Michael's Mom asked him a question not too long ago. She asked him "what do you want to get out of this?" It was a thought provoking question for me. Clarity on my intentions, desires and beliefs is always a good task. For many years I have been listening to friends and family's tales of their travels abroad. Longingly awaiting the day I get to go somewhere exotic and different. Although I have done and seen much here in the U.S. I have not yet left the country. Aside from visiting another country, it has always been a dream of mine to take Xylia and live in out of the U.S. for a year, to experience and live within another culture. Being a single mom for so many years, I never let go of my dream... it just felt bigger than me. Now, with our family complete, all the pieces together and the timing is just right, we can make it happen.
So here's what I want to get out of this:
1. To give Xylia the experience of travel and living abroad. Give her exposure to another way of living, culture, languages, food, work and family. I feel like it is now or never. She will have just turned 15 when we leave, and raising my daughter in Orange County was never the plan, it just happened that way. 9th grade feels like a good time to be taken out of your element...just when you think you know what's "cool", or important. She'll have a complete change of perspective while we are gone. A year off texting and facebook will do us all good!
2. To change up the routine, to stretch and be stretched by living and experiencing new things daily. To shake it up. I don't want to be "fat and happy", or stagnant, or complacent. If this is the best place to live, then I want to be grateful for it. I hear it over and over... not enough Americans leave the county to travel. Not this American anymore.
3. To learn another language. Yes, this one is on the bucket list too, and although I can very well take classes here, there always seems to something in the way. Immersion is my learning tool of choice.
4. To indulge in my farming and permaculture fantasies. I have long, long been interested in this concept. Permaculture is a big world...and word. It can mean many different things, and relate to different things. We do our best here and now at home. We actively recycle, cook 90% of our meals, grow a lot of our own food, bake bread, jam etc. commute on our bikes often. However, trapped in this sub-urban culture I have a hard time exploring & realizing more. To be WWOOFing for a year feels like a great opportunity to "try on" this lifestyle. Will it be something I will be ready to walk away from in the end? Or will I find even more inspiration, and now have some experience to move forward with it?
5. To let go of materialism, consumerism, and live lightly. When all you own fits into a backpack there is no room for frivolous spending, or useless items. Not that I think I spend a lot now, cause I don't, I just think this is always a good thing to practice.... yet very challenging in our consumer society.
Sure part of me likes the idea of running away. And lately some days, the departure date can't come soon enough.
I am thrilled because I know this will be a life changing year for me, for all of us. What I want in life, and what I hold important has the potential to be changed... and I guess that's just it. I am opening to the change, inviting it.
Now on to the big decisions, like what vaccinations to get, and what boots to buy?