Instead, we’ve been stranded in Florida for more than a year. After much (exhausting) discussion, we’ve decided to stay here for a while longer. We’re doing more projects on the house. And now, we’ve got a kitten. What the heck?
Seduced By The Calm Of Stationary Life
In the fall of 2012, we made the decision to travel full-time. It took a few months to get ourselves ready. We had a home and a lifetime accumulation of stuff to deal with, we had to prepare emotionally for leaving our beloved hometown and friends, and we had an elderly and somewhat cranky cat who had never traveled.
It seems only yesterday that we finished up the herculean tasks involved in preparing for our life on the road (even reading about it now makes me cringe). In reality, it was eight years ago. And what a glorious adventure it has been, an ever-changing landscape of new experiences and new friends met along the way.
As the world cautiously begins to open up, we feel the seductive pull to get back on the road. We don’t feel done with our adventures, and there are places we still want to explore. But we don’t feel ready yet to resume our life of full-time travel. The last year was a tough one, with the trifecta of a pandemic, personal loss, and a world gone crazy. We need some recovery time.
Digging Into At-Home Adventures
This unexpected pause in life has given us time to delve into interests that we don’t have time to pursue when we’re traveling. Eric has been birding avidly and recording his sightings on eBird, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology site for citizen science. He ranked number two in bird sightings last year in Franklin County. He is now officially a big fish in a small pond.
As for me, I unearthed the watercolors I’ve been hauling around for eight years. I now spend my morning coffee time sketching instead of obsessively reading the news. It has done wonders for my well-being.
Honestly, until things return to some closer version of ‘normal,’ we don’t feel much like traveling. We want to travel when we can once again enjoy restaurants and breweries, when we can explore museums and art galleries, and when we can attend music festivals. Until then, we feel most comfortable staying put, enjoying the beauty of our own backyard. However, we are not stupid. Last summer almost killed us, so we’ve made reservations for the month of August at a small RV park in the mountains of North Carolina.
Even if we were ready to leave, there are issues keeping us here. We don’t have our vaccines yet, we’re still in the process of probating my parents’ estate, and we discovered we have to put a new roof on the house to bring it up to the current Florida code (insert VERY unhappy face here).
Friends Have Kept Us From Going Feral
Fortunately, we have not lacked for company, even during the pandemic. We’ve made good friends in the neighborhood and we’ve had a surprising number of friends visiting the area. We’ve been exceedingly cautious, but thanks to the generally mild Florida weather, we’ve been able to socialize outdoors all year round. Spending time with friends has kept us from going completely feral during this weird time. We feel very fortunate that we got stuck in Florida.
Click on photos to enlarge and for captions
Many of the friends we’ve met on the road are also bloggers. You can read Joodie and Mark’s blog here, Shannon and Ken’s blog here, Janie and Russ’s blog here, and Joe and Helen’s blog here. I love keeping up with friends through their blogs.
Staying Put Is An Adjustment
Yesterday I was thinking about how much effort it took to make the decision to travel full-time and to actually make it happen. And now here we are, doing the reverse. We’re not quite sure how long we’ll be here, but we’re settling into a home again. We’re doing more projects, accumulating more stuff, and we have a cat. It all feels strangely familiar…
Some days I feel relieved and excited. And some days, I feel terribly uncertain and am fearful that we’re making a big mistake. We miss our family and friends on the west coast. And I worry…what if the real estate market goes belly up and we can’t sell when the time comes? What if there’s a hurricane? What if we don’t get to do all of the travel we still want to do? What if, what if, what if?
And then I look out at the bay, I take a deep breath, and I come back to this moment. In this moment, I’m just fine.
Meanwhile, The Kitty
Magnolia went to the vet this week to get spayed. She came home with one of those ridiculous Elizabethan collars with instructions to keep it on her for two weeks. Yeah, right. We put it on her three times, and she immediately ran backward and slipped out of it each time.
I found a pattern online for making a kitty onesie. It was way too complicated. So I cut off a sleeve from one of Eric’s long-sleeved t-shirts, stuffed her into it, and cut out arm and leg holes. It seemed like it would work to keep her from bothering her stitches.
But this is what greeted us the next morning.
We cannot figure out how she got herself out of that t-shirt. But we gave up trying to restrict her and she has promised to leave her stitches alone. So far, so good. :-)