Happily Ever After

It’s been 3 years since we loaded up the car and traveled 1500 miles from Maine to Florida. I’ve been in the process of packing my stuff again. I like this place though, it’s probably my favorite home so far. On paper, I’m only leaving because the owners want to sell and I can’t afford to buy (I’m only a renter). I’m not sure if there’s some higher spiritual-plane reason I’m leaving.

If I had the resources, I’d probably just buy it. I like the town, the neighborhoods I walk, the nearby stores are decent, and there’s access to world-class entertainment – overall it’s been a really nice stay here. I actually lived in this same town a decade ago for three years and then left for Maine when things didn’t quite work-out. I came back because I missed it.

I’m fine with leaving in one sense, but to where? I have no place to go. To be fair, when we headed to Maine and stayed there for a few months during a snowy winter, we didn’t have any reason to be there. We only went because my wife saw a seasonal pie festival mentioned on the Food Network. We ended up living there for 7 years. We even welcomed a little Maine-boy into the family. He currently misses the snow, although he might be willing to trade it for a pool.

I don’t really enjoy too much challenge, I’m more of a resource manager. I like buying, organizing, and upgrading stuff. I’m getting too old for sudden changes in lifestyle. I’d like to settle down into a forever-home and go to my workshop each morning – play with tools, do some woodworking, and tinker with tiny motors. Well, if the Disney movies I’ve been watching taught me anything, it’s that something magical will step in to save the day.

Hotel Preferences

Having stayed in so many hotels recently (seven or so), as well as a whole bunch last year, here are some features that I prefer.

A scenic view, typically water (like an ocean for example).
A balcony with adequate overhead-covering, privacy, and seating.
A suite that includes a bedroom, desk, sitting area, and a kitchen/kitchenette.
A standup glass-enclosed shower.
A top-floor if not too high (4 stories for example), otherwise middle to low numbered floor (not ground).
Modern, clean, and no rugs.
High ceilings.
A grand lobby entrance.
A quiet non-lobby entrance/exit for bringing bags/luggage in and out.
Quality in-hotel dining options.
Walking distance to local points of interest is nice too.
Adequate self-parking.
Fast internet.
Laundry facility.

I’m not sure I stayed at any one place that had all those preferences met, but that’s the ideal I’m shootin’ for when I go to a hotel I suppose.

My tastes tend to be Disney-deluxe/with-view — not too fancy, kinda-faux-fancy, and family friendly. If I won the lottery tomorrow for example, you’d catch me over at the Grand Floridian in the lobby listenin’ to the live music that evening. Sometimes I go there to visit, but one day I’ll be able to take the exclusive club-concierge elevator to the top.

Florida or Bust

I went from trailer-park to technically homeless — is that an improvement? Hmm. I’m currently in the sixth hotel I’ve stayed-in since leaving my former house for the last time about a week ago. But make no mistake, they’re nice hotels — my friend is very skilled in travel-planning. We even did some sight-seeing along the way.

My mission was to try and enjoy myself. My mantra for the trip was: Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all thy soul, and all thy mind — and love thy neighbor as thyself. Why that? I dunno, it just seemed to comfort me whenever I began to worry. To love the Lord thy God I have to appreciate the buffet of life placed before me — it’s not my place to care or complain — I’m just along for the ride, literally and figuratively.

Of course it wasn’t all peaches (well maybe in Georgia it was), but I have some fond memories. We saw a bunch of stuff in DC for instance. We parked in a deep underground parking garage from which we emerged and walked by many famous sites including the Washington Monument, the White House, the WWII memorial, the reflecting pool, and in the distance I saw the Lincoln memorial. It was hot so we took a bus back from there. From the car while heading out I also saw the Pentagon and the Jefferson memorial.

We went to Colonial Williamsburg after that. We liked it so much last year that we went again this year — but this time our hotel was within walking distance which was nice. And after that we went to Charleston and stayed at a hotel overlooking the waterfront. The view and incoming breeze was by far my favorite. Lying on the lounger on the large balcony just felt right — I like deluxe with view.

So now we’re here but haven’t dropped anchor. It’s good to be back. I’m so familiar with this place it might as well be my home. For the seven years I lived in my previous residence I barely left the house. Here, I’ve been walking out on my own the last few days as if it’s my personal playground. There’s no place in the world that feels as much like home to me. But, the magic must happen for us to find and maintain a physical home here. Luckily this is the place where dreams come true.

P.S. Hi Mickey, I missed you.

Return Trip

I’m back from my trip. About a month has passed. Our stays along the way down were pleasant and scenic — we primarily stayed by beaches overnight. What’s funny, is that I’m not sure why I even took this trip. Perhaps it’s to gain some perspective. In stories, characters are often developed through journeys. So perhaps me and my companions were due for some development.

I didn’t mind life on the road too much, although lengthy bouts within a compact car is a bit uncomfortable. It’s a little dull too, with pockets of civilization connected by lonely stretches of road. For various reasons, it’s difficult for me to consider commercial air travel as a viable means of transportation, so a car it was despite the discomfort. And it got hotter as we went, although after a long winter, the heat was not unwelcome.

When I leave New England I feel like a New Englander. When someone says “tree” I think maple not palm. When someone says “house” I think of a Cape Cod style in an ample yard. When someone says it’s hot, I think of 78F, not 96F. When entering other regions, the concentration of names change (people and stores) and things become slightly different yet not enough to be exotic.

What I imagine the point of the trip to be, is a demonstration of life’s goodness — and my acceptance of this fact — a reconciliation with life. Normally, I have an underlying feeling of imminent danger. It’s always been there yet nothing ever happens. I know someone that lacks this feeling and she’s much happier for it. My conclusion is that it’s a sensation that must be ignored.

It’s a bit of a burden to constantly ignore something so prevalent — yet much better than the alternative of bathing in anxiety. Remember though, boredom is our existential enemy, so we invite into our life whatever excites us. To leave anxiety behind, we need to embrace a new form of entertainment, engaging with life in an alternate way, lightheartedly.

That’s the secret to life you know: entertaining ourselves in a wholesome/nourishing way. It’s skipping the quick and easy scare, opting instead for activities that make us feel good about ourselves. We can chase boredom away in a few different ways, our job is to find and implement the most pleasing ways that align with our preferences.

I had no end-date set when I started the trip but I left when I felt like I was done. I experienced what I wanted and sensed it was time to go. Although, I think I stayed a little too long — but that’s good since it made me enthusiastic to get back on the road. I don’t feel particularly reconciled with life but I must admit that nothing horrible happened — the overall trip was pretty pleasant.

Yes there were some discomforts along the way but I should more likely blame myself for an eagerness to pick out what’s wrong with life. For me, this trip clearly serves as evidence of life’s benevolent nature. There were no dangers untold. Beauty abounded. There was childlike delight and fond remembrances of times not long ago.

Fun and Adventure

I have a lengthy journey coming up and my mind defaults to potential unpleasantries rather than all the good things. You could say I distrust life. I have a suspicion that all this Earth-stuff is an elaborate ruse to abuse me. It’s an odd perspective I know.

Instead of anticipating the adventure, I envision trials and tribulations that could occur along the way (like what befell cunning Odysseus on his travels home). There’s an onslaught of doom-filled thought.

But I’m hard at work putting out fires left and right to defuse any anxious feelings. And that gets the job done in a way, but I’d rather just feel excited. I suppose I’ll have to concoct something in my imagination to frame this journey as something enjoyable.

Game-day is approaching and these are probably just the pre-game jitters. When the time comes, not only will I lack fear, but I’ll find the fun. You wouldn’t think fun would be such serious business, but I take everything seriously — that’s part of my charm.

Underneath it all, I have no real worry though. It’s kinda like going through the motions of worrying, just a habit I’m attempting to break. I’m done with pessimism and I’m determined to have faith in the goodness of life.

P.S. I have not forgotten about the illusionary nature of reality. Any unpleasantries along the way will only serve as triggers reminding me to consider the fiction of my surroundings. But I’m guessing life will attempt to lull me into forgetting about virtuality by presenting the most pleasant adventure possible. Oh, life!

Daydream Believer

I was never much of a daydreamer. A worrier, yes. But since I no longer allow worrisome thoughts to linger, I have to fill in the gaps with something. So now if some thought about the future strikes my fancy I try to encourage it, explore the scenario a bit. I’ll even do some online research. I’ve found that I enjoy imagining such scenes. It’s nice.

For instance, not too long ago I was fantasizing about the prospect of receiving a large sum of money and moving to Disney World and living in Golden Oak. But I was wondering how I’d get there. I developed a tentative itinerary in which I would take a motorhome down the coast and stay in some really nice locations. But I didn’t want to go camping per se, I just wanted the comfort of traveling with a bathroom and kitchen on hand, plus it’d have decent storage.

In the past I’ve had actual nightmares about driving large motorhomes though. And since I wouldn’t really be camping, it’d make sense to have a tiny motorhome that can fit into parking spaces. That’s why I finally decided on a Roadtrek, either the SS Agile or the 190 Popular. These are standard parking-space sized vehicles. But the more I researched tiny motorhomes, the more I liked the idea — it’s become my new interest. Now I want to travel around to a few spots I picked out and see some sights.

I strongly dislike home-maintenance tasks. The idea of not having a house and yard to take care of tends to excite me. And in a lot of ways traveling around suits me. But of course, under current conditions none of this seems possible, I simply can’t afford it. Back in the day I would have resigned myself to this fact and chastised myself for considering a goal that could only end in disappointment (what a miserable outlook). Nowadays though, I’m more optimistic.

Part of the optimism deals with not taking life so seriously. If my goal doesn’t work out, so what? I can have fun planning it all. If while planning I find a new interest and set a new goal, that’s great too. I’m a little frustrated that I can’t have what I want right now, but that’s just how goals work. I have no practical plan to attain this goal, it’s merely a wish right now. But I’ve stopped limiting myself to practicality. I’ve been so overburdened by my habit of placing constraints on everything that I need to tryout the other perspective for awhile. Bon Voyage!

Bon Voyage

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Life in Exile

I don’t think I fit well with the culture I was born into. I don’t like driving in cars to get everywhere, air-travel, a highly competitive and unbalanced market economy, industrialized food production, rampant racism with its resultant underclass, gun-carrying law enforcers, violent retribution, fraudulent government, corporate hegemony, militarism, prevalent propaganda, a history of unrepentant atrocities, the extreme weather shifts, and the lack of quaint structures.

Certainly there must be some locations around the globe lacking the depth and scale of these issues. I would much prefer a place that allows for travel by foot, bike, boat, or sometimes train, has a government that at least pretends to care for its people, is filled with old-world construction, has a mild climate, and serves fresh food with simple basic ingredients.

Should I ever have the means, I may hop aboard a transatlantic cruise traveling the northern route. But if I should ever embark on such a journey, I’m of the mind that I’ll not return from whence I came — perhaps remaining as a perpetual tourist. Again, problems exist in all locations, but sometimes a toxic relationship is best severed.

I don’t know if life would be better, but sometimes “different” is best. There’s no sense of home to miss, no place I’d treasure, no livelihood to leave. When my ancestors arrived over two centuries ago, they left their stagnant homelands in the hopes of finding a better life. It would be fitting then, and following in their footsteps, to travel to new lands in search of greener pasture.