The journey begins.

Tuesday night, I dyed my hair a bright, vibrant red to rival Wendy or Pippi Longstocking or Tonks. I call it my “honey badger hair.”

On Monday, at 4:38pm Mountain Time, I will have existed on this planet for exactly 33 years. If I were a hobbit (and as everyone knows, I really am a hobbit) I would finally be coming of age on this day; I would be a Hobbit Full Grown.

Right at this moment, I’m riding in Stacy Hacker’s car, squished between my two favorite people in the whole world (my daughter and my husband), listening to Florence and the Machine, and watching the mountains swallow the interstate in front of us. We are traveling to my mother’s house. My daughter will be spending the upcoming week with her grandmother — visiting water parks, trains, bowling alleys, and birds of prey. 

Early tomorrow morning, my mother will drive Stacy, James, my husband, and myself to the airport, where we will board a plane and fly to Las Vegas. Tomorrow afternoon, we will rent an RV, load it full of snacks and water and Slim-Fast bars (also known as Lembas bread), and drive to the Grand Canyon.

The week will be full of random desert adventures to celebrate my Coming of Age, to celebrate good friends, and to celebrate Thomas and I’s first year of marriage together. From a professional standpoint, I will have the chance to experience “highway hospitality” from the perspective of the customers who frequent my company’s establishments, and get a better understanding of what “driver driven” means.

And I will ring in my 33rd birthday in the same state in which I was born. A strange sort of homecoming, in a sense. I only wish I had enough time to visit all of the family who live in the Western states. Just know I’ll be thinking of you.

So, here it goes. The beginning of the rest of my life.

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