Road Trip Day 5 & 6: All roads lead HOME!

Hello readers,

We made it! 6 Days and about 3,000 miles later, and I am in Cambridge, MA, in my PJs, in my grandparents' study at 9:58 eastern standard time. I feel calm and have just sighed a huge breath of relief. As we drove down Memorial Drive with the Charles River on my left and the sun setting over Boston, it really hit me.
I live here now. I live here, again. It feels surreal, and yet so right. I truly have come home. Home is family and familiarity and unconditional love. Home is your favorite coffee shop, your favorite outdoor make out spot, your favorite movie theater, your favorite hug, your favorite dog, your favorite window seat, your favorite shoulder to cry on, and your favorite town. We have passed through so many beautiful and wonderful places to live!We've met amazing people on this road trip and seen some of the most gorgeous parts of the country, but nothing compares to driving home and knowing that this time, you aren't just passing through. You're here to stay. My heart feels safe. It's time to settle down into my new/old home, and I'm ready.

We passed through my childhood home, State College, PA on our way east from Chicago. It was a long drive and as we hit the lush green mountains of Pennsylvania, my heart soared! I have not been through PA in the summer in a really long time! I've only been there for Christmas to see my family, and I forgot how amazingly beautiful it is! The air is stunning, and it's quaint as hell!
Pulling up to my old driveway and seeing my Dad come out to greet us, was the best feeling in the world! I knew he had been waiting at the kitchen window with a cup of coffee, on the look out. What an embrace! I'm here now. I'm available now. I feel as if my whole family is sighing with relief upon my arrival, and so am I. Dad, my stepmom Sandie and my sister JanAlex took Drea and I out to the Deli in 'downtown' State College. We were so rowdy and laughing so hard, I'm pretty sure they wanted to kick us out! What a joy it is to be at a dinner table with your flesh and blood! Los Angeles sure feels like a long way from here. And it is.

Dad & Sandie <3
The Girls! Janalex, me & Drea
We took a little tour around the Penn State campus, my alma mater. Dad pointed out notable buildings that he teaches in and Sandie filled in the blanks with facts and figures. Drea and I posed for the requisite picture with Ye Old Nittany Lion!
A sweet Caress with the Nittany Lion
It felt SO GOOD to be in our old house. In a house! If Drea and I had had one more night of shitty hotels and only talking to each other, I think we would have imploded! We both felt soo relaxed at good old Haymaker Dr. There is nothing like a home full of love and laughter to welcome you in from the never-ending road! We were weary travellers, rescued!

My childhood home in State College, PA
This morning I woke up early and had a long talk with my Dad on the couch. I love my Dad in the morning. He makes the strongest coffee you will ever taste in your life, and it goes through you about twice before the deep discussion is over! My Dad just retired from over 20 years as a minister in the Methodist Church, so he's going through a huge transition. I am too. And we talked about our plans for the year and what projects we are excited about. We talked about singing and teaching and following your dreams. We talked about cancer and being healthy and what trip he's gonna go on next, and what books we want to write eventually. I've missed this closeness with my father over the past couple years, and i'm so excited to be close enough to him for a weekend visit. He's excited to have his weekends free for the first time in 20 years, and I can for see frequent weekend trips to the Cape and Cambridge in our future. I'm on cloud nine. This is why I'm here.

After breakfast, I squeezed my Dad and sister goodbye (I'll be back there for a longer visit in a few weeks) and Drea and I hit the road for one last time! We stopped at a few notable east coast pit stops on the way, Sheetz, Dunkin Donuts, and Papa Ginos. All delicious and completely necessary! Our post road trip diet starts tomorrow. I seriously believe I've gained about 5 pounds, no lie!

Traffic was pretty bad around Hartford, CT as always, but we made it to Cambridge in record time. I had a moment with my little scion TC as we crossed into the city. It was only about 3 years ago that I drove her out of Cambridge to LA to start a new life. I had no intention of ever returning. I remember crying as my grandmother waved me off that day. I cried the whole way out of Cambridge and onto the Mass Pike. Here is the blog from that day: July 12, 2009. A lot has changed in those 3 years. But I left knowing I would miss my family and friends. And I did. And I never stopped missing them. And eventually, I moved home to be with them again.

We pulled up to my grandparents house on Highland street. Drea said, "We're here? I can't believe it!" What a journey we've had! We were welcomed as I always am, with exclamations and hugs and kisses! My Mom brought me a delicious "Welcome Home Fran" cake. And Drea and I sang a few songs for them in the living room afterwards. 

Dolly Dolly Dolly Doodles Edgerly Betlyon
Mom and Tim and Mary
The feeling I have is that I am surrounded by love. Love from the west coast to the east coast. A full circle of love. I really feel as if I have a family on both coasts. What a full life it is!

Drea and I will spend some quality time seeing Cambridge and Boston tomorrow with my family, then she flies off back to LA and it's back to life per usual. I'm sad the trip is over. I'm sad to say goodbye to my friend who I've learned to love so much deeper! But I'm excited to get back to work, to start creating my new life here, and to see my friends and family! I know what life is all about for me. And i'm ready to continue enjoying each day as it comes!

My mom told me today before she left for home that my little niece, Eve Catherine Betlyon, has her final school play on Monday afternoon. She's 5. She's my favorite little human on the planet. And her Auntie Fran gets to go to her play. I couldn't be happier!

I'm going to rest easy tonight. That part of the journey is now complete. Onto the next adventure! xo


  1. So Amazing Fran! Glad we got to share this journey together! Love you! Praise him!


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