We flew into San Francisco and then to Fresno. On the last leg of our trip, we could see the snow capped mountains in the distance and talked about how we would soon be traversing them. It’s still hard for me to believe. Eventually though we couldn’t see the mountains anymore. Something was obstructing our near perfect view. Then it hit me. Smoke. They’re really struggling with wild fire right now.

When we arrived at the hotel by shuttle, the woman behind the counter asked if we were traveling for work or leasure. I snort laughed when Brian said leasure. Yeah right! Because we’ll just be lounging around for the next few weeks.

We spent what was left of the evening making sure the TSA didn’t destroy any of our much needed gear. We secured our backpacks in large military duffle bags and it was obvious from their condition that they had been abused. Fortunately, our gear was still intact.

We considered walking to dinner but I suggested we uber to the restaurant instead since we don’t know the area. I think that was a wise decision. I’m don’t know what kind of town Fresno is but the cops sitting next to us were eating in body armor. Brian googled the MAGEC acronym on their vests. Multi Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium. Glad we decided not to walk!

Our second reminder that we are no longer in New England came to us when our food arrived at the table. We love spicy foods and until today, we have never been out spiced by a restaurant. We told the waitress we like our food “hot.” Five minutes into our meal we were begging for more water. Wow they do it right here.

Tomorrow we’ll take a bus to the country’s first National park, Yosemite!

One last thought before I go to bed. If any of you are truly interested in traveling and adventure, I urge you to take a few moments to read this painfully realistic explanation of what it’s like to return from a long journey. I talk at some length about this in my presentations but this short article captures the struggle very well. When you experience a life changing journey, you don’t come back the same person, you can’t really relate to most people anymore, and you’re always looking for what’s next. My husband and I both struggled with this phenomenon when we returned from our trips and it is the exact reason we are finding ourselves once again pushing our limits and striving for something greater.

The Hardest Part of Travelling that No One Talks About

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