Saturday, November 26, 2011

Indie Travel - Family

Family shapes who we are, but sometimes the family we create plays a bigger role in our lives than the one we were born into. Tell a story about how either of your “families” have impacted your life and your travels.  


Wanderlust has been part of my psyche for as long as I can remember, but I've often felt stymied by the impossible-ness of long term travel. Until the realization hit me: possible-ness is just a matter of choices. 


Do others guilt me into choices I don't really want to make? Does fear or lack of finances stifle desire? Am I so irreplaceable in my own life, I dare not leave it? 


Perhaps it was all those things that kept me from traveling sooner than this. But that's all over now. And family had a lot to do with both sides of the issue. 


Raising my son meant that I had to have a steady income, a job. And a job meant only so much vacation. We went lots of places, took 7 weeks off when he was 14 to travel to eleven national parks on a summer car-camping trip. It was wonderful. We often went around the state for short trips. I tried to give him the travel opportunities I didn't have as a kid in a family with three children and limited finances. 


My mother and step-father traveled a lot. Because they enjoyed it, and it gave them time away from the kids.  I would have liked to go to Denver and San Francisco too, and felt fairly put-upon by their trips, but in retrospect don't blame them a bit. They didn't let guilt prevent them from having a great time together.


My grandmother used to take me places all the time on trains, by car, and once in a while, by airplane. I lucked out being the only grandchild for five years. She was wonderful, always so kind and considerate. When I was four, a child on an airplane was fairly unusual. The Stewardess asked me if I'd like to be a Stewardess when I grow up. Having just sat on the Pilot's lap and touched many of the instruments, I responded emphatically that I'd rather be the pilot. It was 1958. She politely informed me that girls can't be pilots. I wasn't shocked. We couldn't be doctors or cowboys either.....


My mother and sister.
My mother's sister broke the stay-home mold by making the decision to travel full time. Against her sons' "better judgement" she and hubby sold everything, put stuff in storage, and bought a motor home. Two fifth-wheels later, they are still on the road after twenty years and now, approaching 80, they are thinking of settling down.





People tried to discourage me from going to Mexico alone, then again from living there. But starting this January, it will be home for six months. After that, Europe, then Australia, and Asia. At some point further down the road, circling South America is the plan, living longish periods of time in various places, and then after the wanderlust has abated, I'll come home to live in Los Alamos, NM again. Or maybe not. There is no crystal ball. I may run out of money long before that, or may find a way to make a passable living while living at large. Along the way, there will be people who will quickly become friends and some may join the ranks of chosen family. Because no place is wonderful without great people in it.