When a Traveler isn’t Traveling

In Peru, before blogging, marveling at Saqsaywaman, and my ignorance.
In Peru, before blogging, marveling at Saqsaywaman and my ignorance at all things Incan.

Inertia is much on my mind lately. For years, the idea of discarding the comforts of home and routines of work and family was daunting. I balked when Tom suggested in the 1990s we move the family to Spain. I needed some modicum of structure, and managing a household didn’t encompass rolling off a cliff. Then, six years ago, we changed direction, shoved some stuff into storage, and started on our way.

At first we moved about slowly, staying in Ecuador for nine months and Chile for three months. But since then, other than Spain and Bali and a couple visits home, we’ve rarely stayed in one place more than a week or two. Inertia was not just keeping us in motion, but pushing us, accelerating our world tour.

Meanwhile, our travel writing and photography was evolving. For a couple years, Tom and I kept our separate blogs, Andean Drift and HMS Henning. Once we realized we were going to keep on traveling and sharing our stories, we morphed Andean Drift into Travel Past 50 and found ourselves in the travel blogging business. We started to meet other bloggers and learn new facets of media and publishing.

Camino de Santiago
A tree-lined section of the Camino de Santiago, Spain

We had never defined time limits for our travels. Certainly, when we stored our remaining possessions in 2010, we didn’t expect to be paying rent six years later. (Storage, health insurance, and digital plans have been our only recurring monthly bills.) But we realized a few months ago we needed a break to assess the situation and, quite frankly, let our past travels catch up with us. We needed to digest some of what we’ve observed.

So this is what we’re doing while we’re not traveling. We are working on improving our website, organizing our photos, writing about visits we never covered or covered poorly. We want to update some of the practical advice articles, because we’ve adapted as we’ve gone. And we want to continue to learn about and build our other media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. All that falls somewhere in the realm of a business plan, and neatly into our wish to share our work and connect with others who share our interests.

We’re also working on travel plans, thinking about where we want to go, and developing partnerships and sponsorships. Finally our plans for the year are coming into focus. It looks like we’ll visit Mexico, Atlantic Canada, Asia, and either some southern U.S. states or select South American destinations in 2016.

But here’s the thing, and it’s kind of freaking me out. We’re getting a small condo (in the Twin Cities) to create our very own landing place. I cannot call it a permanent home, just a landing zone. Not without a little panic, I realize my former anxieties about travel have been replaced by anxieties about not traveling. I am used to a life without clutter and a lifestyle that can adapt in a day. We will have to deal with boxes and artifacts and files and all sorts of things I’d rather forget as we excavate storage. More will be discarded. Some stuff will be stashed in corners and under beds for later review. I already feel a little claustrophobic.

Pair Eagles
Pair of eagles, Arlington, WA, March 2010, around the time we were packing up to go.

But I’m also foreseeing (or just hallucinating) about a new balance between travel and commentary. I'm excited about recovering and rewriting stories from some of our previous travels. I’m thrilled to be visiting new places this year and feeling better prepared. And I think I might be a little more free to share the personal side of this life on the road, now that I have time every now and then to reflect on it. Our travel will undoubtedly be more deliberate. It might slow, but it won’t stop.

The more we travel the more we want to see, and the more we see, the more places we want to return to for deeper experiences. Travel is its own sort of addiction, and we succumb to alluring emotional and physical challenges, fine dining, intense education, random fun, and scenic beauty.

So, we aren’t trying to confuse our readers by posting pictures of Japan while we are, in fact, in Iowa or Minnesota. We’re just hoping to exercise our travel sensibilities wherever we are, even in our home state. We’ve got the travel habit, and thanks to your encouragement we’re ready for more.

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18 thoughts on “When a Traveler isn’t Traveling”

  1. How refreshing! It’s a good thing to let your past catch up to you and mull over experiences.
    And you have certainly had a wonderful variety of those!
    Best of luck in building your new life.
    We await your blogs describing how it all fits together.

  2. Oh, I so understand where you’re at. We have never traveled indefinitely, but the past 2 years we’ve been pretty fluid in selling our B&B, moving across country, taking an apartment for an interim year, heading off to Europe for 3 months and so on. This past summer we purchased a home sitting in the middle of 5 acres and as much as I love it, I definitely have days when I think, “What the hell are we doing?” But in those moments of doubt when I just want to get in the car and take off for the unknown, I look to my more level-headed husband for reassurance that it’s good to have a nest to come back to – in between the adventures – and building equity for the so-called golden years. While we’re home, I too am constantly working to grow our site – it’s a constant dance – but isn’t that what life’s all about?

    • Thanks, Patti. It’s always good to hear I’m not the only one who holds diametrically opposed ideas simultaneously. I love a home, I love it not. I’m sure if I saw your 5-acre plot I would be convince you have the perfect plan.

  3. This sounds like a pretty common-sense plan to me, Kristin. There was a time when I thought about full-time travel, but it is no longer calls me. I want to travel more than I am, but I also want a nest to come home to. Good luck with the re-settlement. BTW – Does this mean the Porto plans are out?

    • I’m drawing a blank on the ‘Porto plans,’ so they must be out:) We had thought when the time came that we would rent, not buy. And we considered everywhere BUT Minneapolis, especially Spain, Colorado, mountains somewhere. Lots of factors suddenly shifted, and the time, price, and place seem right. I tell myself it is all temporary.

    • For readers who might wonder, these eagles showed up at the memorial service for my brother, who died in 2010 at age 60, about 15 months after my sister passed away, also at age 60. We were thrilled to watch these eagles fly in and land, and they stuck around for quite a while keeping an eye on us.

  4. Great to hear about some of the things we DIDN’T talk about when we met this week! I look forward to more conversations and more of these reflections.

  5. Can you tell me about your medical insurance. I assume it covers you world wide. I found out that my husband and I really need it as we travel (and are older).

    • I plan to write more about insurance soon. We’ve continued our previous health insurance, and only started using travel insurance this past year. Ours is with Allianz Global Assistance, because we found an annual plan with them. That was important to us, because we didn’t want to purchase for separate trips, nor worry about length of trip.

  6. Nice article Kristin. As much as we appreciate all the travel stories and great destination advice, it is very helpful to get an insight into the lifestyle choices and personal effects of long term travel. All the best to you both and enjoy Atlantic Canada. It’s been our home for 50 years.

    • Sweet, it’s so nice to hear that you liked this essay. (More to come.) We’ll hope to hear suggestions from you when we start making plans for Canada. We’ll visit, I think, in August/September.

  7. Interesting post. I think those of us that are addicted to travel DO need the time to sit back and reflect on where we have been and where we are going.
    We have lived a nomadic lifestyle for the past two years and have traded possessions for experiences. Prior to that, once the last of our four sons had
    finished high school, we moved to Nicaragua, Central America. We lived there for six years.
    We started our blog when we left for Nicaragua and initially it was intended for family and friends but over the years has evolved and has a life of its own.
    Nice to read you!

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