This is the time of the year when I start to dream of faraway places, warm weather, cold drinks, short skirts, soft breezes, slow music, fresh fruit, green salads, crisp fish, long days and longer nights.
Every year the time between the end of the summer and the beginning of spring seems to grow longer and the yearnings for all things sunny and warm won’t go away.
Some would suggest this “sensation” of craving sun and heat is the biological clock saying it really is time to retire and move somewhere, anywhere, where it is warm and sunny every day.
But I don’t agree. Well, not entirely.
I’m a northern girl at heart. I don’t mind the cold as long as the sun is shining. I don’t mind the snow as long as it’s not bitterly cold. I don’t mind the storms as long as I am close to a roaring fire or have my winter vacation booked.
It’s the northern winters, after all, that make me truly appreciate the winter vacations I start to fantasize about in early October.
It used to be January before my body started screaming at me to get some sun. But in the past couple of years, as soon as Thanksgiving is done, so am I.
Once the leaves are out in full, beautiful fall bloom, I’m scouring travel sites looking for a new destination to explore or wondering how I can invite myself to my friend’s condo in Costa Rica for yet another year without sounding too desperate.
I brazenly thought about buying a summer retreat of my very own, but I’m not ready to hang my hat in one place for any length of time. There’s too much of the world left to see and we have two daughters in university. Both are taking health science programs, so retirement plans are non-existent and so are any surplus funds.
And it’s not a slow pace of life that I’m looking for at this stage in my life. I still have a lot of get-up-and-go and I want to get-up-and-go as much as I can while I can. But I can’t shake this desire to travel in late fall, again in late winter and, of course, in spring.
My mother would say too much of a good thing is not a good thing, but who listens to their mothers anyway?
The need to travel, the desire to see the world, the interest in meeting new people, having new experiences and appreciating the complexities of various societies are not attributes exclusively belonging to university students taking a gap year to find themselves.
Many people my age feel the same way as I do. I speak to people all the time who are planning incredible getaways simply because of their love of travel and of life.
Many people do spend months at a time in their favourite warm-weather state. They move from their cottage in Canada to their condo in Florida and visit their grown children in between. That’s what they love.
Part of my joy is in the time spent exploring places to explore: reading and researching about exciting new places I’ve never been and wondering how I can pull off a vacation every quarter while working two jobs, financing two university educations and needing to walk the dog every day.
But it gets easier to plan as the cold weather moves in, motivating me to be creative and bold in my research.
And if all else fails, there’s always Costa Rica.