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Old Dogs and Banyan Trees


We’ve been living in one place for going on four years now.  Both Jack and I have found our niche here in Northwest Arkansas. Made some wonderful friends.  Found activities we enjoy, causes to work for, favorite places to be during each of the area’s distinct four seasons.


That’s scary.

Because, historically, the moment we settle-in, form relationships, and get comfortable, Jack gets antsy, sticks a For Sale sign on the house or palapa or RV, and off we go in search of the next adventure.

Did I mention that key symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress are fear of intimacy and the need for an adrenaline rush?

Well, now you know.


Usually about three years into living somewhere, Jack begins to make tight bonds with other veterans.  Within a year after that, we pack up and leave. About three moves ago, an odd thing happened.   

I began to anticipate this flight. 

The moment Jack began to make friends, I began looking for a way to forestall the move.  This was followed by the realization that nothing was going to prevent Jack from doing whatever damn thing he decided to do.  My reaction was to begin to look around for the next place to live.  This provided me the illusion of having some control over my life, while allowing Jack the illusion that his wife was now an adventure seeker.

Except at some point the illusion became reality.  Or maybe not.  Wasn’t it St. Paul who said, “I do not understand what I do.  What I want to do, I do not.  What I wish to do avoid, I do.” 

My point is, I have no idea why, but I now crave adventure, hate routine, and love to immerse myself in exotic locations.

Plus, and this is a huge factor, Chesty, Jack’s old service dog, is coming to the end of his life and both Jack and I know our sadness over losing him will be long and hard.  Besides, it’s freaking cold in NW Arkansas right now and the only thing I hate worse than being bored is being cold. 

Still, I refuse to leave the life we’ve built here in the Ozarks.  Over the years, I’ve left far too many friends.  I have a good life here.  I’m dug in.

But, I think I’ve found a way to have the best of all worlds.

I’ve done the ciphering and, with a little scrimping, we can fly to Thailand and live four months a year in Chiang Mai.  That would be the winter months when, here in Arkansas, falling and breaking a hip on black ice is a reoccurring danger.  In fact, the cost-of-living is so much lower in Chiang Mai that saving for the very expensive airfare will only be an issue the first year, this year, while we are slipping on ice and paying U.S. prices for food and fun.  

My Pictures0005

Does this all sound like the ravings of a crazy woman to you? 

Well then, I’m right on track.

Of course, we’re not going anywhere as long as Chesty is with us.  No amount of tropical warmth or ancient Asian peace or exotic locales is better than waking each morning to see the old boy’s wrinkly face looking up at me from his baby mattress bed.


Still, it does help some to know that, when we do lose him, I’ll be able to sit under a banyan tree and meditate on the love of a good and loyal dog and that of a fine and complicated man.  I believe I’ll do a little contemplating on the teaching of St. Paul.

9 thoughts on “Old Dogs and Banyan Trees

  1. I don’t think you’re sounding like a crazy woman. It’s not too late for some more adventure, a little more story material. I’d miss you terribly, but I suppose I could handle you being half-a-world away (as opposed to 300 miles away) if it’s only for four months. Hugs to you, your sweet boy, Chesty and, okay, Jack, too. 🙂

  2. We all need a good adventure once in awhile – and Thailand sounds like quite an adventure! From what I’ve heard, it’s a beautiful place, and many parts of it are very modernized.

  3. Sounds like a plan to me. If it will keep you living here amongst us writers who love you so much, for a larger part of the year, then I’m all for it. I want you both to be happy, but I want to be happy too.

  4. Poor old Chesty….I hope he sticks around for awhile yet…. As to your idea, has Jack said he wants to do this too or is this solely your idea? i admire your ability to live in foreign lands. I don’t think I could leave North America, and my idea of camping is having no mini fridge in the hotel room.

  5. Hey JoJo, Jack’s been wanting to go back to Thailand since the day we left fifteen years ago. Camping is the ‘C’ word in this house. But Chiang Mai is modern. Asian to be sure and lots of ancient wats and buildings, but still, very modern.
    We’ll see if any of this comes about. Hard to predict in life what will happen from one day to the next.

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