There was a time when I would salivate at the thought of a Saturday morning spent wandering the wide aisles harboring the shiny nuts and bolts of my American dream: the dream of a new kitchen, a new bathroom, a new floor, a new storm door. Been there; done that. I’m ready to move on, to think outside the box; to live outside the box.
“Are you sure we need a new car, Jim? We don’t even need a car to make that round-the-world trip we’ve been drooling over for the last six months.”
With five kids and one house in the suburbs under our utility belts, Home Depot sadly reminded me of my basement, only a tad bit bigger (yah think?) and definitely more organized. I rarely go down into the basement since it was flooded six months ago. The eighteen inches of water is long gone along with half of the stuff we’d accumulated after sixteen years of marriage. The basement is completely restored, but it’s just not the same with the kids gone.
We’re definitely not the same either, if that stranger staring back at me every morning while I brush my teeth is any indication.
My house hasn’t been the same either. Once it was a home to a blended family of five kids. Once it was full of life and laughter, love and laundry, banter and bubblegum; and a few tense moments. Occasionally the house has rallied, usually during the holidays and birthdays when I can hear echoes of the past mixed with the present-day celebrations. That past included a handful of occasions when our children (sometimes along with a spouse and a child or two of their own) returned home to roost, albeit it temporarily. We even opened our home to one niece for the summer, and this past summer welcomed one newlywed nephew. It’s always glorious living with a full house! But I know deep down my glory days in this house are gone. That knowledge comes with little regret beyond the decisions around the next bend in the road.
Two years into this retirement gig, I think it’s time to think outside the box; literally and figuratively, especially when it comes to travel. Lynne and Tim Martin come to mind.
Two-and-a-half years ago these two self-proclaimed international senior gypsies (Lynne is 67, Tim is 72) sold their southern California home and most of their furniture. They put their treasures in storage, said goodbye to their friends, children and grandchildren and “set out to live without a home base,” trading the money they’d spent monthly on a mortgage, property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities for an international lifestyle.
Now that’s thinking outside the box.
When they realized they were “two perfectly healthy people who love to travel, but were trapped by possessions and family ties,” they realized they were just “marking time by staying at home.”
Wow! That’s pretty profound.
Being home-free has allowed Lynne and Tim the chance to live in nine countries in the last two-and-a-half years. They have friends all over the world.
They often cross the Atlantic via repositioning cruises (cruise ship lines move their equipment twice a year from one part of the world to another and offer passengers exceptional deals for those voyages) and rent apartments and houses through vrbo.com (Vacation Rental by Owner) and homeaway.com.
Nice gig! That’s certainly life as a daring adventure versus the nothing at all.
Lynne’s book, Home Free, published by Sourcebooks, Inc. will be released in April, 2014. Until the book comes out, you can keep track of their saga via their website. I’m hoping I can catch up with Lynne and Tim at their book signing; or maybe at some Parisian café, Roman ruin or Latin night club. Either way, I have to let them know they’ve been an inspiration.
I’m not sure what’s around the bend for Jimmy and me, but I do see the bend in the road. I’m not about to let that bend box me in.
No time like the official Columbus Day Monday holiday to contemplate Andre Gide’s words of wisdom. “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore.”