A few days ago I left the place I was staying and settled in for one week on Vancouver island’s west coast, about ninety minutes north of Victoria, so I could explore this area without the need to make the trip back and forth from the city.
As I settled in on yet another sofa in yet another living room, my mind flashed on the years before I retired, when such an experience would mean I was at the start of a vacation.
Then, just as suddenly I realized, “I am on a perpetual vacation!” Indeed I am. I go from one place to another to mix up my routine, to keep my life fresh, to experience new things.
I love this chapter of my life. Not since childhood have I experienced such a light burden of responsibility. I am not charged with doing more in the places I live than keeping them tidy and doing my best with Victoria’s ultra-complicated recycling. Repairs, maintenance, all those kinds of things are not my problem. The only thing I have to take full care of is my car.
It is mind boggling to me that I really can go anywhere whenever I want—well, after travel restrictions are lifted, that is. All I have to do is wait until whatever contract I have for lodging runs out, then go. I have a storage locker where everything fits when all I need is a suitcase. I have thought recently about leaving here for a while and going to Greece or the British Isles for a month or two. Make that both Greece and the British Isles—why not? Same trip or separate ones? Either will do nicely. Rent something there, or just drive from place to place. I have to pay to sleep somewhere. Might as well be on the road, or tucked into some place I have really wanted to spend some time.
This life isn’t for everyone. Maybe it’s not for most people. The one key difference between my life and vacation is that I have no place to return to. I think that might be too much for many, but for me my condo in San Diego had become more of a convenience than a genuine attachment, and since paying for it ate up all the money I have for my adventures, it had to go.
I don’t tend to worry about (or even plan much for) the future, but rather revel in the possibilities. Still, much as I have enjoyed so many of the chapters in my life, it has always worked out, sometimes by force and sometimes by choice, that I have needed to move on. Sometimes that is joyous, and sometimes it is very hard and vary painful, but I have mastered a state of readiness for change that is serving me well now.
Knowing myself, I will probably at some point come to a screeching halt and say this lifestyle isn’t for me anymore. Then what? Buy entirely new furniture in my seventies? Buy a place to live that I will mostly just pay the interest on for the rest of my life? Sit still happily in one place? I simply can’t imagine it now, but that’s because I haven’t arrived there yet. My only hope is that my next chapter will begin in as much joy as this one has.
And maybe I won’t have any such life-altering epiphany. Maybe this will just keep working out fine, and I will remain healthy and competent until the day I evaporate into the universe from wherever I happen to be at the time. It’s a great life, and I am in my element. That’s all that matters now.