The Thing About Adventure is … Orcs

unnamed (1)Two weeks ago, we sold our car just outside the Orlando airport, and boarded a plane with one-way tickets to England. It was just as crazy as it sounds, and it’s been crazy ever since. No fewer than 89 times have I been asked why in the world we would do this. Because on the surface, it’s just plain nuts, and also on the surface, we are not.

But that old saying “Adventure awaits?” Well, what if it doesn’t? What if adventure doesn’t wait for anybody? Maybe it just swirls around in the air, like those colorful tendrils in a Van Gough painting, and you can choose to jump in and get swept up in it or you can choose to stay on solid ground. But we got to thinking maybe those swirls of excitement move on whether you jump in or not.

So we jumped in.

We sold the house on the cul de sac and the minivan, ditched the little league games, girl scouts and violin lessons and chased something admittedly insane.

Truthfully, I half expected the first few weeks to feel like vacation, but instead it’s felt more like competing in the Olympics without actually training for the Olympics.  Fortunately, we’re scrappy and we’re agile, and if Olympic grade punches are coming our way, then we’ll just have to adapt.

But holy buckets of basket cases we have been adapting a lot and all over the place and more than once I’ve almost lost my mind.

We’ve navigated the vet for my dog whose hair is falling out from stress, the emergency room for my son who split his head open, sickness because sick germs are covering the planet at the moment, shipment deliveries that are short exactly one x box and full wardrobes for two whole people who’ve been wearing the same three outfits for 7 weeks, being lost, driving on the wrong side of the road, being locked inside the house, flooding the kitchen, falling down the stairs and so much more.

I feel like it’s taken two weeks just to get familiar with the washing machine and the stove and the fact that the broom is only about two and a half feet long–I have broom-induced back pain. For real.

But here’s what I know. Bilbo Baggins didn’t defeat Smaug after skipping lazily down a path woven from unicorn hair. And Frodo didn’t destroy the ring after giggling his way through the lollipop forest. There were orcs and goblins and trolls and large spiders and then of course Gollum. It was dark and then it was cold and then it was battles and fire and poisonings and wraiths. In other words, it was disaster.

And adventure often is. If you want to see the mountain top, you’ve got to climb. If you want to see the bottom of the ocean, you’ve got to dive, and all that jazz. So this is us right now. Climbing and diving and some days struggling for barely an inch.

But in the evenings, when the dust of the frenzied days settle, we sit around a table and laugh our heads off at how insane it all feels. And it’s real belly laughter. With tears leaking out and sore jaws, and if you can find the hilarious among the chaos, then you win. 

So yeah. The orcs. They’re here, in the form of no half and half, a small washing machine and not really knowing the best place to buy shampoo, all while we diligently shove steroids down our dog’s throat and put the prescribed cream on our son’s glued-back-together forehead (because they promised it would reduce the scarring) only to discover it’s actually for severe conjunctivitis.  This is our own Tolkien-esque adventure story that does not entail a quest nearly so nobel as ridding the world of a devastating dragon or an evil and powerful Eye of Sauron, but one borne of a simple desire to experience a life lived fully along the new and daring edge.

If you want to taste the honey, you have to brave the bees. And so we suit up, keep calm and carry on, tiny brooms ablaze, riding the colorful tendrils of pulse-racing opportunity as we make a life here, an ocean away.

It’s strange to somehow know you’re on the exactly right path even though you know nothing about the path. But that’s where you’ll find us for now. With an invisible map a compass that always points to the true north of our hearts and some ointment for pink eye. I can’t wait to see where it leads!

4 thoughts on “The Thing About Adventure is … Orcs

  1. You take after the Hazelbaker side of the family. I’m proud of you, daughter. I have discovered that life is too wonderful to be taken too seriously, at least most of the time! God has created the unknown for us and put in us a need to discover the stuff in the unknown. It is the road (or path) less travelled but full of adventure! Take the road less traveled and enjoy the journey. Dad


  2. Melissa!!!!! Now, my girlie, you are a gifted, gifted author!!!!! Please keep up the updates! I love each of you and we are depending on you to get totally adapted to European ways! ‘Cause you have to know what to tell us to do when we move in with you sometime next year on our “Mimi and Poppy ‘Do’ Europe” vacay! You are going to be sorry you invited us, girl!!!!


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