A Shift From Vagabonds to “Quasi-Vagabonds” ?

If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know that two and a half years ago we decided to sell our house and “ride the rails” as vagabonds for a while.  We spent the summers on our boat (Emeritus) on Chesapeake Bay, as we have for many years, but also started traveling much of the rest of the year.  We embarked on that adventure knowing that one day we would either (a) have a health issue that limited our lifestyle, or (b) simply decide to become “dirt-dwellers” again and settle into another house somewhere warm.  Well, the time has come.  I’m happy to report, though, that it’s “b” and not “a” that is sparking the end of an era.  Just like Bilbo Baggins returning to The Shire (sans pot-of-gold), we want to feel more settled.  While we will be dirt-dwellers once again, we have no intention of giving up our international travel.  Travel is food for the soul and has broadened our outlook and understanding of foreign cultures.  We have had some remarkable trips, met genuinely wonderful people, and experienced cultures that showcased incredible wealth along side heart-breaking poverty.  Our lives have been touched in ways that spending all our time in the USA could never accomplish and we yearn for more.

Other than our brief trip to Iceland in early November (see the series of posts for November 2016), this year’s travels have been limited to the USA as we spent some quiet time in Florida over the winter.  Hunkering down in a small rural community hasn’t given me much to write about.  We usually prefer heading farther south to the warmer climate of Central America where the people and culture provide fodder for plenty of interesting tales.  But with the purchase of a new camper this year (our first), we thought we’d put it to use and give it a try in Florida for the winter months.  It was a good decision for this year but not as interesting as international travel.  We’ll be off to Costa Rica for two months next winter and, tentatively, plan to head to Munich, Germany just before Christmas this year to see the Kris Kindl Markt that Heide’s mother so fondly recalled as a child growing up in Munich before and during World War II.  A return to Iceland is also in the cards as we have yet to spot the elves that Icelanders claim live there and I plan to tap my own Guiness at the brewery in Dublin before the year is out.  Since we won’t be on the Bay next summer, exploring the great cities of Europe will be our goal.

Heide and I have both felt the tug of our nesting instinct (no, there are no little Melnicks on the way) and the desire to put down some roots.  We have decided to modify, not eliminate, our vagabonding.  While we have thoroughly enjoyed the past 2 1/2 years of being footloose and fancy free, not having a permanent home has started to wear on us both.  Try as I might, a piano just doesn’t fit into a boat or backpack and I miss playing it once in a while.  More importantly, we miss family by being away for such long stretches of time and especially our 9-year old grandson who is growing all too fast.  We only get one chance to be part of his life while he’s young and we hope to seize the day (carpe diem) while he’s still at an age that hanging out with the grandparents is still cool.  

So we’ve decided to again become dirt-dwellers and have found a home in Northern Virginia that puts us within short walking distance of our son, daughter-in-law, and grandson (Mark, Eileen, and Thomas).  We are also within walking distance of the elementary school Thomas attends.  So options abound to be more apart of the family life we have been missing.  The community pool, clubhouse, fitness center, etc. are but a block away.  We still plan to travel to warmer climates (Florida or Central America) in the winter months, but most of the year we’ll be somewhat more settled.  The travel itch still needs to be scratched.

After more than 40 years of boating, 30+ years on Chespeake Bay, 18 years at the same marina, and with mixed feelings, we are putting our boat (Emeritus) up for sale.  We will miss the many friends we’ve made in the boating world but are confident that close friendships will endure.  Spending the warmer months (spring, summer, fall) right up the street from the kiddies is a priority sprinkled with a little summer travel to boot.  Dulles International Airport is only a 10 minute drive from us and is now our gateway to the world.