I've now cooled off almost entirely about the idea of moving from Sussex to somewhere else. What seemed a must-do plan just a month ago has now been popped into the box for 'things to do in certain eventualities' - chiefly meaning that if certain key people in my life (family, friends, neighbours) ever moved away then I would move too. I'd feel free to go. I did mention the possibility of moving to North Devon to a number of people. The reactions were mixed. I can't ignore sensible advice to be cautious, and to think very carefully about taking such a big (and irreversible) step. Nor can I ignore the tears in the eyes of those who would feel abandoned. One or two people seem to count on my being around.
It sounds like I've found acceptable reasons for shelving a big testing challenge, doesn't it? Is this the inevitable triumph of laziness, inertia, and primal fear of the unknown? These powerful enemies of action and life-improvement are certainly in my mind - and they may indeed prove stronger than self-determination, financial advantage, and the certainty of living in a scenically stimulating part of the country.
In the end it's about psychological comfort, where 'home' is, or can be established, whether new friends and acquaintances collectively amount to a 'social life' that compares to the one left behind. Scenery matters, but it isn't decisive if one has the means to reach it - and I already have.
The very evening that I tow the caravan back home - tomorrow evening - I will join a bunch of people I know for a chatty meal out in buzzy Brighton. There is nothing like Brighton in North Devon, and although I'd never want to live in such a big, busy, noisy place, I'd miss not having it on my doorstep. I know I would.
As for the travelling itself, were I heading south-west tomorrow, to North Devon, I would certainly get home quicker - assuming no holdups on the M5 motorway. But I'd have to battle against any rough autumn weather coming in from the Atlantic (towing a caravan is a bit like sailing a ship, at least in spirit). The south-east voyage to Sussex would be slower, but I would reach my sheltered harbour behind the South Downs without encountering rough waters.
I dare say I'm responding to the shortening days of late autumn. A natural urge has kicked in to get home, back to familiar things, and snuggle down for the winter. It's not the time of year to contemplate something new. So I will dig in. (Expect my interest in creating a new life for myself somewhere else to revive in the spring)