As I sit on the terrace after papaya and coffee gazing towards the azure beauty of the wind-wrinkled Lake Atitlan, I wonder if I could stay here forever. It’s a feeling I’ve had while eating lotuses or local equivalent in the course of my Odyssey, after I left a UK which is still being sacked by the barbarian hordes.
Her best friend told me that my Mother had the capacity to be happy anywhere in the World provided she was surrounded by her family. I think that might be one of the few things I inherited from her, minus the need to have family closer than Facebook and Instagram.
It would be so easy to stay somewhere like this. Sunshine. Vista. Cheap food and booze a stroll away. Wifi and iPad Mini. All I need is to find an apartment and do a visa run every year. Stay put and pay back some of the debt to the planet, live within my income for a change.
Lord, make me live sustainably. But not yet. It is not yet time to be out of this joint. My wanderings cannot cease for a while yet.
For a start, I need to get back to Mother Ship London to replace a passport which has more stamps than George V, to recharge my cultural batteries, to revisit old friends and older places, to check my flat for student-damage. But London is not a place I can afford to stay for long. Not until the mortgage is paid off, at any rate.
I then need to fulfil a pledge I hastily made to visit Mumbai for my birthday. And on the way, it would be nice to visit an old school friend who is teaching in Moscow, something which Clio says is wise to do before the Winter sets in.
After that, I promised to revisit Thailand. And while I’m in the neighbourhood, I should call in on Malaysia. And then it would be good to spend what could be a last Christmas with my father who art in New Zealand, before he foresakes me forever.
I has envisaged retiring permanently in Chiang Mai in Thailand. Reasonable cost of living. Good food. Expat community and a boredom-averting supply of Couchsurfing guests. However, the process of applying for a retirement visa is putting me off, in particular the need to find a way of depositing £18,000 in a Thai bank account. And then there’s the ritual humiliation of reporting to a police station every 90 days.
But it’s not just that. I’ve got the nomadic bug, and I don’t trust myself not to make more promises which will keep me pursuing the siren voices of this unsilent planet until it or I expire.