Here, There, Anywhere

Yesterday, Mark and I had “the talk”, as we are wont to do every New Year’s Eve. It’s how we celebrate; by looking back and looking ahead, at the year that was and the year to come. Aren’t we a fun couple? This time it was a walk and talk, because we’re in Cordoba and the weather is fine. We moved from plaza to plaza, more or less at random, stopping to sit and pull out the calendar for review as needed. (One of us needs more reminders than the other, ahem…)

The outline for this annual event is roughly this, tangents and snacks notwithstanding:

What do we think happened last year? What actually happened? (Hence the calendar notes backup.)

What were we aiming for? How did that go?

What do you want more/less of next year? How do we make that happen?

Then we pick up the threads of all of the going forward stuff and try to weave it into a pithy phrase that we call the theme of the year. I’ll spare you the looking back, this blog is my notes for that and I’ve already amply blathered on and on. Suffice it to say last year wasn’t at all what we thought it might be. The point however isn’t to be prophetic, or even accurate. The point is to aim for something interesting, to make it a good experiment, to examine and maybe change some habits. When we were done talking ourselves silly, we had our goals for this year: to step out of the news and distraction vortex, and to get our travel groove back.

The theme was nearly going to be I’m not buying the island, damnit, based on a dream I had about Mark insisting we settle down and buy a house in our happy place, Belle Île en Mer. That was to serve as a reminder to resist the siren call of comfort and the stasis of home and routines. And while I still like that one and think it’s something to bear in mind, I never like ambitions to be expressed in a negative sense. I want to focus on what I want rather than what I don’t.

Thus: Here, There, Anywhere. The official phrase of the year for 2023. (Cue the fireworks!)

HERE is to remind us that here and now is everything. Specifically it’s about wrenching ourselves out of the neural synapses that make up the world wide web, taking a break from news we can’t use and from monitoring the world. Information gathering is a seductive trap that makes me feel productive while doing almost nothing of value, and what is valuable can be obtained with less vortex. That reality can take care of itself for a while, I’m going to deal with the one close at hand. I want to be here, that is to say present wherever I am, and not mentally somewhere else altogether. Concretely, because nothing happens without a plan and steps, I’ve put a distraction blocker on my phone, which I will carry attached to a notebook. I will have discrete times for doing what needs to be done online. For both of us it means picking up our meditation practice again.

THERE, of course means go. Travel. No surprise there, it’s the overarching theme for this phase of our lives. Going while the going’s good. To paraphrase the French writer Maguerite Yourcenar, as long as we’re stuck here in this world, might as well take a look around. But as I suspected, now that we have the palatial and comfy Montpellier digs, I’m more resistant to getting out the door. There are things in life to be taken care of, routines to be kept! Friends to be seen! And besides, I’ve already been there. Um, no. It’s always great. Just go. Seeing what there is to see is the great adventure. Once I’m gone, I’m good. I love it. It’s like waking up from a dream, I have no backwards thoughts, no wishing to be home. Last year we experimented with staying put in places for a month or longer. That no longer feels necessary. We’ll move around more and not hesitate to move on.

ANYWHERE is expanding on the idea of there. Saying yes or even what the hell, why not? Not everything has to be a hell yes. Anywhere is about less: less optimizing, less overthinking, less being overwhelmed by the paradox of choice. We might not wind up making the best choices but we’ll be open to surprise.

Ok, that’s enough online time. It’s time to pack. Tomorrow we’re off to Málaga.

Coffee, sandwiches, luggage. Check. It’s going to be a great year! Onward!



  1. Mary and Mark, Happy New Year! From your posting, I take it that your new philosophy can be summed up in the phrase, “Let’s go”! I do not know if Yourcenar is the best guide for your journey. You risk becoming itinerant globetrotters. I think you may need to look a little deeper to discern your motivation. I feel your excursions are more meaningful. Just a thought from a friend! XO


    1. Or “we’re outta here”! And what part of itinerant globetrotter don’t you like? It’s a risk I’m willing to take!

      Don’t worry my friend, our motivations are not going unexamined, just unblathered about. 😉


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