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Roam if you want to

Arc de Triomphe, 2010

Saturday was Bastille Day. I have a special affinity for July 14th because we were in Paris on Bastille Day in 2010, nearing the end of one of the best family vacations we’ve ever taken. One we still talk about frequently with smiles on our faces.

I’m an explorer by nature. I love to travel and learn about other places, other cultures, and their unique histories. I love finding the similarities that make us all human, and the differences that make us all unique. If I could move to a different part of the world every six to twelve months, I’d do it.

Maybe it’s because I lived in Germany twice during my first eight years of life (courtesy of the U.S. Army), with parents who spent as much time traveling around Europe as they could manage on a tight budget. In the summer, we motored around in a tiny Volkswagen Rabbit, lugging a big orange tent, a camping stove, and sleeping bags. I remember a lot of icy-cold campground showers. During the winter, we skied in the Italian, Swiss, or German Alps, staying in rented rooms or apartments.

Norway, 1980

After we moved back to the States, we took a two-week tour of the U.S. and Canada, driving from Philadelphia to California (in that same Rabbit). Growing up, I didn’t go a single year without visiting someplace new (or old), no matter where we lived.

I’m sure it’s no accident that I married a military man. Luckily, one who shares my affinity for travel. We haven’t been stationed overseas, but we get to move every few years, and we’re always planning our next trip. As a family, we’ve visited more than 35 States, and nine countries so far.

I have big plans, but not the big funds to support them all. 😉

After my husband retires, I’m not sure we’ll be able to pick a place to live permanently. Just the thought of “settling down” somewhere makes me itchy. I might find a city I like and end up staying there forever, but in my mind there always has to be the option to leave.

Roam by the B-52s could be my theme song. Or Ramblin’ Man (if it were Ramblin’ Woman) by the Allman Brothers. I wasn’t born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus, but I might as well have been, because pulling up stakes and moving on is in my blood.

What about you? Traveler or homebody?

0 Comments

  1. Reply

    I like to travel, but to me there is no place like home. The more you travel, though, the more you can appreciate that people are all the same. We just express ourselves differently.

    • Reply

      Kathy: I agree that it’s nice to have a home to come back to. For me it’s always changing though. It’s not so much about the place, as who and what’s in it. And I love travel for the same reasons!

  2. Reply

    I too was a military brat and wife. Though my first husband did only 3 years in the military. I miss the community that military life brought. But at 64, I’m still looking for my HOME. I’ve only lived in 3 countries and 10 states and call myself a gypsy having moved over 30 times. The tree loves to sway in the breeze and extend it’s branches this way and that but deep roots sustain it. You were blessed to be able to see so many places. It makes one more well rounded.

  3. Reply

    insearchofitall: I have to laugh at you *only* having lived in 3 countries and 10 States. 😉 I’m not too far behind you there.

    I definitely feel lucky to have had the opportunities for traveling and living all over. Both in travel and experiences, I’m all about broadening my horizons. Good luck finding a “home”!

  4. Reply

    I’m a homebody, but I’d like to be more of a traveler. My mom went off to Ireland for a visit last week. I’m thinking I will join her when she goes again next year. 🙂

  5. becca puglisi

    Reply

    Hi, Gwen. I love that you’ve embraced your rambling lifestyle. So many people have trouble adapting and end up complaining about it, but you seem to have the right attitude ;).

    I loved to travel before kids, but it’s just so much work now. And they’re toddlers, so it’s hard to find vacation spots that have things for them and things for us. I anticipate a lot of travel for my husband and me once the kids are on their own, but honestly that’s so far away it’s kind of hard to imagine, lol.

    • Reply

      Thanks, Becca! Attitude is definitely right, especially for kids. I’ve noticed that military kids often take on their parents attitude toward a move, so we’re really careful to find the positive, adventurous part of any location, even if it wasn’t someplace we’d choose to go.

      I hear you about traveling with kids. We have some pretty horrible memories from our trip to Seattle and Canada when my youngest was four. 😉 Once my kids hit 10/12 they got a lot easier, and now at 13/15 they’re as excited to travel as we are. Thanks for coming by!

  6. Reply

    Gwen,

    What I’ve noticed from the “retired” crew. Assuming a person likes to blow and go.

    Freedom at the end of the line is a function of how much $$$$ is on hand and how little “stuff” you have to maintain. Everyone understands the former but not to many grasp the latter.

    Even a yard full of flowers can determine the length of an adventure. ” “Well, we would like to stay longer but we have to get back and check on the begonias. ”

    If you want to fly, travel light.

    P.S. Don’t wait to long. When the dog dies and the kids leave home, launch. 🙂

    • Reply

      I totally agree, Curtis. I’m always trying to purge our stuff. I’d love to be able to go back to when everything I owned fit in my car. 😉 So glad to see you again!

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