Slow Travels: The Art of Voluntary Homelessness

by Sean M. Madden – ( Feb 24, 2013

Tell someone you’re living in Spain and a whole world is conjured.
Mention to them that you spent the summer in France – traveling like treacle from Lille to Paris to Fontainebleau, spending two months in a quiet, riverside campsite just upstream from Vichy and a week amidst the château-crested vineyards of Monbazillac.
After frittering late August exploring the villages along the banks of the Dordogne, you made your way to Burgos, the ancient capital of Castile — where you now spend your days writing, taking photographs and tutoring a handful of students between siesta and tapas.
The listener is apt to swoon and begin to question his own daily routine as a tinge of envy takes seed.
This is the life which mi mujer, Mufidah, and I have lived since leaving behind our quite comfortable life in Lewes – the county town of East Sussex, just eight miles from Brighton – to go a-traveling last May.
As we’re in our mid-forties, folk we meet begin to tell us how fortunate and free we must feel given our lack of children, and how nice to have the financial independence to have picked up sticks and gone traveling, with no end in sight, no gut-sinking counting down of one’s remaining vacation days, and no job whatsoever to return to.
But you can see a sort of inner jolt when we interrupt the program to tell them that we do have children, one daughter each, both in their early twenties and living independently on either coast of the United States.
Another jolt comes when they learn that we didn’t, in fact, own the High Street apartment we gave up to go on the road, and that while it was, indeed, a beautiful home, it was rented and paid for by the skin of our teeth and a great deal of self-employed imagination and round-the-clock work.
And, no, we hadn’t a nest egg nor a trust fund to either of our names.
You can then witness the slightly pained expression cross their face as they struggle to make sense of it all.


Continues …

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.