Monday, January 2, 2023
Friday, October 11, 2019
I awoke just a bit ago feeling very chilly and I hate the cold. It's still dark out and the temperature is hovering at freezing. I'm living in a rolling home, a 22ft motorhome, and I lazily parked for the night without propane or water. So there's no water for tea and even if there was, there's no propane with which to heat the water for tea. So I guess I'll shiver in silence. You would think that after going on two years of this kind of lifestyle I wouldn't let myself get into this kind of predicament but then you would be underestimating my laziness. ;-)
If it's too cold to sleep and definitely too cold to get out of bed what else does one do but surf Facebook? Come on, you know you do it! So, when I looked at Facebook it threw up my most "liked" picture of 2017.
Now as anyone who knows me can tell you, I take a lot of pics! I really expected a pic of some beautiful vista, flower, or bike trail - one of my usual pics that is. Instead I was confronted with the picture above of an empty 10ft X 10ft storage unit I had just managed to gut. I guess my embrace of minimalism attracted admirers or perhaps voyeurs who wished to accomplish something similar in their lives. The caption of the pic is as follows:
For the first time in my adult life I no longer have a leased storage unit. Now it's true that I still have some work to do on my embrace of minimalism but it's all under one roof now and able to be better sorted, re-homed, dumped, or made into a burnt offering. Making progress...
It was true. I had storage all of my adult life up to that point and had probably spent, all said and done, around $40,000+ on storage over the years. And for what? To shuffle things from one pile to another because I was hanging on to things that no longer fit in my day to day life. Oh to be sure, there were valuable piles, some valuable in sentimental attachment, others valuable in monetary attachment but the operative word there is attachment.
Whatever my reason, it was an unhealthy attachment to things that no longer fit into my life for one reason or another. I had moved on but instead of letting those things go, I dragged them along with me.
I originally simply wanted to do away with the expense of warehousing all of this stuff I had managed to accumulate over the years. It was pretty simple really, I didn't want the expense of caring for this added baggage any longer. Little did I know that this purge would soon spill over into other areas of my life as well, such as my relationships with people, personal, professional, and spiritual but that's a story for another time. My brain is too cold at the moment to even explore and or unpack the topic.
These are the things I was thinking in the wee hours of the morning as I snuggled under my blankets trying to keep warm in the frosty darkness just before twilight. Living a life of minimalism in a rolling home is great for introspection and that's good because that's all I can do right now. It's too cold to stick my nose out from under the covers!
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
"Traveling messes you up, but in all the good ways. It leaves you always craving more, and addiction that can never quite be met. Every place, every trip, every person is a new adventure; pulling you deeper into the love of wanderlust. Your heart begins to hurt when you’re standing still, and your mind begins to itch over the idea of new places you haven’t been. Fill your soul with adventure and traveling and you will live a fulfilled life." —Unknown
Sunday, September 15, 2019
For the most part, my last year and a half living in a rolling home has been amazing, memorable, and for the most part the people I have encountered have been kind, hospitable, encouraging, and even envious.
Sure, it's had its challenges, trials, and tribulations. There has been a series of repairs, though no breakdowns which stranded me. I switched vehicles in mid trip which was a journey in and of itself. There have been some health challenges which seem to have been mollified for now. There have been longer than unexpected layovers where I spent much more time in one place or another than I had anticipated. And some of the shows and sales I have had haven't been up the financial levels I am use to.
However, all in all, my surprise life in a rolling home has been an adventure I wouldn't trade for anything and one I would recommend for almost anyone wanting to learn more about themselves and the world in which they live.
And then there are moments that just make me shake my head...
During my continued and extended stay in the Ozarks Mountains I rolled over to a retreat center/ministry place I have a deep and loving connection with. The people who run the place are absolutely the best and I count them as dear friends. Their hospitality, generosity, and kindness is the kind one rarely finds in this old world of ours but one often shared in these here Ozark Mountains. These folks and their ministry are a blessing to me in every sense of the word.
I had been staying there in my motorhome, Milton, when a wedding party booked all of the lodging facilities on the grounds. This didn't really affect me as, in the lyrics of an Arlo Guthrie tune, I was boondocked "off the side of a side road" and was in fully self-contained mode with no hookups, nor need.
I had been out and about on the town with a friend, when we returned to the motorhome to find a fellow wanting to speak with me. He was with the wedding party.
Now let me say, never wanting to be a burden, I had checked with the team at the center to see if I needed to move off the grounds to make room for anything or anyone from the wedding party. They had assured me that I was fine. I reiterated yet again my offer to vacate and they assured me everything it really was okay for me to stay there. Being parked barely off of a gravel road leading to several houses down the street and plenty of distance away from any loding or building and completely out of sight of the wedding circus tent they were raising, I thought I was in a pretty out of the way place.
This fellow with the wedding party didn't think so. He said that they were going to use that area for parking.
Now, my motorhome is a mini motorhome. It's five feet longer than a conventional full sized van and at twenty-two feet, just one foot longer than a 1972 Oldsmobile Delta Eighty-Eight Royale Convertible that I use to own. Milton takes up a single parking space and a half. For an RV, he has a small footprint.
So I looked at the fellow, looked at the proposed parking area, looked at Milton, and asked a gentle and yet pointed question,
"Do you really think that a parking space and a half would make a huge difference in the parking spot availability?"
Seeing the logic in my question he shifted tactics...
"Well, the bride and groom want to take some pictures with an uninterrupted view."
"And a grassy knoll parked with the cars, trucks, and vans of wedding guests wouldn't obstruct the view?"
By then I knew what was up, they simply objected to the motorhome itself. Milton is an 1985 model and though he's in good shape for his age, he is not, however, the most beautiful boy at the dance. I find most motorhomes and RVs to be terribly ugly and older ones can be even more so. Milton might not be the most beautiful boy at the party but he ain't the ugliest one either. One might gently describe him as homely, a fitting description since he is my home.
I quickly kicked into patronizing wide smile mode and was in the process of assuring him I would move and that it would take me a little bit of time to have everything ready to go, when he asked a question that triggered no small amount of egotistic irritation in me.
"Does that thing even run?"
I didn't say what went through my mind at that point. My southern manicured manners wouldn't allow it. I won't even write it but instead I'll leave it to your colorful imagination. I had previously turned around and was getting ready to climb in Milton to ready him for departure but this fellow had hit a nerve in me and he now warranted my full seething attention so I slowly turned back around.
As I turned I let slide across my face the most southern deprecating smile I could muster. One that spoke volumes - with curled lips and almost fiery glaring eyes. One that would make small southern children quake in the realization that they just had just crossed a point of no return with their teacher and had better retreat quickly. One that would make Pastor John rethink his refusal to the invitation to Sunday dinner from Sister Margret when they shook hands after the service. I think I even straightened my shoulders and squared them off a bit when I offered,
"Why, yes of course he runs! I've traveled in him quite a few places and in fact I live in him. I am a longstanding visitor and guest to this place and am here, like you, with permission."
My ego got the best of me and to my shame I pointed out that not only was I a frequent guest and visitor there but that I had also, at times over the years, held mass there in the chapel and conducted other gatherings and retreats on the grounds. I am ashamed of this part of the conversation as the proper and humble thing was to simply say nothing but smile and move on. However, my perception at the time, rightly or wrongly, was that somehow he was treating me less than and talking down to me and that poked my usually slumbering ego into waking.
At that exchange the fellow looked at me differently and began to backpedal, trying to offer several alternative parking places for me, none of which would have really worked for the wedding party or for me but he was trying, bless his heart. He now looked a little less condescending and aggressive and perhaps even a little penitent and I dare say sheepish.
Inwardly I smiled at his new found humility and as quickly, felt revulsion and guilt at my own shameless display of peacockery. I recovered my sanity and stinging with disappointment in myself, smiled tiredly and gently said,
"Well, that's neither here nor there. I'll gladly move just give me a few minutes."
I told my friend that I'd be ready to go in a few and where I planned to rendezvous with her to figure out where to head next. To my friend's ingenuity, and while I was readying Milton to move and the wedding fellow was still trying to find a compromise, she called her landlord, whom I had previously met, to see if I could simply park in the driveway overnight. The lady and lord of the land graciously consented and we were off. My friend and good old fashioned Ozark Mountain hospitality had saved the day.
In VanLife or RVLife people in more traditional homes and living circumstances can sometimes and often do, refer to us as homeless and I think they honestly see us that way. They question our quality of life, the sanity of our choices, and often try to project their own needs, desires, and insecurities upon us. People have even suggested I am punishing myself by living the minimalistic lifestyle I live. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I always counter with: I'm not homeless, my home just rolls where yours stays in place. And with: I'm not deprived at all but quite the opposite, I feel like I live a decadent life of comfort, freedom, and ease. They then almost always ask solicitously, "But you really want a real home don't you?"
And I answer, "I have a real home."
The maybe unconscious condescension in these types of questions and assumptions sometimes challenges me. It did so during this encounter. It may have been my own projection onto this fellow with the wedding party and I own that but it seemed to me that he began the conversation treating me as a seemingly homeless person in a broken down vehicle who was something to be pushed aside from the view of the bridal coronation that was to take place. As something less than.
The whole exchange has offered me the gift of introspection. After all, the only thing I can honestly do is to look within myself for a change in my own heart, rooting out my own insecurities and my own stinging pride and to change my own reactions when such encounters happen and they will always happen while I choose to live in a real home which just happens to be on wheels.
The wedding party fellow was only acting out of ignorance, wedding stress, and within a construct of societal norms and projections. All of which were temporary, forgivable, and able to be addressed within the context of mind-expanding education. He gave me a great gift though, one of self-discovery and exploration, and for that, I thank him.
It also gives me further insight into how people treat others who unlike me and those of us embracing this #VanLife or RVLife lifestyle may have been forced into a living situation such as ours, and how those unfortunate people may feel with the kind of condescension that often comes from others in regards to their forced lifestyle. That's another gift of this encounter, one of broadening and deepening my empathy and again I'm thankful.
Hopefully, in the future, I will be more sensitive to everyone concerned with this kind of issue and in this kind of encounter. Until then, I'll work on my own ego and tendency to project.
I will also work on my deprecating southern smile. I don't really think it was withering enough! More evidence that I've spent too much time in the northern states.
Happy trails! Do what you love and love what you do!
Friday, August 23, 2019
Living in a Class C Motorhome is anything but simple at times and though I have many, many fewer possessions than I had when I began this journey, I feel less like a minimalist living in larger rolling house.
There's an old saying, less is more and there's so much truth to that. As I've been continuing to downsize and minimalize, I'm coming to appreciate that truth as it translates within my reality. Nothing could illustrate the point better than my recent adventure in moving from a full size van into a Class C mini-motorhome.
I started out this adventure in a 1995 Ford Econoline Chateau Club Wagon, the Kraken. I spent a good deal of time working on a build-out in the van in which I could live when I did craft shows. I meticulously engineered my build to meet my specific needs which was heavy on storage in order to store my tools, raw materials, displays, and inventory for being a traveling glassblower.
Now it's important to note than when I was getting ready for this adventure it was only going to be a part time gig while I was traveling doing craft shows. It beat paying for hotel rooms and insured maximum profitability for me. However after 6 months I returned home to a failed relationship and a completely new reality for my life going forward. That's when I started evaluating #VanLife and what my needs going forward were or might be.
I spent another 6 months in the Kraken living in it as a home. It worked in very many ways but there were a few things that were troubling. I couldn't sit straight up unless I were sitting in one of the front seats, I absolutely couldn't make glass in side the van, and my climate control was fine for cool to cold weather but during hot weather I didn't have air conditioning or even screened windows to open. It was also hard to entertain in the van. It was a cramped space really only built for one. Now, it's not like I have an exciting social life but one always hopes for the possibilities and I do like to cook dinner for friends et cetera.
Years ago, when I was married I traveled in a Class C motorhome with a wife and three cats. We traveled doing much the same thing I have been doing this last year, making and selling glass. It was a 24ft older motorhome and lacked some of the creatures comforts of other similar RVs in better condition but I really enjoyed it. My wife did not. We eventually returned to living in a stationary house with all the bills and all the responsibilities that come with. One year later my wife lamented leaving the road because "life was so much easier and sweeter in the motorhome." Too soon we get old and too late we get smart.
Having had that early experience of traveling and living in a Class C motorhome I always thought in my mind that that was the perfect situation for me as a traveling glassblower. I could work in one, live in one, sell from one, travel in one, and even entertain in one and all in reasonable comfort. (Wow! While typing this I keep thinking to myself, this sounds good and the option I should focus on!)
I was in Quartzsite Arizona when I first saw the RV of my dreams, a 1985 Chevrolet MRV Mini-Motorhome. So when the opportunity arose to turn seven hundred glass hummingbirds into a 22ft Class C motorhome I jumped at the chance. "Milton" became mine.
Everything worked in him and the roof didn't leak. The refrigerator was new, to the tune of over a thousand dollars. The generator was practically unused and Milton had been obviously cared for all of his life. He also had half the miles my van had on it. His awning was great and he had a new mattress in the full size bed. Even his tires were pretty new. All in all, he was a great vehicle and home.
I danced back and forth on whether to keep him or not. I didn't go into this change of lifestyle blindly. Because of my former travels in in a Class C, I knew of the added expense in gas, oil, and fluids for travel; I knew of the greater cost of repairs not only in regards to the "house" part of the vehicle but also in regards to the mechanics of the aging van part of the vehicle; I knew of the parking challenges and I knew of the driving challenges. I understood how greater luxury would mean less freedom because I would need more money for this new living arrangement and to make more money I'd have to work more, making and selling more glass. Being more of a slave to money meant less freedom. I knew all this and still I chose the new RV. I tearfully sold the Kraken and embraced my new life.
My gas mileage has been predictably bad but then I am comparing it to sixteen to nineteen miles a gallon in the van and so four to eight miles a gallon in the RV is terrible. So far, my repairs have exceeded the amount I spent on the van the entire time I owned it and when I sold it the van was in pretty good condition. I am even now at this writing struggling with an engine repair that may be more serious than I thought at first.
There's no doubt about it, moving into Milton and selling the Kraken has slowed my journey to a standstill. If it's not the cost of repairs then it's the cost of fuel. I'm not sure I continue to want to trade my freedom for some creature comforts or conveniences that aren't critical to my enjoyment of life on the road.
Embracing minimalism has taught me how little I need to be comfortable, content, and indeed happy and how needing so very little gives one a greater sense and reality of freedom. I've also realized that I crave freedom much more than I do excessive comfort or material things. This has been a lesson well learned.
I may or may not move back into a van but I know now what its critical to my comfort and what is needed for my space. Time will tell the story...
Monday, April 22, 2019
Oh my goodness, life has taken another turn on the wheel. For me it's a time of transition, metamorphosis, and rediscovery but then that could be everyday really.
While visiting Arizona this winter, I went on a side adventure to Tucson and then to Sedona Arizona. When I returned to Quartzsite, my little world would change forever.
There was a Class C motorhome for sale in the vendors' lot where I had set up camp. It was a great temptation. It was an older motorhome but in great shape. As a matter of fact, I hadn't seen one this old in as good a shape for so little money perhaps ever.
The little treasure was a 1985 Chevrolet MRV Freeport Signature Class C Motorhome. In so many ways it was everything that I had originally looked for and hoped for when shopping for a vehicle in which to travel and stay in.
The little treasure was a 1985 Chevrolet MRV Freeport Signature Class C Motorhome. In so many ways it was everything that I had originally looked for and hoped for when shopping for a vehicle in which to travel and stay in.
When I was originally looking for something to travel in for my glass business I was looking at Class C motorhomes but couldn't find one that suited my needs, in the condition I needed be it to be in, that I could afford. So I settled on my full-size van affectionately named the Kraken.
The Kraken was a thing of beauty and was in fabulous shape, a most handsome grey 1995 Ford Econoline E150 Clubwagon Chateau. I was able to do the build-out on the inside and make it everything that I needed it to be with a few glaring exceptions and best of all he was beautifully grey inside and out, more than 50 shades I might add.
Those exceptions weighed heavily upon me during this last year. Because of my storage needs for inventory and things for my business, my bunk had to be built a little higher off the floor then I would have liked. As a result I could never sit straight up in the van while in back. I also could not make glass in the van because there was no space to do it safely or even really at all. Entertaining was also a challenge and if I was ever to have a social life I thought perhaps I needed something larger with a full kitchen, a place for two people to comfortably dine, and more sleeping room. While I had grown used to personal hygiene practices in a van, I still felt that I would like a shower unit and the van was not conveniently conducive to that.
The Kraken had checked off all of my needs but the new motorhome seemed to check off most of the rest of my checklist in terms of both needs and wants.
All said and done the Class C cost me seven hundred crystal glass hummingbird suncatchers wholesale.
I ended up acquiring the motorhome and then began to decide what to do with two vehicles, which one to sell and which one to keep as I certainly couldn't keep both. After putting them both up for sale and taking them both down several different times I ended up selling the Kraken.
It was a bitter sweet day. The Kraken had carried me on the beginning of my journey and had seen me through some real heartache and struggle. He had provided sanctuary in a topsy-turvy world in which I unexpectedly found myself. He was my safe place. He went to a good home though. A good guy who was living the #VanLife from Washington State adopted him. They will, hopefully, have many adventures together!
Everyone who knows me knows that I think everything must have a name. The new RV, however, wouldn't give me its name for the longest time and people were asking, "what did you name it?" I usually like to live with a thing for a bit while we get to know one another. Eventually the thing usually offers it's name, we come up with a name together, or a friend offers a name that sticks. That wasn't happening.
When I was preparing to leave Arizona, I started the motorhome and was pulling out. As is my custom with all vehicles I've owned, I patted the dash and said , "okay, let's get going...Milton."
Wait! WTF? Where did that come from?! It felt like an epiphany but I thought, Milton huh?! Next thought, Milton who? John Milton? Strange enough, it resonated.
It was weird but it felt/feels right. Not a name I would have necessarily chosen but Milton it was.
I have to brush up on my reading a bit. It's been many, many years since I read any Milton. He of course was the seventeenth century English poet who wrote, most notably, "Paradise Lost" and also, less notably, "Paradise Regained" among other works.
Perhaps I was channeling my anxiety about selling the Kraken and I felt that paradise was indeed lost. Who knows?! The name was a complete surprise to me. Hopefully I will find that while paradise was lost, it has also been regained.
Be that as it may, Milton is my new home on my continuing adventure.
Monday, February 11, 2019
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
When I started this #VanLife adventure I had a different life filled with family and friends, a house, and all the things that go with keeping a house. It was a pretty standard life with all of the ups and downs I suppose and, for the most part, it suited me just fine.
Buying a van and doing a build-out to convert it into an RV was simply to allow me to set up at art and craft shows, selling my art glass across the country while avoiding the costs of hotel rooms. It also offered me the opportunity to see other parts of the country in the hope of relocating our household to a new community in which I could more easily make a living as a glassblower and our little family could thrive. #VanLife was a means to and end and not meant to be a way of life for me.
There's an old saying in relationships that "distance makes the heart grow fonder" and then, for some, there's a cynical addendum, "for someone else." In a polyamorous or open relationship (a relationship based on consensual and ethical non-monogamy) which ours was, one would hope, and more accurately assume, that wouldn't spell the end of a primary relationship but it did for mine.
When I returned home from my maiden voyage in the van from exploring the Pacific Northwest, I came home to a world I no longer recognized and a relationship that had ended at some point while I was away. Oh, there were several extenuating circumstances but because discretion is perhaps the better part of valor, let's just say that was the end of our twelve year relationship.
I left my home, family, and friends, heartbroken and feeling homeless and somewhat worthless. Certainly, I felt less than and I felt very lost and completely alone. That all happened this last October.
I naturally started doing a lot of introspection, soul searching, and otherwise trying to remake or discover what my new life was to be like.
Much of the time since then has been focused on my glassblowing. I'm so very thankful that my career is as it is and that it afforded me the gift of distraction. I've been able to focus, as much as one could with such a heartbreak, on something other than said heartbreak. The roar of the torch is music to my ears and brightness of the flame helps illumine a very dark time for me.
In November and December I rolled into my Christmas show in a major mall in Kansas and poured all of my energy into making glass art and selling it to the Christmas shoppers.
After Christmas I headed to the southwest for warmer weather and to meetup with the 2019 Rubber Tramp Roundup (#RTR) in Quartzsite Arizona. Some five to six thousand of us camped out in the desert for fourteen days, sharing our lives and stories while making new friends.
Being out in the desert I had a lot of time on my hands to think and my thoughts seemed to follow a kind of horizontal spiral: How did everything go so wrong so fast? What did I do wrong? What do I do now? Where do I go? How do I live?What did I want the rest of my life to look like? I had lots of questions with few answers.
After the roundup ended and we all went our separate ways I headed into Quartzsite proper to the annual RV gathering and setup on the main drag at a marketplace making and selling glass art to visitors, travelers, and snowbirds.
As a result of having been a glassblower, going on half of my life, being on the torch sculpting glass is very comforting and meditative for me. Due in large part to familiarity and muscle memory, it allows my mind to wander and engage in a sort of free associative state. If I'm not working out my problems on my bicycle, I'm working them out from behind the torch.
Currently I'm still setup in Quartzsite making glass and I still don't have many answers but I do have a few that seem certain: There seems to be no way to return to my former life. I am now, for better or worse, living full time in my van for the foreseeable future. I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I don't want to be cold anymore and I'm going to be chasing seventy degrees and sunsets around the country. One more thing is just beginning to dawn on me, for perhaps the first time in my life, I am free.
If there is one bright spot in all of this, it's the reality that I've fallen more and more in love with my chosen career. It has been the one thing that has brought me the most constant joy in my life and for that, I am deeply and humbly grateful. Glassblowing for me is as a life preserver for a drowning man.
More than that, I really do not know. At this moment, my most pressing question now is: do I get a dog?
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Saturday, November 24, 2018
Over five years ago I began to minimize: selling off, rehoming, recycling, and otherwise giving away storage warehouses full of store fixtures, restaurant equipment, glass working tools, candle making tools, personal mementos, church items, and lots and lots of books.
Over five years ago I weighed over 325 pounds and I have steadily worked on reducing that figure and my overall weight. My blood pressure was high, as was my blood sugar, and heart palpitations plagued me day and night.
Over five years ago I shepherded an historic church in the Independent Sacramental Movement as its Presiding Bishop. I had clergy scattered from coast to coast who offered various ministries within their own particular communities.
Over five years ago I was involved in a committed polyamorous relationship with two other people. Together we had a blended happy and loving family of three adults, two kids, and three cats.
Fast forward five years...
Today, everything I own fits into a 19 foot van I converted into a little Class B RV, a van I live in full time, and a van I call home. It carries me, my very few personal items, and my glassblowing tools, with room for not much more. In fact, if I want to change my mind, I have to step outside.
Today I'm nearing my goal of 185 pounds in weight. After some lifestyle changes, lots of bike riding, and ultimately living in the van and no longer cooking much, I've managed to shed and keep off an enormous amount of weight. I'm happy to say that I'm down 4 sizes. I no longer own a scale and so I don't know what my weight is exactly but I know I'm closing in on my self-imposed target of 185. I'm no longer on blood pressure meds, nor does my blood sugar seem to get out of whack as often, and my heart palpitations have stopped completely.
Today I no longer shepherd Christ Catholic Church. I resigned from my duties within the church a month or so ago and no longer carry that cross around. It continues on and will find its way with yet another shepherd but that person will no longer be me. In fact, I no longer function in any formal church capacity nor am I much of a church goer these days. My faith is intact and always evolving and growing but I don't have much use for that which we call "the church" as such.
Today I no longer share a home with two other adults, two children, or three cats. The two other adults no longer share a life together either, the two kids are with their mother, and the three cats are with their two kids. A happy family that once was, is no more.
I knew I had moved to Fayetteville to lose weight. I just didn't know how much weight I was in for losing. I left much of my heart in Fayetteville Arkansas in particular and in the Ozark Mountains in general and now I'm on the road to find a new way to live in my lessened state, with hopes that I will find heart in my new life.
It's time to let loose of one more thing and leave it behind, my heartache.
Thursday, September 6, 2018
I haven't been blogging very much and I suppose, that is a tired trait I've exhibited on many of my blogs. I hoped to arrest that habit with this blog but old habits die hard.
A while back I stopped doing day-by-day blogs and chose to only post more inspired or at least noteworthy content and while there have certainly been some noteworthy events since my last entry, I didn't feel that I wanted to blog about them. As a result, I just didn't blog.
The long and the short of it is that I made some miscalculations in the beginning of my trip or perhaps more accurately, I made some problematic choices that had some unforeseen consequences. As a result, there have been some setbacks in regard to my income flow from the glass business as well as to my continued travels.
To help rectify the situation I took a job to replenish my depleted coffer. I haven't had a paid position in many, many, many years, at least since I was a hospice chaplain. It's been and continues to be a bit of an adjustment for me, if not also a bit humbling. I know right, welcome to the life of most folks! All in all, I'm thankful.
The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place to be sure, filled full of interesting people but then I find people interesting everywhere I go. The flora and fauna is also of extreme interest to me. The days pass by and I enjoy the beach and the water, the people and the places, the pizza and the wine, and life moves along slowly.
That being said, I still feel like I haven't quite done what I set out to do when I came to this place, so far flung from the rest of the country and that is unsettling.
I haven't traveled much further than Port Townsend and while I've done a craftshow and sold some glass within the community, I haven't done much with the glass business or as much as I had hoped to.
I also haven't done as much with the church as I had hoped. I've been able to meet with one of the bishops of Christ Catholic Church and that was a great joy. However, I had hoped to meet with more clergy in the general area than I have to date.
Having said all of that, I have to say this, my journey thus far hasn't been pointless. It has just been more of an inward exploration than an outward exploration. Of course I knew that would be part of the sojourn IIhad embarked upon but I hadn't anticipated that that would play as a consuming role as it has.
I struggle with two deeply seated instincts. The first is to return to my beloved Ozark Mountains and my many friends and family who live there. It is an almost constant yearning. I long to return to well worn patterns and places and to a culture that is familiar and comforting to me.
I struggle with my need to nest, to create a home and or work space that also offers those patterns, activities, and things that are familiar to me: a place that comforts and delights me where I can entertain others as well as myself and showcase my creativity.
To that end, I actually leased a very small 200 sqft studio in which to blow glass, though I did dodge a journey ending lease on an enchanted Knot House in which to dwell. Whew! It was close. I may give up my studio yet as well. It's a gateway to the world of nesting.
The only thing I know for sure is that I need to book some fall craftshows and turn my focus to Christmas. I might not blog again for a while as I'm heading into my busiest time of the year. We'll see...
Friday, June 15, 2018
The drive here was uneventful but beautiful. It was a leisurely, scenic drive. Setting up was another matter.
After having to move my booth twice I finally was placed in what hopefully will be my spot for the next couple of days. While this festival has been going on for years, this was their fist time at this particular venue so there were some bugs to work out. Not only did I have to move my setup twice but I helped the lady next to me reorient hers as well.
Tomorrow morning I'll finish the chore, cleaning mirrors and setting out glass. Hopefully I'll be ready to blow glass when they open the gates. If nothing else, I'll certainly be ready to sell glass.
Several of the vendors are staying in their RV's on the lot but they all picked a spot without a view. I split from the herd and headed to my new point lookout for the next couple of days. It's a great view!
After I got the Kraken settled in I took Peregrine off of the back and headed off on a bike ride to a local market. Along the way Peregrine developed his first flat and I without a spare tube!
Anyway, I gathered up my groceries and walked back to the port. It was only a few miles, so not too bad. I had a great dinner in the way of roasted red potatoes with rosemary and a roast beast sandwich on twelve grain woowoo bread. It was delicious. The horseradish sauce was amazing!
I'm look forward to tomorrow. I'm hoping the catch the sunrise. We'll see. I'm sure it will still happen even if I don't witness it. ;-)
Friday, June 8, 2018
You may or may not have noticed that I haven't posted a blog entry in several days. This is in part due to laziness and in part due to not liking the way the blogging was going, or perhaps the way the writing was going. It seemed that as I struggled to do a blog post a day, the content of the posts became watered down or contrived and I began to offer very little in the way of the meaningful content.
I'd rather this blog not become a journal or simpler still, a calendar of events. As a result I will not be pushing to blog every day. I'll make a post when I have something worthwhile to say instead of cataloging the daily drudge.
With that being said, I thought that this day, of all days, was a milestone of sorts. As of today I will have spent thirty days living and sleeping in the Kraken. Much has evolved since the first day and night and hopefully that trend will continue as I iron out the wrinkles of living in a van.
I can honestly say that I love it as much as the first night and I'm looking forward to many more. It has been very interesting and informative for me personally and I can only assume that will continue.
Now that doesn't mean I don't miss the people, places, things, and routines that made up my everyday life before I embarked on this adventure. I do and sometimes it's intense. I'm a wanderer at heart but the Ozark Mountains and my family and friends there pull at my heart strings and lure me home with a continuous tug.
So, what have I learned in 30 days? Well, I've learned that I can tolerate not bathing daily. While I now have access to a wonderful bath house and even more wonderful shower, for which I am thankful, I know for certain I can also find ways to feel clean and refreshed without a daily shower. For me that was huge! While my default is still to have my daily shower if at all possible, I take great delight in knowing that that routine is not absolutely critical for my continued comfort or cleanliness.
I've also learned that less is more. When shopping for food I still fall back into old patterns if I'm not careful. I'll buy multiples of things to get a better deal, even though storing multiples of things becomes exponentially harder the more items you have in your cooler or pantry. I try to buy smaller amounts and just what I need for one to three days in an attempt to let the local grocery store or Walmart be my larger pantry to storage facility.
This works well for fitness as well. It forces me to shop more often and that forces me to bike or walk more often and that's nothing but good for me. I've also learned to keep my panniers on my bike! Several times I went to the store without them and schlepping things home on my bike without my bags was no fun. Follow the Boy Scout motto: semper paratus - always be prepared.
I'm also learning how to cook with one simple pot instead of a whole kitchen of pots, pans, dishes, and gadgets. It's a challenge to plan a meal in a sequence that lends itself to culinary success.
Some things I'm also working on are: accepting help when it's offered, never turning down a free meal or free food, never turning down an adventure without a really good reason, never passing up an opportunity to use bathroom facilities, utilizing power facilities whenever I can for charging electronic devices, and not to be in so much of a rush to arrive that I forget to enjoy the journey. I stop and smell the flowers more often now and it's wonderful.
These are just some of the things I've learned and am working on over these last thirty days. This is as much an inward adventure as it is an outward adventure. To love so well the world that I try not to take a minute of my journey for granted. Thanks for sharing it with me on this blog!
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
It wasn't planes, trains, and automobiles but instead it was bikes, boats, and buses. My friend and I took off for the Walmart in Oak Harbor in order to procure some necessities.
We biked to the ferry which we caught not a moment to soon and we were off across the water to Whidbey Island.
I needed another blanket for the cool nights and a pot to cook my porridge in. My friend needs some other sundry things and after we had made our careful purchases we headed off for lunch.
There was a T-Mobile store close by and so we made pilgrimage from T-Mobile Tuesdays only to be pleasantly disappointed that there were no freebies. I say pleasantly disappointed because remember, I'm trying to embrace minimalism and yet my passion to collect is still strong.
Lunch was had at the Safeway and I must say, Safeway offers the most wonderful breakfast burrito of all time, in my humble opinion. However, instead of my usual Monster chase I chose Diet Dr. Pepper.
Sadly I had neglected to put the saddlebags on Peregrine and so schlepping our goodies back home wasn't as easy as it could have been but we managed. Once home it was time to unload and rearrange.
I will sleep much warmer tonight thanks to the added blanket.
Monday, May 28, 2018
Sunday, May 27, 2018
It was a great day to wander over toward the Point Wilson Lighthouse in Port Townsend. The sun was warm and the water was cool. The hills there were substantial and I am ashamed to admit I had to walk up two of them. I haven't had to walk my bike up a hill in years. Oh well, something to work toward.
Peregrine didn't want to get to close to the salt water. I, on the other hand, dipped my toes in. The water was cold but not terribly so. However, I wouldn't want to remain in it very long.
it was a great day to catch up on long overdue blog posts and with the rest of my digital social media platforms Then on to lunch at The Boiler Room for a free bowl of beef vegetable soup and jalapeno cheese bread.
Saturday, May 26, 2018
Today I continued to explore Port Townsend with my friend. We headed off down the bike trail past the big water toward the Farmer's Market and other places yet unexplored by me.
Along the way we stopped at a couple of new places my friend wanted to show me, one of which was an amazing antique/hardware/lighting store. If I were in the market for candle stick holders for an altar, that would be the place to part with $3500 for a pair. While they were tempting (ha) I decided they wouldn't fit in the Kraken. Saved by #VanLife! Needless to say, there was lots of eye candy there, some of it of the human persuasion even, but that's another story.
After a few side trips we ended up at our destination, the Farmer's Market. Today was apparently a special day for the market in that it had more food vendors than usual. Everyone and their brother, sister, or gender fluid or gender nonconforming sibling were there. It was packed.
|Farmer's Market Port Townsend Washington|
My inquisitiveness faded about halfway through the vendors. It was simply way too crowded. So we hopped over to see our Lady of the Land who had set up her herb booth there and was happily busy with a client. We paid our nodding respect and snuck through her booth and out the back where we made our escape.
We pedaled on down, and I do mean down, to the local Safeway, a wonderful grocery store with a wonderful deli and I had, for the second time, the most wonderful breakfast burrito I've ever had.
The day offered several different adventures and there are even more on the horizon. I may have found a place to set up Crystal Revelations and sell some glass art. It'll require a little more follow-up next week. This is Memorial Day weekend after all. More to follow...
Friday, May 25, 2018
|The Kraken's new parking space and my new live place.|
With the Kraken snug into his new home I set about the task of unpacking the inside and making a roomier more serviceable living space. I hooked up my little propane stove and it found its resting place on top of my cooler, freeing the table to act as a pantry/desk. It's workable and pleasant.
I was also delighted to fire up my incense censer and make it smell more like home. Note to self, a little goes a long way.
Coming from the Ozarks, the temperature change is perhaps the most challenging thing to get use to. I remember living in San Francisco and I was never warm, must the same is true when I lived and or visited southern California. It's the Pacific Ocean that must chill me. Port Townsend is quite chilly especially when the wind blows, even on warmer days, and the wind almost always blows.
I was introduced to the bike trail downtown today. It was fun with great views. It was certainly different from the bike trails in Fayetteville but it was very pleasant and I suspect has some benefits over the paved, lighted bike trails in Faytown. Perhaps there will be fewer pedestrians on these trails and most assuredly there will be few people pushing double strollers.
The bike trail as it runs towards downtown goes by the boatyards. This in an of itself was worth the tip. It was a great delight to look at all the different boats, watch the sailboats, and catch a glimpse of a ferry or too as they come and went.
The sun finally came out to play and the day warmed up a bit though I still wore a jacket I brought with me, just in case. I explored downtown with a great tour guide who happens to be a dear friend. I found Port Townsend to be quite charming.
I've always said Eureka Springs Arkansas, a similar little Victorian town I've written about on this blog, would be perfect if it were near the water and the climate was a bit less extreme in terms of heat and cold. Port Townsend is indeed that kind of place. It has a similar charm as Eureka but much friendlier weather and then there's the water, big water!
Who says there's no free lunch? Obviously that person has not been to the Boiler Room in downtown Port Townsend! The Boiler Room is a not-for-profit which has been offering free meals daily for around twenty years, give or take a day. As a result, a lot of folks who may one eat that one meal a day have at least that to look forward to. They also have a small pantry of free food, necessities, and books. (A necessity if you ask me.)
As a result of their generosity, I had a delicious bowl of vegetable soup and a yummy roll to go with it. I want to explore this place a little more and who knows, maybe I'll do some volunteer work there. I'm impressed with their operation so far.
All in all my first day in Port Townsend was delightful and at times magical. I think I this will quickly become one of my favorite places. It seems like a place that's easy to love.
Thursday, May 24, 2018
|The Kraken Overlooking Deadman Pass in Oregon.|
I post a lot of #VanLife blog posts and don't often post pictures of my traveling companion, the Kraken. He's kinda the star of the show. I'm simply a ride along more or less. Here's the Kraken resting and overlooking Oregon at Deadman Pass. He told me to take it easy on the way down. I listened.
Today was perhaps the most momentous part of my journey to the great northwest. It was at once one of the most beautiful drives I have ever taken in my life, one of the more monotonous, and one of the most frightening drives as well. All of these experiences were wrapped up in one seventeen hour drive.
I started early at 6am Mountain Time. I had a wonderful rest in Echo Canyon and thoroughly enjoyed my drive across Utah. The vista was breathtaking and the little towns along the way intriguing. I'm trying to learn not to rush tips and I failed in Utah. There were several things I should have stopped to explore but I felt compelled to reach the Pacific Northwest sooner rather than later. I will go back to Utah and spend some quality time simply exploring sometime.
And then there was Idaho...
Luckily, the bright spot during that leg of the journey was a quest on behalf of a new friend and the "Lady of the Land" where the Kraken and I shall make our home for a while we explore the PNW. She's an herbalist and needed me to pick up some supplies for her business. So, Twin Falls here I came!
|Rock Creek Twin Falls Idaho|
Heading into town from the highway I crossed Rock Creek across a wonderful bridge and one the way out I stopped to snap some pics. It was well worth the small pause. I met a fellow wanderer under the bridge. He engaged me in conversation hoping to catch a ride but we were going in opposite directions. I bid him safe journey and headed back the Kraken to continue mine.
And then there was more Idaho...
I'm being too hard on Idaho. It had its own beauty to be sure. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I'm sure that it's a dear place to many. Somewhere around Boise the Kraken voiced his displeasure over the journey by running a little warmer than normal. He never overheated nor did he even come close but he did run warm. This would be an unfortunate trend that would continue off and on for the rest of the trip. I've made a note that he needs to go the doctor.
After Idaho came Oregon...and for quite a while it looked like more of Idaho and then, it happened! Oregon! I very much enjoyed the beauty of the Blue and then the Black Mountain. Deadman Pass was also a very beautiful drive.
|Overlook from Deadman Pass looking toward Pendleton Oregon.|
At this point I'll skip forward because the drive from Pendleton to Ellensberg was in 90+ degree heat and neither the Kraken nor I enjoyed that very much. When we hit the forests and the mountains the temperature dropped and the drive through the mountains was, as I wrote earlier, the most beautiful drive of my life to date. It was spectacular, spectacular!
Sadly I was too terrified driving through the mountains to even think about stopping and getting pictures. I thought perhaps if I stopped, it might be for the night and I wanted this leg of the journey to be completed so I forged on.
I arrived in Port Townsend Washington at 10pm Pacific Time. Needless to say, I shall sleep well tonight.
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
|Echo Canyon Utah|
“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die.
And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”
Tonight was the first night I slept in the Kraken not parked in a friends drive way or a mall parking lot and it was glorious. Not that I didn't appreciate the other options but this particular spot was magnificently beautiful.
I had been driving about 12 hours or so and decided it was time to find a place to park. I was in Utah and I rounded a a curve and happened upon one of the most beautiful rest stops I had seen on my drive thus far.
It was in Echo Canyon Utah and it was spectacular! I parked the Kraken a ways from the brunt of the traffic and near a picnic pavilion and some trees. My companions were prairie dogs and a couple of black-billed magpie. They were hustling over some food and bread left by human spectators. The prairie dogs, in no small part due to their numbers, won the prize. Though they heard about it from the magpies.
I wrote my blog post for the day and turned in early after hiking the hills a bit and snapping some pictures. I have slept in rest stops before but it was always a perfunctory exercise based on expediency and necessity more than anything else. This was special. It was a glorious first #VanLife sleep on the road.