Once you make the mental leap from where you are today to where you want to be, then suddenly, the impossible seems possible.
Several times when things in my life became untenable, I considered getting rid of everything and just living day by day, but there have always been obstacles, some quite out of my control, such as taking care of someone who is ill or dying, and some only in my mind and personality. I’m basically a creature of habit, and when I move somewhere I tend to stay where I end up even if I hate the place. (Staying is not always about habit; sometimes staying is about not being able to find a better place or not being able to face the upheaval, expense, and aggravation of a move if you do find a place.)
Ever since the death of my life mate/soul mate, I’ve been afraid habit will trap me in a life of loneliness and stagnation, and I simply cannot bear for that to be true.
In various blog posts, I’ve tried to figure out what to do next, and I’ve often talked about settling somewhere and then taking trips. But the other day it occurred to me that I don’t have to settle anywhere. I can simply store my stuff and live on the road. (Figuratively speaking, that is. I wouldn’t actually live on the road. That’s a sure way of ending up as road kill.) The beauty of such a plan is that I could stay as long as I want in one place and then move on with relative ease.
At first this idea was just another cerebral meandering, but now it has taken hold. I’ve made the mental leap into such a lifestyle, and suddenly it seems possible.
I’ve been considering the logistics of what I’d need to bring for six months to a year of travel, including emergency supplies and of course boxes of my published books, and I’ve come to see that such a trip is doable. (Financing it might be a problem, but that’s the “wits” part of being a “wanderer, living by wits and whim”.) These past three years of taking care of my father, when most of my stuff has been in storage anyway, has shown me what I use and what I don’t. And I don’t use many things at all.
Moving from place to place could be a mental adjustment, leaving me feeling as if I were dangling in space, unconnected to the world (not an unfamiliar sensation since my mate’s death gave me that same feeling), but this would be one time where habit would be a good thing. I could continue my morning routine of floor exercises and weights, (luckily I’ve just been using dumbbells because carting around my barbells and weight bench would be a bit much), a long walk, and a protein drink for breakfast. This routine would help me feel “normal.” I could also bring a few small items that had no value other than that they would connect me from place to place, such as a photo of my deceased life mate or a silly figurine or my dictionary and thesauruses — something to make the place feel familiar. And then, of course, I’d have my computer. I’ve looked at this same screen for seven years now, and many friends lie beyond the images I see. To a certain extent, my life on the road would be the same as it is now, but there would still be plenty differences to savor.
I don’t know if I would ever be able to make the leap if I were mired somewhere, but in the not too distant future, my life will be turned upside down once more, and I will be forced to make a choice. And I will take the leap.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+