At Home

Several friends have each recently bought a travel trailer, motor home, or camper, and are planning on hitting the road. I don’t know why the sudden urge people have to be on the move. Perhaps their age dictates a now-or-never attitude. Maybe it’s being holed up at home for so long. It could be any number of reasons, actually. Not that it matters. They are going and I am not.

I spent my one-last-trip travel money on a garage, which, considering the weather this year, was a great investment. My car is out of the cold, and when I do need to drive, I don’t have to spend the time uncovering it. Nor do I have to clear away snow or worry about the car not starting. (What I do have to worry about is the choke — the last guy who worked on the car either didn’t set it right or knocked it out of whack, because when it’s frigid out, the poor car bucks and stutters, and I haven’t had a chance to get it fixed yet.)

I haven’t gotten rid of any of my camping or hiking gear in case I do decide to go on a camping trip someday, but for the most part, I am where I want to be. No amount of wanderlust, no desire to be in the mountains or to see different things outweighs the sheer joy of being in my own house, wandering around my own yard.

It seems odd that after all those years of looking for adventure, the only outdoor adventure I find is in my own backyard, though admittedly, it’s been so cold, I don’t spend much time outside except to sweep snow off my ramp or to shovel the sidewalk, but still, it’s my place to go out and enjoy whenever I wish.

I feel fortunate, not only to have a place to call my own, but that I actually want to be there! So often, during the years after Jeff’s death, I didn’t want to be anywhere, and whatever place I happened to be didn’t really seem to fit; I could feel itchiness and discomfort as if I were wearing ill-fitting clothes. I had such a need to escape those “clothes” that being on the move seemed to be the only time I felt vaguely like myself.

Now, surprisingly, I feel like myself all the time. That’s a major change, and a welcome one. Not only do I not feel the need to travel to understand my very existence as I once did (hence the poster accompanying this blog that I made back in my wanderlust days), I’m not sure I even worry much about trying to understand my existence. It’s more important for me just to be, to be in the here and now, to be at home.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God

Saunters With a Backpack

Part of me actually seems to think I am backpacking in the desert on the weekends (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), though what I am really doing is sauntering with a backpack and then going back to my room and collapsing. Makes me wonder: if I am fulfilling some masochistic need to wander carrying an extra twenty-five pounds, will I still want to go on a wilderness trek by myself when I take my trip to Washington state this May? I mean, if I’ve already done it, what’s the point, right?

And yet, I’ve already walked a hundred thousand miles in my life, and I still like walking, so I imagine it’s just a matter of continuing to get used to the backpack. And besides, all it takes is one little thing to get me all excited about adventuring again. (Adventuring beyond “my” desert, that is.)

And I am excited. Today I received the loveliest gift — a travel journal, but like no travel journal I have ever seen. Some of the pages are lined, of course, but some pages are blank, some have a pretty border, some are a brown kraft paper (is that redundant?), some are gridded like graph paper, and intermingled among all these different pages are glassine envelopes and storage pockets.

I tend not to use fancy books with empty pages because I like the promise the blank pages seem to make, and if I do decide to use such a book, I will write a few things then get bored with it, as with the diaries I used to get occasionally as a little girl. In fact, my travel journal for my cross country trip ended up being more of a ledger to keep track of mileage and expenses than a journal. Not a fun memento, but a valuable one for keeping track of dates repairs and maintenance were done on the car. (In my favor, I did keep up my blog, so it’s not as if all those adventures when undocumented.)

But this travel journal feel different. It seems to urge me toward adventure. And oh, what fun I will have trying to fill all the different kinds of pages! If nothing else, finding joys to fill the journal will force me to look at things in a different way. And if by chance I don’t fill the book on this spring journey, I will simply have to plan more adventures.

It will give “work in progress” a different meaning. Instead of sitting at a computer trying to finish my novel, I will have to go out and see what I can discover to add to my travel journal.

Sounds like fun.

Meantime, I have my saunters with a backpack to keep me busy


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, 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.