Waking up to views like this can't be bad.
Nothing special. We've owned houses, rather a lot of them, in a few different countries, but in between we go travelling. I asked the old codger, aka G, for his take on what we do and why. He's the deep thinker, or claims to be.
Here's a very brief summary of G's travelling philosophy.
We spend perhaps half of the year, travelling, often in our clapped-out van. Meeting people ‘on the road’ can be interesting. In almost every case the people we meet will never cross our path again and in almost every case that is fine by me. Occasionally, I meet someone and we just click. Instant chemistry. A shared interest, finding humour in the same subjects, whatever the reason, in a single evening we can discover enough common ground to become friends. The transient nature of our truncated relationship isn’t a problem. We get on like a house on fire and the next day part with no expectation of ever meeting again. Is that so bad? I can still recall meeting people who entered my life fleetingly, never to return, even when the meeting took place years before.
I found myself thinking about friendship while in a detached, fugue-like state looking over the sparkling Mediterranean to the Rif Mountains of Morocco from the cemetery in Tarifa where the dead have a better view than most of the living. It’s a million-pound view and if the entry requirements weren’t so draconian there’d be a waiting list. A grave marker said, simply, ‘my husband, my lover, my best friend.’ Now, being gracious and assuming the message related to a single person and not three, this sent shivers down my spine. What a wonderful epitaph. The addition of ‘friend’ is so poignant. This man deserves the best view in Spain as a final resting place.
A long trip is the perfect way to discover what’s really important in life. No distractions, no telephone, no television, just two people who happen to be ‘best friends’ spending a few months in each other’s company. What conclusions did I reach? Quite a few.
Sunshine treats everyone as equal. A rich man, basking by the pool as he relaxes in the luxury of a hard-earned vacation enjoys the same warming rays as the minimum wage pool boy putting out the loungers. Perfect democracy. We’ve parked our van in some truly spectacular settings. A view that would cost millions from the terrace of a mansion is ours to enjoy for a rather more modest outlay. Even amongst our fellows, there are vans dwarfing our own and costing as much as a house. We all share and appreciate the same view. Nature’s bounty is free. Money doesn’t buy happiness.
The best aspect of life on the road? There are so many to choose from. The opportunity to decide the day’s activity without having to involve others. Experiencing different cultures. Seeking out glorious places. Deciding whether to stay for a while or move on and seek fresh challenges.
For me, the joy of travelling is encapsulated in that somnolent time just before dawn when we set foot on a deserted beach to greet the sunrise and are to all intents and purposes the only people on Earth privileged to view such splendour. Bare feet walking across soft, golden sand with the whisper of white-tipped waves as a soundtrack and the great crimson globe of the sun rising in the distance, just for us. Life surely can't get any better, but having Marigold to share the experience improves even such a perfect idyll.