All is not the thrill and joy of adventure, even when living entirely in pursuit adventure. There are not-so-good moments right along with the brilliant ones. Things like mangled, run-over mufflers and truck stop dump stations backing up and spraying you with your own waste.

The aforementioned are definite low points, to be sure. Far and away my personal lowest points thus far, however, are those times when Keaton has gotten upset and said, through tears, things like, “I hate this trip,” and, “Can’t we just go home?,” and, “I wish we never did this.”


Like, those hurt, man. Hurt big. Mostly because I know that, even though I believe it to be true that she’s not absolutely overcome by them, when she does express those sentiments she’s merely being honest. When things go wrong, when she’s reminded of her friends, when we have to get onto her… in those moments of stress she’s not bashful.

I still believe that, even for Keaton, the good times and happy moods outnumber the bad. I believe this not just out of hope or faith, but because I’ve observed and experienced it. Smiles and laughs and memories being made – and not just for me, I’m (relatively) certain.

I’m particularly sensitive to her feelings in this regard because her wellbeing, as a captive pre-teen on the road for a year in close quarters with family and away from friends, was #2 on my list of concerns as we considered our trip. I mulled it, chewed it, weighed and measured it, labored over it, considered it well, as did Sharaun.

Cohen, at eight, I knew, would be fine. For Keaton, though, I wondered how badly things might go with, and for, her if they indeed turned bad. Might there be real consequences to her burgeoning social life? Her intellectual or spiritual development? Could she return and struggle to reintegrate? Could she end up resenting us long-term? Broken or under-developed in some other way?

Obviously, I either convinced myself that none of these fates would befall her, or decided that I wanted the trip enough to possibly subject her to them, or that she is strong enough to best them, even if they did. Not sure which; maybe some of all three. Analysis aside, we’re out here now doing this.

And when she’s down, she’s down.

Then I’m down.

That’s today.

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