As I trudge through the snow back up to the cabin from the barn, I realize this is one of the last times I will make this journey home. Home to a warm cabin where my cat sleeps away the blustery days. Home to the hens who make their rounds pecking and scratching at the ground. Home where it’s so quiet that the sound of a plane’s engine high above is what reminds me there is a big world beyond the goat farm.
The last few weeks were jam packed with celebrations and goodbyes. I packed all my belongings, gave my chickens to friends who spoil them with warm milk and mash in the morning, killed and skinned the rooster for a delicious dinner with Gould Farm friends, and drove home with a very full car on Christmas Eve. My family greeted me warmly and helped unload the boxes.
Taking my home apart that I created over the last 18 months was very sad. It’s hard to say goodbye to a place that has been so supportive and healing for me. I feel very blessed to have found Susan and her goats. I could have stayed for years, but I know it’s time to throw myself back into the whirlwind of travel, adventure, and new experiences.
The combination of a major change in my routine and having my life in boxes all over the place has caused me to feel a bit imbalanced since being back in Northampton. I take it one day at a time. First Christmas in New Hampshire, then a family x-country ski trip in Vermont, then at my parent’s house for four days before…Chile and Argentina.
I leave in a few hours. 6,000 miles south. The same longitude as S. Africa. With nothing but a light backpack, only the bare necessities, I will explore the Andes Mountains, lakes, rivers, woods, and pueblos. I will improve my Spanish, backpack in national parks, take loads of photos, eat new foods, WWOOF, and visit a friend in Mendoza during Argentina’s wine harvest festival in early March. Two months later, I return to the Pioneer Valley for another farming season.