Breaking out

I love my home, I truly do, but I’ve found the need to break out of it.

Our current house is the one abode I’ve actually lived in the longest time of my life. My family lived in two different houses when I was growing up, but the longest period of time I lived in one of those was from age seven to the time I went to college.

Papa and I have lived in several houses in different locations over our 40+ years of marriage but this structure situated on our country acreage is the place we now call home. And I’m most grateful for it. I’m content living here. This place gives me peace.

But…even I, a person who loves her home and doesn’t mind being at home, have grown weary of just that – being home.

Being socially and physically isolated and having to follow sheltering in place edicts that have been forced upon us by government officials determining it was to flatten the curve of the covid-19 pandemic, to protect us from widespread outbreaks, to eliminate overwhelming hospitals, etc. has been difficult to say the least.

We are a mobile society. We are accustomed to going where we please, when we want, and for how long we want. That’s one of our freedoms that perhaps we take for granted and have been duly reminded of during this time.

However, I’m not writing this to discuss the pros and cons of everything that has transpired in the last few months. You have your opinion and I have mine and let’s leave it at that. The real reason I’m expressing this is because basically, I’ve become antsy from staying at home for so much of the time.

Oh, I get out a bit. Of course, since we live in the country, I can go outside of my house for as long as I want and weather permits without meeting another soul. Also a friend and I go walking for exercise and sanity a few times a week in an area where we encounter only a couple people here and there.

Papa and I have ventured out for take-out food occasionally. And since our state governor finally opened up our county (even though we had very few covid cases, we were locked down until he moved us to a “green phase,”) we’ve stopped grocery store deliveries to our front porch and one of us, all masked up like a burglar, treks to the market.

We’ve also taken little jaunts in the car just around our neck of the woods along country roads, just driving for the sake of it and getting out of the house. All we encountered on those outings were other cars, some wildlife here and there, and scenery but not any interaction with other human beings, be they friend, family, or stranger.

We’ve Face-timed our grown kids, chatted on the phone, and I’ve led a Bible study via video conferencing for some ladies from my church, but both Papa and I have yearned to just get out and about, seeing different sights and people, taking a road trip, and simply traveling with a destination in mind, Those aspects are just some of the ways we’ve enjoyed retirement and now it’s something we truly miss doing.

So, covid-19 or no covid-19, we decided to change that, mostly because both Papa and I refuse to live our lives in fear. This week, I’m going to take you, my readers, along for a ride or two to spots we ventured to visit. No worries though, we practiced social distancing when it was necessary and yes, we cared enough about other folks that we wore a mask when we landed in public places.

We traveled to spend an entire weekend at our son and daughter-in-law’s home (several hours away and in the state next door). In fact, every member of our family, which included us, our grown kids and their spouses, and our three little grandchildren, gathered together for the weekend there, the first we’ve all been together since Christmas.

It proved to be a joyful reunion and watching our three little ones play together just made us so darn happy. What a world of good it did for us as we enjoyed fun and fellowship with our family, delicious food, and plenty of relaxation outside on son and daughter-in-law’s back yard patio.

It was just the prescription needed for Papa’s and my bit of melancholy over social isolating and to put aside any smidgen of fear that keeps permeating the news and air waves and threatening to engulf us.

Tomorrow, I’ll share our next little journey busting out of our sheltering in place “prison.”

“We generate fears while we sit. We overcome them by action.” — Dr. Henry Link


Vacationing in October

blogIMG_9328Time changes things.

When our home was full of children, Papa and I only took our family vacations during the summer months when school was not in session. Both of us were raised to believe that the only reason you missed a day of school was because you were ill.

So we just didn’t think it was the best idea to take our three out of their classrooms for a week of vacation because they would miss so much and then have a lot of catching up to do.

Occasionally, we would take a trip during their spring break, but the majority of our family excursions for fun, relaxation, and sightseeing happened during the summer season. That continued during our children’s college years as well.

But things changed as time progressed and our offspring graduated from college, moved out of our family home, and set off into the world launching their careers and own ways of life.  As our nest emptied out, one by one, Papa and I realized we were free to do as we pleased.

And if we wanted to travel any time of the year, we certainly could do so. After our last fledgling flew out of the nest, Papa and I decided to take a trip down south in the fall. Our first non-summer trip as empty nesters.   

We traveled through several states, stopping along the way when some site piqued our interest as we made our way to Alabama to visit our oldest daughter who was living and working there at the time.

At every stop we made, we marveled at the lack of crowds. Families with school-aged children were non-existent at the points of interest we visited since school was in session. We found that we could take our time absorbing the sights and not feel rushed because tourists were not abundant at each place we stopped. 

What a new and great experience it was and we truly enjoyed our trip and the time we had together – just the two of us – like those days in our married life before children came along.

We had discovered a great perk to entering into that empty nest phase of life.

Since then, we’ve ventured on several trips during the ‘off-season’ of vacation time. We realized how pleasant it is to travel in the less busy seasons of fall, winter, or late spring before schools let out for the summer.  

And now that I am retired and Papa is semi-retired, we can pick up and take off on a journey whenever we darn well please.

Staying true to our discovery, we recently returned from an October vacation and it was glorious. Of course, since autumn is my very favorite time of year, I basked in the cooler weather and amazing fall foliage we encountered on our trip to Michigan, especially the Upper Peninsula.

And I checked one more state off my bucket list of visiting all 50 states in this great country of mine. (Ten more to go.)

I plan to share my thoughts, photos, and experiences from our trip in the next several posts.

Won’t you pack your virtual suitcase and come along for the trip?

“Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.” ~ Francis Bacon