You can make out pretty good
When you're on your own
And you know just where you are
When you wanna roam
Got the moon above your head
And the road beneath your feet
Pull into a wooded glen
Make your own retreat
These are lyrics from the great Van Morrison. He writes about the gypsy spirit quite a bit. Maybe that is why I love his music. Always have. Something about his voice attacks the restlessness in me.
Let me explain something about being a gypsy at heart. We love where we are, who we are with, and how we got there. We just always long for the next place to love. I spent my twenties always on the move. From relationships to jobs, I never let myself grow roots that I couldn't rip out in an instant and hit the road. It might seem lonely to some, but when you have the desire to explore, it is quite the opposite.
I was never sure I wanted a husband and kids. OK, let's be honest. I was pretty sure I didn't. But life had different plans for me and I am oh so glad it did. I find myself living in a place that is more home than probably anywhere I have lived and yet, I dream of doing something adventurous. I cannot yank up the roots anymore. Not since having kids. Once you become a parent, that kind of adventure becomes just selfish.
At 21, my sister and I took a backpacking trip through Europe. Our first morning there, I sat on my Aunt's sunporch. It was 2 am and the sky was bright as a mid-summer's day. Scotland at that time of year eeks out only a few hours of darkness per night. I watched the sky and dreamed about the adventurous weeks ahead of us. Hopping on trains to wherever our young naive hearts desired, meeting charming boys and walking among castles of the middle ages were waiting at my feet. It was all that, and more. We did it again a few years later, where we swam with jellyfish in the Greek Isles, saw an Opera in Vienna and marveled at the astronomical clock in Prague. We spent nearly the whole summer going on adventures that we still talk about today.
As I have grown older, the ability to take such adventures diminishes. The restless desire to do so has not. Enter the gift of writing. I have found that the experience of it gives my restless spirit an adventure every day. Yes, reading can transport you in a magical way but not like writing can. I get to travel to a world of my own making. The time, characters, situations, and settings are all plucked from the need to experience a new adventure. And I get to go there for several hours a day. It quiets my desire to renew my passport and hop on a red-eye to anywhere. I bring in images and feelings from my travels, even writing in memories when they fit.
As my kids grow older, the prospect of travel becomes more plausible, but I will also return to the same home. No more alternating towns and homes for this gal. I want that feeling of sitting on the sunporch at 2 am, lit up with jetlag and anticipation. It might come back at some point, but until then I have the wondrous adventure that unfolds in my mind and I get the fun of transcribing it to see where I end up next. Onward to the next story, where I can pull into a wooded glen and make my own retreat.