night like I did in the city. I still have no idea what I’m doing after this trip but I’m planning far enough ahead to make sure I have somewhere to sleep each night. My heart and soul haven’t completely healed from the hell I put myself through the last few years, but I’m smiling more. It hasn’t been fast, but it is progress.

In the last 50 days, I’ve been either with family or on my slow way towards family, mostly sticking to the oh-too-familiar Interstate 5. If something were to go wrong, I wasn’t more than a night or two in a hotel away from home. But when I cross the Idaho border next week I’ll be leaving my West Coast security blanket behind and heading into three states I’ve never seen before, where no one knows me and if something goes wrong I’m at the mercy of strangers. But we find adventure in the unknown – and maybe self-growth, too – so I’m excited for whatever’s heading my way.