Soooo, I had it all worked out… and I think that was the first mistake.
The Plan: Travel
Alex and I were going to be hitting the road in October — we would be gone by Halloween. I bought the conversion van (one tiny payment left to make), I was spending time figuring out how to make all the systems work for full-time travel (everything from showers and potty to electronics and deep-cycle batteries to make my business work.)
I announced my plans to all my best buddies, told family (who are accustomed to rolling their eyes when I make these non-traditional plan announcements), let many of my clients know the plan and even scoured through my personal belongings (having Alex do the same thing) to eliminate anything that wasn’t required for the trip. We set things to one side that were essential.
I reworked both of our wardrobes to contain three colors full of layering pieces that would quick-dry if they needed to be hand washed. Three loads and I’d have them all done in a laundry facility. Period. It was going to be that easy.
Incorporation of Homeschooling
Alex was working up the travel plans as part of her home schooling. She was determining the places we would visit in Kentucky first – all of historical, artistic, cultural or “wow that’s so cool” varieties. She was to map out our path, determine (based on the current cost of gasoline and the MPG on the van) how much each leg of the trip would cost and how long it would take. She was going to be in charge (with my minimal guidance) of developing our travel budget and learning to navigate using maps and planning itineraries for our little adventure.
Journaling, geography, history, math, writing, discovery, even science and research all wrapped up into one adventure-packed school syllabus with daily hands on. She wouldn’t just be reading about places and people and events in the State (and the other states on our travel plans), she would be visiting them and seeing them and really “getting it” when she learned this year.
Seventh grade is the year to learn about the state. And we were going to go full-force with that this fall, until snow and freezing temperatures drove our little party south.
We would be spending quality mother-daughter time and making memories to last a lifetime. She, the baby in the family, would finally have my full attention. She’d been patient and waited for it and she deserves it. I wanted to make sure it happened now, before she hits that age when I become (overnight) an idiot that can’t possibly understand her or anything else. I think my transformation is slated for somewhere between her 13th and 14th year, so I was cutting it rather close.
During the winter, we were going to go to Florida and discover the beaches, learn about the shelling areas, study the history, the eco-system of the swamps and the glory of the ocean. Alex was going to swim with the Dolphins and I was finally going to get to see the Keys (something I’ve always wanted to do). We had plans to stay with three friends/family members and I was going to visit clients and professional peers in Florida during our jaunt and then we were headed out west.
It was all planned.
Life has a way of throwing you curve balls. Mine came on Thursday. My father got some really bad news from the doctor. Now, I’m afraid to leave. Petrified. Time is too precious to waste by traveling when I’m going to be needed close to home. There’s no way I can go.
Things they are a changin’
So today, the homeschooling started (I had expected to start her a month and a half later than traditional schools, because it was going to be a year-round school for her). I guess it’s a good thing that I hadn’t told her that it would be constant schooling. (I had hoped that we would be having so much fun, she’d hardly notice.)
Now, I’ll have to keep her going into the summer, and we will be staying off the road. Now, I’ve put her behind and will have to work hard to catch her up. She will be going well into the summer to meet her hours requirement. But, she had more hours last year than the state requires because I kept her going well past when everyone else was “out” for the summer. She also worked longer hours each day than standard classes in public school. And, when I was finished with my portion, Mom and Pops picked up and did an additional two weeks of math-intensive work with her that was above and beyond the “requirement.”
I’d set myself up in a temporary situation for the three-four month period (July to October) it would take to pull together the money and resources needed to buy the van, pay off some lingering debt, outfit the van and ourselves for the trip, and have some cash in hand for the adventure. Now, I get to figure all this out again.
The thought of returning to my hometown is depressing. The thought of not being close to my parents right now is worse. I am trying to figure out if I need to concentrate on my cabin and put the van up for sale, or if I need to keep the van and use it as a base to work while traveling back and forth from my cabin to my parents’ house. Maybe I should try to make shorter in-state trips when that’s possible for Alex’s school so we don’t lose the dream outright. Maybe just overnight trips once a month, when and if we can.
Heck, with the van completely outfitted, it may be JUST the key to being able to be stay close without losing autonomy. I guess I could try out all the systems and work out the rough patches while sitting still as easy (or easier) than I could while traveling cross country… but somehow that holds little charm and no adventure.
Taking off with my daughter to go discover the nation sounded exotic and exciting — bold and beautiful — trying it out by sitting still sounds more like desperation and homelessness. I think the new plan will probably incorporate a few short trips and the ability to set up an office that is mobile, while finishing off the cabin and staying close to my folks during the foreseeable future.
All I Know Is…
I’m frustrated and sad.
I feel helpless to assist those that need me the most right now and I’m depressed to be ditching the plans I’ve been making for the past many months — especially since I don’t have a clue what I’ll do instead and since these plans always get put on hold for some reason or another throughout the last few years. This, by far, is the worst way to end our plans and, simultaneously, the best reason to cancel them.
Breathing in and breathing out is probably the best idea at the moment. I’ve got to find my center. I’ve got to get to a place where I can think clearly. I’m sure the answer — the RIGHT answer — on what step to take next will come to me. Eventually…
In the meantime, I’ll be burrowing into my work and trying to get to a place where I can manage the unexpected more effectively and learn how to live while riding, instead of trying to steer this ship.