It’s been a long running joke that I “have a little gypsy in me”. Sometimes she is totally content with the mom routine of math homework and trying to cook a dinner that everyone will eat. Other times she is on fire and aches for adventure and exploring- this is one of those times.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my children. I love being a mom, even though it wasn’t part of the original plan. I love that I have “Mama’s boys”(and girl). I don’t really love the smell of feet and armpits and dirty diapers… but it comes with the territory and is a fair trade for the love they give back to me.
But I need to get out and go. They can come with me; we would have amazing adventures as a family… but this gypsy is choking on the fumes of city life. I can’t let her die, I don’t know if she ever will die even if I tried to let her. She is part of me; if she goes, I go.
Usually these deep seeded, soul burning desires are sparked by something. I can last months tolerating the monotony of ‘proper adulting’ where a day at a new beach or a good hike or a quick weekend trip keep this gypsy placated. But then there is something that sets me on fire and it is time to move. A fight. The end of a relationship. A death in the family.
I’ve spent some time over the last few weeks reflecting on past travels. I have a lot of miles under my belt- not as many as some, but exponentially more than others. As a child, I traveled cross country with my parents. We made the semi annual trek from PA to Lake of the Ozarks, MO to gather with family from all over the country. We camped in the Outer Banks, ran with the wild horses in Assateague, went rafting in the Poconos. As I got older, my dad and I traveled together in a little class C Toyota motor home. That thing took us to the Chesapeake Bay, Lake Erie, to the Ozarks, New Orleans, the Florida panhandle, the Smoky Mountains, Niagra Falls… the list goes on. As an adult, I’ve fully crossed the country 3 times by car and have made countless long road trips. I even spent 2 weeks in Northern Europe a couple years ago. I have slept everywhere from a tent on the beach to the back seat of my car (not the preferred way to do it) to RVs to hotels to resorts.
The road is home, it sets me free.
I mean, it is nice to have a landing point after awhile but I’ve yet to want to go home. Maybe I just haven’t found the right place to call home yet. There is a part of me that also wants a cabin in the woods with chickens and a big garden… if I find that place, maybe then this inherent need to ‘move on’ will settle down a bit.
So what is it now that makes me feel this way? I’ve narrowed it down to this: five members of my family have passed away in the last 18 months. The first and last of them were both in their 50s and both very unexpected. It makes you think and reevaluate what is important in life. I’m almost 40… how much time do I have left? In theory, this is barely the middle of my journey. I hope, but you never know.
I feel as if there is more to life than working to pay bills. Some bills we kind of need, obviously. One has to eat and have shelter. We require clothing and transportation. But do we need to have all of the things? I would prefer to collect experiences and memories than things that sit on my shelf or in a closet.
We’re prepping to take our new old trailer (1966 Apache Gold Buffalo tent trailer- more on that at another time) to Joshua Tree for spring break. It’s not too far but far enough to be out of the city and get some fresh air. I can’t wait. This gypsy does a happy dance with every item we check off the to-do list.