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.
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