Single Mom’s Wanderlust: A State of Mind

As many of you may know, I used to live in London and traveled quite a bit. I moved back to California in the summer of 2008, when 7 months pregnant. Southern California is a great place to be when you’re sleep deprived and in need of sunshine and fresh air. But lately, I find myself starting to get that twitchy foot. The itch that, in the past, would make want to purchase a last minute rail ticket for a weekend excursion to somewhere in Europe. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss my old life at all. I really do believe that I was supposed to go through this mess: this divorce, this single motherhood thing and that it’s all part of a plan. It’s forcing me to grow and realize my inner strength and  I have embraced that better things are yet to come. BUT, that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes need to GET AWAY.

Now that I’m regularly sleeping through the night, (isn’t it marvelous when your child finally lets you??) I’m feeling the urge to hit the open road. I crave getting into my car and driving for long periods at a time with no real destination. I recall reading Ann Tyler’s book Ladder of Years where the main character, a 40-year-old mom, took a walk and just kept walking until she moved to another town altogether. I loved it. (Although I adore all of Ann Tyler’s books.)

Don’t worry, ya’ll. I’m not about to do that. But I realize that I need vistas. I need to explore. It’s always been a part of my DNA. My Ex hated that I rarely planned or structured our trips beyond arranging a house swap or renting a flat or house somewhere. I liked to meander and discover things—to sit at cafes and people watch or talk with a chatty local and get the low-down on where to go that evening. I miss spontaneity. In college, I’d take off and drive from Georgia to Maine with no set stopping places in between. I’d stop where it felt good to do so. I naturally gravitated to journalism as I liked the constant change of scenery or new voices. As a child, I wandered in the woods and horse trails. I love discovering by happenstance. With that said, I’m literally and financially too grounded to take off as a single mom of two kiddos.

But I’m realizing that I can still get a little bit of that flight feeling by opening my eyes wider and exploring closer to home. By being present and taking in my surroundings or taking short excursions with the boys, we can explore. So, I’m rarely without my camera these days. I’m far from a photographer, (and none of my pictures were taken with special lenses or have been touched up in some way) but I find that shooting pictures of the beauty that surrounds me in Southern California reminds me there are things to discover in my own backyard. It helps ease that yearning for an excursion I can’t have right now.

There will be days ahead for faraway travel. But for now, I’m going to keep drinking in my sun-kissed part of the world. When I take pictures and look at them later, I’ll remember to thank God for second chances at a new life. I am grateful to stay put at the moment. I am grateful to have the time to create and discover what beauty surrounds and lies within.

10 responses to “Single Mom’s Wanderlust: A State of Mind

  1. You’re very lucky to live where you do! What do you recommend for those of us in the suburbs? I take Graham on his walks past ranch house after ranch house, and say to him (though of course he doesn’t understand), “Yep, it’s very boring here..”.

    • Ok, Laura, there has to be some amazing vistas and hikes in Boulder!! Do you have a backpack carrier? The vistas and change of scenery are for you, btw. Little Graham just needs to see his beautiful mommy’s face and the love in her eyes right now, anyway!

      • Okay, you’re right – as I sit here looking out my window at the mountains… I guess I’ve just been hamstrung by the fact that I haven’t figured out how to get him into the Ergo on my back yet! Going to cue up some YouTube how-to’s on that now… Thanks for the urging and the great blog Laura!!

  2. Love the pics.. where were you hiking in some of those photos?

    • Thanks so much! Manhattan Beach, Malibu’s Sycamore Canyon and San Juan Capistrano mission. Now that I’m in a cast from a torn tendon, I’m going to have to get more creative to shoot pics!

  3. Thanks! Fingers crossed I’m out and about in a month’s time.

  4. Pingback: Single Mom’s Budget Travel Tips | Navigating Vita

  5. I came across your blog,since im in a wanderlust state of mind everyday craving to travel,to move to another city house,environment ,like you said it’s in my DNA i been up and down ever since i can remember.As a 25 year old single mother of one (yes,i was real young lol) it’s hard to do such thing i read your words and they really touched me thank you for sharing this with us. I usually forget how to stay present and enjoy the moments with my child,and the great cityi live in that is San diego,i constanly travel in my thoughts and dreams and in my writing,forgetting to live each moment gractefully and content 🙂

    • Hi Paulinna! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your thoughtful comments! You know, I wrote that piece a year ago and I find that every weekend I still struggle with this. Maybe its the age of youngest, who still has tantrums, or the dynamic w the older brother who never wants to leave the house. I can feel like a caged, isolated bird. I fight to get my oldest away from the computer and out of the house now … just so we can have a beach or canyon adventure here in Calif. Im still in the thick of it-still navigating how to find moments that feel like travel or freedom! And when frustrated, it’s so hard for me to stay present w my boys. I’m so far from getting there, but each day is another opportunity. Here’s hoping this weekend I can get them both out for a local adventure! Hang in there. Love, Laura

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