Today, the rain stopped the sky is blue with a few clouds floating over the ocean.
My book is much closer to complete thanks to yesterday's constant showers... and Jordan's patience for me working all day.
When it's stormy out, it's a great excuse to work.
Not that I really need an excuse.
It's back to school for many places today (including that online school I do part time work for). I'm not excited to get back in the computer to grade but... we'll see if any kids even worked over break. The RV park has cleared out... the Thanksgiving vacationers are gone.
It's an interesting life seeing so many people come and go.
This girl needs the rain to quit for at least 24 hours so I can put my logo on my new truck. Definitely missing that conversation starter.
We're in a pretty good spot for people to see it... we'll see what the forecast looks like today.
I do know that some painting will occur today. And likely more work on my book.
At least a walk to the beach is in order as well. The rain yesterday was non-stop. I didn't even go outside all day. That's not normal for me anymore.
It's so strange how quickly time flies and... how quickly our "normal" can change.
In two years, I went from needing meds to keep my feet on this earth to now, where I couldn't imagine leaving.
To have no thoughts of exiting still doesn't seem normal to me ... afterall, it was there with me for all my life. But the new normal is that it's gone.
To realize that I'm here on purpose and for a purpose. Maybe it's to help one person, maybe it's to help millions. All I know is I have a light that needs to be shared. Lifting those who need it... giving a push to those who're afraid to move forward... providing art that brings light.
And I have art to create.
It's time to get to it.
48"x24" Acrylic Painting
I'm happy that this is the only snow I see right now. 😁
448 Days as a Nomad... or should I say gypsy?
We've been in FL for almost a week now.
Thanksgiving was spent on the beach.
Our RV park had a giant gathering but we thought it'd be safer to stay away from that many people.
You see, we've had the damn virus twice... and if it's true the antibodies leave after 3-6 months in the immuno-compromised then we're definitely in the danger zone again. I'm not sure our lungs could take another round of it.
So, we had a nice quiet day.
Now the rain has arrived and the weather is going to be pretty "crappy" for several days.
It's ok with me, I have work to do.
There's something that's been on my mind a lot lately ... actually, a lot this year. Like I missed something. Missed an opportunity or time is running out.
Not sure why I have been feeling that but it's gotten quite annoying. A gentle ache in my chest that says "hurry up... get that thing done."
My book is close to being ready for my editor...I think. Perhaps it is this.
I keep changing things, rearranging, it doesn't feel finished yet. Maybe it's like some of the paintings I do where I just have to call it done. We'll see. I told her December so... that's nearly here.
Thank goodness for the rain locking me inside so I'll focus.
There's only so much house work you can do when you live in a 29' travel trailer. No distractions inside except technology so we'll see.
I've also had a lot of triggers come up again. Not surprising... the holidays will do that. I think of how much time was wasted in my "past life." Just an opportunity to clear more of the shit from my past... there's a lot of shit from my last relationship.
Looking back, I realize that aside from a few times... it was a completely loveless marriage. More of an arrangement than a relationship. 20 years of just existing. 20 years with someone who made me feel like I wasn't enough. I'm not sure why I allowed it.
Don't do that to yourself.
That's a big weight to carry... an even bigger weight to release.
But the beauty of this life is, we have the ability to be free of our past. Maybe I had to endure that to see what love wasn't? Who knows. I do know that you just have to make a conscious effort to clear away the pain it caused you. And find a way to enjoy this beautiful life.
I have many tools I learned after my ex did what he did. I had to fight to overcome the feeling that everyone would be better off if I were gone.
Laying here, listening to the rain on the roof, it seems like a lifetime ago. It's hard to believe it even happened. Because this life is pure perfection.
If you're struggling, or know someone who is struggling, I am more than happy to share any of the tools with you. The right tool for you is out there. You can find peace.
You can find joy.
I can say, one of the things that helped me was simple...
I played. I went out and did things that made me laugh. I built a snowman. I went sledding. I swung on swings. I jumped in puddles. I rode my bike fast down a hill. All the things I enjoyed as a child...I went out and did them again.
Then, I held on to that feeling.
When was the last time you let your inner child play with careless abandon?
We have played in the ocean (Jordan more than me). If you've read past blogs, you know I'm not all that comfortable IN the water. Thanksgiving day, the waves were huge... one took me under. I swallowed a bunch of ocean. Hmm... not helpful in helping me feel at home in the water. Someday, maybe I'll be comfortable in it. I'll just keep trying. Just keep playing.
444 Nomadic Days
"You guys are gypsies...I love it! You're living the life I want."
We hear that a lot. Most recently from our waitress at BOIL in NOLA. We returned there because Jordan loved the seafood boil he had while we were at Mardi Gras. It was worth the extra drive and airings night's stay in Louisiana. A much different experience than the last time we were there.
We went through Louisiana, traveling past where we had to stay when my old truck first broke down last April. Mansfield has a lovely RV park that thankfully had a spot for us then.
This time we continued past to Eunice (which was just of our original route when I planned it... that was before we headed north in Texas to deliver a portrait). We've added a few extra miles on the new truck because I didn't reschedule our stay.
But, we had to visit the area where my Papa grew up... and visit his mom in the cemetary. We didn't know if she had family buried near her... we found numerous siblings. It was a very cool experience. I had tears flow, just because I know how happy he'd be that I took the time to make the trip.
Storm clouds are rolling in here in Florida. Our spot is a short walk to the beach. The waves are crashing. Jordan is our playing in them as I sit, feeling the first rain drops fall.
I love the Florida rain. It's warm. Not like back in Idaho. It washes the soul, refreshes and cleanses the spirit.
It isn't our forever home but definitely our winter home.
We just have to get used to the idiotic drivers 🤣
4 states in 1 day... but oh so happy to be here.
I might have a gypsy spirit but a place to call home is beginning to call to both of us. We've seen most of the US... and will see the rest before we find a place to call home. But, that doesn't mean I'll settle into a sedentary life. Seeing more of the world is still a must... the RV life, isn't our forever though.
We've noticed strange things lately. Pieces of trim working themselves loose. An unlike of the weekend warriors who have no respect for rv park rules. And the roads... oh my goodness. The Louisiana roads rattled the SHIT out of our home. Made the cats literally shit from the shaking (we have one that poops or pukes when she's scared...I think that's what happened the other day).
Plus, in getting tired of dumping our shit. Literally. You don't even realize what you take for advantage as a home owner...or renter... until you leave the stationary life.
I'll never stop traveling and doing what my heart desires... but I know that the RV life is not permanent.
But it sure is damn wonderful right now.
You do not have to wait for everything to be perfect. When I started this journey, I really had NO idea where I'd go... or how I'd be able to make it happen (financially). But, everything works out as it should when you're following your passion.
You can do it to. You just have to believe, and trust, that everything is going to work out exactly as it should.
So stop waiting. Jump in. You'll experience things you've dreamed of. Help people along the way. And inspire many of you just go for it.
Life is short. Stop waiting for everything to be "perfect." If it's something you've felt called to do... it's perfect now. Do it.
........ Which Wolf Will You Feed? ........
Just yesterday we were in New Mexico.
It's been a hell of a long day, two days in a row.
Carlsbad was a bust because New Mexico shut down the day we arrived. No caverns open... which was the point of going there.
Crossing Texas... we left NM at 10 am and didn't arrive at our camp spot until almost 8 pm (thanks to crossing time zones and shitty roads) ... only to find out that one of the cats (we're sure it was one of the sisters) took a MASSIVE ...
AND I MEAN M.A.S.S.I.V.E. dog sized 💩 on our bed.
One pillow lost. One set of sheets - and possibly the comforter - destroyed.
So that needed cleaned up before we delivered the Words Matter portrait (the whole reason we headed to that part of Texas). We finally arrived at Margy's home about 9:30. After talking with her for a few hours, we headed home (stopping to try Whataburger ... beats In-N-Out HANDS DOWN). Finally settling in at home at 12:30... falling asleep around 2 am.
The cats no longer get free reign while we travel. Unfortunately 2 suffer because of one but we cannot have them pooping in our bed. Little shits.
So, we had to figure out if we could load everything and keep the studio for closed for the drive.
It was a squeeze getting our bicycles in there through the studio door, but Jordan got it and the cats were locked in the back with my art for the trip.
Shitty roads again. Louisiana has some of the worst roads we've driven.
That, coupled with little sleep (we were up at 7:30 am ... and I didn't sleep well ... and this girl NEEDS her sleep) and lack of a good breakfast and cup of java... I may have lost my cool when navigation got all screwy.
Weird things were happening with the truck computer and my phone after we ate at an AMAZING Texas BBQ joint (an extra hour drive but soooo with it - if you're ever in Tyler, TX go to Stanley's Famous Pit Barbecue).
We finally arrived in our spot in Louisiana at 7-ish.
Parking in the dark... in a back in spot... between trees... after 12 hours is not great fun.
But, we're settled in.
Tomorrow, we will go see my Papa's birth town... his mom's gravesite (I never got to meet her, she died when he was little)... and whatever else we feel led to explore.
Tonight, we're going to relax and watch a movie, The New Mutants. We deserve it after two long days.
The movie starts by talking about an old Indian proverb. This... they call it the two bears but, there's a Cherokee Legend about the two wolves...
"An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. 'A fight is going on inside me,' he said to the boy.
'It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.'
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, 'Which wolf will win?'
The old Cherokee simply replied, 'The one you feed.'"
YOU choose which part of you that you feed. Are you full of anger, frustration, negativity? Starve these. Stop feeding it and you will find yourself full of peace.
Today, I focused on all the wrong things. I focused on the frustrations...I fed my anger. I fed my fear (seriously...I was afraid the rough roads were going to tear the trailer - our HOME - apart).
I did that. I chose to feed that wolf. Just as I did most of my life - when I felt I wasn't good enough. I fed that. Sometimes by myself... sometimes by the people I chose to surround me.
It happens. It's easy to slip into old patterns. Strength and growth comes in recognizing it and moving forward.
Which wolf will you feed?
I could focus on the trials of the last few days... or I could focus on the amazing life we live.
Which wolf do you think I'll choose to feed?
438 Nomadic Days
New Mexico is quite barren. I do not recommend going to Carlsbad if you can't get in the caverns. We arrived the day after they were shut down... again.
Good timing. Thanks for that NM Governor.
So, either the masks and distancing doesn't work or NM just didn't give a rip and no one was doing those things. Either way, we received an emergency text to shelter in place. Grocery stores had lines yesterday and are closed today. A curfew has been put in place - without calling it a curfew ... they're just forcing any "essential business" to close early.
What a weird time this is.
I'm ready to get out of NM. We're fed up with our plans getting changed because of someone else's decisions. Time for us to get to our winter home.
I'm sure there are some people out there who frown on our travels during COVID but remember, this was my life well before this virus was known.
I wasn't about to let the fear mongering end my adventure. This is my life.
If you don't like what we're doing, don't watch. We're careful - much more careful than last spring/ early summer... so don't worry about us. But again, if you don't like it... mind your own business.
The point is, live YOUR life. Stop trying to control others. And don't let anyone else control you. Be respectful, but don't let their opinions or fears rule you. You have work to do on this planet. Ours happens to be spreading love, light, hope and inspiration to those we do meet.
Yes, these are strange times. But, it is possible to make the most of it.
Getting "locked down" the past few days has allowed me that painting time I've been yearning for.
Plus, it's time to get my book in order and to my editor.
And, of course, Christmas is near so I have orders rolling in.
Life is too short to not go for it. Stop waiting for everything to be perfect. So many of my friends have joined me in the nomadic life - or simply have moved to a location they've dreamed of. The world will continue to spin.
Tragedy, social injustice, government control - don't use these as a reason to stay stuck in a place you can't stand. Just leap.
Everything will work out exactly as it should.
We did get to wander (and sled) at White Sands National Monument. What a surreal place. If we could've gotten away from all the people (like we did at Goblin Valley State Park) it would've seemed like we stepped into another realm. As it was, that place is definitely otherworldly!
If you go, there are trailheads to explore. We made our own path. Careful to be aware of where we left the truck (it would be very easy to get lost out there).
We, of course, had to climb the highest dune for our sunset view. Which, of course, was a draw for other people with sleds because of the steepness of this dune. But, once the sun started going down, those people found other places to go.
The sand is very soft and cool. The gypsum sand retains water so there is a moistness in it. I could imagine, in the heat of the summer, it may be hot to walk on but in November, most people were walking barefoot and it was chilly.
Don't leave your shoes in the car if you're staying for sunset.
The temperature drops dramatically when the sun goes behind the mountains in the distance. That moist sand then feels like snow on your feet.
I had brought my shoes. Jordan's were in the truck. By the time we got back, he couldn't feel his toes.
If someone got lost out there, it would be a very uncomfortable night!
Tomorrow, we head to Texas to deliver one of my Military Edition Words Matter portraits. I am looking forward to meeting this Gold Star mom. For now, we'll stay hunkered down... maybe we will find a place in nature to explore... but I have painting to do a well.
Please, live your life. Do the things your heart desires (just stay safe). Stop waiting for everything to be perfect ... you may not have enough days left for that "perfect time" to arrive. Sending lots of love and light... this world needs it.
Nomad life, 432 days...
Oh the obstacles...
We were leaving the RV park to go to Joshua Tree and could see the smoke. It was quite a ways away, however, the wind was howling... and blowing directly toward the park.
We didn't feel comfortable driving an hour away. So, we didn't get to explore Joshua Tree National Park. The final two days at Catalina Spa & RV Resort were quite stormy... then there was that fire in the final day.
Evacuations were ordered a handful of miles down the road, nothing for us.
Odd that we are, once again, restricted from something we want... but, now I believe I know why we were kept from putting more miles on the truck. But I'll get to that in a moment.
Monday the 9th, we left for Silver Strand State Beach. Exactly one year after Jordan flew out to meet me on the Outer Banks in North Carolina, we were once again on a small strip of land, the bay on one side, the ocean on the other.
Funny how things all work out.
We stayed the night then hit the road to start our treck east.
Interstate 8 takes you very close to Mexico. You can see the wall. We saw the Cabazon dinosaurs as well and bought my grandson a book from inside the belly of the dinosaur. Kendall, my step-son from a previous marriage, was obsessed with dinosaurs when he was a kid.
It was a longer drive than it was supposed to be when we finally arrived at the High Chaparral RV park... an hour outside of Scottsdale. We were scheduled to stay 2 nights so that we could visit friends in the area.
After dropping the trailer and doing some laundry (it had been a while) and getting a bit of work done... we went to sleep to prepare for the next day's get togethers.
On our way to Scottsdale, the "DEF fluid poor quality" light came on... again. This is what I paid $1K to get fixed the last time we were in AZ. Seven mechanics now, in 4 states, in 2 months have had their hands on my truck.
I meet with my friend Brett Labit while Jordan goes to get new DEF (we're hoping it's just low and the light will clear like the first time in our way to the South Rim of Grand Canyon). It doesn't clear.
Brett takes my to Fashion Square to see his 2nd Scottsdale gallery (checkout Creative Gateways if you're in Scottsdale or Sedona) and my second "get together" meets me there while I start making calls about the truck and Jordan comes to pick me up.
I find Van Buick GMC and Rick says they'll squeeze me in but wouldn't have an answer until later that afternoon.
We're supposed to head to Tombstone on the 12th.
Frustrated beyond belief, I have to cut my second meeting with the beautiful Tricia Green (a former student and friend) short, and end up canceling the next two. Extremely upset I don't get to connect with Kat's mom, Kat is one of the original 7 portraits of those lost to suicide that I created for my Words Matter exhibit. Sad beyond belief I don't get to see one of my "warriors", a former student who I can call my friend, Rebecca.
Angry about my truck...I walk around the lot looking at trucks.
And of course, the salesmen pounce. Pablo listens to my frustrations and says "let's see if we can get you taken care of."
There are no trucks on the lot with camper shells so I say "that won't work." You see, I have a lot of stuff stored in the back of the truck.
They say "what if we find a truck you love and install the shell for you." Ok, I'll look.
7 hours later, I own a 2021 Chevy Silverado 2500. She's beautiful, only 19 miles on her when I climbed in for the rest drive.
I'm not at all excited to have a car payment again; but, I'd been spending $1000 a month on the old truck lately anyway. Now I have a reliable vehicle that tows like a dream.
The camper shell has to be built specifically for the truck. So, the dealership provides a tano cover (which I don't think will work). We move everything to the new truck in an hour. Only getting rid of a little bit, between the back seat and the bed, everything fits. AND... it turns out, I really like the ease of the tano cover. While in Tombstone last night, we needed more warm clothes and I easily got into the winter clothes bin.
So, I know everything worked out exactly as it should. Just wish I could've seen Becca and Cindy while I was in Scottsdale.
Tombstone is very cool. We went into the mine, we saw all the places where the historical things happened. We went on a ghost tour - although it was more like a history tour...Ghost City Tours - don't do it. Instead, do the trolley tour or the one in the Bird Cage theater. That place is full of crazy energy ... and ghost sounds.
Today, we'll check out Bisbee then we'll be on our way to New Mexico.
Hopefully the storms have passed. I know I'm supposed to travel and spread healing light everywhere I go...COVID and truck problems have made that difficult. I'm tired of these obstacles but Jordan and I can handle it. Just putting the "smooth sailing" vibe out there for the rest of our adventures.
If you're running in to obstacles, just keep moving. Even if you have detours from your plan, you'll get to the destination that is for your greatest good. I know that all will work out exactly as it should.
Nomad Day 426
Yeah, it's been a bit since I've written.
We made it to the famous corner in Winslow, Arizona. It was great to see, however, Winslow itself is very run down. AND, a weird cold front came through so I even had to break out my giant, ankle length, winter coat. There was snow on the ground on our way in. Burrrrrrr!
I don't enjoy the cold!
We then got a warning light on the truck that the Diesel Exhaust Fluid was poor quality. Again. It went away last time when we were near Flagstaff and put new DEF in. So we put more in. No luck.
When that warning comes up, the speed of your vehicle gets reduced after a certain amount of miles. Then if it isn't taken care of, it gets reduced again after a certain amount of miles. Repeat until your truck can only go 4 mph.
So, we headed on our way to Flagstaff to see the dealership. We try to go to the Meteor Crater National Landmark - they wanted $22 a person to see that old hole in the ground. Nope, I'd rather spend my money elsewhere.
Then we try to go to the Indian Death Caves (you see, we're still hoping the light is going to turn off like last time)... nope. The overpass to get to the death caves from our side of the freeway is under construction.
So on to Flagstaff we go. And in a rental car we leave. As Jordan called it "the tampon on wheels" gets us back to our home in Cottonwood... where we get to wait and hear the outcome of the truck.
We didn't want to drive the rental much so we stayed home. We'll have to go back to Sedona to get the rest of the hiking in that we wanted.
Thankfully, the truck was repaired in time. We picked it up Wednesday and left for Vegas Thursday morning. Turns out we picked up some bad DEF. $1000 later thanks to some store stocking bad product. Frustrating! But we were back in the road again.
Vegas...all I can say is wow. We checked out a little of the strip Thursday night. Dan (our buddy from Idaho), Brandon and Sarah (old friends of Jordan's) all came to Vegas too.
People everywhere, although not as busy as Vegas typically is, it's a chaotic energy. Not really our cup of tea. But, Jordan had never been to Vegas so we had to do it (plus, it's Halloween weekend... but I'll get to that).
Friday the 30th, a day I will never forget because I got to race on the Las Vegas Speedway in an Aston Marten (4 warm up laps) a Ferrari AND a Lamborghini (5 laps each). Those were so fun to drive, I want to do it again. My fastest lap only got up to 170mph completing the 1.2 mile course in 1 minute, 6 seconds. The track is inside the ring of the Speedway. It weaves around with 9 turns. I took a few of those at 90 mph.
I was just getting in the groove on my last lap... you pit before getting your lap time... I bet that lap would've been my fastest. I'll have to compare the times on the video.
As far as the cars go, the Aston Marten and Lamborghini were easy to drive... the Ferrari gave me issues because the gas and brake pedal were so close together but it was powerful! And OH SO FUN!
Then, I rode 2 laps as a passenger in a Camero with a professional driver. Drifting around corners, Dan in a car with his driver we were drifting side by side. Nearly touching. It was wild!
So, if you're in Vegas, I highly recommend Dream Racing. It was so much fun... I'll do it again if I ever go back to Vegas.
After the adrenaline rush, it was time for lunch. We found this place called Dirt Dogs. Jordan and Dan had the best hotdogs ever, I ate Carne asada fries. Then we went to the stratosphere. Wow! It was a bit dizzying at first but we settled in before riding the roller coaster on the top. It's called Insanity. The full moon was over the horizon, the sky was pink and we were spinning in open air 1000 feet above the ground. It was awesome!
We ended up going back to the strip for dinner with Brandon and Sarah. The boys ate scorpions. They were disgusting according to Jordan. It was entertaining to watch their faces.
We watched the fountains at the Bellagio and wandered a bit before returning home.
Saturday, Halloween... we got out of town and went to the Valley of Fire State Park. This too is a must of you're in Vegas and like to hike. Our day ended with a climb to sit on top of Rocks at the white domes section of the park where we watched the sunset. It was glorious!
Then it was home to get into our costumes and go to Freemont Streer. Hello Mardi Gras with fewer people! It was wild! People kept getting their pictures taken with us... Jordan was violated by some bimbo during one of those. 🤣 Which he didn't tell me until later because he didn't want to upset me. Stupid woman touching my man. 😤
Anywho, we had a blast. But after a while, I was exhausted and ready to go (I only had one drink while we were down there, someone had to drive home). Not surprising I was tired since we didn't get home until 5 am. Jordan could've kept going but I needed sleep.
Well, my stomach didn't appreciate something so I was awake in two hours. No fun. That made for a mellow Sunday. We went to Hoover Dam. Saw some giant fish. I drove across the dam. Guess that's something that is a bucket list item for people.
It was pretty spectacular.
After a bit of rest, we went back into town to do the Fright Ride. A haunted house venue. Well, it was cool. Not scary though. But I don't scare easily. I'm too intrigued by the special effects and the craftsmanship of them. I am usually the one who goes "oooh, that's a cool mask" while the actor is trying to be scary. It was fun.
Then we were on our way to California. Desert Hot Springs to be exact to see Joshua Tree National Park.
That drive was desolate. We had to check GPS multiple times to make sure it wasn't leading us astray. Never have I seen so many run down homes and barren land.
Dan continued to CA with us. He didn't see Joshua Tree (besides driving past it) because he left yesterday. We're going to the park today or tomorrow... we'll at least drive around in it... the weather has turned. I had to get some work done yesterday so we didn't go anywhere. It was the last nice day for a while.
But, I hadn't worked for a few days and was feeling anxious to get something taken care of. And of course, I lost track of time. Time has always been irrelevant to me.
Oh well, I have to keep reminding myself everything happens exactly when it should.
So we have a few more days in California then we're heading east. We went to Huntington Beach and Crystal Cove State Park Thursday and saw an epic sunset. Explored Palm Springs a bit Wednesday (we tried to go to the art museum but COVID has it shut down... but you can go in the shops in the main strip and get your souvenirs...). We did get to see the air museum... and of course, we ate at Lulu's.
I think a soak in the hot springs water is necessary now. This was a long post to catch you all up. I'm sure I've left out some details but you get the gist.
Just live. Go do the things you dream of doing. The universe has a way of making everything work out.
I had a dream that I was traveling all over the world. In less than 6 months, I sold almost everything I own...bought a Toy Hauler (the "garage" is my art studio) and am now living wherever, whenever...just me, my art, and my cats.