Viking Spirit, Gypsy Soul

I was born on Grandpa’s birthday. We had a bond. Maybe because I was the only one who would play checkers with him. Or maybe it was because I inherited his adventure-loving Viking genes. I wish I could thank him for that.

At 18 years old he boarded a ship bound for America to make a life for himself in the New Country. Two years later he sailed back and married his sweetheart. Several months after that, pregnant with their first of twelve children, Rachael and Bendik said goodby to family and left Norway behind.

But it wasn’t just Grandpa who loved adventure. Every summer Dad took a month off and loaded the station wagon. He invented a special “topper” that rode on the roof and held the tent, pots, pans, sleeping bags, clothing, his guitar and my ukelele. It was one of those vehicles that had three seats and one of them faced the back window. My brother always sat back there. My sister alternated between that seat and the middle where I was. I never could ride backward without extreme consequences to my digestive tract. Mom was the navigator and sometimes took a turn at the wheel.

We camped all over the United States and into Canada, stopping at every historical marker, scenic overlook, roadside rest area, and state park along the way. At night, after pitching the tent, we sat around the campfire singing The Wreck of the Old 97, and Down in the Valley, and She Was Some Daisy for a Nineteen Year Old. I lived for those trips.

So the fascination for changing vistas is ingrained. Viking spirit, gypsy soul, wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving…I no longer even try to resist. In three days I’ll board Korean Air for another 26 hour flight half way around the world. Excitement ripples in happy waves as I anticipate four more months in Bali.  In the words of the poet, Rumi:

Come, come, whoever you are, wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving – it doesn’t matter, ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times. Come, come again, come.

Photo of Tanah Lot, Bali by:

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kim antonovich
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 23:35:00

    It was great to see you Sherry! Safe travels and I look forward to reading about your adventures once again! Great childhood story! Reminds me of mine. My parents would packs us up in a station wagon as well. We started with a big bright red one and then we had graduated to the deluxe modle (wood panel sides) 🙂 Those were the good old days. I loved camping and the adventures we had!!!! Thanks for the memories talk to you soon. Kim



  2. rae
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 08:53:42

    Bon Voyage little one!



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