“Commit to settle?” I frowned at the on-screen mirror image of myself, left brow raised, then shifted my gaze to the therapist who stared back, seriousness in his wide blue eyes.
For over five years, this man has been a guide and re-parent on the path to psycho-spiritual healing. From the serenity mask me, though the shadowy rage, down to the heart-melting emotional core, and finally into my innate greatness – he empowered me to take the leap into nomad life in the first place.
Not that he wasn’t impressed by my adventures: “What you’ve done, Anne, is truly amazing. But…”
I was the one to call this emergency session, prompted by the biggest pain flare-up of my scoliosis warrior life. I was the one who, after five nomad moves and beds over the last three weeks, could hardly walk, much less stand in the kitchen to prepare my granola breakfast.
Perhaps he was simply and skillfully mirroring me. "...it’s time to ground, to grow roots, find a place to settle down," he adjusted the round wire rimmed glasses on his nose.
It had been two glorious years of travel challenge and excitement, across country and back, up the coast and down.
I’ve never been one to give-in easily. Willful, Mom used to call me.
But after this latest, rough, triggering transition, from Chincoteague Island to DC – coming down from my time by the sea, biding my time ‘til the next adventure – I welcomed the therapist's nudge, which felt a bit like permission.
“You’re right.” I nodded, lips pinched together, mouth creased, showing years of grit, when I was so ready for grace.
But/and/but…Ramblin' Anne wants to know...
Have you ever felt the thrill of taking to the open road...watching the city mayhem fade in your rear view as the curvy contour of the blue-green mountains appears out your windshield?
You get that adrenaline zap right down to your toes pressed to the gas pedal – and all the crap you’ve been through – packing, moving, unpacking, reorienting, re-adapting – five different beds in in the past three weeks – oh, the aching heart, the nagging back – is magically forgotten.
Because you’re moving forward into the lush unknown.
Cruz Contraras croons “River Rolls” over the car stereo, wind billows through your hair as you merge onto I81W, and you belt-out the lyrics you know by heart, because that tune has become your nomad anthem, ever since you happened upon his band at a little roadhouse in Stanley, Idaho, strumming guitar, pulsing accordion drawing you out to the worn wood dance floor to sway with strangers.
“…been so long since I seen home, chasin’ rainbows with a guitar song…” (https://theblacklillies.com/song/river-rolls/)
Immediately, Donna Dallas comes to mind, the traveling friend at the roadhouse with you that night, just over a year ago. Your intrepid guide, Donna took you dispersed camping on the Salmon River, first time in your life – pure bliss and torture!
You pause the CD to call her on hands-free, to share the memory.
"Hey, Anne," she answers on the first ring, as though she was expecting you, voice bright like she’d forgiven you for losing your shit and crying on the climb back down from Elephant’s Perch. The rugged Sawtooths were a bit much for Caroline, especially once you both lost the trail and could not, for hours, find the river crossing and eventually had to shimmy a downed log over the roiling, boiling river, hiking shoes soaked, trudging the last four miles back to the trailhead.
That’s what happens when you go out of your comfort zone, out of mobile range, out of food and water...
You get lost and, eventually, found.
You bring home stories.
So, to settle, root, commit to settle…that’s a lot to ask a happy though questioning nomad, isn’t it?
Commit and settle are not my favorite words in English vocabulary.
Though I can commit to contemplate, to look and listen, to invoke divine guidance and see if this path leads home – or at least to a home BASE – a place where Ramblin’ Anne can rest and rejuvenate for the next adventure.
In fact, I plan to look for clues about home where I'm heading next, the the cool Carolina Blue Ridge mountains.
Please share your ideas, dear readers...
Where to you feel most at home?
What are some of the qualities of place that attract you? What are those that repel you?
What’s your dream home look and/or feel like? Are you there now?
What stops you from allowing your dream to become reality?