I stood gaping at the towers of boxes in my in-laws basement. Everything we owned was squeezed into a single room that would serve as our home, office, and storage unit for the next four months.
Finding the right crate in the last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark would have been easier than locating awol pajamas in this mess.
“Try the box under your microphone, next to the Christmas decorations, near the treadmill.”
A glance told my husband, Mike, exactly what I was thinking.
“I know,” he said. “I keep thinking the same thing.”
The same thing: This is not what I thought adventure would feel like.
Nine months ago, a Silicon Valley startup offered Mike his dream job. The cherry on top? They allowed him to telecommute from anywhere in the world.
For years we’d dreamed of trading our cookie-cutter house in the suburbs for something new. The dressing of this would-be adventure varied in each of our fantasies—So Cal beach bungalow, urban Bostonian brownstone, shotgun house in the French Quarter—but one thing stayed consistent: we wanted to be anywhere but here.
“Here” was Columbus, Ohio, a small-town of a big city close to family, surrounded by a deep network of friends, and home to the world’s greatest latte. (That’s the Ohio Maple Latte at Cafe Brioso, for the uninitiated.) Central Ohio conveniently sits within a days drive of most East Coast comic book conventions, the source of my livelihood. Everything should have been perfect.
And yet the gnawing desire for ‘different,’ ‘new,’ ‘adventure’ wouldn’t go away. The pressure built gradually until every unexpected home repair became another piece of evidence proving we were not cut out to be Suburbanites. Suburbanites cared whose lawn was the greenest and scoured Pinterest for envy-inducing decorating ideas. For us, every penny spent on home improvement felt like a betrayal signed, “Love, Your Adoring 3-Bedroom Ranch.”
So when Mike’s new job allowed us to live anywhere, we listed the house.
At first, everything made us joyous: This is the last time I have to mow our lawn! The groundhog in the backyard won’t be my problem anymore! I always hated these bathroom lights!
But the initial buzz wore off as soon as we started saying goodbye to friends, family, cherished belongings, and yes… our house.
Our last night there, we ate leftover Indian food out of the carton on an air mattress. The house looked barren… like we had betrayed it.
The emptiness filled our hearts with a grief I didn’t expect. This was voluntary. We chose to move. And yet, this was home. And after tonight, I could never go home again.
Each room held ten years worth of memories and I cried through each one.
We cried so much that we started laughing about the crying.
This was pathetic.
And this certainly wasn’t what we thought adventure would feel like.
We imagine adventure as perfectly fulfilling and pleasantly unpredictable. Discomfort, uncertainty, and disorientation never seem to make the postcard shot in our mind’s eye—something Bea Whaley, the heroine of my graphic novel series, The Dreamer, is learning the hard way.
The first time she falls asleep and wakes up in the middle of the American Revolution, she is dazzled by the gorgeous dresses and dashing gentlemen. But as the war closes in around her, Bea learns that adventure isn’t always what we’d dreamed. Will Bea realize how good she had it in the 21st century, only after it’s too late to go back?
Last night we fell asleep on our (real, not air) mattress, boxed in by my in-laws’ oversized couches, watching Netflix on our iPad because the TV is still trapped under bathroom supplies and beer steins. We talked about what city we’ll move to. Good old New Orleans, sunny San Diego, and a rustic French countryside town all made the list.
Nope, this isn’t what we thought adventure would feel like at all.
But this is adventure just the same.
Get more info by clicking on each book!
About The Dreamer
Beatrice “Bea” Whaley seems to have it all; the seventeen-year old high school senior is beautiful, wealthy and the star performer of the drama club. With her uncle’s connections to Broadway theater, the future looks bright ahead of her. Little does she know that her future might actually be brighter behind her.
Bea begins having vivid dreams about a brave and handsome soldier named Alan Warren–a member of an elite group known as Knowlton’s Rangers that served during the Revolutionary War. Prone to keeping her head in the clouds, she welcomes her nightly adventures in 1776; filled with danger and romance they give her much to muse about the next day.
Each night, the dreams pick up exactly where the last one ended. Beatrice questions whether these are simply dreams or something more. The senses–the smell of musket shots and cannons, the screams of soldiers in agony, and that kiss–are all far more real than any dream she can remember.
The Dreamer began as a webcomic in 2007 and updates one new page every Wednesday and Friday at TheDreamerComic.com. IDW Publishing has released three graphic novel collections of the series: Volume 1: The Battle of Brooklyn, Volume 2: The Kip’s Bay Affair, and Volume 3: The Battle of Harlem Heights.
Follow Lora on Twitter.