In anticipation of goodbye…

Tom and I have four adult children between us; his son is 37 and his daughter turns 42 tomorrow (Happy birthday, darling!).  I have two sons, one turning 43 today (Happy Birthday, honey!) and the eldest 45, living in Henderson, Nevada for the past 25 years. We will surely miss them.

Three of our four kids live here in Minnesota and between them, we have been gifted with six grandchildren, the eldest and the youngest sharing the same birthdays on September 21st, ages ranging from three to twelve.  We will surely miss them.

With their significant others, we’ll be leaving behind here in Minnesota 12 immediate family members as we venture out into the world for the next 5-10 years, moving from country to country, for as little as one month to as long as five. 
Tom has lived in Minnesota all of his life, leaving behind his family of four generations totaling well over 100 unique individuals.  Inviting his family for dinner is comparable to planning a major event!  We will surely miss them.

Living in Minnesota for the past 42 years and coming from a small family, I also leave behind my younger sister, a TV producer in Los Angeles, an older sister living in Boulder City, Nevada, two nieces and their families and a dear cousin from Boston along with her two adult daughters. We will surely miss them.

And the friends that visit more frequently now than ever with offers of help, some confused by our decision to leave, others to travel along with us in spirit, following our every destination.  Some promise to visit us along the way.  We will surely miss them.

And the neighbors… so close for the often daily interactions, the lazy walks in the neighborhood, the hilarious happy hours, the happy hour boat rides, the outdoor parties on the lawn, the helping one another when snowed in during the long winters, the playful little dogs, (many now passed on) and the recent loss of one we loved so much, as written in my post of June 1.  

As they plan a neighborhood party for us for October 13th we are reminded of the 26 years together and how hard it will be to drive away 18 days later on Halloween.  We will surely miss them, too.
No, its not all joyful anticipation of one long “vacation,” kicking back, relaxing in a hammock overlooking the sea or trekking through the plains in search of the “Big 5” while on safari in Africa.  

Its “life” with noisy disorganized airports, congestion at the buffet line on the cruises, lost luggage, bug bites, uncomfortable lumpy mattresses, bad Internet connections, no TV, no food processor, customs curious as to why we have so many bottles of vitamins, no air conditioning, bad weather with no escape to a basement, stomach distress, a burned out hair dryer, running out of contact lens solution and on and on. 

Why?  Why put ourselves through this?  Why not settle down into a “senior living” condo in a warm, humid-less climate, coming back to Minnesota twice a year to visit those we love, freely traveling by car to visit the others?  Why?

As we said before, because we can, because we want to. Because, we both feel we have one last hurrah deep within us.  Did we hunger for this adventure all of our lives? No. I’ve always dreamed of going to Africa, but the world? Not so much. As written in our prior posts, we only gave birth to this idea early in 2012.  

The timing is right. The downturn in the economy has affected the availability and phenomenal pricing of the homes we’ll be renting around the world; Tom’s pension after 42 years; the timing of the sale and ultimate unloading of our house (a painful loss); our improved health due to our diet change a year ago. The stars were aligned. 

As we travel from location to location, ensuring that Skype will work, we’ll make the online call, see their smiling faces, hear their sweet voices, jittery from afar. We’ll revel in the connection, grateful for technology all the while talking, laughing and sharing, no doubt with tears in our eyes. Yes, we will surely miss them.