I have seen the farms of Salinas. I have been to the coast of Monterey. To me, Steinbeck is the American novelist, and to have a greater context of his upbringing and his work is a powerful experience. This is an incredibly privileged job, I am slowly seeing the country without spending my own money...that part changes later this summer. And yet, it is a feeling of place that I am unable to attain.
Looking through things, all my adventure plans for the summer are solo plans where maybe I'll meet people on the road. Because that's one thing I've become more adept at: striking up conversation with people on the trail, at a bar, or whathaveyou. The downside is when there's work travel, I spend a lot of time eating dinner alone. Meanwhile, I haven't had a single person reach out about summer plans beyond a couple of very, very tentative camping trips. Are my relationships that strong? The running community is a regular thing, there's little "hey want to do this thing X outside of running". Sure, people like the Instagram photos, they like the social media...but the depth is lacking and has been for a while now. One of my close friends moves in 3-4 months and then I'm not left with much unless I wanted to move to Seattle or Portland, which definitely does solve the above and below problems.
There was that Pilgrim in Tinder Creek article I posted yesterday, and it raises the question of superabundance. Which I think is a great term for the challenges facing job applicants, online dating applicants, and as a potential general consequence of the digital age and increased physical mobility.