While down south visiting mom, I go for a ritual walk in my old neighborhood through a local museum’s grounds towards the waterfront to chill and read a book.
The moment I stroll onto the grounds, I’m confronted by a security guard whizzing up on a golf cart.
He tells me I must leave the property and enter through their main entrance a half a mile away. And that I have to check in at their front desk.
I’m momentarily befuddled — in all my decades of being here there’s never been an issue walking through the museum’s sprawling backyard. I tell him I’m halfway to the main entrance so I’ll continue there and do the thing he wants.
He shakes his head no, tells me I must backtrack all the way back out and then loop around to the “official” entrance on the street.
It’s hot and I think he’s being entirely unreasonable so I tell him don’t be silly and that I’ll keep going the way I’ve been going. I blow him off and walk away, leaving him idling in his cart.
I think he too was befuddled by my act of resistance since he didn’t chase after and mow me down. Or maybe it was his youth dealing with a recalcitrant older man like myself?
At any rate, I make it across the grounds to their entrance, grab a coffee from their cafe and make my way to the waterfront. Another guard (in a golf cart, of course) stops me and says I must pay and wear a band. Ugh.
I ask him what’s changed, that all these years the grounds were open to everyone. He says, “COVID.”
I get the change part… but Covid while outdoors on these huge grounds with most people inside the museum? He shrugs as if to say, it is what it is. I tilt my head in reply as if to say don’t bullshit me, it’s about money.
Silent comms completed, I shrug, turn and make my way back out of the museum grounds per the guard’s request and detour to the nearby college which also has a waterfront and is mercifully open to all still.
I make it to the promised ocean, sink into a lawn chair by the water and let out a long exhale. It’s beautiful with salty breezes wafting in and a light drizzle from the skies to calm my spirit.
But I can’t find peace. I’m bothered. Yes, a bit by getting kicked out of my lifelong “backyard” at the museum that I’d always roamed freely before.
Yet I’m bothered more by how I responded to the young security guard. He was just doing his job and had nothing to do with the museum’s change of policy. I’m unsettled and can’t meditate or read or write.
I pick my stuff up and make my way back to the museum. I stop at the entrance to my now prohibited shortcut and look down the side road where the guards usually patrol. I see the kid way down at the end and wave my arms at him to come.
He hesitates and doesn’t budge. He’s probably wondering what the crazy old dude wants now.
I wave again more emphatically (and friendlily) trying to appear as unthreatening as possible.
After a moment’s pause he starts up the cart and warily rolls my way. As he gets close, I make a conciliatory gesture with my hands and say I’ve been thinking of how I acted towards him and I wanted to apologize.
I tell him I know he was just doing his job and it wasn’t his fault changes were made. And that I was being a cranky old coot.
His body language visibly relaxes. “I really appreciate you saying that, thank you so much!”
I smile, he smiles, and we bump fists and part ways with peace in our hearts.
NOTETOSELF: Don’t start becoming that old coot you swore you’d never be.
The last year saw me finding a place I really enjoyed but then realizing it could also not be some concept of home. Because I am basically homeless. […] I had felt that perhaps, just perhaps, Mexico or Costa Rica or Panama could become something to replace it. They cannot. For many reasons I have elaborated on the blog before. I am not made to be tied down, settled, or feel like I have ties to some place.
It’s true — once you become a wanderer it gets into your blood and it’s nigh impossible to get it out of you.
When you’re called to it, you gotta go or your soul suffers. I’ve mentioned before how I thought I was absolutely nutso to give up a beloved cabin of mine on a beautiful river in a fairly remote location in Florida. But my soul left the place and it was time to go.
I struggled mightily to follow. For a while I sat on the fence of keeping the cabin as a home base for my wanderings but it didn’t feel right — I felt I needed to be completely untethered. Knowing I had a home to go back to wouldn’t be as pure or as true.
My mom’s the one who pushed me off the fence when I shared my struggle of letting go. She reminded me of how in the past I expressed my desire to be completely free and wander the world. And how lit up I was when I spoke of it.
She woke me up.
So I gave up the cabin, hit the road and haven’t looked back.
It was fulfilling a life purpose I didn’t know I had until I took off and it changed me deeply.
And now I can’t go back.
At least not for a good long while. Wanderlust is in my DNA now. I feel uneasy when there’s a roof over my head. My spirit is cramped in buildings or cities. I need to be in a world where nature is my living room - and like nature, a constantly changing one.
This is why I — and others — wander. Not because we’re lost but because we’re following our souls.
Further up on his blog, Mike wrote about some difficulties with a mutual lover and I’m drawn back to talking about love.
That’s sometimes life as a full blooded wanderer… Love is sometimes elusive or hard to keep because we’re always on the move. Change is our landscape.
It takes a different kind of soul to love a wanderer because we need freedom and space - always (and even if you wander with us, we’ll still need our space).
It doesn’t mean we can’t love deeply, indeed our love for the world and the beauty we see everywhere makes it even more so.
But there are times we must love from afar and not everyone can handle that.
A past love of mine used to tell me I was too solitary. She’d also call me her lone wolf.
I would have loved being her lone wolf, but the thing is… Lone wolves don’t belong to anyone. We belong to the soul of the world we roam upon.
I was reflecting (fantasizing?) into the future of wandering around somewhere up north and making a new friend. Then we fall in love. That thought brought a whimsical smile and warmed my heart.1
Moments later — and always when musing on love — I remembered a past great love of mine. I started wondering why I always think of her in moments like these. We let each other go in so many ways… Was I still attached somehow?
Then it hit me. She’s my Patron Saint of Love. She’s the one who blew my heart wide open a decade ago and showed how one can love freely and unconditionally without the need to put fences up around them.
What an incredible and life changing gift. No wonder she comes to mind when love muses. I’m forever grateful to her.
NOTETOSELF: Don’t get so lost in your thoughts on a hike through a lush forest that you end up not seeing anything.
Luckily I woke up three quarters of a way through and turned awareness back on.
That’s when beauty burst through — tall sentinels swaying, breezes tussling hair, butterflies dancing through shafts of light, birds, squirrels, a gopher turtle in a hurry2 and wary ears on deer.
…ahhhh… Awareness made manifest!
The heat intolerance came back again3. Granted, it’s been extra hot and humid lately but it’s still a larger concern of mine. The wandering life means I’m usually in the middle of nowhere nature, meaning no electricity, meaning no air conditioning on hot days.
In an emergency I can always hop into the car or a body of water to cool down and I can always make my own weather by moving to a cooler location or into town and plug in somewhere.
At least my heat intolerance level seems to be about ten degrees higher than it was last year so there’s improvement.
I’m just hoping it’s not going to be a persistent problem what with it getting hotter in more places, even the far north. I don’t want to lose my cherished freedom to wander anywhere I want.
I’m not going to give up — I’ve always found a way to mitigate most health issues, usually in unconventional ways when conventional treatment doesn’t work.
So I’ll keep experimenting with different modalities to see if I can solve this issue.
I’m also going to be more aggressive at improving my physical condition, i.e. do more cardio (running, biking, kayaking, etc.) to supplement daily hikes. I’d also like to lean up some more to further fortify my body.
At the least I’ll get something out of all this by getting into the best shape of my life whether I find answers or not.
Being such a lone wolf living the wandering life in a tiny camper seems it might be difficult to find love but I remain hopeful. I was born to wander …and to love (oh us silly Libras!). Undoubtedly I’ll write more on this.↩︎
I laughed when I saw the turtle mowing its way through the shrubbery, knocking everything aside. Maybe it was late for dinner?↩︎
I was going to skip sharing this because it might be redundant but it’s life and this blog’s a reflection of it.↩︎
That automatic self-censoring impulse still kicks in sometimes when I’m writing. Makes sense though; it’s a lifelong habit of mine that I’m in the midst of reprogramming.
So when I find myself constantly stopping, deleting, revising, backtracking, etc. it’s a warning bell that my mind is doing the writing, not me.
That’s when I jump up and wrestle that sneaky bastid back into submission.
I’m really enjoying writing here so I want this place to be as pure as possible as an extension of myself with the minimum amount of filtering.
With the mind out of the way, writing is fun again. Words just sing1 out of the pen and there’s a certain kind of vibration within that resonates.
Speaking of word singing, Michael Perry’s very much in tune with his words, pop over and check him out. He’s a fellow wanderer, except his backyard is the whole world.
Dropped the camper off at the RV handyman’s place for a couple weeks. He’s going to do all the upgrades & fixes I’ve wanted for awhile, especially lifting the trailer it sits on by three inches so it sits higher for more ground clearance for further wanderings for more fun. For! for!
It’s strange. The camper is technically an inanimate object (until it’s moving behind my car?) and yet I already… miss it.
It’s my beloved, she’s been through so much with me through these years and I have waited so long to go on more adventures with her.
She is my home.
That time is coming near. I hope to be out of here by the end of summer and things have cooled off a bit.
Me and my camper watching a sunset
I’ve noticed the older I get, the more “judgy” I seem to have gotten towards people, things, myself, etc.2
It’s silly, boring stuff (did I just judge myself?) and it’s a waste of energy that leads to endless cycles of stress, discontent and crappy feelings.
I don’t want that clutter in my mind so I’m trying to be more consciously aware of catching these judgements and releasing ’em as they come.
I don’t want to do it just because it’s right thing to do. Selfishly, I want to do it because it’s a path towards a clear and uncluttered mind.
Which leads to more room for kindness and serenity — which leads to selflessness.
Mind you I’m not saying my words sing, only that they sing out of the pen & keyboard to me. They may sound terrible but at least they’re flowing out (and I can’t hear shit anyway)!↩︎
Or maybe dealing with chronic illnesses tends to make one crankier then usual?↩︎
(Ignore that extra plank of wood behind the mount, I forgot to remove it)
As you can see, it’s a plank of wood bolted to a pair of rails underneath on both sides to hold it steady. Some SUVs like the Xterra have rails underneath that let you bolt/mount/strap things down to.
I popped the bike on the mount and went for a quick, wild ride around town to test it out. Test passed — the bike held fast and didn’t sway at all. Yayfers!
I’m stoked I was able to do a little bit of that handyman stuff and it’s motivating me to do more. Like a pull out drawer/tray next to the bike in the SUV to have more organized storage for things. Maybe have one compartment that’s moisture proof for storing my notebooks and books in (and another for dry food)?
My SUV is essentially a portable storage unit since there’s only so much my tiny camper can hold. May as well get creative with it and go all out, right?
I read “Thirsty, secretive data centers” on how they’re sucking up enormous amounts of water and are refusing to disclose how much of it they’re using. Google’s even taking the extra step of building their own pump stations to make it harder to monitor how much water they’re extracting.
This, on top of microchip manufacturers needing tons of water and the massive amount of electricity technology uses (esp. crypto mining), has me wondering if this amazing era of technology and internet will end up gobbling the earth up until there’s nothing left.
Technology has been an incredible, outstanding boon for the growth of civilization (for the most part); now the conundrum is we seem to be in a race of outstripping earth’s capabilities to support same civilization’s progress.
Sci-fi has all these stories about technology rising up ala Terminator and wiping out humans but maybe it’s more like we extinguish ourselves through extinguishing the planet’s resources?
I’ve noticed lately when I do heavy thinking (like sorting out coding in my head) I get headaches and it feels like I’ve drained my battery. And this is when I’m not even on the computer.
Maybe I’m just getting old or my brain cells have gotten creaky. Anyone have a spare brain to power-share?
Or at least tell me I’m not the only one experiencing this, ha?