Taking a Leap Into the Impossible

leapOnce you make the mental leap from where you are today to where you want to be, then suddenly, the impossible seems possible.

Several times when things in my life became untenable, I considered getting rid of everything and just living day by day, but there have always been obstacles, some quite out of my control, such as taking care of someone who is ill or dying, and some only in my mind and personality. I’m basically a creature of habit, and when I move somewhere I tend to stay where I end up even if I hate the place. (Staying is not always about habit; sometimes staying is about not being able to find a better place or not being able to face the upheaval, expense, and aggravation of a move if you do find a place.)

Ever since the death of my life mate/soul mate, I’ve been afraid habit will trap me in a life of loneliness and stagnation, and I simply cannot bear for that to be true.

In various blog posts, I’ve tried to figure out what to do next, and I’ve often talked about settling somewhere and then taking trips. But the other day it occurred to me that I don’t have to settle anywhere. I can simply store my stuff and live on the road. (Figuratively speaking, that is. I wouldn’t actually live on the road. That’s a sure way of ending up as road kill.) The beauty of such a plan is that I could stay as long as I want in one place and then move on with relative ease.

At first this idea was just another cerebral meandering, but now it has taken hold. I’ve made the mental leap into such a lifestyle, and suddenly it seems possible.

I’ve been considering the logistics of what I’d need to bring for six months to a year of travel, including emergency supplies and of course boxes of my published books, and I’ve come to see that such a trip is doable. (Financing it might be a problem, but that’s the “wits” part of being a “wanderer, living by wits and whim”.) These past three years of taking care of my father, when most of my stuff has been in storage anyway, has shown me what I use and what I don’t. And I don’t use many things at all.

Moving from place to place could be a mental adjustment, leaving me feeling as if I were dangling in space, unconnected to the world (not an unfamiliar sensation since my mate’s death gave me that same feeling), but this would be one time where habit would be a good thing. I could continue my morning routine of floor exercises and weights, (luckily I’ve just been using dumbbells because carting around my barbells and weight bench would be a bit much), a long walk, and a protein drink for breakfast. This routine would help me feel “normal.” I could also bring a few small items that had no value other than that they would connect me from place to place, such as a photo of my deceased life mate or a silly figurine or my dictionary and thesauruses — something to make the place feel familiar. And then, of course, I’d have my computer. I’ve looked at this same screen for seven years now, and many friends lie beyond the images I see. To a certain extent, my life on the road would be the same as it is now, but there would still be plenty differences to savor.

I don’t know if I would ever be able to make the leap if I were mired somewhere, but in the not too distant future, my life will be turned upside down once more, and I will be forced to make a choice. And I will take the leap.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

12 Responses to “Taking a Leap Into the Impossible”

  1. mlfhunt Says:

    Pat, have you thought of a camper. You know Bill and I spent two years in an RV and life on the road (there were two of us, mind you) was great. There are places that offer free or almost free parking instead of paying motel bills and you can cook in a camper. Just a thought. Mary

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      That’s what everyone suggests, but with the price of gas, it’s cheaper to stay in a motel or an extended stay hotel. Besides, hauling around something that big would be a burden and make me feel trapped, and the whole point is to be light and free. Which is good because I don’t have the money for it.

      I appreciate the suggestion, though.

  2. leener814 Says:

    The appeal of this new lifestyle move makes a lot of sense. I think it’s a great way to focus on the vitality of your own self and draw yourself out even while maintaining a respectable distance from people. The fact is, travel and social contact will build a new layer of you to add to what exists. It won’t erase the grieving, but I believe you will see yourself as a slightly different entity. You’ll extend beyond who you were with him and who you’ve been steeped in grief. You’ll become someone new, someone a little unfamiliar. I admire you for taking that step, for realizing you can’t just freeze in the place you were when he passed and stay that way; I mean, you can, but it wouldn’t be pretty. And for a person with a focus on growth and healing such as yourself, it would be stifling, almost suicidal, to stay in place. I look forward to hearing more about your journey, both inner and outer.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I think it’s great that you understand what my journey is all about. Growth. A way of connecting with people without getting too entangled. Stepping beyond what I am into what I could become. The idea is both exhilirating and frightening. The one thing that’s good about being terrified of stagnating is that other fears are mild in comparison and so will not be a hindrance. It will be fun to have something new to blog about, and yet it will be the same thing — my life’s journey, first as a writer, then as a grief-stricken woman, then as a wanderer/adventurer/quester.

  3. ROD MARSDEN Says:

    Well, Lucy Lawless, the New Zealander who played Xena on television, back-packed all over Europe when she was younger apparently living on coffee and cigarettes. I recommend the coffee, not the cigarettes. Back-packing around Australia and staying at hostels might be an idea. New South Wales is nice this time of year. In two month’s time it will be cool enough to trek through the Blue Mountains.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I might be beyond my backpacking years, though who knows what the future will bring. I just realized that made it sound as if I had backpacking years, but I never did anything like that, so maybe it’s time. If I ever head to Australia, I’ll be sure to let you know.

  4. Phyllis Ring Says:

    Reading this brings me great comfort — and a kind of inner, enkindled encouragement, this morning. I appreciate your blog a lot. Your writing, for me, feels like someone speaking does when she’s really present, and also listening at a deep level. I’m looking forward to reading your books.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Phyllis, what a lovely thing to say! It’s nice to know that what brings me comfort — writing about my life’s journey — also brings comfort to others.

  5. Kathy Says:

    I’m so excited for you! When my dh and I got married, I longed to take off on a sabbatical and see and do things together. Well, it didn’t work out exactly like that. But we did spend over 10 years moving back and forth across the country and I think that was our way of being on sabbatical – perhaps a working vacation because many of the places were fun, touristy places. Many don’t understand that and ask, “Are you moving – again?” as if there’s something wrong with it. But I wouldn’t trade those years and that adventure for anything. The hard part now is not taking off again for another adventure. Who knows what we do next?

  6. leesis Says:

    Oh What a Marvolous Adventure! Loving your direction pat! hugs

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      You kept telling me wonderful things would happen, and although they haven’t yet happened, at least now I can see that they could. A big change for me.

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