This is life: I’m about to drive from California to Florida with a cat, bearded dragon, two turtles, and six boxes of legos

My journey in the next three days will be a moment in life that shapes this very life. Its images — preceding the departure like at this very moment when I’m packing and staring at a huge mess as I rush to vacate our rented house in California — and the subsequent ones — thousands of miles on the road, coast-to-coast, will create memories to last a lifetime.