Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Safe Route

Recently I read something about taking risks. I've never been much of a risk taker and looking back on my life it's apparent that I always took the safe route or at least the way of least resistance.

You reach an age when you realize you're on the downside and age and infirmity exclude ever making some of your dreams happen. It would be easy to become sad and depressed that you're squandered precious time. I try very hard not to go to the Land of Regrets.

Is there space in our lives for little dreams, little adventures, little joys? I think so. When I was a stay-at-home mom with young children, my life seemed so confined and unexciting. I was happy to be a mother and glad that I was able to be with them but it seemed to me that everyone else was living exciting and challenging lives. I lived on a steady diet of adventures with Jacques Cousteau. I marveled at Jane Goodall who took Leakey's challenge to move to the African bush and set up camp to study chimpanzees. Did she ever long to trade places with me in my suburban home? Probably not.


Fast forward to the time when children are grown and launching themselves into adulthood. The Farmer and I dream quietly and sometimes aloud about finally divesting ourselves of things and dwellings and hitting the open road in search of small adventures. We've had a few inlcuding time on an island in Belize (with no roads). We've visited and climbed most of the major Mayan temples in North America including the spectacular temples at Tikal in Guatemala. We have so much fun on these adventures, they recharge and nourish the part of our souls that crave adventure.

The Farmer works incredibly hard having inherited some crazy work ethic. But now we're dreaming of more adventures, of hitting the road and seeing the back roads and small towns from one end of this country to the other. We'd probably tire of the journey but just the dreaming has power. The plan is that he'd golf in every little podunk course along the route and I would write about the locals and my search for the perfect piece of pie.

My friend Jesse White Crow left all his worldly goods in storage and walked across America. In the December 22nd entry on his blog he says, "It is time to be where I am for this moment, and I am thankful for all that I have to be here, for in a unique way I am rich. I walk to visit friends that tell me their stories both lived and those kept as pet dreams." Yes, I have my pet dreams and they are important to me.


William Least Heat-Moon lost his postiion at a college and jumped in his van and drove across the country and wrote about his journey in Blue Highways.

Custom built bike with a V-12 engine. Yes, a V-12.

How about you? Have you ever dreamed of hitting the road and having an adventure? What would it look like? Where would you go?


chocolatechic said...

I have always wanted to backpack across Europe, and by backpacking, I mean traveling by train and staying in fine hotels.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Oh yes! We talk about it all the time...selling everything and striking out in a motor home towing a wee car. LOL! I'm secretly hoping, though, that it's just a game we play because about all the adventure I can take is what awaits me in the laundry room.

I'll enjoy your adventures instead!

Becky said...

Oh yes....pet dreams abound. I read Blue Highways all those years ago and it really made me realize how I loved the idea. I still encourage hubby to get off the interstate and see what we can see......sometimes we have time to do that, and it always has a surprise in store for us. Becky

Pieceful Afternoon said...

When we do travel - within a three state area is all - we take the side roads - avoiding the sterile freeways. There is always some little town to explore - some little diner to try out for good home made food - or some interesting building. There is a restaurant in Spokane, WA shaped like a milk bottle, so I've heard - and I'd like to eat there.

For a dream - I'd love to travel up and down the coasts - staying in cottages right on the beach - the ocean really is my favorite place to be. And then there are all those mountain cottages just waiting for us too.

Jenni said...

There are several specific journeys I'd like to take. Someday I would like to hike the length of the Appalachian Trail and also travel across the country like Steinbeck did in Travels With Charley. I want to meet people from all walks of life and understand more about them.

I have always had these dreams and I imagine I will always continue to have them, no matter how much traveling I have or have not done. I am a gypsy and a homebody both. I want the best of both worlds and some time in each. Being a stay at home mom for the past 18 years, I have slowly come to realize that there is room for both my inner gypsy and my more often seen homebody. They take their turns based upon my responsibilities and needs, the needs of others, and the point I'm at in my life. There is always time for small journeys and explorations: the woods behind our house, up the river beyond, the little mill town half an hour away, into the past through photos and family stories, into another country or another world through a book, into myself.

MeadowLark said...

My dreams are fairly boring... I would take off and head straight for the hills, to a little farm away from the world.

Although I used to want to do the "Blue Highways" thing.

Laura said...

I can't tell you how much this post struck me today. I was almost in tears after reading it. I had just finished posting me own questions on one of my blogs. When do you know it is time to give up on dreams? Or to just jump in with both feet and hope you can touch bottom without drowning? My dreams isn't to hit the road, but to settle in, in a quite place in the country.

Joanna said...

I've never been anywhere better than home, for me, the grass does not appear greener on the other side.

I have to have my dogs and farm animals in my life or life wouldn't be worth living for me. I know, that sounds bizarre.

I had some relatives that traveled a lot, I so enjoyed receiving the post cards, and was thrilled that they got to live the life that they enjoyed, however, I have always been one that had have a steady job away from home, (been at my present job for 25yrs), and my life's desire is to stay home and learn to make goat's milk stuff, cook, compost, sell eggs at the Farmers Market, garden, spend leisure time with my critters and husband.

If you and FarmMan hit the road, I'll be anxiously awaiting your blog entries, will be delighted to read about your adventures.

Karen said...

Yes, I've often dreamed about it.

I think that as I've got older I've become more prepared to take more claculated risks.

In the past, risks that I've taken have been more as a reaction/rebellion to what has been happening to me.

My dreams are to pack my camera and go to Africa, India and other locations like that.

Cindy La Ferle said...

What a wonderful thing to think about, Suzanne! I sort of did it backwards. Out of the blue, I was offered the editorship of a country inn/B&B travel magazine back when I was in my early 30s, when my boy was very small. (When you go looking for a job like that, of course, you never find it.) I got to travel all over this beautiful country of ours, on the back roads, and explored some amazing and interesting places. It was a job -- I had to write about the places, and work with a small crew, but it really satisfied my sense of adventure. The tough part was leaving my guys back home while I worked that job.

Now that I am older and settled, I don't have as much wanderlust. Plus, all the walking I did in my younger years left me with two artificial hips, so I "go easy" now. But I love to dream and live vicariously through the books and other dreamers you mention!

Cottage Rose said...

hello Suzanne; I have dreamed of having an adventure but not sure what kind I would want. I have always wanted to go and see all of Europe if I were younger I would backpack across. As I am now I could not even carry the backpack. ha ha


Cote de Texas said...

i always said the Caribbean if I won the lottery. Maybe Italy. Maybe just South Padre Island - it's attainable and a slice of Texan heaven. wonderful post!

Happy New Years!!!!!!!!!!!

lifeinredshoes said...

Oh I dream. But remember, I live with a Non Traveling Husband...damn.

Linda said...

I would like to take road trips throughout the United States and eat at the local diner and talk to people. I like traveling off the main roads--a lot of fun, or discovering the history of the area in which you vacation. Hitting the road is great and I wish you the best, but I hope you will continue your blog as I know your writing will be fun and otherwise we will miss you!

misti said...

My friends Eliana and Marc are doing something similar! They left last June for an across North America adventure in a VW van.


Joy and Phil said...

We are living your dream! Please check out my blog, go back in the archives and see our adventure from the beginning. My only comment on this lifestyle is: It doesn't get any better than this!
Keep on dreaming. You will not be disappointed.