A simple road-trip in the US to celebrate Nina's graduation from Uni resulted in so much more than a discovery of new cities and landscapes.
This trip broke routines, tested comfort zones and confronted deep seated values and conditioning that I didn't even realise existed. It sounds like the trip was a hardship, a struggle, but no, it flowed like a dream. Mini halts along the way resulted in special cafés with unusual veggie options, oat milk for Nina who is allergic to dairy, and a free car parking space just outside (for Stéphane). The Airbnb choices, the route, all carefully selected by Stef, were clever and comfortable.
So where were the tests, the issues?
Two nights in the Groovy Bus.
This was the moment when my mind began to work overtime, trying to convince me that this wierd place was not a good idea, that it was strange, the people odd....where would I cook? Who are all these kids? OMG the hair! Why does no one brush this kid's hair? Where are the towels? Maybe I just want to sit in the bus and read rather than play a complicated card game with a gang of kids with no names. Suddenly two nights felt like an eternity.
The first night we didn't cook. After a two hour card game we decided to cuddle up in the bus with a packet of crisps, some peanuts and a glass of wine, and watch Captain Fantastic.
This was the perfect film for me and the Groovy Bus. I felt as if I was living the film. Nina had found out that the five kids lived on a bus with their parents. The eldest at sixteen had her own bus and followed the family bus as they toured from State to State, from job to job. They had just arrived at our Airbnb two days ago (the four and six year old behaved as if they owned the place!) Their Dad was building a wood cabin on the land in exchange for using the facilities and food.
After watching the film, crying, laughing, recognising myself in the disapproving family who wanted to bring the children back to a "normal" life, I woke up the following morning and felt more relaxed, more at ease. The sun was shining. Time to swing on a hammock with my book, until wild child with the crazy hair gave me a flower, longing to be friends, to talk, to create imaginary stories.....
I let go.... played, laughed, joining in with her creative fun.
From feelings of discomfort, of not understanding what was happening, I dissolved into a world of being, of living, without labels or definitions. No one at the Groovy Bus ever asked my profession, where I lived, my age, my status, and I didn't feel the need to ask for this information from them either. It was liberating, heart-warming and free. We were human beings sharing some time together.
This was the place I felt sad to leave. I genuinely would have enjoyed a few more nights here, playing cards, singing around the fire-pit, wandering bare foot in the woods, sitting on the veranda entranced by the dancing squirrels, more opportunities to get to know Airbnb owner Cary...to maybe help Cary with some Kundalini Yoga.
Escaping our routines through travel makes us grow and awaken, bringing us face to face with who we are. The next few Airbnb's on our trip also involved sharing with strangers, and they were wonderful encounters, each one probably made more magical thanks to my two very special days at the Groovy Bus.