The summer passed the colorful leaves on the ground. My husband Paul and I missed the opportunity for our usual summer RV trek for many reasons that seemed big at the time. With happy endings to those stories, we once more chose the nomadic life and are on the road again in our rubber wheel-based home.
People ask where we are going this year. Not intending to be glib the answer is where ever the winds, temptations, people we know, events that lure us in or “whispers in our ears” take us. What a privilege this free choice. It is to be cherished. Nomads are defined in the dictionary as drifters, gadabouts, gypsies, knockabouts, meanderers, vagabonds and wanderers. We fit all categories.
Letting go of our city life for life on the road is always challenging and the other way around as well. We certainly anticipate both segments of our life as they come, but love the phase we are in at the present. Oops, bear with me; An ear worm that just burrowed into in my head from Finian’s Rainbow:
When I’m not near the girl (town, back road, hike) I love,
I love the girl (town, back road, hike) I’m near.
Two thoughts occur to me: first, that the idea of being “On the Road” has a long history with many colorful characters, and second, that “choice” is the key. Going without choice connotes dire circumstances and another long history of people labeled as refugees, deportees, exiled, homeless=desperate and another whole subject for dissertation.
Grateful to have choice, I ponder those who have gone before me filling bookshelves, photo and film collections , archives and wish lists with the allure of travel less planned. The legacy of stories telling of past great explorers, pioneers, gold diggers, traveling salesman, hobos, and more lived nomadic lives enriching world history with the wonders of their adventures:
Typed on an 120-foot roll of teletype paper he called a scroll, Jack Kerouac re-wrote and revised his earlier versions of On The Road; an “autobiographic novel based on his 1947 road trip” published in 1957 by Viking Press. He covered many miles, befriended many celebs and discovered countless treasures.
John Steinbeck wrote Travels with Charley in 1960, “a travelogue of his road trip with his poodle Charley. “Steinbeck bemoans his lost youth and roots, while dispensing both criticism and praise for America. According to Steinbeck’s son Thom, Steinbeck went on the trip because he knew he was dying and wanted to see the country one last time.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Steinbeck
Inspired by Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, Charles Kuralt persuaded CBS to let him try his idea to go on the road for 3 months. The result, he broadcast for many years, wore out 6 motor homes, took back roads and received many awards for his popular program. appearing as a segment on The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.
So, I too lead a glorious nomadic life, inspired by the past, free to follow a whim, seeking adventure, safe, healthy and free. Unlike the refugee, I am unshackled by politics, strife or deprivation. Off my husband and I go once again, our wheels under us, our eyes on the road, anticipating the next stop somewhere else.
Ann Carol Goldberg