I’ve come to realize that the dreams I thought were mine no longer belong to me. They’ve changed, like life and I’m coming to peace with the idea that what I was so excited about isn’t what I thought. I am tired. We are tired. We are not enjoying ourselves all that much and making connections has proven much harder than expected. Would it be different if we hadn’t come to Greece? Of if I had planned our time in Greece differently? Perhaps. But we did and I did. The frustrating thing about hindsight is that its lessons cannot be learned earlier. But I can listen to myself, my heart and my son. And we are tired.
I need connection and I have found it almost impossible to do so here. Speaking with an Englishwoman who runs a business on an island, she has been here two years and hasn’t made any woman friends. The culture is just different. My son needs connection. He needs other kids to play with but unfortunately it has proven more difficult to do so than on other trips. My son misses home, misses his friends and is unable to connect with the kids here. That is not fair to him.
I liked the idea of seeing the world, traveling slow, home schooling and spending more time with my son. Unfortunately the part of the world we are seeing now, slowly, I don’t care for, almost every day is a fight to get school work done, with thirty minutes of work taking two hours and lots of tears from both of us. I’ve realized that as a single mom, with all the hats I have to wear, the teacher hat is too big, like a ten-gallon monstrosity that covers my eyes and has me walking into walls.
We are off to Paris tomorrow, having changed our flight to leave Greece early. I am excited about Paris of course. Yet I also wonder if I won’t get tired there too. I thought I would like slow travel, but three plus weeks in one place where I start to have a home away from home, has proven to actually make me miss my home more. We spend a lot of time inside our apartment as one activity a day is enough for a six year old. Then there are the days when he’s overwhelmed and needs to hang out and watch a movie or two. Those times I’d rather be in my own home, and there are a lot of those times. Yet moving around more is difficult and upsetting to Junior.
We are considering coming home after Paris. The funny thing is, if we cancel our trip and return to the States early, we can’t go home. I’ve rented the house and while there’s a chance we could move back in early, it still wouldn’t be for a while. But we could make our way back slowly, seeing dear friends and family along the way. We’d have connection and playmates.
If we return to the States early I would still have to home school my son. But perhaps some of his fighting is because he is scared and off balance, not being home.
I realize there has also been fear in the background, like static on the AM station that is low but incessant and forgotten until a clear channel comes on. I have been thinking that if I were to have another heart attack I’d sure as hell rather have it in Paris than Greece. Being back in the States would be even more comforting. I’m glad I was brave enough to go on this trip but those moments when my chest pain knocks ever so lightly, I think shit, why am I here? What risks am I taking?
So I’d still have to home school, live out of a suitcase, not be in my home and move around every week or so. But we’d be with friends and family. Connection. I’m tired of not having connection. I miss my friends. My community back home is small, but it’s mine. It’s funny because those closest to me, because of schedules and lifestyle and distance, I don’t see all that often back home. But they’re close enough and I didn’t realize how much comfort that gave me. And I’m building community through Junior’s school and those interactions at drop off and pick up are moments of connection that build relationships. And I miss that.
In asking my support network for guidance I’ve heard to not feel as if I have to push through this and I’ve heard it would be a shame to not continue because the rest of the trip sounds so amazing. Both are true. I don’t want to push though just to say I did it and the rest of the trip does sound amazing. If we get to Paris and it completely turns things around and is amazing and we feel rejuvenated we can keep going. If we find that it doesn’t, I’m not saying I won’t travel again. Budapest and London will still be there. I just might need to do the next trip a little differently.