Islandmomma

Exploring the Stories of the Islands and the Freedoms of Third Age

“Another Fork Stuck in the Road” (apologies to Greenday)

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Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

It’s maybe been the longest between posts ever, I’m not sure. Not for want of trying, though, but my internet situation here in La Palma has been nigh impossible. Hence some decisions are being made. A change of plan is in the works, and that, possibly, because even travel can become predictable. Or simply, to quote one of my favorite songs, “to everything there is a season.”

It’s perhaps coincidence or it maybe a “thing” with me, but the last time I roamed off, at around the 8-month mark I became as restless with the travel as I had with the previous lack of it. As at the beginning of July, it’s been just a tad over 10 months on this trip, but I began to feel restless towards the end of May.

Roque de los Muchachos undoubtedly the point in La Palma which really touched my soul.

Roque de los Muchachos undoubtedly the point in La Palma which really touched my soul.

Perhaps if La Palma appealed to me more things would be different, but we got off to a bad start, the island and I, and although I have discovered some beautiful places, interesting stories and eaten some good (if not great) meals, since my last post, I think the bad start colored my perceptions too much, and I can’t, somehow, get over it. That happened to me with Nice in France years ago. I had no desire to return until a friend decided to celebrate her #@+%£ birthday there, some 20+ years later, and I went and fell utterly in love with it, so I know that sometimes we’re simply in the right place at the wrong time.

The pretty church in Santo Domingo

The pretty church in Santo Domingo

This is, simply, the wrong time for La Palma and me. I had intended to spend the summer here. The resounding thing I’d learned  from this journeyup until recently was that I don’t do cold so well any longer. January and February in the north of La Gomera were long, long months for me. I should, of course, have moved on then, but I kept hoping for the weather to get some more photos, and because I simply love the island, but it didn’t happen. I knew that La Palma would be the same, so I didn’t want to be here in wintertime, so summer it was to be.

Stunning display of gorse  on the mountainsides going up to Roque de los Muchachos

Stunning display of gorse on the mountainsides going up to Roque de los Muchachos

This is the world’s steepest island. That’s one of the reasons that the landscapes are so utterly breathtaking. Looking up to peaks that seem to touch the sky, or looking down, feeling as if you are on the top of the world are overwhelming sensations, but there are downsides to living somewhere this mountainous.

Sunset from outside my apartment in Las Tricias

Sunset from outside my apartment in Las Tricias

These mountains, though stunning, make communications difficult. Internet and 3G are a constant challenge, making life especially difficult for me, and getting from one place to another is also something of a challenge. The topography means that roads are steep, twisting and undulating, and often narrow, which means a fair degree of concentration is required. With monumental road works going on along the northern coast, I found myself retracing the same winding roads on an almost daily basis, since it was the only route out of Dodge.

I’ve lived on islands for a long time now, so that’s not an unfamiliar experience, but pair the repetition with the type of road, and I just don’t see myself enjoying this for another two months.

Tazacorte Historic & pretty town, but everyone I spoke with, as in locals, said it was too quiet!

Tazacorte Historic & pretty town, but everyone I spoke with, as in locals, said it was too quiet!

The question which has been haunting me for a few days, is, if not here, where? I chose to be here in summer because it is reportedly quieter than the other islands, too, having few beaches, because mountain dwellers on other islands of the archipelago drift down to the coasts, at least on the weekends, during the months of July and August. Even though that drove me crazy last summer in El Médano, I found myself dreaming of my early morning walks on the beach, and the mojitos in the bars alongside, not to mention being in or on the ocean without an hour’s drive home afterwards. So the question then arose, was this some kind of “homesickness?”

More soul-searching revealed that a part of me has been treating this trip as a search for a new base (I won’t use the word home for now). Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve made a mental tick or cross against. I have been aware of this to some extent and in denial too. I’ve done it before in various places, perhaps I always ask myself that question. What I do know for sure now is that, much as I have itchy feet and a strong need to travel, I am not a nomad. I need a base. I might choose to be away for months at a time, but I need somewhere to which I can retreat when I choose to do that too.

So, for the moment I am retreating to the only place that has ticked sufficient boxes on my “ideal place” list (more of that another time) – which is Tenerife. This is not a permanent retreat. My stuff is staying in storage for now, so it’s still at part of the journey. I likely won’t find anywhere to live in El Médano itself, because it’s summer season now, but I will be aiming to be as close as I can.

El Médano

El Médano

There is stuff I need to get done which doesn’t get done properly on small islands, sorting out this knee problem for instance, getting Trix to the vet because I think she has toothache, getting my camera serviced, getting some technical advice about this blog, amongst others. I will take this time to do these things.

I have yet to visit El Hierro, and revisit Gran Canaria, and although I touched Lanzarote on this trip (AND it ticked so many boxes too!) I wasn’t there long enough to get a real feel for the place. I’d hoped to have visited all of the archipelago by the end of this year, and now I’m not sure that it will happen on the time scale I had in mind, but sometimes we just need to be in the right place at the right time, and La Palma is not where I need to be. It’s better for both of us if I leave now, and return to make a fresh start in the future. Basically, for all sorts of reasons I am not happy here, and why be unhappy if you don’t need to be, doesn’t it defeat the object?

I have no doubt I will be back, to walk these mountains, and get them in the right perspective, to find out more about the Guanche culture here, to try to better understand Santa Cruz, which is so pretty and charming and yet seems so desultory. For now, I have stacks of stories from all of the islands I’ve visited which have remained in draft, or even just in my head, as I struggled with internet, so during this hiatus I will be devoting more time to the blog and not less. Who knows, this may be the right path for me, to travel and write it up afterwards…..part of the adventure that is life is not knowing what’s around the next corner :)

Early morning on the beach at El Médano

Early morning on the beach at El Médano

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos and memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

Lyrics to ” Good Riddance (Time of your Life)”

by Greenday

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Author: IslandMomma

Loving island life and exploring the freedoms Third Age brings: Challenging myself every day: writing, traveling, snapping pix, running & teaching ESL

4 thoughts on ““Another Fork Stuck in the Road” (apologies to Greenday)

  1. Some decisions take longer to make than others. But if you’re not happy where you are, it’s time to move on. Good luck with this transition.

    • It’s been a learning curve in so many ways, Gaelyn, this trip. And now Im pretty sure I’ve done the right thing. Leaving La Palma was most certainly right. I am sure that I will go back and see it in a different light in the not too distant future, but if I’d stayed I’m quite sure that I would have ended up hating it …. not the island’s fault at all, just a bad coinciding of details in my own life!

  2. You have done the right thing Linda. It is important to get yourself serviced as well as the camera! and Trix too. Also you can have good company, people to bounce your ideas off. Stunning as many places are I have always found it is the mix of the friendliness (or not) of the people in those places which make them truly memorable. I have been inspired by a young widow recently who has worked hard to get happiness back in her life and you too are inspiring! I have recently come to the conclusion that happiness does not just happen, it has to be worked at. Good luck.

  3. Spot on Christine! Totally, totally at least 75% the people! From Ireland last year to La Gomera to Fuerteventura and Lanzarote it was the people who made the biggest impressions. And, yes, occasionally it happens by chance, but mostly you have to play your part too, even if it’s only by being open and ready for it! Lots of luck to you too!

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