A few thoughts on travel


Blessed-are-they-who-seeWe’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?

51d84ad6cd6d4d0f36f041b410e9d89aThere 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. penguin travelI 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. Travel is about the gorgeous feelingWe 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.

Mountains are CallingIn 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.

 

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8 Comments

  1. Freedom from want…a powerful place to be and yet something that is hard to achieve in this day and age. Rick and I have grown into such a comfortable rut with each other that we rarely have any serious life challenges. Only recently did we run into something that severely put the brakes on our plans, potentially crushing them. But after getting over the initial anger and disappointment of seeing our dreams squashed I was able to look at the fact that we have very little in the way of life problems and as far as problems go…we got off pretty easy. Though this does not make the problem go away or the struggle any easier we can pursue overcoming the obstacles with a bit more comfort, knowing that we are two very capable people and we will figure out a way through…somehow! And teetering on the edge of the unknown…to me, that is what makes life exhilarating!

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    1. Sorry to hear about the recent challenges. Life isn’t fair most of the time and glitches seem to happen at the most inopportune times.
      One of the lessons I learned during those years in a caustic religious environment was a really good lesson for me. I learned that a life of faith — a live that I wanted, loved, and still live — means that I am not a citizen of this world. I’m a citizen of another place and the blessings I enjoy here I take as if I’m an immigrant — I don’t deserve them as a citizen, they are freely given as a visitor. As a result I don’t find myself ANGRY very often. Sure, there are a lot of things that I get disappointed about, but seeing as I never felt ownership of them losing them isn’t such a big deal. Not sure if you know what I mean.
      And as for planning into the future, we aren’t huge on that. If it works, fine. But if it doesn’t work we aren’t (in the essence of our being) any worse off than we were before, or than other humans are — and no matter how we look at it, we’re better of than the vast majority of humans on the face of the planet.
      It works for me. Well, for us really. Probably wouldn’t work for others. It’s the result of an entire lifetime’s point of view.
      Too much teetering CAN be frustrating though… I’m coming to appreciate that in this last 12 months more than I had in the past.

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      1. I guess teetering is really a bad term since it implies a sense of being off balance which isn’t my cup of tea.

        As far as anger is concerned I am almost never angry but some of the recent political legislation has imposed unfair burden on many people, specifically Obamacare. There is so much of it that is outright bad for taxpayers. Per Obamacare, my insurance premium is 1500/month of which I get a huge subsidy. When I got a small stock inheritance which was less than the capital gain allowance, I did not have to pay tax on it.But Obamacare considers that same money as earned income and because of it I don’t qualify for the subsidy and have to pay it back. That idea generally makes sense until you realize that the payback is 1200/ month.(12K last year, 15K, next year) I would never in my right mind pay out 1200 a month for insurance. How is that even close to being affordable? My share of the premiums have gone up 200% over the past year and my out of pocket was 6K last year…for bottom end insurance! My anger is in being forced to pay exorbitant amounts of money to stay within the law. Knowing that there is about 40-50% of the population getting these subsidies and the working taxpayers having to carry the burden. It seems like a huge injustice to all. My anger is at the injustice.

        Good news, situations changed and life challenges are all under control. 😀

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      2. Politics DOES anger me. Mostly the intransigence of politicians. Well, their stupidity helps.

        I’ve heard of others having the same repayment issue and frankly I’d be incensed having to pay $1500 a month for insurance. 2 years ago before I qualified for Medicare I was paying $380 and I thought that was a lot — that was in the Wisconsin High Risk Insurance Pool. When we had COBRA after Peg retired that was about $325, but that’s only good for 18 months. That was the one real issue for us about retiring early…. Could I afford to stay insured being 2 years younger than her. We made it through just before Obamacare.

        >

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      3. Do tell me that “after Peg died “was a typo.

        I am told that I can still try traditional route. I’m going to check it out to see if I can get a better deal except they won’t let me change until Open enrollment so I am out of luck for this year.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I recently talked to a young man and woman…college age…and they were trying to grasp us living in a tiny RV. I looked at the woman and said “are you familiar with he tiny house movement?” and a lightbulb came on. I explained how ‘less is more’ and how they would be doing themselves a favor to live that way early on. People do not need 4000 square foot houses with 4 car garages.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. isn’t it funny the way the much touted “tiny house” should ring a bell, but RV doesn’t. Says a lot about advertising I think.
      Most of our married life we lived in 700 sq ft. We had a 12 family apartment and at one time had 5 generations of Pazucha’s in there. So, this is only 1/2 the size of what we were MOST accustomed to. Of course at the end we had 6500 sq ft, and we downsized to 230 sq ft at the first — so that was 95% reduction. And I have only ever had a 2 car garage for 6 years in my life. it’s amazing what people think you absolutely must have.

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