Five years is a long time. Things change. Friends have become parents and become parents again. Children have grown up. People have moved to different towns and states, sold houses and bought new ones. Changed jobs and been promoted. Found new partners and released old ones. Life has gone on since I quit my job and started traveling five years ago.
Visiting friends and family in the northeast this summer I’ve witnessed a lot of this, which is understandable since most of my friends there are in their 30s and 40s. Of course I knew of these major life events before I arrived but seeing all my friends again in person made it very real. It had been a full 4 years since I’d seen some people so I got to meet toddlers that I’d only seen pictures of, meet partners that I’d only heard about, and visit houses I hadn’t been in. And many times, I witnessed slightly modified attitudes expressed by people who have really grown into themselves in the intervening years – by seeking and actively shaping the life they wanted. I found myself pleasantly surprised that pretty much everyone, as far as I could tell, is happier. But although it initially seemed unexpected that all the people I care about seem to be more comfortable in themselves and their lives since the last time I’d seen them, it really wasn’t surprising – or uncharacteristic – that they’d become more joyous, or good parents, or more confident, or multi-faceted, or just themselves in a way that I couldn’t exactly explain.
It made me happy to see. And I was also just happy to see them. I’m not going to list all the people we visited, nor will there be photos from all the visits because some just ended up being days of talking and hanging out, and I tend to not break out my phone to take pictures of moments like those. But below are some photo highlights of the pictures I did take. First up was visiting my friend Carrie in Indiana:
From there we spent 6 days with my sister and her family and then a long weekend with Tom’s son Nick in New York City, which was documented in this post. Then back to upstate New York to see my oldest friend Rachel and her husband, and go camping with my stepfather Robert in the Adirondacks. Sadly I have zero pictures of my time at my sister’s house and only have photos of Rachel and Jon’s (adorable) chickens and none of Rachel or Jon.
But I didn’t do too badly at capturing the days we spent relaxing while camping at Sacandaga Lake with Robert and Beth. We even remembered to take an actual posed photo of Robert and I. Afterwords I realized that both Robert and I were wearing the same outfits in the picture from our visit in 2015 – at the same campground no less – which was amusing. Our days there were extremely low-key, consisting primarily of chatting around the fire and cooking/eating good food. It was just… nice.
My track record of taking pictures got worse from here: I didn’t take a single photo when visiting friends in Connecticut, Massachusetts, or Maine. But it was really so good to spend time with so many of the people I care about and haven’t been able to see in a few years. I’ve really missed them, and am happy we had the chance to spend time together.