When I was little I would lay in the grass and look at the clouds. Unlike my friends, I didn’t see animals, I saw maps. The sky was the ocean and the cloud became the shoreline of a great country. Rivers made their way into the landmass, lagoons constantly changed shape as the wind re-drew the borders. Lakes appeared and disappeared as holes opened and closed.
I made up stories about the people who lived there, what they wore and ate and how they made a living. I created governments in my mind that ruled over my sky world. And I so wanted to go there.
Maps have always been a personal passion of mine. Every month when the new National Geographic came in the mail, I wanted the map. No matter what it was, that map was my road to exploration. When I found out that there was an actual job called cartography I was thrilled. Even though I never pursued it, I have always said that it was my dream job.
My family have always been travelers. During summer vacations we journeyed far and wide throughout the county. California, Michigan, Colorado, Florida. I’ve been to Boston, seen New York City, and practiced French in Montreal. The rest of the year we did Sunday drives. We’d pile into the car and dad would take off into the countryside. Sometimes we would get “lost” cause he wanted to see where that road went, or what was on the other side of that bridge. I have the same yearning.
All this was before I married. Then my travelling stopped. No time, no money, kids too little, first husband was in school, second husband didn’t want to. But when the spring breezes blew, and the cloud maps beckoned I would get that old feeling that I should be going somewhere. Then my husband got sick. Then he died. And I didn’t have the resources to go on my own.
So I told myself that once I retired, I could go. And I decided to leave the workforce at 62. Because, wanderlust.
I’m going to take my retirement money and buy a travel trailer and a SUV. Sell everything in my apartment and quit the lease. Climb into the car and take off down the road.
I’ll be wandering through retirement. Living on Social Security and a dream.