I like New Years Eve. I always have. I like reflecting back on the past year, taking stock of where I am, setting new goals and looking to what’s ahead. 2020 has been a bit of a poopstorm and I feel incredibly grateful that me and mine have stayed afloat. Hopefully a comfortable normal will prevail in 2021 and the year will not be so wacky.
Traditional retirement is not in my stars. My retirement plan consists of my blueberry farm and the three winter months when I pack up my tent and sleeping bag and head for parts unknown. I need that time to recharge. It’s also, coincidentally, the time when my rambling old farmhouse is inhospitable to all living things except mice and squirrels. I swear it’s easier and cheaper to heat a cardboard box.
I do not frequent hotels, restaurants, stores, bars or basically anywhere populated when I travel. I get groceries, but everyone needs to eat wherever they are. And so I have decided to continue with my plan to go to Mexico for the winter. I feel it is necessary for my mental health. I will either be solo hiking in the mountains, hunkered down in my tent on some quiet shore, or possibly even renting a little casa where I will spend my time writing. I am flying into Cancun on January 7th and finding a bus from the airport to Campeche. From there, I will start walking.
My mother was my age when she was diagnosed with an aggressive terminal brain tumour, which killed her ten months later. I knew that she was young but I didn’t realize how young. The impact on me of how, in the space of a breath life can be over, was absolute. My profound takeaway was don’t wait to live the life that nourishes you. The following winter was the first time (but not the last) that I pulled my three kids out of school for an epic two-month adventure.
My particular style of isolated wandering outside of first world countries requires the acceptance of a higher risk factor than conventional travel. The threat of disease ridden bug bites, spider bites, animal and venomous snake encounters, challenging weather, injury and illness is a reality. If I am in a town I am ultra-aware of who and what is around me and where I am. Especially when I am alone. I am well versed in being constantly mindful of my safety. This year I will also be vigilant about distancing and masking for myself and for the safety of others.
Yep, 2020 has been a year for the history books. I’m not one for burning books but even I’d be willing to throw a few recent pages in the fire. But for better or worse, we are making history and that’s something extraordinary.
My goals for 2021 are simple. I will stay kind in the face of judgement and try not to judge others. I will step outside of my own troubles and give more service to those around me. I will live true to who I am. I will forgive myself when I make mistakes. Wherever 2021 takes me and whatever it brings, I will try to move forward with an unwavering spirit and a peaceful heart. And I wish the same for you. Have a safe, happy holiday season.