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Here, at home, I’m firmly connected, beyond sentimental. My home is my haven, the familiar everywhere. The screen door bangs; kids’ footsteps echo. Here is my old leather chair, the smell of cut grass in the air. Sometimes I wake from bad dreams where the house is sold, we’ve grown old, and I’m bereft.

But disquiet sets in; like the seasons, it comes year after year. It’s time to roam; maps and plans are everywhere. Something quickens inside; the serenity suddenly cloys. My bags are loaded, attachments eroded. I wake miles away, reborn, a new day. I’m refreshed when I’m there.

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Here, routine rules, structure comforts, everything in its place. Morningtime in the car, same route (and egg) every day. Lunch with the Trib, the dog eats at four. To the bakery for bread, a book in my bed. I swear I’m content, devoid of intent; I’m satisfied.

But inevitably it stirs, the soft breath of restlessness. A pang here, a twinge there, for days wide open, no one the same, anywhere, everywhere. Mountains beckon, deserts call, cities appeal, dreams soar and wheel. I relinquish the rules, the future unspools. I’m free when I’m there.

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It’s hard to reconcile these two halves of myself. Here is the mushy creature of habit, devoted to the here-and-now, to love and connection, snugly bound to memories and people and home and even things. But inside there is another creature; it lies dormant for months, until it begins to push more insistently, day by day, to be let free, and I can’t imagine not setting out somewhere. I have to go, and often the destination matters little. Attachments loosen, and things seem superfluous; what I want now are experiences.

I don’t miss home when I’m gone; I often selfishly forget people – no postcards, no emails, no gifts, not even a thought sometimes. I’m the traveler who doesn’t want the trip to end; while fellow voyagers begin to talk of home, their own beds and routines, I attach to my destinations almost as much as I attach to my home. Like a gecko, I stick where I land; I’m tough to pry away, from anywhere.

I am intrigued by and drawn to a nomadic lifestyle, but I wonder if I could do it, given the strings that hold me in the ‘here’ and the bond that quickly forms between a new place and me? But just when I feel serenely stable – here or there – the open road stretches out before me again like the first day of summer. After a trip, I re-enter real life poorly, resentful and bored, twitchy and agitated. But the settling inevitably comes, and the humdrum takes over, and feels good once more. Over and over, the cycle repeats. When will it end? Will it end? Do I want it to end?

Open Road 2

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