Well, I am the new owner of a Ford F-150.
Doesn’t feel real, honestly. As if I’ll wake up in a stupor, late for work, and hope in my little CX-3 as if nothing happened.
But it did.
It hard to describe. It’s a tall glass of shame with a splash of cool guilt thrown on top. As I watched my Dad write a check for $30k and hand it to the man with a hulk hogan mustache, I felt sick. It’s embarrassing to be 33 and have your Dad buy you a car with cash in the middle of nowhere Florida, but here we are.
I’ve been working hard, all I do is work. Work, and research living on the road. Catch up on those van lifers out there, and all the those thru hikers I aspire to be someday.
I swallow back more shame.
After thru hiking, you feel like a celebrity, almost invincible! And yet 6 months later, here I was in a windowless office with my Dad handing over cash money I will never have. And he’s doing it all to get me out of his house.
It started on a Thursday night. Thursday nights are ‘date night’ you see, Father and Daughter bonding time. It started with us being thousands of miles apart, so setting time aside every Thursday night to catch up on life and talk ‘philosophical discussions’.
So, it was nice even though I was now back under the parents roof, to keep the tradition alive. This Thursday was difference, I knew going into it. My Dad had been acting unlike himself. Extremely negative, and closed off, which was odd seeing I would always consider him on a best friend level. We talked about anything and everything, so him being stand-offish was out of the norm, to say the least.
2 giant margaritas later, and I was staring back into a cold stare.
Long story short he had just broken what was left of my already cracked heart.
Living in Florida certainly wasn’t easy, and what made it worse was the complete lack of like minded people I had access too.
I would just keep reminding myself it was short term. I didn’t want friends anyway, they would just distract me from my goals.
But then my one friend I had told me he wanted me out of his house. I ruined his ‘routines’, I was ungrateful, and better yet, all the accomplishments I thought I had attained, were all because of him. I clearly couldn’t exist without his help.
“Congratulations on your new car,” Hulk said.
“Thanks,” I mumble back.
I was the new proud owner of a used 2016 F-150 4×4. Who knows what happened to this car, or even why it sat on the lot so long. But she was mine. And forever whatever twisted reason my parents thought me living out of a truck made a lot more sense financially that a van, I’ll never know. Well, scratch that. I should remind myself how he chided me that I would never possibly be capable of retrofitting the inside like I wanted to. I had no skills, he reminded me.
I texted my Mom to put a bottle of Champagne I had bought a while ago in the fridge. ‘Well, it should be a celebration,” I thought to myself. Really, I just felt numb as I tried to adjust to the new altitude of driving a F-150 down the thruway. I tried to brush the background thoughts out of my mind as we returned to the retirement community. I tried to thank my Mom for her generosity in giving me cash for the car, but she kind of shrugged it off. Almost as if to say, “a necessary expense, what can you do?”
I popped the champagne and gave each of my parents a glass.
“A toast!” I said, a little excitement raising in my chest.
“To hitting the road!” My dad proclaimed.
“Yes,” my Mom replied, “road trip!”
My heart sank.
As if I thought they’d be a little sad I was leaving. I was then reminded this whole thing was occurring because they wanted me out of their lives.
They made dinner, and set the table with me placed at the end with chairs in between us. They sat next to each other as I awkwardly sad at my deserted side.
Dinner conversation proceeded with enjoyable puns.
They commented on how I was eating, even though I had been trying to lose weight. Then the asked why I had packages from Amazon when I was such a ‘minimalist’. The snickered as I tried to explain I used some of the money I had saved to buy a cooler, and had sold all of my camping gear to get a new pack. But they didn’t care, I would be gone soon. Me and my ridiculous ideas. I was always a difficult child, my Mom had reminded me.
A memory crept into my mind. It was one of the feelings of familiarity, but it had been buried deep.
I had felt this same kind of feeling a year ago, when I had left my hometown. I decided I would have a little going away party for myself. I wanted to say goodbye to those people who had been part of my life and attributed to it. As the hours went on I realized, they weren’t coming. I had a handful of close friends, but majority of people I wanted to give one last hug to, decided not to come.
My heart is pounding. It’s a mix of feeling alive, and absolute fear.
I don’t know the first thing about driving a pickup truck, let alone, living in one.
But then again, I didn’t know much about thru hiking either.
So fuck it, lets do this.
5 days to possible launch.