Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday: My Favorite Spot

On Wednesday, I typically focus on something unusual – a hobby or an interest or something even quirkier – but I’m feeling a little meditative today, and my brain is focused on one of my more pervasive interests... the desire to live an uncommon life – if not rich in tangible wealth, then at least rich in experience. Luckily, my husband feels the same way – we even giggled at our wedding, when we each had to speak the phrase “for richer, for poorer.” Apparently, we knew then – nearly nine years ago – that we were each destined for the spare, if fulfilling, path of a wanderer.

So, for four years now, Dan and I have lived a strange, nomadic existence, spending winter in Los Angeles, spring and fall in New Orleans, and summer in northern Michigan. We make our modest living through a combination of ways – most notably from our film festivals and my travel writing. At first, our parents were less than pleased with the direction our lives had taken – but we see them more often now than we ever did before, so they’ve learned to accept it. Besides, they finally seem to “get” our wandering natures, which have led us full circle from our yearlong RV journey across America to settling down in California for a while to hitting the road again. Frankly, I think we’ve worn them down.

As you’ve probably figured out, we conveniently skip the worst climates: summertime heat in New Orleans and wintertime snow dumps in Michigan. Beyond that, however, we do this to avoid boredom. After all, the scenery continually changes – and so do the neighbors. Of course, some things remain constant – like our family of three (me, Dan, and Ruby the kitty), our mutual passion for life, and our support of one another.

Still, moving around so often definitely has its drawbacks. The packing, for one. The unpacking, for another. Leaving one set of friends and/or relatives for another set of loved ones. And yet, as exhausting as this nomadic existence can be at times (and as frustrating as it is to forget what’s been stored in which storage unit), we’re grateful for the uncertainty that it brings – we never know what we’ll encounter along the way, and there’s a comfort in that. Besides, we tried living in one place for several years, and it just didn’t stick. I don’t think it was the place's fault either – though Los Angeles can be a trying city, it also offers a wealth of natural and cultural diversions. I think it’s us. We just don’t like staying in one spot – any spot – for too long. We enjoy it while we’re there, and then it’s off to experience something completely different. All I can say is... no wonder we don’t have children – we’re just not the settling kind. And yet part of me still hopes to be a mother someday. Ah, what a tangled web we weave.

Since we’d surely go crazy if we didn’t travel, we’ve come to embrace the oddities and blessings of our imperfect life together. Of course, it helps me to have a place in each region that makes me feel a bit more grounded – a bit more connected to our present home. In Los Angeles, it’s the upper meadow in the Arboretum. In New Orleans, it’s a bench in Jackson Square. And in Michigan (where we’ll be for only three more weeks), it’s the hammock that sits beside Big Bear Lake.

Several times this past summer (though not nearly as often as I should have), I walked down the hill and headed to the little beach, where my in-laws’ beloved hammock sits. There, I’ve watched the eagles circling the lake and meditated on the serenity of nature. There, I’ve read many a book. There, I’ve contemplated my next steps in life. And, yes, on occasion, I’ve fallen asleep there, too, only to be awakened some time later by the call of a loon, the chill of a breeze, or the nudging of my hubby. What can I say? It’s a very comfortable hammock, and I’ll miss it when I go.

18 comments:

marthawarner said...

Geez, I think I'm jealous! Just avoiding the nasty weather here in Michigan is enough to work up a good sigh on my part... *dreaming of the day* That hammock looks divine!

We (hubby & I) talk about moving all the time but, alas, his roots refuse to budge. Which is interesting because mine never get below the topsoil. My dad was Army for 20 years and by nature we moved a lot so I took that trait as my own but moving here (16 years ago) and settling down -- the best thing ever, but let's just say I move the furniture quite a bit! ;)

Lori said...

Wow, I am in awe of people who can live such amazing lives.

I am so boring. All I want is to put in roots, stay there, in one place, no matter how ugly or bad, just make friends, know the place, feel at home. I am unfortunately not a traveler. Life has uprooted me once, and I don't know if I'll ever recover from that.

Becky said...

Ah, a great life indeed! I was reflecting the other night at how wonderful it is for you and Dan to be able to spend so much time with ALL sides of your families. Trust me, the money you'd make "settling down" would be spent on plane tickets otherwise (BTDT).

Also, having a child is an incredible journey - one of the soul. There are HUGE sacrifices, but equally huge rewards. You're still young though. No hurry!

We'll soon be leaving N MI too. I hope you'll come visit us in Oregon!! Unlike many other folks, I'll MISS the winters here. I absolutely LOVE them! Can't stand the heat though!

Strange Fiction said...

Love your hammock space! Hubby and I have the wanderlust bug too. I think we've lived in 11(?) places in the last thirteen years. We're on the fourth year where we're at now.

It's hard for some of the family to understand but--that's us and we love our life. Every place is a new adventure with new scenery and people. We're nesters at heart but every new place is a blank canvas.

We restore old gardens and fix up the houses we live in and then I guess we figure our work there is done and onward we go...

Lazy Writer said...

Wow! What a great way to live. I suppose it does have its drawback, but I think the rewards far outweigh them.

Laura Martone said...

Martha - That's right! I forgot you live in Michigan, too. I don't know... sometimes, I wish I could experience a Michigan winter, but my hubby refuses to go through that again (he spent part of his teenage years and adulthood in the Detroit area). So, I'd be on my own... and I probably couldn't use my beloved hammock anyway.

It's funny - in some ways, you have an opposite situation. It's my hubby that moved around a lot (as the son of a GM exec) - and MY need for roots that sometimes halts our progress. But I overcome it somehow. :-)

Good luck with the furniture rearranging!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Wow. What an interesting life!

Laura Martone said...

Lori - You're not at all boring! And I don't know that I live such an amazing life - just the life for me.

Dan and I do have a desire to put in roots and stay in one place someday, but far down the road. We certainly won't be able to maintain this pace forever. LOL! But we do manage to make (or keep) friends wherever we go, and we just haven't found our ultimate "home" yet. We both love to travel - so we plan to keep doing it as long as we're able. And, of course, not to sound cheesy, but home really is wherever we are together. In all our years of marriage, we've only been apart for two nights (and that was under duress, Mom-style)! Crazy, huh?

P.S. I'm sorry to hear that you haven't quite recovered from your first uprooting. Sounds traumatic.

Laura Martone said...

Becky - It's a crazy little life we live, but I do love being able to see our parents - and siblings-in-law - more than we ever could before! It's truly been wonderful. When we were living in California, we found it difficult to see our families - mostly because, we were so poor, we couldn't AFFORD plane tickets!

Speaking of traveling, I'm so bummed that you and the fam are moving just when we've gotten to know each other. I so wish I'd knocked on your door two years ago - but who knew? Life is a big bowl of irony! Anyhoo, I would love to visit you in Oregon - it's one of the few states I haven't been to yet. And I'm with you on the weather issue - I so prefer snow to heat!

P.S. Yes, I know I have at least a little time to have kids. But I won't be young forever! :-)

Laura Martone said...

Deb - Glad to hear I'm not the only one with the "wanderlust bug." But, holy bejesus, eleven places in thirteen years?! That's a lot of moving around. I can understand why you've stayed for so long in your current place... you really seem to love it. And, believe me, I know how hard it is to reconcile your family's expectations with your hearts' desires - but you have to be true to yourselves, which it sounds like you and the cowpoke are. Dan and I are nesters, too - but only temporarily - once our blank canvas is filled in a specific place, we pack up our tent, say goodbye to our pals, and hit the road again. Wonder how long you'll stay in your current location - I suppose as long as it takes to restore the gardens and the house... Wonder where you'll go next - ooh, how exciting!

Susan - It's a strange existence - but with the drawbacks come great rewards! (At least that's what I tell myself when it's time to pack again.)

Angie - Yeah, it's interesting all right. Thanks for stopping by!

Stephanie Faris said...

What an exciting life you lead. I'm a little jealous! I work a boring desk job, each day pretty much the same. Financially, I'm very blessed, but I'm hardly living a life worth writing about!

Laura Martone said...

Steph - I'm not sure how exciting it is, but it sure keeps us on our toes. And actually, sometimes I miss my office jobs... the steady paychecks were nice, as was the interaction with my peers. On many days, my "co-workers" are my husband and my cat. ;-) But, on the flipside, I work by own rules and hours!

Strange Fiction said...

Now I feel like I should explain:) We were at another place for five years. The rest were temp moves until we found the next 'perfect' job and the next 'perfect' place.

One summer was caretaking a beach house-who could say no and a couple months at another place where the cowpoke did reno's and built sets and I designed costumes. Three other moves in a short period had to do with me getting a job and the company deciding they could use me at another branch...stuff like that.

I'm envious of the cool places you live but on the other hand I do so much better in the country...

Hopefully you'll continue to share your adventures so I can sit here and live vicariously. Oh, and I sooo don't envy the packing you have ahead of you. :)

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Deb! Thanks for the explanation - I see it all much more clearly now. ;-) Life can surprise you, that's for sure, and shake up your plans. I think it's wonderful that you've found a place in the country that makes you happy - I love living in the "wilds" of northern Michigan, too. Sometimes, the only people I see are my hubby and my in-laws. A big change from the French Quarter, I can tell you!

And I will happily continue to share my adventures... as long as folks want to hear them. In all honesty, I'd probably keep sharing them even if nobody WERE listening. As you might have noticed, I find it hard to stay quiet. :-)

P.S. I'm envious of your caretaking gig - what fun to stay in someone else's beach house all summer!

Strange Fiction said...

Life is for living. Looking forward to hearing about your next adventure (and the one after that) Go Laura!

P.S. I'll have to post pics of the 'beach house' one day... it could happen!

Laura Martone said...

Thanks, Deb! And, yes, I'd love to see a "beach house" pic one day...

Becky said...

I'm going to miss having you as a "neighbor" too! I also wish we'd met sooner! You could have come up here during the winter and stayed with us for a short time to get that Northern MI winter experience.

It sure was nice though, going to New Orleans last Christmas, and seeing Christmas decorations on GREEN GRASS, while strolling along in shorts after a walk in Audubon Park. Ahhhh.... Moving around sure changes your perspective, even about places you thought you knew well.

Laura Martone said...

Morning, Becky! Yeah, while I'm happy for your hubby's opportunity out west, I'm bummed that you're leaving... oh, how I would've loved to experience a Michigan winter with you!

I love Christmas in New Orleans - before Katrina, it was so much fun to see the lights in City Park. And last year, it actually snowed! Not even an inch - and yet they closed the schools. LOL!