Over four weeks have passed since my last entry, and much water has flowed beneath the bridge of my awareness. Although (or perhaps because) our days have been so full, I have not been writing. It has been very comfortable, in a snugly kind of way, to be back in New Jersey. Times with good friends and family that we have missed, nesting a bit before our next wave of travel, sorting through belongings and musing about what will be needed for our anticipated journey westward in Casa Blanca.
We are now nine months into our first year of living a nomadic life, and I am delighted to report on a wonderful discovery. It is simply this: I have become aware that I completely feel that I am at home no matter where I am. I have shaken the idea that one particular location bears that designation. I feel at home in Charlie’s parents’ retirement village, driving in my car, walking in the woods. The locus of home has become for me like that little arrow on the gps that locates me in the world, except that it zeroes in on my heart and says, “There.” Or, more aptly, “Here.”
And so, today “home” is sitting in my daughter Eva’s living room looking through the picture window at the grey lake and sky, crading my iPad in my lap and sipping strong coffee as I type.
Yesterday, “home” was riding beside my good friend Mary in her Prius, on the way to Vermont. In the coming weeks, “home” will be visiting Theo in Cambridge, and dog sitting for Robert in Philadelphia. Or meals with Gabe and Elise, Katie and Alex, Ellie, and many dear friends. Or sitting beside Charlie with the atlas in our laps planning our next adventure.
I know that not everyone would feel as content to be living like this – in fact, I didn’t dare hope to be content myself! In the beginning, I worried about how I would manage without a “home,” and even needed to hold my future dream of a home as a carrot in the distance. “Home” was something I would eventually reach by moving through the coming months of travel (which I saw as a trial even while I was excited about the adventure in store).
It never occurred to me that one could feel so calm and present in these circumstances. But I do. It feels like wearing the most comfortable of garments. The temperature is perfect, nothing pulls or tugs. I am wrapped in perfection.
There you have it. I am home. I do not mean to imply that everything is ideal at every moment. Nevertheless, this is the closest to lasting contentment I have ever come. Why? Because it is simpler. Much less is needed to live a meaningful life than we realize. In fact, much of what we accumulate interferes with our inner peace.
Of course, this is only true for me because my physical needs are beyond met. I not only am able to have food in my belly, I can pick from a wide selection of delicious and nourishing choices. I have a reliable car, money for gas, shelter, water to drink, and the means to travel and enjoy the world. I am as wealthy in circumstance as a millionaire is in dollars.
Flash! Another three weeks have passed since I began this entry. All those meals with friends and moments of joy delayed further productivity. We have also had a delay in setting out on our new journey, as I am now a little less of a person than I was three weeks ago – minus my gall bladder! It was removed by laparoscopic surgery on Monday morning. This was a development which was looming for the past year and a half, but I am not one to hand myself over to a surgeon lightly. The time seemed right, and the cost/benefit analysis pointed to getting the bugger out. So this has been a week of recovery for me, which I am pleased to report has gone very smoothly. We will travel next week, so it is high time that I began recording once more. And it is time to get moving: I am gathering moss! (See blog entry of July 22 – (Gathering Moss)
When immersed in my familiar world, I am less reflective and thus feel less inspired to write. Although there have been ponderous moments. One such moment occurred when my daughter Ellie reported that, while she was recently visiting family in the Netherlands, a friend or family member familiar with my blog remarked to her that, “Certainly your mother doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life on vacation! She must want something more than that!” This gave me pause. Is that how my blog makes me appear? I will admit that I felt a tad defensive. I’m not a hedonistic couch potato! (It is probably for the best that Ellie cannot remember exactly who made the comment.)
Admittedly, some of our travels may come across as a prolonged vacation. (And if you knew what we have in store over the summer you would roll your eyes and say, “Madame, methinks thou protest too much!”) I completely get this, and feel guilty about my great good fortune.
Still, this year of travel is, for me, so much more than a vacation. I wanted to know whether I could be comfortable living with less, and not having a big house full of my worldly possessions surrounding me. In order to be able to have the wherewithal to travel for a prolonged period, I had to give up all that security. We are not rich enough to travel like this and pay a mortgage, property taxes and so on.
In addition, I have taken a year (plus) off from working and am enjoying the opportunity to “work” instead on my writing, painting, and becoming the person that was on the back burner through long years of child-rearing and wage-earning. While this is indeed a luxury, it is not laziness. There are many days when I feel more productive than ever! I have time to feel, which seems to me an essential ingredient for creativity.
What a privelege, only too rare in our society, to spend ones’ days doing things that bring one satisfaction and joy. I know this. Still, when people comment that they are jealous, I do know that this is a lifestyle choice, one that many people could make at some point in their lives if it is important enough to them. It’s all about what you are willing to sacrifice. So I will make no apologies.
Blogging is my effort to share my joy and wonder and the insights about life that give meaning to my journey.©