We’re settled in for a +week stay so it’s a good time to write about travel. That might seem counter intuitive but not really. Whilst we are on the road, like we have done the last three days, there’s really no time to think much about the process.
One thing we find repeated regularly is that travel is one of the best generators of new thoughts and creative ideas. At least it works that way for the two of us. Some of our most significant changes in life have come about as a result of brainstorming whilst driving. There’s something about the blur of hills and vales, rivers and mountains, traffic, crops, and various animals like a kaleidoscope of ever changing colors seems to open one’s mind to new doors in the universe; new horizons; never-before-seen details of life’s intricacies.
For me, a part of being open to new ideas is the willingness to live with less than the best. This ‘theme’, and I think it really has become a theme at this point in my life is sort of a reaction to the growing trend around us to have to have the best of everything regardless of ones position in life. For example, we sometimes watch some of the “house hunting” programs on TV and when I hear the things that people insist upon having in their new home I reflect to times in my life when we lived with so much less than that — because, at the time, those things didn’t even exist — and yet we never felt deprived or underprivileged. People have become so accustomed to extravagance that they seem unable to live with what would be luxury for 90% of the world’s population. Anyway… back to my thoughts about travel…
Being willing to be in humble places, everyday locations, and inauspicious locales and to be satisfied with that allows you to stop wanting — and hence prevents one from closing their mind to alternatives. And isn’t that what creativity and novelty is all about: finding new ways to do things, look at them, feel about them?
There is a blessing in finding beauty in the mundane, in the commonplace, in simple things and every day places. How else can you find yourself in a lot of everyday places than by wandering around the countryside? Driveways, houses, lifestyles — everything we see serves as an opportunity for comparison or contrast; as the jumping off point for new ideas. The idea that you don’t have to spend a lot of money for inspiration is liberating. And spending money isn’t a guarantee of anything, least of all creativity. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been driving down the road and looked into someone’s yard, seen how they have done something — perhaps to their house or garden — and realized that’s a solution I never would have conceived and it’s a good idea. Often those momentary thoughts have lead to other more significant changes in how I’ve done something.
A good friend of ours commented recently that she is questioning her idea that RV’ing might be a fun thing for her retirement — and she’s questioning that because of some of the challenges we have had — realizing that she might not want, or be able to handle those same challenges. I do try to stress that it’s crucial to realize that there’s no right way or RV’ing. Just because we do things one way doesn’t mean you should — or that our choice is even a good way of solving the problem. It’s crucial that we all make decisions based on what’s right for US, and not what’s right for someone else.
That also means that we make decisions about which challenges to accept. I would never try to do a brake job. I don’t have the tools or the knowledge. But there are RV’ers out there doing them all the time. I choose to do things I have some experience of, I choose to avoid things about which I am ignorant. Occasionally I’ll choose to learn something new. I can’t stress enough how important it is to live within one’s ability.
That said, there is something exhilarating about teetering on the edge of the unknown. Things go wrong in life no matter who you are or where you are or what you are doing. There are people who look at life and see only problems or the potential for problems. So often it’s cliche to ascribe such feelings to a mother who babies their kids and who inflicts needlessly restrictive limits on the children’s activities. However, it’s not just mothers who do that. Moreover, some of the most fun I ever had was doing things I wasn’t supposed to be doing, or doing something that today would be considered ill advised — or even that my parents would get hauled to jail allowing as a form of child abuse had today’s standards been in effect when I was a child! We have gotten ridiculous in how we think we can prevent risk and I am not a fan. This country would never have grown into the power it is and has been had we been so restrictive during our development. There is a risk / reward relationship with much of life and it’s a shame to forestall “doing” or “trying” out of fear. Go for it.
I can’t explain just how excited I am about our summer in Northern Wisconsin. We have been to that area several times now. We have poked around in the area a little and gotten to the point that we can drive the roads and not feel lost — we’ve achieved familiarity. But we don’t know the place. The entire summer will give us time to correct that: to look at things more carefully. Also, well be with people we really like, who are easy going and a joy to be around. That always make any situation better.
In the meantime…. we have a few days to be near our daughter and son in law, to see our old digs and visit some favorite places. We are reminded, once again, that being away from something for a little while results in the usual changes from day to day appearing as something very different from gradual change. When you miss a few months, those things that seem little when you face them as they happen appear quite differently when you face them all at once. Road construction — at the moment — has made a huge change in just 5 months. People have changed — watching the news on the local channel was like watching an entirely new cast of players. Well, it wasn’t LIKE that — it WAS that. We learned that what used to be the final 1/2 hour of news has not become a 1/2 hour of gossip, social nonsense and trivia. I’m not sure where my favorite old TV station has gone but it’s sure wasn’t there last night. Oh well. I fear if we ever find ourselves forced off the road that settling on a place to plop down is going to be a particularly unpleasant task. Even home isn’t home any more.
Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be here to chat tomorrow.