The Adventure Juggling Act
Adventures are all about challenging myself to step beyond the everydayness of daily life to find that which can teach me something new. It begins, I suppose, by believing that life itself—even that which appears to be normal or routine—is always a challenge, even without the add-on of going somewhere. Just getting out of bed is a new adventure, if you ask me.
But when I’m headed out in a way that will cause me to be absent from my routine life, getting out the door takes on a higher degree of challenge. Leaving home and hearth even just for a week or two requires the ability to walk through the house with eyes re-trained for the possibilities in order to have enough time to prepare for the best outcome possible.
It’s not easy, extricating oneself from the usual. There are other humans (and, for me, animals) whose upcoming needs require forethought. It’s reassuring to know who will care for them, and that they feel ready to handle the various things that can arise. There’s a plethora of little things to address: bills, feeding the fish in the fishpond, watering the plants, and such. How to address weather-related possibilities, such as power outages, wind damage, flooding? (I invested last winter in an auto-generator, and the peace of mind it also generates more than exceeds the considerable financial hit! How could I ever forget the stench of that giant freezer filled with a mix of meat, fish, ice cream and veggies that failed one hot summer, and wasn’t discovered for, yeah, weeks...) I make sure to deep-water the newly-planted trees, hoping they will be ok ‘til I get back. I fret about the hydrangeas.
It seems emotionally worth it not to let preparations take on a frantic or urgent or hassled air. I know I’m incredibly lucky to be able to wander the way I do. I think about this if the pressure of the “to-do list” threatens to become overwhelming. I relish that delicious sense of anticipation that comes when I step back and think how, out there where I’m headed, it’s all already there. I ponder what it will be like when I get there, what the weather will be, who I’ll meet, what we’ll do with our time. It’s a happy gift I give myself over and over, when I think, “In xxx days, I’ll be in ___.”
The at-home preparation includes walk-throughs assessing what needs my attention, given the upcoming plans. Although it’s not such a great idea to broadcast that I’m leaving home for an extended absence, I always speak with my nearest trusted neighbors in hopes they’ll call the authorities if they hear anything suspicious, or see a van being loaded up with my stuff. Computer files are back-up on an external hard drive, which is dropped off at a friend’s house in case the house burns to the ground. In return, they receive any food that won’t keep (and a list of how to reach the plumber, the propane folks, the heating & cooling guy I use, others).
Day of departure involves its own special to-do list. Are last-minute items packed? Windows closed? Doors locked? Grandfather clock pendulum stilled? Disposal run? Heat down or off? Electronics unplugged? Compost and garbage removed from the house? Toilets flushed?
I never leave home without honoring the concept that it (or I) could all vanish while I’m away. I take nothing for granted. I make sure the people who need to hear it know that I love them.
Adventures! We plan and anticipate, we prepare, we pack and leave, and the time passes (always far more quickly than we imagine it will). We come home again, with luck. Whatever your adventure is, even if it’s a modest one such as getting through the day you have here and now, make it a good one. And enjoy the journey. It’s the stuff of life.