Summer Sun

As an “Ex-Pat”, to say that Summer is an important time of year might actually be an understatement. But I guess a little context is in order. When I say “Ex-Pat” I don’t mean those people who live in countries like England, or France, or Germany though I’m sure they offer some level of difficulty for any non-native. When I say “Ex-Pat”, I’m talking about those of us that live in places like Nigeria, Saudi, Indonesia… Places that offer a 180 degree glimpse of life. A glimpse what the rest of the world lives like.

When one finds themselves working and living in such exotic locals, you start to really appreciate “Summer”. Summer becomes the time for “Normal”. And by normal, for us, it’s the luxury of being able to brush your teeth with water out of the tap. A time when mosquito’s are a nuisance and not a harbinger of a near death experience or even a death experience. A time where my wife can choose to drive herself without it being a scandalous event. Yes, Summer, for those of us who actually chose to live such adventurous lives, is a return to the riches and freedom we sometimes failed to recognize. Even if it is so simple a thing as being able to use a bathroom that isn’t sopping wet. Summer begins with a near sonic boom created by the vacuum of other ex-pats leaving the country on “the day after” the last day of school and my summer generally begins at some other point in time as a result of “vacation” time.

This year, my summer began of July 4, 2016. And this summer was going to be incredibly unique as I was heading back to the “farm”- Fernweh. And though I would like to recount the 30hr journey, it is easy enough to imagine for yourself. You know how when you sit on the toilet for about 10 minutes and your feet/legs, hell, Lower torso falls asleep? Yeah, multiply that by 7 add a couple of poorly mannered waiters and a crazy “neighbor” and you get the idea of traveling in an airplane for 21 hours plus the 9 hours of lay-overs… It’s a whole lot of awesome.

But to be honest, knowing that I was headed home made the travel actually quite enjoyable. Interspersed with the mind numbing muted roar of the jet engines, I was constantly day dreaming of the work that awaited me at Fernweh. And like most “dreams” the reality was a bit different. Different in that I really envisioned things not taking as long to do as they actually took. Part of that had to do with my lack of knowing how to do them, the other part was uncovering things that needed to be done before we could proceed with what we began to do that day. But mostly it was due to being rusty doing those type of things. Hard work is like being fit, its easier to stay in shape than get in shape and so too with hard work…

I also had visions of posting more on the site during the summer… Sipping on coffee while the sun rose and banging out Nobel prize worthy stories… Again, dreams and reality… Your results may vary!

What’s In a Name?

 

IMG_1578Longing for a place you’ve never been… A little different than wanderlust. That is Fernweh. There is, of course a bit of tongue in cheek irony to it as well. But more on that later… For as long as I can remember, I wanted to travel the world. I’m not sure when it was put in me, but I have suffered from wanderlust for a long time. A bit of a restless spirit jammed into a melancholic soul topped off with a slight chip on the shoulder and you get, Me.

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So, plagued by this wandering… and maybe it’s also a grass is greener, or maybe even a bit of geographical cure for self… Whichever, it has been with me for a long time. It is a relentless drive to see more. To be more, to attach the seeing to a sort of self worth onto the places I’ve been. It’s not to be a travel snob, it’s something more than that. As have little interest in name dropping or place dropping. It’s more subliminal than that and yet more visceral. It would be easy to explain were it not for the incredible pull that exerts itself on my life and has, in some cases, been a point of contention with family. Now, how does that get to Fernweh you may be thinking?

IMG_2657Well, now think of the wanderlust but think about a place you want to be in a year. Imagine the desire to have a place that was sort of a banyan. A place of steady seasons, of lightning bugs and frogs. Of cows and birds. Bees visiting the clover patch. A blue sky dotted with the cumulus clouds that later in the day play the rumbling sounds of the Gods at War… And somewhere, before sunset, you hear “Daaaaad, come see!” just before it fades into the wind. And when you face the call you see a son hunched over peering intently into a crawfish mound… This is my Fernweh.

IMG_0987 (1)But how does one come up wth that? I had never heard it until Allison spoke it to me coming on six months ago. We were trying to come up with a name. A name that fit where we are and where we want to be. Of who we have become and honoring our roots.

 

We had tried a number of different ideas, from Irish towns to words and phrases from the lands we have travelled to. All of them IMG_2414have an appeal, and some even would have probably been better. But for some reason, when this word was defined, it encompassed Us. It is us. We all, fromĀ Allison down to Andrew have a bit of Fernweh. And the beauty is that it sparks the imagination and lights the path back home. It is drive and its acceptance.

IMG_3680But to be honest, I’m not the one who came up with it, so that story will have to be told by Allison. I can only tell you whats in the name- Fernweh.