When I mention my idea of Taking a Leap Into the Impossible and living on the go, I get the full spectrum of responses — from those who think it’s a wonderful idea to those who think I’m an idiot for considering such a risky adventure.
Perhaps such a lifestyle is risky, but then, what isn’t? Life is a risk. You can be running in a marathon with hundreds of thousands of others and get blown up. You can be sitting in a suburban classroom and be murdered. The whole point of such a venture as mine is to accept that learning to live with insecurity is the only security there is. You can never truly protect yourself, and I don’t want to live a life where safety and/or security are all that matter. What would I be safe for? A life of stagnation, with no spark of love to keep me vital?
Admittedly, there is no guarantee that a more settled life would be a life of stagnation, (though I do fear such an outcome). I would find something to do, probably the same things I’m doing now — taking walks, going to lunch with friends occasionally, spending way too much time on the internet, writing blog posts, trying to devise ways of making me stand out from the hordes of writers who, incidentally, are also trying to make themselves stand out. (It’s as if we’re in a dance. We all move one way then another, swaying to the sound of success that wafts from the distance.)
This isn’t a bad life, but there is a small voice in the depths of my soul whispering, “Is this all there is?”
Maybe I will find, as have others who undertook such a quest, that there is no difference between being settled and being on the go. Life is where we find it. I do understand that. But still, I want to broaden my horizons, both internally and externally. I have a hunch there is a whole side of me I have never met and will never meet by doing what I have always done.
Several people have mentioned that a person living such a life attracts unsavory characters, and that could be true. But there are a lot of unsavory characters online, and I don’t seem to attract them. I’m more in contact with those who have lively minds and questing souls, and I tend to believe I will do the same on the road.
I will take precautions, of course, such as not wandering around at night or dawdling while daydreaming. I will also have the best protection I know of — ostentation. Human predators go after the weak and vulnerable, those who aren’t paying attention, those who make themselves small and unmemorable. But I will be traveling as an Author. Capital A. I’ll play the part, wearing flamboyant hats to attract attention, talking to people about the book I’m writing, giving away gift bags.
It’s also possible this trip might never happen. The desire to be on the go might turn out to be just another passing phase of grief — so many of us with old grief gravitate toward the idea of an unsettled life. My 96-year-old father (who I’m currently looking after) might outlive me. I might find someone and settle down. I might start selling tons of books and need to stay put to write another. Lots of things can happen.
But meantime, in the belief that I will pursue this dream, I am collecting hats.
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+. Like Pat on Facebook.