Friday, March 28, 2014

overthinking, underdeciding

Dear Readers:
I've been trying to work something out for a couple of weeks.
I've avoided writing about it because it may be very dull reading.
But I can't seem to write about anything else, so here goes!
Your thoughts and suggestions are most welcome.

I may be taking a little trip.

Flashback: For most of my life I have loved my rare opportunities to travel, always on a shoestring (think "hostel" rather than "hotel") and usually wearing a heavy backpack half-full of cameras. I was never good at "vacationing" but I was always up for a project...a portfolio of habitat images, research for an article, scientific field work, learning a new skill.

Now it's been four years since I've spent a single night away, which seems impossible even as I type the words. It's been five years since I've been on a plane! That was when a work trip took me to a committee meeting in Yosemite. And when the work was over, I added a few days to the journey and spent them alone in Sequoia.

It was a precious, revitalizing time.

I hadn't realized that I needed revitalization.
But I really, truly did.


Now, then.

Some time ago, I mentioned to my Physical Therapist that I had stopped going to the theatre. In previous years, I had perfected my Summer Shakespeare System: in the morning, drive two hours to Lenox, get a motel room, do a lot of stretching. See a matinee performance of one play. Take a walk, have a bite to eat, keep moving. See the evening performance of a second play. (Ask the person in the next seat who stole my little inflatable back cushion during Intermission to kindly give it back! Too funny.) Spend the night in the motel, with long soaks in a very hot tub. Next day, catch a matinee of whichever play is on (seeing one of the plays twice - what a luxury!), then drive two hours home, with one long stop midway to stretch and walk about. I could expect several pretty grim days after one of these jaunts, but it was worth it.

Apart from the physical issues, the experience was perfect.
Shakespeare is the Sequoia of theatre for me.

My Physical Therapist was sad that theatre had become Another Thing no longer on my agenda. She told me that the dry climate of Arizona often brings great relief to people with joint issues, and perhaps I might want to consider returning to the Southwest?

Flashback: Back in the Jurassic period of my life, I spent a lot of time in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. I enjoyed visiting the desert, but I loved the mountains of Colorado. In fact, I was just wandering through Colorado and I stayed 7 years.

My PT's recommendations always carry weight, and I thought long and hard about testing the idea. So last year around this time - after the risk of frozen water pipes and before kidding season - I tried to find a critter-sitter. No luck. Soon it was a moot point, as kidding season began. Then gardening season. Then it was suddenly Autumn, and I found someone! Pat came and met my crew, and had a very nice way with the animals.

But she wasn't interested in minding anyone else's animals in the Winter. 

"Why, Pat?"  LOL.

Fair enough. I'll wait.

Four months later, although there is still plenty of snow and the ice is thick on every hazardous pathway, the end of this challenging Winter is in sight. Once again, there is a narrow window of possible travel time, and now I have someone I can trust to look after the animals. The timeframe is bookended by Pat's availability (beginning April 12) and my need to be back for kidding prep and seed-starting (early May).


this is the long-awaited Big Chance!

And yet...

I am stuck, my friends!

I am so wide open to the idea of travel after this long hiatus,
the range of options that pop into my mind is dizzying!
This dizziness is counterbalanced
by limitations which I do my very best to ignore in daily life
but which I would be a fool to ignore in the planning stage of a journey.

Unfortunately, I am a fool.

Maybe writing about my repetitious train of thought will lead to a good decision?

Maybe you can help?

My Train of Thought visits three stations:

First Stop: I ponder how to best get from Point A to Point Elsewhere, when being in one position for any length of time is so difficult. Rent a car, so I can stop as often as needed to either walk around or stretch out in the back? Look for short or non-stop flights? Trains? Take some sort of "tour" such that I am not responsible for any aspect of transportation, and can spend time in a zero-gravity position whenever I choose? And about the time I realize I've just spent four hours online researching travel by boat and imagining the thrill of watching unknown riverbanks drift past my eyes from the welcome relief of a deck chaise, it occurs to me that a journey of any kind may be totally unrealistic... Woo-ooo-ooooooh! All Aboard! The train is leaving this station!

Second stop: no journey at all? But how could I waste this rare opportunity to leave the animals in good hands and refresh my soul with travel? The easiest thing would be to just get the first cheap flight to anywhere, and GO. Wheee! I know how to do this! Let's see...I've long imagined spending time in the southern Appalachian region. Or wouldn't it be fantastic to head for the Sierra Nevada again, because it already feels like a place where I could take root? But if I'm going 3,000 miles, why not just get a non-stop across the sea while the airfares are "low"? I've never been to England or can that even be possible? Must go there - this may be my last chance! Or to the green, green Azores! Spain, Italy...or maybe revisit France? Or Portugal? Or... Quick, back on the train!

Third stop:  WHOA! The original point of this operation was not to run off on holiday, it was to experiment with the effect of a different climate on my baseline pain issues. Won't I be wasting that chance unless I go somewhere with a moderate, dry climate, and lots of trees? An area I might potentially be able to relocate to, in order to improve my quality of life? Which brings my mind back to thinking about pain, and...wait a second, doesn't that station look familiar? Oh! It's where we got on! This train is on a loop! Chug-a-chugga-chug-a-chugga....

You see what's been going on in my little squirrel-brain lately.
It's the bane of the squirrel mind.

"Shall I go forward? Backward?
I seem to be stuck on this fence,
but it's not very comfortable here!"

Any thoughts?


Destination recommendations?

Oh, and if anyone has personal insight on the "dry climate = reduced joint pain" scenario, I would very much appreciate hearing about it.
Thanks so much.