I often forget there are so many places to go, to be away from home, things to do, sights to see. Because while the kids are still in need of drives and advice and support with food and other needs, and there’s a house to clean and the aftermath of twenty years of living in a house made of wood with short-lived appliances, peeling paint, decomposing fences, sewer lines invaded by roots, and pets that need to be fed and let in and out, one doesn’t often think of pulling out the maps during lunch break, or get invited for a tour of Europe by friends in the same phase in life. My online searches have not had the proper key words to evoke popups about vacation package deals or sales on RVs.
It’s necessity that pulls me away from home, and I’m grateful for that. It’s a treat just to walk into a clean hotel room and have a bed of one’s own, a clean bathroom with towels nicely folded. This time (again), it’s looking at a university with my high school senior. A three hour round trip through the Gulf Islands is like a magazine perusal–there are the vacation homes, some that might be rentals I could book for a friends’ retreat or a getaway with my husband (are we finally at that time?), and I think of how nice it would be to have a Subaru wagon with racks for a canoe or kayak, and a bike on the back. What I could do with those three vehicles–drive, park, camp, pedal and paddle. Headlamp and folding chair for a good read before bedtime, an early morning walk with the appropriate field guide. But I’m thinking like an independent person again. Thinking like my neighbors seem to do–seems like that–free to plan things both together as a family and as free agents. My husband and I are not that modern, or organized, or on the same page. And what’s one to do, when someone still has to be on home duty?
Maybe that’s why necessity is helpful. I still get out and see the world, leave the dishes and laundry behind, stare out at the sea hoping to see whales, pretend that my next trip will be a real vacation.