I recently renewed my passport. No, I don’t plan to go anywhere. Going places is expensive. I just like believing that I could go somewhere. The next ten years will likely be lived very close to home. I can live with that, because I know that the past ten years have gone by so quickly, and because I know that ten years from now anything will be possible.
My passport expires approximately at the same time as my youngest should finish high school. This passport is just a place holder. The next one is gonna get stamped like crazy. In ten years I’ll be able to go anywhere, do anything. If I don’t have kids to take care of I don’t need a house. I certainly don’t need a four-and-two on a half acre in the suburbs. I can say goodbye to the mortgage, the homeowner’s insurance, the property tax, code enforcement, the utility bills, and the constant upkeep. I certainly won’t have to worry about getting a house sitter then.
In ten years I can take interesting fellowships and residencies available for writers. I could live in Jack Kerouac’s house for a year. I could plan a road trip based on which cities have couches I can crash on. Of course, I’ll have to become a better driver to take a cross-country road trip alone. Though who knows, maybe I won’t take it alone. It doesn’t have to be in exactly ten years, Kelly and I started a road trip in 1997. Counting California (where we started and ended) and the province of British Columbia, we only visited five “states.” Maybe we’ll finish the trip from west to east and back again, when her youngest is grown. Maybe my grown children will be free to wander with me on their summer breaks. Anything will be possible.
Maybe I’ll join the Peace Corps. Maybe I’ll throw a dart at a map and move to whatever city it lands on for a year or two. Maybe I’ll get an RV and be a camp host somewhere beautiful for the summer. The 2020s are gonna be an adventure and a half, a decade on the go. This is the promise I make to myself again and again, whenever this house begins to feel too much like a cage. I don’t have to be grounded forever, only ten more years. In ten years I can be a nomad.
Maybe I’ll want to be rooted again when that passport expires in 2030, or the next one in 2040. Maybe I’ll have been there and done that to such a degree that I won’t even bother to renew. At some point I’ll feel ready to come home to southern California and plant a garden again, just not in the 2020s. Oh please, let me be rootless for at least that one decade.
Until then, I will work on being a better writer, in the hopes that it can be a portable income in my future. I will work to keep up the strength and stamina necessary to really enjoy hiking with a full pack. Maybe I’ll collect stamps in my National Park Passport too. More than anything I will spend this decade raising and enjoying my children.
It will be 2020, soon enough. Whatever that decade may bring, the adventures and the troubles will be completely different. Everything I have now is so fleeting. I can’t help but find that incredibly exciting. Bring it on!
I got my passport in 1998. I never used it.
Now, I am planning a trip, my first trip abroad. We are talking about setting the money aside, and I am so terribly excited that I will be with someone I love when i go. I am going to order a new passport before the year is out, so that I can have that same ten year expiration, that same roundness.
I’ll le tyou know where I am in 2020. Maybe we can meet up and sip fruity drinks somewhere.