In the past six months, I have been operating at about 30% capacity. Yes, I have tried volunteering and writing and baking. I hike a lot and keep in touch with friends and family. I remind myself how good my life is, but my feelings ignore my thoughts. At this time of my life, I need new places and people and ideas. I need instability.
Last month in Mexico, my friend, Pepe, who has four kids, lost his job when his gringo employers decided to abruptly leave Mexico. Closer to home, two of my nieces are working from home with toddlers who insist on acting as personal assistants. We all have stories like this, some tender, some tragic.
My own story changed on March 14 when I boarded one of the last flights out of Morocco a few days after my sisters told me, wisely and somewhat *emphatically*, to come home. If a global crisis hadn’t intervened, I would be in Portugal walking the Camino de Santiago after two months in Central Asia and the Middle East, before heading to who-knows-where.
By now, I think we have learned that there are two kinds of people when it comes to staying at home. The first category of people say, “I am doing great, enjoying this time to relax and slow down. I am calling my friends on zoom and doing online yoga!”
The second category of people say “Oh yeah, well, I was kind of down yesterday but I am better today. Lots of people have it much worse than me. We’ll get through this, no problem.” If you are in the first category, please know that the people in the second category are actually thinking “I am going out of my mind.”
First, I know what you are thinking. Something about illness. Maybe consider something else. Take precautions and remember worrying compromises your immune system. Laughter gives it a boost. Here is one of my personal favorites for laughter even though I am no longer Scottish:
Shortly after I began my nomadic life, I wrote about the difference between tourists and travelers. https://kimmie53.com/2014/09/06/lady-who-lunches-or-lunch-lady/ Four years later, my travels have taught me a little more about how to have a deeper experience, to feel a part of a place, and make connections with people. My strategies don’t all work in all situations or for all people, but you get the idea….
With all of the problems in the world and all of my opinions, if I am going to complain about something, it should be about Something Big, right? No. Other people are doing that exceptionally well and I am trying to avoid giving myself ulcers. So here’s a kvetch about something small and a little bit important.
The nomadic life is full of joy and surprises but it wouldn’t be travel if it didn’t come with annoyances. Just like real life! I have had my share of travel annoyances which, ironically I guess, usually remind me of my privileges in one way or another — because all travel annoyances are First World Problems. Continue reading
I have always wished I had the intellectual acuity to read In Search of Lost Time, the 4,000 page novel by Marcel Proust about, er, refer to the book title. And this easy-to-read article: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tldr-prousts-in-search-of-lost-time_us_559e8cb1e4b0967291558d31. One of these days, I will commit. In the meantime, I am happy enough with Proust’s wonderful observation about travel:
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”