Desert Scenery

The Scenery of the Desert

I have been in the desert exactly 2 times. And that is more than enough for me to fall in love.

I find a peacefulness there that is different from any other place I’ve been. The air is clear and light. If the wind isn’t blowing too hard, the breeze imakes the temperature very comfortable. Of course, I am referring to the desert in winter. Not sure I want to try summer. I hear it’s hot.  Heh

But the landscape is amazing. You would think, or at least I did being from back east, that color would be absent. Not so!

      

And while trees like I’m used to do not exist, there are the cactus.

                      

And these bushes that grow tall

     

Here is a bush/tree lined “wash” which in these parts is a dry creek bed.

   

It even appears to be almost forest- like inside the grove along the creek. I do want to come here in the spring to see actual water.

                 

And the mountains ring this valley with majesty

       

The sunsets are particularly appealing, since most of  the ones I see at home are obscured by buildings or trees.

One day I wandered out into the desert around the camp. The feeling of serenity was palpable. I felt like I could easily live here forever. That is, as long as the temperature stayed the same, (haha, never gonna happen.) But I make a connection with Nature like I never had before. I felt wonderful, clean, refreshed, humble.

My relationship with Nature has always been a part of my life. My family traveled for vacations when I was young. We oftern stayed at places that were scenic destinations. At home I also spent a lot of time outside. When we lived in Michigan, there was a river two blocks behind our house with a large woods along it. I would go back there and have “adventures” in my imagination. Of course my love of reading contributed to this, but I was writing even then. Making up characters and stories and – when no one was around – acting them out. Out loud. Boy, I bet if anyone did see me they had a good laugh.

So Mother Earth has comforted me, entertained me, and renewed me many times over. I carry her love with me now as I traverse her ground. I am conscious of the growing need to keep her landscapes safe and clean. One “rule” of being a nomad is to “leave no trace.” I believe this is a good way to live for everyone everywhere. Pick up after yourself. And when you find litter or trash, be kind and clean it up.

Advertisements

A Philosophy of Nomadism

A philosophy of nomadism

Being out here in the middle of Nature is a freeing thing. It allows one to be completely curious, open to new experiences, and able to remember the passions of youth that have been tucked away inside for a long time. Some of my passions I am rediscovering are travel itself, the love of learning by visiting museums and educational sites, and writing.

Retirement for me has become a time of breaking away – from work, from routine, from taking care of everyone else and instead concentrating on me. It is also a time of leaving home and being free to roam. One of my new friends, also recently retired and a widow, says she is running away from home. Me too!

And yet, it is also running TOWARD something. I don’t know yet what that something is, or perhaps it changes with every trip I take. I am discovering new places, new friends, new ideas. That’s what being a nomad is really about. Discovering things about yourself as well as about the country you roam.

Here at the RTR, we had a great seminar on Rites of Passage. It was taught by a former Episcopalian priest who started his own business called wildspiritpassages.org.  He leads people on Vision Quests and teaches about spiritual methods of living, based on Native American concepts.

He told us that nomads go through a rite of passage of sorts when they decide to give up a sticks-and-bricks home and take to the road. He also explained the Medicine Wheel theory of life, calling into play the four seasons which are connected to the four directions. Each one corresponding to a period of the life cycle, i.e. birth, youth, elder, death. Interesting stuff.

We broke into smaller discussion groups to determine which place on the wheel we are at currently. I decided I am North/winter/elder/time of reflection and am heading South/summer/childhood/time of exploration. I can sometimes actually feel myself transitioning from a senior to a young(ger) person.

I took a hike through the desert around our campground the other day and spent a lot of time photographing the scenery and plants. (Look for a post on that soon 😊) After a couple of hours I suddenly had the thought that I could spent the rest of my life here. Quite a revelation when I’ve been in the Great Lakes area of the country all my life. But I think that is what travel does to you. It makes you realize that there are other ways of living.

I find this so very true when I reflect on the friends I am making here. A group of us who are all camped around each other have become a social group. We call it the Fire Council. Every night we gather around a campfire and discuss the meaning of life, tell stories about our travels, and occasionally have a session where a topic is settled on and we go around the circle telling a story about it. The other night was “An Interesting Person You Have Met in Your Travels.” We have even started having dinner together.

This group of random people include singles, married couples, divorcees, widows, and a lifelong bachelor, and we are from all over the United States and Canada and all ages. I cherish them for accepting anyone into the group with absolutely no judgement.

We help each other out with all sorts of things. When I needed a new scrubby sponge, Dave just happened to have an extra and gave it to me. Jerry goes into town every day and takes everybody’s trash to the dump. Mary likewise went and bought vegetables for the communal dinner. And. of course, we all exchange tips and tricks of living on the road.

So I think my philosophy of nomadism is simply this. Be helpful,  be happy, and accept everyone as a friend. A good way to be wherever you are in life.

Travel Tidbits

While traveling I’m always on the lookout for interesting places and things. Place names are especially fun. Did you know there is a Hot Coffee, Mississippi?  It’s actually an abandoned hamlet that used to be a rest stop for travelers going from Natchez to Mobile. It has lots of signs still and is a roadside attraction/photo opportunity.

There is one person I met who I want to mention. I have never found the courage to go up to someone who looks like they might be a fellow nomad until this trip. I was at a rest stop somewhere in New Mexico. There was a woman in the car in front of me who was rearranging things in the car. Looked like she had a whole home in there. So I took a deep breath, walked over and said hello to her dog. (Always a great conversation starter) We chatted a bit and I asked her if she was indeed a nomad. Well…that started a half hour talk. She told me about living in India and Mexico and I told her my story. She designs and creates jewelry and hand knit bikinis and has a children’s line. I told her about my books and she was interested in them. We talked about selling our own products, she mentioned she was starting a website and offered to put a link on it to my books!  We exchanged info and promised to stay in touch. Thus a friendship is born.

Being an introvert all my life, it’s been hard for me to make long lasting friends. I have a few who I always turn to for companionship, but I admit, most of my friendships are casual.  However, I believe I am getting much better at it.  Having a common subject to talk about is a great thing. And when it’s somewhat unusual, like being a nomad, it’s even wonderful.

One way I made a few friends here at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous was through yet another car problem. Somewhere along the way I must have picked up a nail in a tire. It was quite flat after sitting a couple of days. There is a group of guys across the road from me who all offered many suggestions. One has an air pump, which he gave to me to use to inflate the tire so I could go into town and get it repaired. I pumped it myself, which, being older gentlemen,  they all thought was crazy. (They should have done it for me, ya know.) But my independent streak got the better of me and I persevered. I might get a pump myself, it’s great exercise.

 

 

Traveling Again!

Now that the holidays are over…new year, new trips. I’m on my way to Arizona for the annual gathering called RTR in Quartzite. That’s the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, created and run by Bob Wells who is a popular nomad “celebrity.” He started this camp/meetup/school for newbies  several years ago. I went last year. Did you read about it? Check out my posts from last January. A summary is here.

I won’t do a day by day again, but if anything new and interesting happens I’ll be sure to post it.

Later in the year, maybe spring, I want to head to Maine. I have a thing for rocky coastlines. And I’ve always dreamed of exploring Acadia National Park so this is the year.

Then in June I have a family reunion to attend. It will be in Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio. King’s Island is on the agenda. Whoohoo!

Retirement is turning out to be more fun than I hoped. I thought some boredom would show up, but I’ve done many trips and had many family situations. Not much down time. So this year my “resolution” (laughing because, when have I ever…?) is to get that novel written.

For the rest of the year I think I’ll do a little crowd sourcing. Got any place you want info on? Send me a comment and I’ll go there and report back.