I’ve been told that traveling in a motor home fulltime is an old-fart kind of thing to do. So it stands to reason that I’d also read AARP magazine. Well, I don’t, normally, but I did happen upon this month’s issue and was intrigued by their article “Paradise Found: Ten Best Places to Retire Abroad.” It’s a good list representing both traditional Latin American destinations and less traditional European ones. They surprisingly skip Asia completely, but it is always easy to nitpick a “best of” list, so I won’t.
Having just set out on our North American travels, we’re not looking to settle down at the moment, either abroad or anywhere else for that matter. But we do like the idea of living overseas someday for long enough to become locals: to learn the language, the culture, and the traditions. A year in any, or each, of these places would be fantastic.
I have to admit that reading this article stoked a desire to pick up and rent an apartment in Languedoc-Roussillon, France, which is funny considering we just picked up and bought an RV to travel in. And that reminded me of Shannon’s comment asking whether it is possible to have wanderlust while traveling. I know, for my part, it certainly is. Not wanderlust born of a “grass is always greener” kind of thinking, but rather from the simple recognition that there is so much to do and such a short time in which to do it. Visiting one destination necessarily means foregoing, or at least postponing, another. If one were to spend even a single year in each of the places suggested by the AARP article it would consume an entire decade. And as much as we’d love to do just that, we’d cover just ten places on three continents after all of that time. There is simply too much ground to cover.
So even as we travel we dream of other, more distant places we hope to visit one day, knowing full well that we can’t possibly get everywhere. It is both a curse and a great blessing. For as sad as it is to think of the places we’ll never get to, how much sadder still it would be to have already visited them all.
[Photo © Jason Varney / AARP Magazine]