Homeward Unbound — Chapter 1: Letting Nature Guide Us

Anand Swamy
5 min readMar 8, 2021
Smith Rock State Park, OR — Photographer: Alicia Swamy

I was at the Kaddy Car Wash the day of our unknown journey to help my wife heal from her mold illness.

The attendant asked, “Where are you going?”

I said, “ I don’t know yet?”

It’s how I’ve always wanted to answer that question.

Out first stop was Bend, OR.

The drive was tragically beautiful. 2020 was an eventful year, most will agree. The Pacific Northwest had its fair share of fires and when driving southeast from Portland, we could see the aftermath devastation. It was a forest of the past, with filaments of burgeoning wild green, homes that were, and black as night mountains.

Like us, nature was also rebalancing. We pulled over to fill our lungs with the cleansing air and took a picture. Alicia looked at me, with smiling eyes, and said, “I feel good.”

We looked at each other as lovers rekindled. Her words were healing for us both since she hasn’t felt well in over a year.

Her words brought light to our situation and gave us hope.

“Hope is a good thing, probably the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” — Stephen King

We checked into a hotel that night, had some Mexican take-out, and called it a night while watching Superstore, which is a hilarious show, and this is coming from an Office fanatic.

The next morning, we ventured to the town of Sisters so I could grab a proper cup of Joe. Sisters is a beautiful town, paved with art galleries, trinket shops, and great coffee. It’s definitely a town for the passerby.

We then went to Smith Rock State Park. The mountainous landscape had us both in an altered state of presence.

It’s when I find myself so encapsulated in the beauty before me, that I temporarily forget myself. I feel nature has the ability to do this, and she teaches us something that can only be comprehended by the individual but is available to the collective, meaning everyone.

Anand Swamy

I write about personal development and self awareness.