A Worthwhile Walk
I’ve taken a lot of road trips in my life (and flying and cruising trips, too), but the best journey I ever took was a walking trip – when I walked away from a bad marriage. I’ll admit, it was not the most fun adventure, just the most necessary one. I’d tell you what the upside is to walking away from a crappy marriage, but I don’t have that kind of time. There’s too many other experiences in life to be undertaken, too many journeys upon which to embark, and too many joys to be savored to waste time on the reasons why it doesn’t pay to settle for someone who settles. One of my favorite expressions of late has to do with getting, or not getting, the fuzzy end of a particular lollipop. It’s just a lollipop. Throw it out.
But I will discuss one upside: I walked away with two children. Yes, they continued to spend the rest of their childhood visiting both sides of their family, but for me, I know that no project I tackle will ever be as difficult as raising two boys by myself. Just like we women often forget the physical pain of childbirth, we also let the pinch points of parenthood drift away into increasingly distant memories. Parenting never ceases to be a challenge, we just get to spend more time worrying about ourselves than worrying about our children as we age. We also get to spend more time spoiling ourselves than spoiling our children, and thankfully, I don’t have to spend one moment spoiling someone who was so spoiled he couldn’t care about me even a tiny bit. That was definitely a walk worth taking.
As I reflect on my adventures, both recent and distant, I am discovering a pattern: I often scratch the itch to travel. Years ago, I met a woman who described the desire to travel as having “itchy feet,” and it occurs to me that my feet have always itched. I always felt a tug to go somewhere, to live somewhere else, and to be mobile. When people ask me where I am from, I rattle off a list of places, none of which feel like home, but read more like a travel brochure of homesteads: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Germany, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, North Dakota, Utah, and more to come. There are times I hang on to moving boxes because I know another storage unit is in my future (see Storage Units from June 2021). And from this list, almost all include more than one residence apiece.
I never consider any of the moves or these travels as an escape, but as a new adventure. I accept the next challenge, whether a drive through a mountain range I’ve never explored, or an investment in a new personalized license plate. In the moment, I know others see me escaping, but to me, it always feels like embarking, like something wonderful might just be about to happen. Even my ex forbid me from leaving a five county area when we divorced, yet now I cannot even count how many counties I have explored since he felt the need to restrict my excursions. ‘Let’s go,’ my spirit of adventure commands, often before my feet begin to itch, probably because I never stop scratching the ground beneath them.