Thursday, September 21, 2017

Have Smial. Will Travel.

I spent a lot of time this week in quiet awe of my college roommate’s Instagram updates from Paris. Dear lord, the pictures and the city were beautiful. She’s beautiful. Her life is beautiful. And I looked at those videos and pictures thinking about the life I had when I used to travel more. How clean and new a hotel can feel, even a humble one. How carefree it is to know not a single dirty towel is your responsibility. Add to that amazing food, sights, interesting people - her life is amazing. And I am thinking all this the same day I am trying to wash diarrhea off a lamb’s butt on the same farm I haven’t spent a night away from in six years.

Those images from France felt exotic because they are. To be fair, pictures from the Target in Saratoga would feel exotic these days. Travel is something I can’t do and do not do. I recently joined some dating sites and let me tell you, travel is the one thing every single man and woman out there says they are looking for in a partner. Not one person said, "I'm looking for a Smial." Which is frustrating, as I give great Smial.

Forget Target, some days even driving to visit a friend seven miles away is out of the question if weather is bad, gas money is tight, or the farm’s needs are more pressing than my social needs. You can’t tell a pregnant goat to hold it in while you meet friends at the train depot for drinks.You can't leave for a movie marathon and hot tub when it's -6 degrees and your house is heated by a domesticated fire in the corner of the living room.

My choices have given me a freedom my college self's wildest dreams couldn't believe. I wake up with the kind of agency of time that seems criminal its so my own. Without a spouse or kids, my day is 100% dedicated to my farm, my income, and my passions. It's a dream and one I work damn hard to live as my daily reality but it's also my nightmare. Having all this is only possible because it's selfish as hell. If I ever want to incorporate any other human being's life into it; it means big changes. I'm okay with changes in the name of love. I'm not okay with them in the name of boredom or everyday companionship.

There was a time I felt the need to write in defense of farming and my choices when I saw peers experiencing their own. There was a time I’d wax poetic on the simple joys of staying in one place and the wealth that surrounds a life of gardens, saddles, and Sunday roasts. I wrote those things because I did believe them, but also because of guilt. The guilt that I was more interested in feeling safe and nesting than traveling. I will forever be the dog circling three times before lying down. That act itself is my spirit animal. And as a young(ish), worldly,woman the guilt of staying put feels like a chosen ignorance at times. Young people are supposed to want coffee in Paris. They are supposed to envy passport stamps and towel delivery services. Yet here I am, alone on a mountain, content washing lamb butts. So to those out there considering a Woginrich in their futures, know this:

Have Smial. Will Travel.*
*Eventually, and for love and hunger.


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