Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Are We a Cultural Enigma?

Here we sit in our little trailer "Gracie" in an RV park in Texas.  We're not here on a weekend jaunt, or a slightly longer vacation, but "Gracie" is our humble abode of choice.   We have been back in Texas for close to four months as we consider this state our "home base."  Although it may seem very odd to many, to live in a trailer -- that can be towed behind an SUV -- to us it is very comfortable, very normal.  We have many friends who share this choice -- a "nomadic" lifestyle. 

We have shared previously that we began a nomadic lifestyle in 2007 when we moved into our first RV.  Since then we have traveled Large: 36' Class A with toad (aka vehicle in tow); Compact: Suburban (aka "Nautilus") with tent, clothes and other essentials; and now Small: 18' trailer behind the Nautilus.  We're thinking we like the Small footprint of late, but may go to 'Medium' at some point in the future with a bit larger trailer, but still one that the Nautilus can tow.

Last year we spent about half the year in a "sticks n bricks" (aka house) again, but found that it was not for us.  Funny thing is, that is what society thinks is "normal"; required; essential.  But is it?  Is it necessary to have a house (thus mortage/rent payment, utilities, etc.)?  Now don't get me wrong, there was a time in my life where the 'white picket fence and a house full of children' was my dream!  My destiny!  It's what life is all about, right?

So now what?  The 'house' thing just does not fit us; not sure it really has in all the years we've been married.  Can't tell you how many friends laughed and said 'glad I write your address and phone number in pencil' every time we moved (an average of at least once every two years for the first eight years of our marriage.)  I'll tell you, it felt wonderful when we moved into our RV -- then when we wanted to change our location, we just started the engine.

Now, don't think that our nomadic lifestyle has been without challenges.  Life has its challenges whether in "sticks n bricks" or on wheels!  With that in mind we also appreciate our small footprint, with it can bring be a lower cost of living and closer family interaction.  It's all trade offs!  We do find humor in the fact that some of our friends and family members don't understand how we could embrace this type of lifestyle; how could we not want to be in one place so that our son can attend public school, play local sports, etc. etc. etc.

But on the flip-side by the time our son is 18 years old he will have a plethora of life experiences that will give him a vantage point for life choices that not many have.   He has already been to over 20 states and has visited most of the capitals of each of those.  By his age I had only seen a small bit of five states and had only visited one capital, as I recall.  He's learned much about history and culture by actually visiting the locations, in our country, where significant events have taken place.  Rather than reading about them in a book -- in a classroom -- as dictated by a teacher -- in a traditional public school environment.

A few places that stand out are our trip to Blue Licks Battlefield in Kentucky -- site of the final battle of the American Revolutionary War -- a monument stands commemorating the Battle of Blue Licks August 19, 1782.  This was the battle where American Pioneer Daniel Boone lost his son, Israel, while fighting at his side. We have visited the centerpoint of the lower 48 along with finding (by happenstance) the Geodetic center of the North American Continent.  Of course Hoover Dam is an awesome wonder, but there are other lesser known sites to see such as S.P. Dinsmoor's Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas, not far from Cawker City's "Worlds Largest Ball of Twine."

We have also learned a bit about nature as we enjoyed our stay at Patrick's Point State Park in California as Camp Hosts; Agate Beach, for one, is a rare anomaly and provided a fun opportunity to dig in the sand, play in the surf, build a beach hut from driftwood and find beautiful rocks.  Our rock hound friends would have also enjoyed our trip to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, AR and the Petrified Forest National Park in Northeastern Arizona.  This is a very short list of the places that we've been over the past six years -- we look forward to growing our current list exponentially in the coming years!

Back to the title of this post "Are We a Cultural Enigma?"  In 2007, when we moved into our first RV, I would have said unequivocally "Yes!"  However over the past two years we have seen the numbers of people, -- correction families -- who are leaving their 'sticks n bricks' to pursue the life of modern day nomads grow phenomenally!

To us it is very exciting to be able to embrace a community of nomads as our neighbors in common.  No, they're not your typical neighbors -- because you don't see the same ones everyday, but they're there.  We support each other through the wonders of technology -- the internet and social networking has really been a boon to the nomadic lifestyle.

The internet provides not only a source of communication, but also sources of income for so many nomads.  And let us define the modern day nomad:  It is not necessarily an individual, or family, who lives in a recreational vehicle.  We have nomadic friends who travel globally via a multitude of means: planes, trains and automobiles... and boats... some with only a backpack!  Ahhh... Small footprint bliss!

It makes it difficult to lose your things when everything you own is in one bag -- kind of an odd thought when living in a society of 'must haves' and one with 'instant gratification' as an underlying theme.   A society where the "McMansion" and a three car garage seem to be the norm -- with the Jones' as neighbors, of course!

Perhaps one day the nomadic spirit will overcome you and having a smaller footprint will be your bliss.  If not, that's okay too --  Those of us who have chosen a nomadic lifestyle don't mind that everyone is not like us, life would be rather boring if we were all alike, don't you think?  Perhaps by reading this, those who choose to live more traditionally will understand that being nomadic is a choice -- there have been nomads throughout history -- now many just seem to be traveling in RV's and/or living out of backpacks.

Please recognize that we (nomads) don't want you to think less of us, or feel sorry for us in some way, or think we're weird because we choose a lifestyle that embraces the world on our terms.  In return we'll do the same... we won't feel sorry for you because you're 'stuck' in the same neighborhood, at the same job, with the same people and only 'opt out' for "vacations" to do what we are doing 365 days a year.  Ain't life grand, we have that choice!!

Thanks for reading... Thanks for understanding... We'll sign off now, until next time, as we are...

Enjoying the journey...


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nomadic Reflections... on California!

Recently, VERY recently we had a request from a Facebook friend and fellow nomadic blogger to write a guest post on the topic of California.  That seemed like not such a tall order as we have spent many years in (and out) of California; both as residents and visitors.  So Clark and Monica ...  This is for you and your "California Extravaganza on Family Trek!"  (We think you may fall in love with Humboldt County, as we did...at minimum you'll want to visit!!)

As we take this opportunity to share with you some of our California experiences, looking back on our most recent posts seems appropriate as well.  You see on January 1, 2013, our Happy New Year! post (written while we were in California) set a goal for us to write 52 posts this year. Oh my gosh!! We're slackin'!  We are so far behind! 

Oh sure, we've been busy.  Life has happened.  This came up; that came up! Yadda, Yadda, Yadda... It's time for us to get back to the keyboard and catch up!!  I guess it's fair to say that over the past five months we've been a bit consumed in survival mode -- guess we all go there from time to time. Even us living the nomadic lifestyle.   But as the quote in our January 1, post reads:   "You can't change the wind; you can, however, adjust your sails!"  Yes... Adjusting our sails... That is good!

We'll take this time to reflect a bit on the few posts that we've made thus far this year.  As we share them with you they will be momentum to us to catch up on our 52 post goal that we set for this year... after all we're only ummm... 18 to 20 posts behind, right?  Piece of cake! We'll catch up and make it fun!!

Many of you know that we spent the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 in California, before returning to our 'home base' in Texas.  We started taking some field trips around Oroville, aka "City of Gold" and enjoyed looking at an area where we had been so many times before with 'new eyes'!  We learned many new things about Lake Oroville and many shocking things about what goes on at the Feather River Fish Hatchery!

Perhaps my favorite blog thus far this year (out of all four... <<giggle>>) is a post by my hubby "A Day of Love"  --  He's such a romantic!  I am so blessed!!  Yes, I say this ... and then... I reflect back in my memory, back a bit further... to December, 2012 ... and THIS!! 

We were awakened by a STORM!! A torrential downpour and horrendous windstorm while tending our first Christmas Tree lot in San Mateo, CA. (For those of you who have been through a Texas Tornado, you know what we're talking about!!)   I left for coffee (totally soaked, by the way, after having had to be in the pouring rain and blowing wind for nearly an hour taking care of trees and such...) and by the time that I got back he had made and posted this little video from his iPhone... Go figure!! Wow!

So... there you have it, a few more tidbits, and giggles, about some of our California experiences!  Thank you Clark for inviting us to be part of your "California Extravaganza on Family Trek!" and giving us the opportunity to share "1001 Words about Humboldt County."   It's put us in motion (on our blog) once again!! So much fun!! (Please feel free, Clark, to nudge us at least once a week -- although more is good too, as we're nearly 20 blog posts behind...)

As always... Enjoy the journey...