Dipping My Toe Into Wanderlust

Some of you have requested that I not leave you behind when I go adventuring. Of course I’m not leaving you behind when I take off on my travels! I seem to have adopted the philosophy that an unblogged life is not worth living, so I will be keeping up with this web log as data plans, phone signals, and wifi spots permit. Besides, blogging is how I make sense of what I experience — so much of my life seems to take place beneath the surface, and writing is how I connect with my own subterranean world.

My first foray into a life of travel will probably have to be more planned than I intended. I will be heading north to visit a friend, and on the way I will camp out on at least one couch that I know of, so I’ll need to coordinate dates with both friends if nothing else. But it’s not just that. The truth is, I really know very little about the world. In some respects, being in a closely-connected and highly intellectual relationship was like living in a cloister or an ivory tower, and now I need to learn how to do things, and how to do things on my own.

Choices are endless in this electronic world. Motels. Couchsurfing sites. Car camping. Tents. Hammocks. Free campsite sites. Primitive campsites. Expensive campsites geared for RVs. I spend hours every day researching equipment, places to stay, sights to see and sites to experience. As someone who walks a lot, I know that around every bend, up ahead a few feet, and off to the side is an ever-changing feast of life. Multiply those few square miles by the vastness of the earth, and there is no way anyone can experience it all.

I know I don’t have to be some place pretty to succumb to awe, but I do have to be some place. I have to sleep somewhere. I have to be warm and dry and safe (or as safe as possible. I might be listening to the call of adventure, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be reckless). Hence all the research.

I learn best by trial and error. I’ll probably need to buy my camping gear at one of those places that let’s you try things out and exchange what doesn’t suit. It’s the only way I will know what I need. But still, I’ll have to have an idea of what to buy, and that takes research.

I’m getting an inkling that this first trip will be a case of dipping my toe into wanderlust — not the start of adventure, but the start of preparing for adventure. I can sense I am headed somewhere — maybe on that epic walk I can’t get out of my head — and all this is but prologue. So much to learn. So much to become — better, stronger, wiser.

At the beginning, I’ll probably be coming back here to this desert town quite frequently to recoup. Get my vehicle checked over by the mechanic. Take dance classes to rejuvenate my spirit. Replenish my supplies. And then, the world again.

And through it all, I’ll be taking you with me.

Should be a wondrous adventure!



Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram 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+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Waiting for My New Life to Begin

I never had much of a yen for travel; I’m too much of a homebody. I wouldn’t mind seeing exotic places, but it takes too much time to get there, and plane travel is simply no fun. Still, the only way I’ve been able to make sense of the death of my life mate/soul mate and my ensuing grief is to do things that I wouldn’t have done if he had lived. Since he had been sick so long, we hadn’t been doing much, so it leaves the whole world open to me. I’ve visited museums and art galleries, taken day trips and plane trips, gone to county fairs and other festivals.

I’ve even done less edifying things such as putting together jigsaw puzzles. I’ve always hated jigsaw puzzles. They seem so pointless, but in a world where everything now seems pointless, they make as much sense as anything else. And, oddly, for such a structured activity, jigsaw puzzles seem to be stimulating my creativity. I’ve been trying to do whatever I can to create new pathways in my brain, to get out of the cerebral ruts I’ve gouged for myself, and the puzzles are doing the trick. Maybe it’s because of the pattern recognition skills? For whatever reason, I’m getting interested in writing again. I even printed out my WIP (which has been stalled for so long, I call it my work-in-pause) so I can read it and see where I am. It’s a silly story (was meant to be silly) and I haven’t been in the mood for silliness for a very long time, but poor Chet has been incarcerated in the human zoo long enough. It’s time for me to let him move on.

One day, I’ll be moving on, too. Right now, I’m taking care of my 95-year-old father, but when he’s gone, I’m going to have to figure out where to go next, both geographically and mentally. Where do I want to be? Who do I want to be? Tough questions, both of them.

I’ll be in a unique position, though, free of responsibility — except for myself, of course. I’ll be continuing my quest to try experience new things, to do that which I wouldn’t have done if my mate were still alive, and so far, such plans entail travel (and a means of making money to pay for the trips).

I’ll taking a cross-country road trip with a bereft author friend, perhaps to check out book stores and do signings, but mostly to run away from our sadness and look for fun. She wants to visit Times Square and other such populated areas. I’m more interested in bucolic spots.  Should be an exciting and eclectic trip.

Another friend wants to take a bus trip. Greyhound offers a pass for unlimited travel, so we would go wherever we wished, get off the bus whenever we wanted. Her desire is to see Washington DC and Cape Cod. Sounds good to me. I would never have chosen either of those destinations, which is the beauty of such a trip. I want to do things and go places I would never before have considered.

And still another friend, my first ever online friend, wants me to visit her in New Zealand. The thought of such a long plane trip makes me cringe. Besides, last year I flew to St. Simons Island and Seattle, so air travel holds no novelty. But . . .! She told me I could go by freighter. I had no idea such travel was still possible. It takes approximately two weeks to get to New Zealand by water. Just think of it — two weeks on the open sea (well, four if I return by freighter). A real voyage. And perhaps a voyage of self-discovery?

That pretty much covers all methods of travel except train. So, of course, I’ll take a train trip. A long one. And go first class — rent a room. Where will I go? I don’t know, but it will be somewhere I’ve never been before.

It sounds exciting when I tell people of such things, and yet these experiences don’t make up for a second of my mate’s being gone. But still, I have to do something, so I might as well experience life to the fullest. Or, at least plan to experience life. I’m still waiting for my new life to begin.