“I’ve got a vacation house for a discounted rate,” said our friend Steve. “Why don’t you join me?” Two days later, we loaded up our gear and headed out to one of the last frontiers in the United States. Eastern Oregon.
Turns out, Steve was the perfect tour guide because he knows just about everything and everyone in this far-flung place.
We stopped at Cathedral Rock and the Painted Hills for photos. Poked our heads into Spoke’n, a five-star, donation-based hostel in Mitchell, toured through the Kam Wah Chung Museum in John Day with its rich history, and took photos in front of the Dayville City Hall and Library.
We browsed through the Fiber Fair in Prairie City, purchased fresh peaches and apricots at a fruit stand in Kimberly, and stargazed from a hilltop one evening while waiting for the full July moon to rise.
The lovely old farmhouse where we stayed sported creaking wooden floors and its original early-1900s wallpaper.
David and Lyndee aren’t your normal vacation rental hosts. Not by a long shot. Most summer weekend evenings, you’ll find them sitting near their red barn where the “Gather” sign hangs, cranking up the karaoke machine, or inviting live music and anyone in town—population 144—who might be interested in hanging out around the fire pit.
The history and topography were fascinating. Meeting so many new people was fun. And Steve—full of interesting stories because these were his old stomping grounds—is easy company to be with.
And then there’s home.
Wandering and exploring … and coming home. Always coming home.
My niece, who knows me well, sent this meme a couple years ago:
She was an adventurer at heart; but oh, how she loved drinking this tea from this mug in this chair. Oh, how she loved to be home.— Author unknown
I wonder if we need to wander and map out road trips and explore new places to appreciate the lovely routine of home that can sometimes seem commonplace and tedious.
Looking back, it was both venturing out and appreciating home that helped me through the hard and holy years of widowhood.
Now I have a fellow venturer and road trip companion. Dan. And together we’ve built a home we love.
As much as I enjoy exploring new places with Dan, I love coming home with him. I love sharing this home with him.
Venturing out or coming home … which is best?
The one opens our eyes and minds to broader horizons beyond our neighborhood. It allows us to meet new people, sample new foods, experience cultures that are different from ours.
And the other offers comfortable space to refresh and renew and rejuvenate—body, soul, and spirit.
Which is best?
Both, I’m thinking.