I’ve been having this persistent thought—this recurring daydream every day—a few times every 24-hour cycle. It haunts my every move and pervades every inch of my being.
It’s not about winning a million dollars, although that would be just lovely. It’s not about living in beach house in a protected cove on an island where the temps max out at 85 degrees most days and the water is calm and crystalline, the sand fine and cool. It’s not about winning an unlimited, weeklong shopping spree in say, Paris or Milano.
It’s not even about having a live-in housekeeper suddenly appear before my eyes granting my every laundry-folding and dishwashing wish. Those are all incredibly spectacular, but far-fetched, fantasies that I wish I could will into being. But alas, they probably won’t materialize in this lifetime.
This other dream though—hm, seems a bit too plausible to discount its persistence in my consciousness.
I love my job, and I love my students. I LOVE education like nobody else. But I just can’t help imagining what life would be like if I could take a year or two off and explore the world, while running and hiking. Like traveling cross country, with a camper attached to our four wheel drive SUV, running all the trails and all the marathons and all the ultras. I’d travel to different cities and towns and write about the food and the people and the drives and the runs. I’d take high quality pictures (because in this dream, I’m also a professional photographer). I’d explore Havasupai and Acadia National Park before they become too crowded with selfie-stick wielding people looking for cheap sunset thrills. I’d hang with the people I run into, meet their families, cook and share meals and stories….
I’d travel in Español on the Camino, Italiano in the Appenines and Deutsch/Français/Italiano in the Alps. Oh the possibilities!
I’d learn Quechua and hike to Machu Picchu and the rest of the Andes, and head over to Argentina and trek through Patagonia. I’d island hop in the Galapagos, bounding across lava stones, butting heads with the blue-footed booby, and playing hide-and-seek with the baby sea lions. I’d travel to West Africa and run the red clay dirt roads into bustling cities and fellowship with my husband’s people in Burkina Faso. I’d travel north and eat tagine in Morocco. Then I’d head west and travel south again on the Nile. I’d blog and vlog and write poetry like Mary Oliver and Rita Dove and prose a la Thoreau.
I’d try local microbrews and wines and weird things I wouldn’t eat at home. Then I’d head back to my tent and rest and dream.
And then, the next day, I’d do it all again. I’d don the latest sweat-wicking apparel and sturdiest shoes, write about those too, and go. Up and down mountains, through the swamps of Louisiana, across the Southwestern desert—(staying away from cholla cacti of course; remember that story from my 100K extravaganza in Arizona?)—and up the west coast and run across the Golden Gate…
A year. All I want/need is a year to live out my 12-month long summer. And then, I’d head back to the real world. Or could that, in fact, be the life I am headed to next?