Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Today was a really emotional day for me. Not only did each mile east mean one mile further from all of my family, but when you’ve been planning an event for over a year and that event comes to an end, there’s an emotional and physical let down that comes with it being all over.

The closer we got to home, the more I was dreading resuming “normal.” I LIKE traveling, being on the road, seeing new places. I did not want it to stop. And, part of me really wrestles with being so far away from my family. I love living in Bath and I love my home…but is it worth it when I’m so far away from all the people I love to have that and not them?

Right now, I’m torn between wanting to stay in my spacious home where my kids are thriving in their small-town school and making one more cross-country move to be closer to my sister and her family, which, by doing so, would put me a couple thousand miles closer to everyone else. Surprisingly, Dave is thinking more about moving than I am, most likely because he’s been frustrated by the way the economy has impacted him.

Several years ago, Dave worked as a benefits coordinator for a major corporation in New York. Typical of many corporations, this one chose to treat people like commodities and upended his job. He tried to continue working for the parent company, but a 72-mile commute to work in the middle of winter meant 2 hours on the road each direction plus 9 or 10 hours at work and no time for family. That was when he turned his back on corporate servitude and started focusing on writing and substitute teaching at the local school.

He fell in love with teaching, and at the time, there was a huge shortage of teachers, so he returned to school to get his teaching degree. He received his certification three years ago, just as the recession hit and education became a place for governments to save money and short change. There are no teaching jobs here, and worse yet, there is a glut of teachers in the area who have been laid off, so that when the occasional job does surface, thousands of qualified teachers apply.

In a larger community, there are magnet schools and charter schools and alternative schools in addition to a much larger number of public schools. For Dave to pursue his passion, a move might be required. My job (also a direct result of becoming anti-corporate thanks to an atrocious boss) can be done from anywhere, so nothing (besides a few amazing friends) ties me to New York.

But we’re settled…and, at least for now, we’re home.

What a journey we’ve been on, though!

Bath, New York to Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio to Troy, Illinois
St. Louis Arch
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home and gravesite in Mansfield, Missouri
Mansfield, Missouri to Wichita, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas to Pueblo, Colorado to visit with our dear friend James
Pueblo, Colorado to Montrose, Colorado to stay with our dear friend Pete, where we saw Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Montrose, Colorado to Riverton, Utah to spend time with my wonderful sister Tiana and her husband Doug (and to try to get my fill of hugs from my nieces and nephews)
Riverton, Utah to Reno, Nevada to meet my cousin Bruce and his wife Karen for the first time ever and to see my Aunt, Uncle, grandmother, and first ever best friend (from age 4) Rachelle.
Reno, Nevada to Garberville, California to travel down the Avenue of the Giants and relax in the Redwood forest for a while
Garberville, California to Newport, Oregon for some beach time, more visiting with my sister, and to see my dad.
Newport, Oregon to Seaside, Oregon to pay homage to the spot where Dave proposed to me.
Seaside, Oregon to Portland, Oregon to see my favoritest auntie and spend more time with my sister at the Oregon Zoo and BJs – Jantzen Beach.
Portland, Oregon to Hermiston, Oregon for an amazing family reunion.
Hermiston, Oregon to Boise, Idaho to see more family, visit my mama, and have a final night with my sister.
Boise, Idaho to West Yellowstone, Montana to visit Yellowstone National Park.
West Yellowstone, Montana to Gillette, Wyoming (where they make cowboys, if not razors).
From Gillette, Wyoming to Devils Tower, through the Bighorn National Forest, to Keystone South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore with a side trip to Hot Springs, South Dakota where my mother was born.
From Keystone, South Dakota to De Smet, South Dakota to see the Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead and stay at the most relaxing Cameron Inn in Canistota, South Dakota.
From Canistota, South Dakota to Le Claire, Iowa through Minnesota (a state none of us had ever been to before) to see the Mississippi River.
From Le Claire, Iowa to Toledo, Ohio for well, burritos.
From Toledo, Ohio to Bath, New York…home sweet home.