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.
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.
Being a nomad isn’t all fun and games. Today I learned that no matter where you are, the right people can find you.
I locked my keys in the van last night.
Oh hush, you know me… I can be scatter-brained at times. (Pay no attention to my daughters.) I was watching movies in the van. When I went into the tent to sleep, I locked the doors with the automatic lock. This morning it dawned on me that the car keys were in my jacket pocket. In the van. After a hour or so of berating myself, I thought the tow truck place in town might be open by now, so I called and they were. And they came out after I gave detailed directions and promised to meet the truck at the entrance to the camp.
So NOW…I pat my pocket every few minutes to make sure the keys are with me. I may start wearing them around my neck.
The rest of the day was good. The morning session was people showing off their favorite travel gadgets.
And the afternoon was a women’s meeting. We all shared why we were on the road and what interested us in this kind of life. There were some sad stories about divorce, illness, and plain hard times. Although more than half were women just like me, wanting adventure and a non-conformist life. There were 102 female travelers in the group, all ages, some solo, some with a husband/boyfriend/companion. I even met one woman who’s blog I had been reading for a couple of years.
So, even though Friday the 13th proved its reputation, the day turned out to be a great one after all.