On the Road YET Again…

travel jetMore travel has been added to my summer schedule, because the Aged P’s need the company. As most of you will recall, the Aged P’s live in San Diego, while my home is in Western Maryland. This is not a summer camp I’m jumping up and down to attend, because before I even board the plane, I’m homesick. What will I miss?

travel marylandMy property. This is a big one, because it encompasses memories of walks with my daughter when she was small, the sight of my horses munching grass across the stream, many hours of planting flowers, and a lot of cups of tea on the porch while the country breezes blew my cares away and the trees and mountains assured me, “This too shall pass.”

I love this place. I raised my kid here, wrote dozens of books here, baked a lot of bread, burned a lot of wood. This is home, and I will miss it.

travel stargazersMy cats. They each have a story, a personality, a way to add something to my life that’s unique. Most of them have been with me for more than ten years, and their company is dear to me. I also love the wildlife here. In the past week, in my yard, I’ve seen a fox, skunks, raccoons, possums, rabbits, squirrels, lightning bugs, and much more.

The greenery, not only in my yard, but this part of the country. Things grow here, they have room to grow and all the sunlight, water and nutrients they need to grow. I get a sense of safety from that. This environment is well suited to supporting human life. Southern California has been overburdened with human life. It has not enough water, for starters, and without water… how can any sane person feel safe?

travel foxMy friends. I lack a wide circle of friends, but the few I have are wonderful. We get together as often as busy schedules allow, and a couple hours at Panera or the sandwich shop is enough to get my mental and emotional engines retuned and full of compression. Yes, new sights and new faces can have a salutary impact, but I’ll miss these faces, and these hugs.

My treadmill desk—silly, right? Not to me. I put that sucker together, and it sits in my line of sight while I write, an invitation to beat the sitting disease that afflicts too many writers. I can “exercise” in my jammies, while playing free cell, and swilling tea. How captive_295w-274x450cool is that? No threat of melanoma, no cars, no fumes, no strangers who expect me to step off the curb because they’re jogging and I’m only toddling. I will miss a rare opportunity to exercise that suited me.

Change is good for us. We meet new challenges, make new connections, learn and grow when we’re dropped into new environments. I’m glad to HAVE parents to visit, but I will be really, really glad when I can once again turn my sights for home.

If you had to leave home right now, with no assurances about when you’d return, what or who would you miss most? To one commenter, I’ll send a signed ARC of The Captive.


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45 comments on “On the Road YET Again…

  1. People: I’d miss my Dad (my next door neighbor), my friends, and my utterly wonderful and adorable nephews.

    I’d also miss quiet walks in the neighborhood on Sunday mornings — as well as being able to walk to almost all of my errands. I’d miss my bed (even with its canyon down the middle) and my big blue arm chair, and I’d miss the silence and serenity I’m usually able to find in my wee place.

    I’d probably also miss my large tea stash and my collection of fictional friends wrapped up in paperback, but I hope I’d have the wit to grab a few of those before heading off!

  2. Grace,

    My view of nature is experienced from 22 stories in the air. Instead of trees, I see mountains of glass and steel soaring up to kiss the sky. The twinkling of lights on those mountains at night is mesmerizing.

    From home, I watch birds fly past and occasionally perch on a nearby rooftop or better yet just outside my balcony door. It is a door that lets in cool Spring breezes that lull me to sleep each night until Summer humidity forces me to turn on the air conditioning or Fall air crispness promps the heater to be engaged.

    My home’s Southern exposure allows bright sunlight to pour through nearly floor-to-ceiling windows. And In those windows sit mahogany bookcases topped with a condo garden of yellow, white and purple orchids and potted greenery.

    From my windows, a hard left view reveals the shining blue waters of Lake Michigan and the sandy beach that lines the shore. My view to the right unveils a vista that is illuminated by gorgeous bright red, orange and pink sunsets year round.

    This is what I miss when I travel from home. My own personal castle in the sky.

    • There’s a type of person to whom a view of water is a strong tonic. My parents are like that. Their view of the Pacific is how they know they’re home.

      I, alas, am not that sort of person.

  3. Funny you should mention traveling somewhere you want to go while missing home. I am currently in VA (Alexandria) visiting Darling Daughter #1. I so look forward to my June visit, but when it comes time to actually plan to and leave my home, with it’s unfinished fix up projects and my beloved pets, I get extreme cold feet.

    My one dog Tuttle (age unknown) had been failing for some time. Trouble walking & getting up and down, fussy eating, dodging medication, having accidents. The new pet sitter looked so alarmed at the idea of being left with him that I started to worry she would be stuck with a crisis while I was on the other side of the country… as if to push the decision, Tut stopped eating much and no amount of coaxing and treats would entice him. I ended up escorting him to the Rainbow Bridge Thursday evening with our beloved Vet for support. I cried non-stop for 2 days and clung to my other dog Monty (who was a very good sport about it).

    Friday I almost missed my flight but I am now in VA. The weather is superior in every way, I love my daughter and enjoy her company… I look forward to sleeping in the company of purring kitties walking with Monty (Phoenix heat permitting) and reading in my favorite chair.

    • Oh, GAWD, what a hard way to prepare for travel. You did the right thing, though. I’ve known folks who can’t read the writing on the dog door, and some poor pet endures dehydration (very painful), heroic veterinary measures, expensive meds… It’s almost as if we get more upset about a pet’s death than the pet does.

      I’m glad you made the trip, glad your daughter got some mom time. That’s important too!

  4. That sounds suspiciously like you’ll be away from home for possibly a long time. I confess that I felt homesick for you just reading your post. Wish you all the best. Hang in there.

    • Bonnie, I tell myself nobody lives forever and my parents won’t be around much longer to SPEND time with, then I hear Sister Mary Nursing Home warning my sister and me that more and more people are living past 100.

      THAT’s a long time! If I loved where my parents live, I might be more eager to relocate there, but I do not love it. I plain loathe the place, and it has only gotten worse over time. Not a good fit for me.

      But San Diego is a good place to be very old, so I can be grateful for that.

  5. I would miss my family. ALL of it. from children and grandbabies to inlaws. My husband would have to go with me. And I would miss my garden. I love your books, by the way.

  6. I’d miss sitting on my front porch. So many memories : waiting for Jenny get off the school bus and running home to see me, watching the corgis play tag, Fourth of July fireworks, listening to thunder and lightening and waiting for the rainbow to appear.
    My porch is my favorite place. I am sitting in my favorite chair with my older corgi Irish. She is sleeping as I write. Bliss for both of us.
    I will keep you and your parents in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Same with my porch steps. I sit out there listening to the stream, watching lightening bugs, visiting with the skunk who snacks on the dry cat food…

      Peace. Good to know it waits for me when I return.

  7. My Maxwell…maybe I’ll just take him with me. He’s a calm, quiet puppy. Yeah, I’ll just take him with me. He can be my carry on.

    My love, my parents, my gym family (because we are as tight knit as a family). When I go to long with out seeing all of these people it depresses me. I need them all.

    As for things? My pillow and my bed. I never sleep as well anywhere else. Even when the accommodations are wonderful and comfortable, I’m always happier with my own.

    I’m so thankful that you are in a position to be able to spend that undefined amount of time with your parents. As much as my father hated for me to say it, part of the reason I moved back home was so that I’ll be closer as my parents age. Though if family history and current activity levels are an indicator, we’ve got plenty of time. 🙂

    • I’d miss the crew at the courthouse, and I have a quiet old puppy, too. Sarge has been fostering out for the past two months, and that’s two months too long. Life gets complicated when you’re away from home too much.

      Dad’s lucky to have you.

  8. I would miss my home and my computer. I love just having someplace to call my own, where I can do anything I want and there’s no one to tell me different. Having to borrow someone else’s computer is really hard for me too. Mine has all my bookmarks and other stuff. 😀

    • I’m typing on my ten-year-old, seven-pound Gateway, with which I hope never to part. If nothing, else I want no parts of Windows 8, nor of the new version of Word.

      I know what I like and I like what I know.

  9. Safe travels. Don’t forget to exercise. And write.

    Your question on another day would be hard to answer but today it is easy. My cat (Dragon) passed away this morning so I can safely say that I would miss his sister Isabelle the most. As I write this she is sleeping in the last of the sunbeams.

    • Kathy, I am so sorry for you loss. He got you through this year, then went on the big summer vacation. You and Isabelle will get each other through this, but recall too, there are shelters full of kitties who need a loving home.

  10. I was recently “downsized” and contemplated a move from Ohio to Florida for a new job. I just couldn’t do it. I would have missed my family (my aging Ps) and my twin sister; I would have been devastated to leave my Lake (Erie)…how would I know which way is North? The lake is my compass.

    • Florida will be there, but family is precious. Both times when my job disappeared out from under me, no matter who scared and angry and bewildered I was, better things were in store. MUCH better things.

  11. I would miss my family most. I still live in my hometown with all immediate family nearby. Then there is my cat, she has been with me for 10 years and is my first “child”. I would miss my friends and co-workers that I see everyday. I like to take trips, but there is no place like home.

  12. About me: I’d miss all those connections that colour my life – family, friends, memories and just the rhythms of my life at home. I’ve travelled a little, and while I’m grateful for those experiences I’ve always felt the the pull from home while I’ve been away.

    About you: Really feeling for you at the moment, Grace, and for the “joyful burden” of taking time to be with your elderly parents. I haven’t had to leave my home to care for my mother and in-laws but I still teeter between gratefulness and resentment. Good wishes and a prayer going your way.

  13. I’d miss any family members not able to travel with me: my husband and children – even though they will both be off at college come fall, I might miss out on any visits if I were gone long enough — I would also miss my in-laws.

    I would miss my friends. I’d miss my cats and dog.

    After having company/family from out of state visiting for the last week I can honestly say the main non living thing I’d miss most of all is having a space to retreat to that is mine so that I can relax.

  14. I did have to pack up and leave last year with 2 hours notice from my family, my house and my life, with no way of knowing how long I would be gone… I missed the safety of my family and my routine. But if I had to pick one beyond family it would be my kitchen. I love to cook and when you ar thrown 2/3 across country all I wanted was my cooking, my ingredients and my kitchen! The safety of what I call comfy.

  15. Family, friends, pets, and possessions – in that order. Sounds like you are beginning a difficult but important journey. I wish you “all the best.”

  16. I love traveling. Give me 30 minutes to pack and I’m ready to go. I am going to Atlanta on Friday to see a girlfriend I haven’t seen in a year. I’ll only be there a couple of days, I guess it would be different if it was an extended stay.

  17. My cats. One just can’t leave them. I do have a friend that will come occasionally to feed them but they miss me even when I have a busy day away from home and my ferals need special care. They need fed at least once a day because my other wildlife (huge raccoons for one) eat everything at night. Luckily, we don’t go away very often although I always did love traveling.

  18. I would worry about my photo albums. I know this might sound strange, but I lost my home to a fire in 2011, and the loss of many of my family photos still smarts. The Houston Fire Department did an amazing job of pulling some photos off the walls in my hallway, but the albums stored on the shelf of my coffee table………….gone.

  19. I am in the opposite position. Ever since Fave Nephie was in the hospital several weeks ago, I have been contemplating this very thing. I keep thinking about what I’m missing by staying where I am.

    Dearest Sister is pregnant with Baby #2 and Fave Nephie is nearing one year old. While DS has her husband’s family nearby and they are a help, it is not the same as having your own family with you. I understand this and I think she is starting to understand the need for having us there as well.

    The more I miss them, the more I am tempted to quit my job, sell my house and move to New York to be with them.

    I would miss my parents, but my Father is retired and Mother is contemplating that status within the next year. They will be spending greater amounts of time in New York with their Grandchildren and I would see them there.

    I’d miss my friends, but over the years my closest friends have moved off to various parts to raise families of their own. Yet regardless of distance, we still keep in touch, visit and take trips to see each other, distance be damned! And, thanks to social media, we are able to keep tabs on each other more so than before.

    I suppose I would miss the house I grew up in, but with both Parents retiring, they will be downsizing and selling the house and it will no longer be OUR house.

    I’d miss my friends in the writer community that have been such a help to me this past year while I get my “writing legs” back. The encouragement and support they provide is PRICELESS. But, again with social media and conferences, we will meet again.

    What would I miss if I stay? Being active in the lives of Fave Nephie and Baby #2. The thought of them growing up with me as a stranger breaks my heart.

  20. I would miss my husband and my daughter. And probably her boyfriend. My desk, which is organized JUST the way I like it. My breezeway, where I can relax and enjoy the outdoors, even when it’s raining. My puppy (who is 13, and on his last legs). And my bed. I have a terrible time sleeping elsewhere. If I were traveling indefinitely, I’d pack a ridiculous amount of computer stuff. As you said, I like what I know.:)

  21. Oh I would totally miss my garden most of all… I am actually missing my garden right now. I had new grass put in and I can’t actually go close enough to the roses to take pictures…
    not that I don’t have pics of my roses!!!

    • oops… I totally forgot my beloved Diamond… my yorkie … I was assuming I was going to take her with me. I don’t know if I could not take her with me… she is so important to me… my family actually needs a vacation from me…

  22. The sense of home.

    That was an interesting question. Thinking it over, when I left for college was one big leave, because while I was away, my family moved to a new house, and I did not know about the move until my brother came to bring me home from college. To a new house that wasn’t the house I’d lived in since I was 7. And my dog was at the old house. My brother thought he was teasing me when he told me that no one was taking care of the dog, but I started crying. It turned out that he was still living there and taking care of things – including my old dog, but I’ll never forget that moment. He didn’t stop by my old home, and I never saw my dog again. He died while I was away.

    Well, that was an uplifting story. Home can be people, too, and although I never put down roots for the new house, my home was my mother and sister. Now I have a family of my own, and a home, but truthfully, I will always miss my first home, and how we were as a family there. I’d love to go home for Christmas.

    I hope you enjoy your time with your parents.

  23. I love all your stories Grace! I’m homeless in S.F.,CA so I need all the positive fun I can get, and reading is one of my favorite passions in life. I have a weakness for romance especially historical romance, and I have long been a fan of yours. I just wanted to say that thank you for providing me so many wonderful romantic stories to keep me going, when days can be tough out here for a woman. I get my books from the library, and it’s a blessing for me.