About ten years ago, when I was facing my true mid-life crisis, about to turn that dreaded 4-0 – I realized, I was a MOM – I’m still a mom, but at the time, it was all consuming. I was Haley’s Mom at Girl Scouts; Kayla’s Mom at soccer, Josh’s Mom at the high school. I was lost. You know how they say there is no I in TEAM, well, there isn’t one in MOM either. My whole identity was wrapped up in my kids. I love them, but I had lost myself along the way. In my late twenties and early thirties I still had myself, I was able to do some cool things, advance my career, live a little. But by the time my mid-to-late thirties came along, I was gone, totally enveloped in their schedules, their needs, their lives. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing, but you have to know when to get out of that mode, when to find yourself again, because if you are doing it right, they are going to grow up and move out, then where will you be?
Enter an author who changed my life….Rita Golden Gelman. I’ve not met Rita, I occasionally will read something about her, but she wrote a book that completely opened my eyes to the possibilities. Tales of a Female Nomad was published in 2001, I try to read it about every five years to remind myself of the possibilities of living large in the world. I followed it up with a number of other travel books, including everything by Tim Cahill – my personal favorite, and the one with the most impact was Road Fever – a hilarious narrative of a trip from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska. To top it off, I read Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding, a practical application of how to travel the world on the cheap. While all of these books describe international travel, the same can be applied to the travel I do now. Most importantly wasn’t the stories they told or the impact they made in their travels, most importantly to me was that adventure really was available. It would take a change in the way I lived, but it was completely practical. All I needed to do now was wait. My kids had to grow up first so I could go back to being just a mom, a role I still cherish.