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.

“Memories…Pressed between the pages of my mind…”

They say you can’t go home again, but this past weekend, I did. To Three Rivers, Michigan where I lived from age 12 to 24. My high school class had our 45th reunion. I hadn’t been back since our 11th reunion. (Yeah, we were a bit unconventional.) I had a wonderful time.

Friday night we met at the home of a classmate who lives out in the country. Everyone brought snacks and their own drinks. For me, it was wine. We talked for hours. It was so good to see people who I hadn’t had contact with in over 30 years. Our hosts even let me camp on the property that night. Thank you, Gary and Mary!

Then Saturday morning we toured the building that used to be our high school. It now Riverside Church, a non-denominational worship center that has many community outreach programs. And it just happens to be run by one of our classmates. The building was really changed from when we suffered through the angst of high school. (Well, I did anyway) It was fun trying to guess what each room used to be. The gym was easy; it has been kept almost intact with the basketball hoops and floor markings and is now used for the church services. Even the bleachers were still in use.

Saturday afternoon I wandered around the area. Spent some time at the county park just outside of town. It has lovely hiking trails. Took pictures of my old house. Walked around downtown and visited the used book store. It’s called Lowery’s and it’s huge. They bought out five shops along the main street and combined them, leaving the original storefronts so you don’t know how big it is until you get inside. The décor is innovative and fun. This is a picture of the stairway to the lower level.

I controlled myself and bought only one book (pat on the back).

Then Saturday night was the actual reunion dinner. It was pot luck (I took a fruit platter). Saw even more old friends. Connected with classmates that I didn’t hang out with and they became new friends. So nice. We had music playing from our childhood and youth. I even contributed a few CD’s. The food was great. Although, surprisingly, there were very few desserts. We must be living healthy lives LOL.

Sunday morning, some of us met up again at a restaurant for breakfast. It was out at one of the lakes that surround the city. I remember as a teenager I was happy that my parents knew several people who had a lake house. Had to keep that tan, ya know.

All in all it was a satisfying weekend. I shall definitely go to the next event. We’re going to celebrate our 65th birthdays together.

How Vincent Broke a Leg and Family Time

One nice thing about retirement is that when family needs you, you can be there for them.

Last week Vincent broke his leg. I was driving through a downpour and didn’t see an object on the road. It blew a hole in a rear tire and so I had to stop. Fortunately I was about 500 yards from a gas station, where I pulled in and called the Roadside Assistance Program that I have through Good Sam.  They changed my tire and I drove to the nearest Walmart to get a new tire. Then my sister called.

My brother had a small health scare which resulted in a trip to the emergency room. I was wandering around Indiana and about a hundred miles from where he lives. My sister, who lives there also, called me and asked me if I could come. So I did.

He’s fine and came home the same day, but I’m spending some time with them now. I probably won’t be traveling for a while.

I had originally envisioned my retirement to be all travel with a few stops for family events. But now, it is nice to realize that travel is not the all consuming passion I had thought it would be. Family time is so important and I am grateful for the way my life has evolved so that I can spend time with them when they need me.

Time to Get Busy

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I’m in Fort Wayne, getting ready to clear out the apartment. I’m trying to think of it as THE apartment instead of MY apartment because I’m leaving a place I’ve enjoyed living in for the past nine years.

Change is always hard. Retirement, the big change, was relatively easy, I’d been planning for it for 40 years LOL. The change in living locations has only been on the list for a couple of years.

When thinking about living in a vehicle as opposed to a building, I kinda made a pro and con list in my head.

Pro – I won’t have rent to pay, I won’t have utilities to pay, I won’t have house maintenance tasks, I can live anywhere

Con – I’ll need to find a place to sleep every night, I’ll spend more on gas

People ask me what I’ll miss about living in a house Not much actually. Being in a van I will be able to do everything I already do  – eat, sleep, read, surf the internet, watch movies and TV shows, write.

Here’s what I won’t miss – house cleaning.

All in all I believe this change in lifestyle will be good for me. During the past several years I’ve spent a lot of time in a kind of limbo, sitting around doing a whole lot of nothing. Not what I want my “golden years” to be.

So, time to get to it!