Go Where You Want, When You Want
Not much time to write today. We’re heading to Uruguay to tie up some last minute items here on the continent. After a too-long hiatus, we’re preparing to get back “on the road” again…
Yes, Truth & Plenty reader, it’s fall here in the “Paris of the South”…about the time of year when your editor starts looking for apartments in the “Paris of the North” (also known, in some circles, as simply, “Paris”).
We’re not looking to buy, mind you. The gypsy heart abhors an anchor. Besides, have you seen the price-per-square-foot of a decent flop in La Ville Lumière? Or even an indecent one?
No. We mean only to rent…a little pied-à-terre from which to set forth on our annual summer sojourn.
Normally we spend six or seven months of the year “on the road.” We drift from one scene to the next…working from cafés…hitching down back roads…roaming around open fields and through crowded cities…an idle flâneur bemused by a busy, modern world.
It’s not a life for everyone, to be sure…but it’s a life for us. And, for anyone who really wants it.
We’ve written before in these pages of “lifestyle independence,” or “geographic independence.” (We wrote about it earlier this week, in fact.)
To go where you want, when you want. That’s the general gist of it.
For some people, the “where” is the local fishing hole, a few miles down the track. For others it’s the plains of the Serengeti, or the fjords of Norway, or the renowned scuba diving sites off the coast of Kota Kinabalu.
To each their own and their own to each.
But how to do it, exactly?
There are many moving parts to living a life on the move. Ask any seasoned adventurer and they’ll have plenty of tips and hacks at the ready to smooth the way.
For our part, we are careful to plan only the barest of itineraries (usually just a return ticket…not always taken) and travel with the leanest of luggage (carry on only…a particularly admirable feat for your editor’s wife, who occasionally buys clothes from local markets along the way and donates the old threads as they rotate out of circulation).
One suitcase each might seem…spartan…but once you whittle it all down, anything more looks positively cumbersome. All those lost luggage lines…baggage claim areas…excess fees and charges for this item and that.
Truly, there are few things more liberating than whittling down your possessions every few months to what you can fit in a 22 x 14 x 9-inch box and a 17 x 10 x 9-inch “personal item.” (Parameters as outlined by United Airways.)
It is at these moments, standing over our snuggly packed suitcase, we hear the old stoic, Epectitus, whispering in our ear…
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
Traveling light, you suddenly discover you don’t need umpteen pairs of shoes, dozens of ties and a bathroom full of “products.” Just the basics, thanks.
Likewise, when space is limited, it becomes ever more valuable. When you stop to purchase some frivolous item, you must first consider what you’re going to discard from your luggage in order to make room.
Quickly, the fashions du jour begin to take a back seat to comfort, convenience, and utility. (Yes, even in Paris!) A hole in the elbow of a sweater is “no biggie.” Threadbare undershirts become simply “worn-in” comfy.
And what of those oh-so-necessary trappings of luxury…the things you really can’t do without?
Like what? A sole meunière paired with more Chablis than you probably should have consumed on a “school night”…
Yes, you can still have that.
(Free) roadside “seats” to watch the Tour de France cyclists whizz by, taking the foam from your cappuccino with them as they go…
Yep, that’s all yours too.
Hearing the choir at the Église Saint-Sulpice fill the rococo cupola overhead with music composed for the heavens…
Why, that one takes up no space whatsoever.
But that’s all we have time for today. The suitcase is still half full…and the “Switzerland of the South” beckons.
More on the idea of becoming a “perpetual traveler” (or P.T) next week.