Tales of a
21st Century Gypsy

May 22, 2006.
Leaving the Road

So, I’m leaving the road. Saturday, while I was at Buses by the Beach, I finally sent an email to a bunch of Vanagon folks to tell them. I wasn’t sure how to tell them, wasn’t sure they’d care – beyond Phil and Larry and maybe one or two others. And even more, I wasn’t sure what to say.

I don’t really feel sad about it. It’s time. But their reactions made me a bit sad. Made me wonder whether they feel I’m leaving them, giving up the Vanagon community. Maybe I am, I don’t know. After all, I’m there

because I happen to be full-timing, not because I have any great interest in VW vans. Will I travel in Matilda, or go to Vanagon events, if I’m not full-timing? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll become one of those folks who takes weekend trips. Of course I won’t have a job, so I could take trips during the week, too.

Some folks I met at Buses by the Beach said they’d been following my travels, living vicariously through me. I’m an inspiration to them, doing what they’d like to do. It’s strange to me. Yet if that’s not on some level what I want, why have I kept the blog going for more than two years? Am I an exhibitionist, a show-off? After all, if I were writing just for myself there’d be no need to put it all on the web. Larry has been quite up front about living in part for his public, seeking to inspire them and enjoying

their interest in his way of life. I’m pleased that people enjoy my writing and photos, and I won’t deny that I get a kick out of their being impressed by my lifestyle. I’m also disturbed that so many women would be afraid to do this, and that so many men feel this isn’t really safe for a woman. In that way, the content of their response is unfortunate.

And in a different response, I feel this all has nothing to do with them. The motivations behind my decisions have nothing to do with what they see of my life, especially the reasons why I’m reaching the end of the road. “Lightness of being” – that’s one goal of living on the road. Not being anchored, especially by stuff and material wants – but also by people, community, obligations. I’d only heard that term in Milan Kundera’s book, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Why unbearable? But I saw it again in The Life of Pi, when he referred to the “lightness of being” of the zoo animals, who only need themselves to travel – no concerns about housing, clothes, furniture, materials goods, making contacts here or there. Is that liberating or empty? As my sister replied when asked whether she wanted a boy or a girl, yes.

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