This year my father announced that he’s taking the GM buyout, selling the house and everything in it (not including my mother, though I had a moment of concern), buying a larger trailer, and hitting the open road.
Full timing it.
The words are enough to simultaneously strike terror and adventurous wonder into the hearts of anyone approaching retirement age. I envision myself wandering across North America, fishing for rainbows in Henry’s Fork in June and King Salmon in Alaska come September. But I also envision my bookshelf and my cozy chair in front of a fireplace on a cold November evening. Sure, some do both, but then there’s the house to take care of while you’re gone. And the &%! cats are not going with us.
Still, there’s something romantic and oh so pioneering about hitching up the team and heading west. Even if the team is a Cummings Diesel and the wagon is Mountaineer 5th-wheeler. We simply weren’t created to sit in one place during our brief stay on this planet. We’re nomadic by nature. We will forever wonder what’s over the next ridge or around the next bend in the road. I think Steinbeck was right—the pioneers cursed the Pacific because it meant that the journey was over, the destination not the fulfillment of a dream, but an ending.
I salute my parents and all those who pull up thirty years worth of roots and point their “team” towards a spot on the horizon, just to see what the dawn will illuminate. The passing of time need not mark lost opportunity of youth, as some seem to perceive. It should, instead, present us with new trails to discover and a rekindling of the spirit.