We have three children. They are among the top four on the list of 'Most Amazing Humans I Know.’ The order of this list varies by moment. This photo is of the three of them standing on the cliffs at Big Sur two Christmases ago. The oldest two, my daughters, are both in college and on spring break this week. Of all that I've passed on to these girls, their wanderlust is one of the things that I'm most proud of.
For Julie, our oldest, this is the last spring break of her undergrad years. She is a senior and will be graduating in May. She has chosen to spend the break with other kids from her school making the world a better place on what they call 'Alternative Spring Break.’ She will spend this week living and working in Joshua Tree National Park as a volunteer. The group raised money to ensure that each student had what they needed to cover the costs involved. They will live outside, in what I can only imagine are harsh conditions. I was unclear before they left exactly what the work would entail. It sounded like they would be clearing overgrown trails and such. We have had very limited communication with her as there is no place to charge cell phones and the service is dicey. We know that she's there, she's safe and she is apparently experiencing some type of hippie nirvana. Here is the one photo she's been able to send us. Unfiltered and perfectly breathtaking.
Our younger daughter, Amy, is on her very first spring break. She and her friend Jackson have traveled to Iceland. The stuff of dreams, right? They left with high hopes of witnessing the Northern Lights. They planned to go cave diving in water heated by an underground volcano. In this particular pool you can swim to the bottom and touch the tectonic plates of two continents at the same time. This sounds like the type of vacation that people wait their whole lives to experience. Or even worse, dream of doing but never have the opportunity. Amy saved her money and planned a very financially savvy trip in order to make this work. She only has wifi when they find a hostel to stay in. She sent me this photo beacause she said it made her think of me.
Here a few more that look like they came from a calendar you buy in the airport in Iceland.
You see, we live as best we are able, by the code of 'have less, do more.’ There are a great many things I'd change about our house if there was a money tree out back. For example, we are living with vinyl floors and Formica countertops, both of which are in "perfect condition and will serve us for years to come" according to the hubs. He may be the most 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' dude ever! And while money isn't endlessly abundant, we are super grateful for what we have and what we are able to do. We do well with the maintenance around here. The lawn is healthy, the windows are new and the A/C will freeze us out in the summer. So what if the flooring is a little mis-matched and the master bath needs to be completely remodeled? We would rather use those dollars to fund an adventure for our crew.
We have been known to spend our Christmas budget on socks and a tropical vacation. That kind of time with these offspring of ours is so limited. The memories we make are the currency of this family. Whether we are road tripping up to the near-by Blue Ridge Mountains or down the Pacific Coast Highway, funny things are being said, arguments are happening, the best taco’s in the world are being consumed and we are all together to experience it as one. I can see the future coming at me all too fast. These brilliant babies are going to grow into self-reliant adults who will fund their parts of our family adventures - and our house will have marble counter tops and a claw foot bathtub… Or maybe not. Maybe we'll sell it all and live in an Airstream and travel North America like gypsies, who knows?
Until then, we will live simply and travel often. Life is short and the world is waiting. Put off that big project for now. Book the flight. Buy the tiny camper. Pitch a tent in the backyard. There’s no place like home, but that's only one aspect of happiness. The very best place to be is together.