You may of noticed I have not been very active with my blogging lately. Frankly, there hasn’t been much inspiration. We are on a travel hiatus which does not bode well when writing a travel blog. In addition, with everything that is happening in the world, my mind is preoccupied with the news. I worry about the changing economic landscape and how that will affect our lives. I worry about our country’s future. I am constantly turning on the television hoping for some good news — but it never comes. These are scary times and I wonder if we are spiraling out of control. It would seem so. My trepidation causes me to struggle to write. It is difficult to find a clear mind. I sit in front of my keyboard and stare at a blank screen as my thoughts drift. I try to carry on and not think about these worrisome days, but that is easier said than done.
My life has fallen back to a monotonous routine. Each morning, after breakfast, I begin to work on one of the projects that continuously and unexpectedly pop up. As the family handyman and jack of all trades, I find there is no shortage of things to fix or fix up. Most, if not all, of my time is now devoted to that end. It is a full-time job and it keeps me busy all day — every day. In the evening, after dinner, I sit back in my recliner and fall asleep before going to bed. The next morning is more of the same.
To help me stay focused and on task, I created a list of things to do. I seem to get more accomplished when I work from a list. I like the feeling of scratching something off the list. The simple act of drawing a line through an item when it is done is satisfying and brings me joy. Lately however, the problem with the list is it grows faster than I can scratch things off of it. I am losing ground. At last count, there were twenty-three items on the list.
I long to hit the road again. I miss the adventure that comes from being in a new and different place. I miss the feeling of excitement and rejuvenation from our carefree meandering in the travel trailer.
Grammi and I have been considering our future camping plans. It’s not been easy. Our situation is changing. We have concluded this year will be different. We will not be going away for months at a time while traveling across the country as we have done for the past three years. Unfortunately, our plan to go up the east coast of the United States and into Canada, will be put on hold this year. We need to stay closer to home.
There are a number of reasons for this decision. First and foremost is our desire to be near our family. You may recall from my post titled A World Turned Upside Down how we had to hurry home from Wyoming when our daughter Kacie was rushed to the hospital. The events of that day, and the weeks and months afterward, were life changing and continue to weigh on our mind. The stress we felt will not soon be forgotten.
Kacie has recovered. The doctors say it is a miracle. In fact, her and her husband just recently bought a house. They have been looking for one for more than two years. It’s been tough for them because Florida, where we live, is one of the hottest housing markets in the country. Good houses at affordable prices are nearly impossible to find. The housing shortage along with the influx of people moving to this most favorable state in the country has caused a steep and steady rise in prices. The house they bought needs some work, but it is in sound condition and in a good neighborhood. They plan to take the next two or three months to fix it up before moving in. Grammi and I have promised to help them get the work done.
Additionally, our daughter Jessica and her husband Bryan have also been looking for a house. Faced with the same difficulties as her sister, they gave up trying. Instead, they bought a piece of vacant property. Their intention is to build their own house. Bryan works in the construction industry and is a very good carpenter. They recently finalized their building plans and will soon be applying for the permits. Grammi and I want to help with their endeavor as well.
Another reason for our changing family situation is probably the most challenging. It has to do with my feisty mother. She is eighty-five years old and lives next door to us. She has been living independently until this past September when it was discovered she had a blocked artery in her heart that required bypass surgery. During the weeks after the surgery, she needed full-time care. It was a difficult time and an eye-opening experience — a wake up call into what is to come.
Physically her recovery has gone as expected. She is back on her feet and she has started driving again. She goes to the grocery store and to her doctor’s appointment on her own. But she is having anxiety about us leaving. She has told me she does not want us to leave again. At this point, we are not sure how we are going to cope with the situation.
Rising fuel prices has reinforced our decision to stay close to home. The cost of fuel has more than doubled from last year. Even more concerning than the high price of fuel is the possibility of fuel shortages. I remember the gas lines from the 1970’s during an oil embargo. I remember sitting in those lines. I remember not being able to buy gas on certain days of the week. It was not fun. I do not want to be two thousand miles away from home and not able to buy fuel to get back.
Grammi and I agree that this is not a good time for us to travel far from home. There is just too much going on — too much uncertainty. That is not to say we will not be doing any camping. We will take shorter trips — both in distance and duration. We have three weeks planned for April. A few more weeks for July and the again in September and November. I will share those experiences as they occur.
Our hope is to take a long road trip again in 2023. It has been our dream to travel after retirement and that desire has not waned. We hope this year is just a temporary pause while we sort through some challenges and help our family. In the meantime, we shall pray for peace and prosperity for the world.
Until next time…Happy days and safe travels.