The boy and I are visiting old friends at their summer house in Cornwall this week. And yes, I’m feeling very grateful that I even have friends who happen to have a house in this amazing corner of the world. I’m also allowing myself to feel like I’m on vacation for a few days, before we get back to the ‘business’ of our life on the road.
Cornwall is epic in its picture perfect coastline; windswept bluffs that plummet directly into the pale green, freezing cold sea, chilly temperatures, and unpredictable weather. The pastureland rolls right out to the edge of the sea and the sheep dotting the landscape look almost like Hollywood extras in an English costume drama. The roads are truly only wide enough for one car in some places and the art of ‘tucking in’ and ‘giving way’ is practiced by all drivers who wish to stay alive on the roads. You feel positively rustic as you hike, or trudge, up and down the hills. Where we are near Polzeath and Trebetherick, the beaches are chock o’block with surfers, windsurfers, paragliders, etc., all in full wet suits, taking advantage of the sizeable waves and constant winds.
The boy has been very fortunate to be invited to join in surf lessons this week with my friend’s kids. He is hooked already, and has achieved a sun-kissed and windswept hue to his complexion. I achieved similar with my one session of body surfing the other morning. I can see it will be difficult to leave this place.
The wind from the ocean sweeps directly into my room at night and I swear it is making me sleep like a baby. Healthy amounts of food and wine don’t hurt either, but we’ll go with the wind theory. More rustic. Traveling certainly requires that you sleep in many situations (not always beds) along the way. I do find that it is ironic that I love and thrive on travel when there is no place I sleep as well as the comfort of my very own bed. I mean, I seriously love my bed. The firm Queen mattress gussied up with the goose down cover for extra padding and well-worn silk sheets. My king-sized feather pillow, and others, to pull over my head when morning light seeps in too early.
The other day I got word that my friend with whom I left a bag of old clothes for a Good Will drop off, as we left town, had mistakenly taken that along with a last minute packed box of various items (favorite pillows, sheets and towels, polka-dot bikini, swim workout gear) bound for my storage unit, to Good Will instead. Gone, goodbye. Dispersed to the tentacles of Good Will shops dotting southwestern Ohio.
My reaction was, in all honesty, somewhat overly dramatic. Neither my son nor I cried when we said goodbye to our many friends and lovely little house and kitty in care of another friend. But give my sheets, pillow, polka-dot bikini and swim fins to Good Will and I was reduced to a puddle of tears. Yes, I know all about displacement, I am no stranger to therapy. But it is nevertheless interesting how some of the stuff of our lives holds a powerful ability to comfort in just knowing they are there and can be returned to, in tact, waiting and as expected.
I will have to practice sleeping in many beds and with varying degrees of sound and temperature obstacles on our upcoming journey. And I will have to deal with it not being as dark as I would like, or as quiet, or as purring, with my favorite fan running, regardless of the temperature. Maybe there is something in these nocturnal challenges that invigorate me in new ways? More likely, I’m just willing to put up with these discomforts for the thrill of being in a new environment, navigating a new city, being encircled in a foreign language and being forced to find my way through it.
And I have to remind myself, Ikea is unlikely to run out of my favorite pillow while I’m gone.
writer-director-actress, author, improviser, mother, traveler, digital nomad