So, I spent the evening parked in our oversized armchair watching a travel documentary series about islands in the UK, and knitting an advent calendar. THIS? Is my idea of a good evening. (Despite the fact that I am knitting with acrylic. DONT YOU JUDGE ME. Ahem.)
But what it also did is get me all twitterpated about the idea of island life.
I have a terminal case of wanderlust, it has to be said. It’s genetic, and I have been this way all my life, and will be until I leave it. For me, it’s more than a simple urge to travel for the sake of travelling, although I get that from time to time. No, mine is more a need for immersion. Periodically, I get all fixated on packing up and moving to some foreign country and living there for awhile. (I have done it twice in my life so far, to Japan and to the US midwest, and it is hard to say which provided me with greater and more extreme culture shock.)
At any rate, the series I was watching was about islands. I go through phases about islands. I have a serious thing for islands and island life. The idea of living on an island for awhile seems to be an idyllic fantasy for me. Even the isolation and often difficult weather and other hardships appeal to me in certain ways.
My father’s family were islanders, a hardscrabble community on a cold, damp rock. Maybe that’s where I get it from. Like I said, maybe genetic.
But when I think of island life, that sort of thing isn’t so very daunting. Maybe because my thoughts about picking up and decamping to some island somewhere are finite. Live in X for a year or two. Come home. Find another place for a couple of years. Come home. That sort of thing.
Of course, it’s completely impossible. One of the things making it so is that these things take money, and also jobs. Not to mention a ton of paperwork. So, yeah.
Another thing is that, where I am all about the wanderlust, BDH is a homebody. When he met me, his comfort zone was extended from his idyll of small-town Nova Scotia to Ontario, and that was a huge undertaking for him. He was, it’s fair to say, pretty miserable here for quite a few years. It was a hard change. But he’s settled in, and life here is now home, and he’s put down significant roots.
So, whenever I come up with some cockamamie idea of OOH LETS MOVE TO BARBADOS REMEMBER WHEN WE GOT OFFERED JOBS THERE or HEY WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT TO LIFE IN GUERNSEY or even DOESN’T THE ISLE OF MAN LOOK NICE, I know that he will just sigh and tell me that it’s not possible and here’s why and be a grounding force. The pin to my balloon of harebrained travel schemes, as it were.
Which is a good thing, because — well, see the bit about money and jobs and paperwork and the like.
But it’s funny, but I have noticed recently that nowadays, I have a built-in filter when I watch these shows, and my mind begins to wander to this island and that windswept rock. I hear it talking to me in my brainspace and actually popping the travel balloon before it gets too big.
I watch some of these shows, and when my brainpan starts bubbling with ideas of how nice it would be to live in X and wouldn’t Y be great, this voice very loudly and very realistically says YES, EXCEPT EVERY SINGLE FACE YOU WILL SEE IS WHITE.
And I could not do that to my daughter. If our isolation in living in an island community of, say, 20,000 people would eventually come to compel us to return to life here in the land of cities, imagine the instant and very real and very miserable isolation she would feel to be the only person with brown skin in a sea of white.
(Well, not Barbados and such, obviously. But since I’ve been watching UK-based island docs, the islands featured aren’t really multicultural beyond, say, the Viking influence.)
No peers, no role models, nobody else who looks like her. I couldn’t do that to her.
And that voice has actually been quite welcome, I have to say. Wanderlust for me has always been a very real thing. It’s hard to describe, but there’s a reason they use the word “lust” to define it. It’s an ache. It’s a compulsion. The closest thing I can compare it to is to say to imagine you are really hungry. Really, really, truly hungry. And then imagine you are standing in front of a table of food. Imagine the incredible temptation you would feel to eat something. The drive pushing you to just reach out and take something and eat it. The way your stomach, your mind, compels you to do it.
That’s similar to how it feels when a person with wanderlust gets the bug. You start researching and daydreaming and feeling fidgety and uncomfortable sitting still.
So, having this inner voice telling me “no, and here’s why” in my head these days is a really nice thing. I have real, valid reasons to put the thoughts aside, to stop daydreaming, and to move on to other things. Do I forget about it completely? It stops the feeling of urgency and need to GO, NOW, PLAN, MAKE, DO.
It keeps the peace in my head.
Plus it stops me from bugging BDH about some place he’s never heard of and has no interest in ever seeing. So it keeps peace in the family too.
And best of all, I can look at relaxing television full of pretty coastlines and water and rocks and fascinating culture and think “Ooh, that’s nice”. And that’s that. And worry more about what I’m knitting.
Let’s hope there are no Caribbean travel shows on the schedule anytime soon…