Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Walking away


Northport 2008 036

Maybe you’ve heard the news story about the man in Denver that went to a football game and disappeared at halftime, leaving behind his friends and his stepson.  He’d worked for the friends who took him to the game for years and they called him ‘reliable’ and said he’d never disappear on his own.

Turns out he walked away – walked over 100 miles south.  There are lots of questions now and perhaps we’ll never know why he did what he did.  I’m sure people are assuming there are mental issues because no sane adult just walks away from family, friends, job, life.  Right?

But let’s be honest.

Who among us hasn’t wanted to do what he did, to walk away, drive away, somehow slip into another life.  Surely I am not alone.  Aren’t there other people out there, approaching the freeway for the early morning commute,  who are pulled, almost physically, toward the entrance ramp heading the other way?  And who, when driving back to work after lunch hasn’t dreamed of going right on by the building?  Haven’t you ever wanted to slide away from adult responsibilities, bills, home repairs, even vet visits and yard work?  Haven’t you wanted to ride off into the sunset without thought about the reality of whatever is just beyond the horizon?

So, though I assume this particular adventurer has a big issue, maybe mental, maybe otherwise, I have to give him a bit of credit.  He wanted to go and he did.  Irresponsible?  Certainly.  Unfair?  Of course.  But still.  Monday morning, if I headed north instead of south, how long would it be before someone noticed I wasn’t where I was supposed to be?  How many hours of freedom would I have before I had to reluctantly head back to real life.

What do you think?  Was he crazy?  Or just done in, fed up, tired and worn out?  And do you ever dream of doing something similar?  I do.

And I bet I’m not alone.

Northport September 2009 001



Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

28 thoughts on “Walking away

  1. Yup, Australians call it going on a walkabout!


  2. I don’t know if I dream about walking away completely…but I do think a lot about switching directions.

    I wonder if this feeling was common 200 years ago, or if it is unique to our modern day, fast paced life style.


    • It’s probably all similar. Much of my angst has to do with trying to get to retirement and what I perceive as more freedom. Of course you never know. Retirement might not be freeing at all. Guess we’ll see!


  3. We Aussie tend to be infamous for doing just this very thing – we call it going walking-about. I know when I first came to the USA I scared the heck out Dave many times – because I would do just that – for no reason off I would go – walking where ever my feet would take me – I could go hours or often the whole day …..and without a word. It was just something I grew up doing and having been single most my life I wasn’t use to having to tell people where I was going. I still tend to go walkabout but will leave a note or text message that I off walking – the bad thing is I never know where I am going so if anything did happen – people would have a hard time finding me.


    • I think it’s a wonderful concept..but I agree, it’s probably good to leave some note. I try to leave a note when I take off..but you are also right that I rarely know exactly where I am going and I don’t know how anyone would find me either.


  4. Haven’t read anything about the man in Denver, but I’ve certainly thought of disappearing! Sometimes, traveling, we’ll pass through some small town and I’ll spot a place I think NO ONE WOULD EVER LOOK FOR ME. Starting over, with a clean slate, leaving the past behind — the freedom aspect can be overwhelming. Then, less than a minute into the fantasy, I realize how much I have to lose by leaving “everything” behind.


    • Isn’t it interesting how so many people fantasize about starting over clean, when we really have it pretty good. I think we are just a restless nation.


      • Someone told me this story, which probably comes out of a wisdom tradition: People sitting around a table were all invited to bundle up their troubles and throw them onto the table. Each person could then choose which bundle to take on. Everyone chose the troubles they’d originally had.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I have often thought about how it might be to live in different places, but I don’t think I could ever just take off. There’s always someone or something I would have to leave behind and I couldn’t just leave them to worry. But there have been days . . .


  6. My thoughts exactly Carol! Want to meet up in the middle of the country? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t want to walk but pick up and go sounds fun. I want to go when times are good tho—because you know where ever you go you have to take yourself with you. I have a uncle who woke up one day and left his wife (childhood sweetheart), 3 grown kids and grandchildren and ran off with a striper. He was the best uncle, the best dad, beloved grandfather, and a good husband. Of-course there is more to this story but the bottom line is he was unhappy for years and didn’t know how to exit any other way. The signs were there but they mostly went unnoticed. You just never know….


  8. Over 100 miles! That’s a pretty impressive pilgrimage. Yes, yes, yes, I have often thought about setting out, a bit like Forrest Gump, and just walking for as long as I could keep going. It isn’t a need to escape, but more like a need to put my body in motion to quiet my mind while I slowly explore new places. Maybe that’s why the Fastball song “The Way” always appealed to me. 🙂


    • I think everyone has their unique reason why they’d like to keep walking some days. Yours seems the most positive reason I’ve heard. I hope you’re having a good day today.


  9. It’s always good when someone walks away without physically hurting anyone. There’s a story from the news from quite a few years back– well, come to think of it, never mind.

    I did once decide that I was going. Marriage not going well at all, which made me hurt all over. One day in couples counseling, my (now-ex) husband said something that made me so hurt and angry that I stood up, walked out, got into the car, and started driving. Maybe 100 miles away, after turning off the freeway into a back road that I sort of knew where it went. The up side was that, on a weekday, no one was there. I drove for half an hour on that road (still 55mph I believe), whose turnoff was only 20-30 minutes south of a million-population valley, and passed only one other car in the opposite direction. At the national monument that I arrived at [heh, just checked google maps–120 miles from where I started], i saw a bobcat and wild turkeys and all kinds of birds and I think a fox. Thought about sleeping in my car in the dirt campground, but it was February (yes it does get very cold here), so I was cold, and it got dark very early, and there was NO one else around at all, which actually was scary, too. And I had no books or anything else with me.

    So I went back to the freeway and started looking for a hotel. One after another, they had no vacancies! Not that there were that many in that long stretch, and I started feeling defeated–they’d be able to track me through my credit card, and I’d have no money to live on, and my dogs were still at home, and everything else that was important to me was there,

    I ended up back at home at about 5:30 in the morning, and it turns out that my husband had never even been home (an ongoing issue), never tried calling me at home or work, never knew that I had been gone. At work when I went in, my mgr just said, would be nice if you’d call in before you take the day off.

    And that was my running away story.

    I think it depends on how bad one’s problems are, whether one really does it.

    BUT on a lighter note, I also think about getting a camper-van and just heading out and going and going and going.


    • We did the marriage counseling thing too…and I remember once standing up and saying enough and walking out. But that’s as far as I went, the car. Many many times have felt like walking away…and in fact did once while we were on vacation in Hawaii. But had no money, no credit card on me. So mostly sat on the beach and cried. When I got back to the hotel room he wasn’t there. I suppose he was out looking for me. We’ve never talked about it. Odd.
      I’m sorry you had to go through that. Thank you very much for sharing. Makes me feel less alone.


      • I’m sorry that you have had to go through that. However, I think that most marriages have some rough spots at some time. It’s only when it’s all the time that it becomes sad.


  10. Yes, yes, yes! So many times I’ve thought of not taking the exit to go back home. What would happen if one day I just kept driving – to the ocean or the mountains? Not forever, just for a change.


  11. I’m not entirely sure I can relate, but I can certainly empathize, and can totally understand how you’d get to a place where you just wanted to walk away. But then, Tony and I have been relatively on our own since we were 18. Perhaps it’s harder to walk away like this man did, when you make a planned move away. Except for Tony, there’s really no one to walk away from. Though I have spent my moments in solitude, like you, only I tend to go for alone in the woods instead of down the Hawaiian beach.
    Hugs for anytime you may need them!


  12. Dad read this story, and there are times Dad feels like recharging. The only thing he would want if he walked away would be me, his collie.



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