We’ve been on the road now for close to two months. Last fall, after one month of constant travel in central and northern Portugal we wondered, will more than a month feel too long? Will we get tired of it and just want some familiarity and some time at home?
Our original plan for the Traveling Ridleys (before we had a name for it) was to sell everything, pack up a few bags and hit the road for a (very) extended period of time. Months became a year. A year became several. That was before we figured out our plans wouldn’t work due to visa requirements. We adapted and modified and figured out a way to do extended travel within Europe and still maintain a home base in the USA and stay within our budget. We are very fortunate and there is not a day that goes by that we don’t think it. We also feel guilty as we watch the news of the horrific atrocities in Ukraine and displacement of so many there. We feel like our charitable contributions aren’t enough and feel a need to do more after this round of reservations and plans have expired. I’m not sure what that will look like, yet.
But back to the original point…. more than once, I’ve thought what if COVID had hit and locked down the world and we had nowhere to return. Was it good luck or practicality or God’s will or what that intervened and left us in a place we could stay during the worst days of the pandemic? Sure, we could have stayed with family or friends, but for more than a year? No. Being a total nomad during a global pandemic would not have been a good place to be.
But now that we are quasi-nomadic again and things in Italy feel relatively pre-COVID normal (masks are still required indoors and green passes are checked, though much more sporadically now than a few weeks ago but as we’ve written previously none of that bothers us, in fact, we kind of prefer the sense of, perhaps false, security both provide) the question we were asked yesterday by our Portuguese teacher and have been asked by some friends and family members was: “are you homesick?”. I can honestly say, no. It’s not that we don’t miss our people or Portugal or Colorado. But, maybe it’s all that we check out each day, even on the slow ones when we just watch the people. Maybe it’s the privilege we feel to be able to do this: to travel, to write about our experiences and, hopefully, provide someone some tips on when they visit a place we’ve been. The blog is for others, but mostly for us. A way to look back and remember. Look at a photo or read something that I thought was super witty (which probably wasn’t) months, years or decades from now (we hope). I guess because we are together, we feel at home were we are, wherever we are.
It is hard to know what the future brings. I see on Facebook people who have fallen ill or talk to a friend who has to have a procedure and think: “yup, this is why we are out there”. Because you never know what’s coming down the line. And I feel so glad and fortunate that we are able to be out here, exploring, again.