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Today was officially day one of unemployment. You can tell by my expression of joy and wonder at the world around me, a world that’s miraculously still there, 2 1/2 years later. (I exaggerate, of course. I had some great adventures in those 2 1/2 years.)

Today was also day one of the drive to Vegas. A wise person would have given herself some time between the job and the month of vacation to, say, sleep, or unpack my office boxes, or plan the vacations. A desperate person would have planned to run away at the first opportunity.

So this morning was devoted to packing, cleaning the apartment, handing over the keys to Catsitter #1 of 3, getting new tires and windshield wipers on the car, and running away at the first opportunity. The border guard seemed to think I was nuts for driving there alone, but for me the beauty of a long drive when your thoughts are in turmoil is you have no where else you have to be, nothing else you need to be doing, but drive and think and sing at the top of your lungs to Snow Patrol where no one can hear or judge you.

After such an intense couple of years, I thought I’d be doing more ruminating about them, analysing and reliving and maybe even crying over the mixed emotions of goodbyes and endings and amazing experiences and THANK GOD IT’S OVERs. Instead I was ruminating about the possibilities of the future, a future I was determined not to think about until May. I have no brilliant plan but I’m relieved that my mixed emotions are mostly confusion and excitement, not terror.

Despite the late start and the fact that I don’t need to meet my friends until Saturday, I got to nearly the half-way point and this hideous hotel, conveniently located right next to a fastfood drive-through speaker, by driving straight through. (If you include a car nap and frequent bathroom breaks as “straight through”.)

I’ve never travelled this route before, inland from Seattle through eastern Washington and Oregon, past snow-topped mountain chains, sagebrush-covered cliffs, army bases, and tumbleweeds. It’s not strikingly beautiful like the coastal route I’m taking home during Phase 2 of the post-employment vacation, but it has its own desolate charm.

Tomorrow will be the day for a more leisurely pace and photo opportunities along the way, but I did have one momentous … um … moment along today’s travels: I saw my first tumbleweed. It put such a giddy smile on my face that I wish it hadn’t occurred to me that I must have seen one before, mustn’t I have? I’ve just forgotten? But I have definitely never had to swerve on a highway to avoid an oncoming suicidal tumbleweed.

(This is not my actual tumbleweed. I was driving, people!)

I could make some cheesy analogy to the tumbleweed being like my jumbled thoughts drifting from possibility to possibility. Such as: Right now, I like that I don’t have to untangle my ideas, but can let them roll around the highways of my brain … OH GOD STOP ME NOW.