I’m entirely too practical to run away from home. When I was a kid, I thought about it from time to time—any house where alcohol-fueled rages are a regular occurrence is a good place to consider leaving— and I remember joking with my mom about leaving for Australia on many occasions. But even as a kid, I was a realist, and knew I couldn’t survive on my own. Better to stay put and cope with the situation at hand the best I could.
Still, I did dream of Australia. It was very far away, farther even than Japan, which was the farthest away place anyone in our family had ever gone. They spoke English there, and were friendly, both of which made it more appealing than China or Russia, other far away places I’d heard of. Also, Australia had koala bears and kangaroos, two cute animals I usually had on my list when I’d play that “I’m going on a trip and I’m taking….” game. Having a “K” name sucked for that game—a king, a key, a kite, a kumquat, a koala, and a kangaroo were my constant companions. At least I wasn’t named Xena; I would have been just me and a xylophone and a Xerox machine.
These days, I don’t want to run away from home. I like it here. It’s not always peaceful, true, but I don’t fear for my physical or emotional safety. I don’t need to leave where I’m at to build something better, because more of my world is in my control. More often as grown-up, I’ve wanted to run away from work, where my influence on the environment is much less than in my own home. My job now doesn’t inspire the same flight fantasies as some of my earlier ones did, fortunately. Regular vacations take care of my need to recharge, especially now that Mr. Karen and I have gotten smarter about it and no longer over schedule ourselves. Sure, we do still take trips where we sleep in a different place every night, but we don’t also pack the days in between full of things to see and stuff we have to do. I hope we can keep traveling together, that money or health or some other difficulty doesn’t prevent us from seeing new places and revisiting old favorites. I’d still like to go to Australia someday, and New Zealand, and Hawaii, but I know I’ll also want to come back.
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