At the end of last summer, we discovered that we like having a stable base from which to explore the world. Don’t get me wrong, traveling is still high on our list of desires and priorities. We set out last year entertaining the idea of taking an entire year to travel the world, maybe longer. At the end of the summer we found ourselves missing home. Of course we missed the comforts of our house, having hot water and a fully stocked grocery store within biking distance is really nice but that wasn’t it. We missed and craved human connection. Now, that would read like we didn’t make connections during our trip and nothing would be further from the truth. We had awesome connections, like the family who gave us a ride in their car from Montanita back to Guayaquil (Ecuador); the pair of Peruvian brothers who so passionately explained their political choices to us while sitting in the Plaza at Machu Pichu City; Rob, the photographer/world traveler who embodied what was simply a desire for us; and so many others. The problem wasn’t one of lack of connection but rather of how fleeting those connections were. Such is the nature of travel though. Unless one stays put for a relatively long time in the same place, one must make peace with having to say goodbye too soon over and over again. That is what is truly difficult about this sort of travel. We are lucky to live in a place where we have great neighbors and awesome friends. The kids love their schools (for the most part) and their myriad after-school activities. We have enjoyed our home, our dog and gerbil, our neighborhood, for almost an entire year.
And then…summer approaches again and the traveling bug inside me has woken up and is asking: Where are we going next?
I started out with an ambitious plan of camping at all 54 National Parks in the continental USA but was quickly brought back to my senses when Fernando had an accident in which he severed two of the tendons in his left shoulder and had to have surgery to sew them back. Don’t be fooled by the fact that rotator cuff surgery is an outpatient procedure. Two weeks later I am still wondering how the doctors thought it advisable to let me take him home the same day, especially when we ended up in the ER the very next afternoon. That is a conversation for a different forum though and I do not want to get off topic. He is still wearing his arm in a metal sling which prevents all movement and will need to continue doing so for another three weeks before beginning any kind of physical therapy. Camping…I think the boys and I could easily handle setting up camp but would it be alright for Fernando to sleep in a bag given that he is still using 8 pillows to prop himself up at night? What about hiking? He can’t move his arm and it throws him off balance, could that prove dangerous while climbing a hill? He tried to accompany the dog and I on our daily walk a week ago and had to turn back a block into it because the constant reverberation of every step was simply too painful. Backpacking is obviously out of the question. He is getting stronger every day and long-term I hold no concerns, but the summer is almost here and we need to figure out what to do with it.
“The art of life is constant readjusting to your surroundings.” -Kazuko Okokaura
I would tweak that to read: The art of life is a constant readjusting to your circumstances.
Last summer was a crash course in adaptability. Adapting to our surroundings wasn’t always easy, there were times when we didn’t even want to try. We will see how much more adaptable we’ve become this time around.
The first adaptation has been our travel plan. We are now considering a more conservative trip for this summer: we will drive from Texas to Alaska and hit every National Park in our path. Whether we camp or stay in a motel will be dictated by Fernando’s healing. Fernando can’t drive long distances yet and ever since a skiing accident I can’t drive for more than a couple of hours before my knee clamps up: getting all the way there will be a challenge for us. Even if we don’t make it past Utah, I believe it will be worth our time and effort. We will be keeping our minds and our schedules wide open and let the road guide us along.
Once again, we invite you to follow along with your comments, suggestions and thoughts. Want to come with? We love company!