Day 80 marked our third day here in New York City. We’ve been parked at Liberty Harbor RV Park since Thursday. This park does not have sewer hookups, so surprises can happen if you’re having too much fun to think about your tanks. For instance, my son came out of the shower to inform us that the gray water tank was full as he was standing in water. It sure is a pain to pack everything up for a short trip to the dump station, but that’s how our morning began. The good news is that we followed it up with a visit to the American Museum of Natural History which made today a huge win! I highly recommend visiting museums with smart people. I did this today with my son and his college friend who lives in the city. What a pleasure it is to be around two twenty-somethings who still get such a kick out of science, space, human evolution and especially DINOSAURS! They even caught an error in the exhibit about the Big Bang Theory which made me chuckle.
Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of griping about “the young people of today”. Some say they’re unfocused and entitled. Others say they’re self-indulgent and spoiled. If my experience today is any indication, our future is in very capable hands.
On Day 79 of the Nowhere To Be Project I did something I thought I never would. I have been avoiding this area of NYC for years because of the horrific tragedy of 9/11. I did not want to see it. My husband and son convinced me that we needed to visit the site, memorial and museum, so I decided that perhaps it was time.
My son was just four on the day of the attack. I kept him from the coverage feeling that he was too young to understand. A few days later, I saw him crash one of his toy planes into a tower he had built and knew that he was forever changed. Today as I walked alongside him reading the names of the victims, I realized that my children can’t remember a time when airport pat downs didn’t exist. The word “terrorist” is a regular part of their vernacular which is so very sad. Seeing the horrors of that tragic day wasn’t pleasant, but it was important. We were reminded of the individual stories of sacrifice. We were able to honor the heroes. We were given a chance to pay our respects and I’m thankful for that. We must never forget.
Day 76 of the Nowhere To Be Project was a loooooooooong travel day that took us from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to College Park, Maryland. We usually try to keep our travel days at no more than four hours, but with today’s journey we’ve been on the road for seven hours already with about two more to go. While road trips in a RV are much more comfortable than being confined to a small car, the challenge of finding ways to pass the time remains.
I guess I could watch TV using the satellite system we installed on our rig. For some reason though, I feel the need to keep my eyes somewhat on the road in my chosen role as an annoying backseat driver. As an avid reader, I could devour the next book in my current literary addiction, the “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon. I’m not sure why, but I find it difficult to focus intently on my reading while zooming down the highway at 70 miles an hour, so that’s out too. That leaves me with needlepoint, which I’ve done so much of today that my eyes are blurred from trying to keep the stitches in line while bouncing up and down country roads and interstates. I’ve also spent a fair amount of the day snacking- a hidden danger of traveling in a vehicle with a fully stocked kitchen. How do you pass the time on the road???
Day 75 of the Nowhere To Be Project began with 38 laps at the pool. Here at Ocean Lakes, the pool is a party. With an Olympic-sized swimming area, a giant water slide and a splash park, it’s easy to see why. We learned last night that the party starts at the pool and ends at the beach here in South Carolina.
We are parked beachside and all through the night, golf carts filled with revelers who love loud rap music and illegal fireworks zoomed past. We got to talking about the RV party culture that seems to have developed in the decade we were without a rig. For example, the group in the spot adjacent to us were well on their way to oblivion when we checked in yesterday afternoon. They kept their party going long after we moved inside for bed and have yet to surface today (it is after 3pm, lol). Even their dogs join in the festivities! We can’t even get ours to stop napping long enough to enjoy the beach.
We are all about having a good time, but so far we’re just too darn tired to keep up with this crowd! We’ll have to do better. I guess it’s a good thing we’ve got nothing but time.
Today, Day 73 of the Nowhere To Be Project, kicked off our six weeks on the road. We landed for the night at Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort and Marina. Our little corner of the park is lovely and our spot is marina-front!
Hilton Head is a lovely golf, tennis and beach Mecca. The area is very upscale and the RV Park is in keeping with this vibe. Everything is manicured, tidy and lush with old oak trees and water views. As I write this, I am enjoying my view which is of my pup gazing at the water from his window on the world. Life is so good!
Tragically, Day 72 of the Nowhere To Be Project marked another senseless school shooting. High schoolers in Santa Fe, Texas started their day with the horror of gunshots and with that, the world, as they knew it, ceased to exist. I heard a statistic that this was the seventh school shooting in the United States since the start of the year. At times likes this, we all ask “why”.
As a mental health professional, my answer to the “why” question is specific. We must teach mental health in schools. When my kids were little, I focused on mental health awareness with them in ways they could understand. This evolved as they grew and continues even now that they are young adults. As an educator, I taught about mental health care and its importance. I will always treat mental health as a priority and I wish our leaders would too.
Mental health is just as critical as physical health (and is inextricably tied to physical health). Yet, as a society, we don’t address it. We take kids for well visits where we weigh them, measure them and vaccinate them, but we don’t ask them how they are feeling. We test their reading, writing and math ability, but we don’t asses their mood, brain or their mental health. We don’t tell kids that it is normal to feel things like anger, sadness, and jealousy, and we certainly don’t encourage them to talk about these things. We don’t empower kids with the skills necessary for mitigating life’s stressors and over time this erodes mental health. If we did, they might learn how to cope with them in rational ways rather than with unimaginable violence.
My kids used to jokingly say, “you can stop shrinking us now”. I will never stop and neither should you.
On Day 71 of the Nowhere To Be Project, I kept plugging away at the preparations for our upcoming RV journey from Florida up the east coast, into and across Canada and back down to Colorado. We are now just two days from departure. My husband decided that we were in need of scooters since we are not towing a vehicle. I have not ridden anything similar since the 1970’s when I occasionally hopped on the back of my dad’s orange Harley. I have never driven one and, honestly, I’m really scared. My husband, swearing up and down that it’s as easy a riding a bike after effortlessly zipping around the neighborhood, sent me to the scooter shop to purchase a helmet. As I was trying on a couple of options, I expressed my desire for full head and face protection to the salesman, explaining that I didn’t have much faith in my scootering abilities. He proceeded to tell me about his wife’s recent wipeout. She wrecked her face and shoulder with a quick trip to the mailbox! What?!? Really?!? What is that they say about old dogs and new tricks?
I figure I’ve got 48 hours to gain some confidence. I plan to Youtube it for the basics and then go very slowly from there. I’ll give it a go at our first stop in Hilton Head, South Carolina. I may not be as skilled in scootering as I’d like, but I plan on looking good while trying with my crazy (and super duper safe) new helmet! Wish me luck!
Day 1 Quote: “She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. ‘All right,’ I said, ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool — that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.'”
Daisy in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”
I find these words so moving because Daisy was speaking to the oppression of women in society, hoping that her daughter would have the qualities (necessary for acceptance and fulfillment) that she likely felt she lacked.
Day 2 Quote: “It seemed funny to me that the sunset she saw from her patio and the one I saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren’t so different. We saw the same sunset.”
From S.E. Hinton’s “The Outsiders”
This was one of the first books that really moved me. I think I was about ten when I read it. The above quote spoke to me about the power and dissolution of perceived differences. We are just people after all.
Day 3 Quote: “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
From Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”
This selection is obvious, right? It just makes you feel good!
Day 67 of the Nowhere To Be Project marked Mother’s Day. I spent it with one of my children, my husband, my brother-in-law along with his daughter, and my 87 year old mother-in-law. We enjoyed a lovely lunch and hours of conversation focused on days gone by. My mother-in-law has lived an amazing life filled with love, travel, adventure and loss. We love hearing the stories of her life and learn something new about her each time we visit. As we were leaving, she teared up as she thanked us for her best Mother’s Day yet. Her joy was not the result of a gift. It didn’t come from the meal either. It blossomed from the rare time of togetherness that we shared as a family. As a mother myself, I knew exactly what she was feeling. I always tell my kids that I do not need or want presents from them. I just want to be with them. I love nothing more than to see their perfect faces, hear their stories and hug them with the fierceness that only other mothers seem to find normal. I know that I could never possibly get my fill of them and certainly won’t stop trying. Happy Mother’s Day!
Day 65 of the Nowhere To Be Project was spent wholly on Disney grounds. I was born and raised in Central Florida, so Walt Disney World has been a staple for my entire existence. I was born the very year the Magic Kingdom opened and cannot even begin to count my visits over the years. As a child, I loved the wonder of a Disney day. As a parent though, Disney truly came alive. It was so magical to watch my kids light up at the sight of their favorite characters. I liked Lady and the Tramp as a kid. I even had a Lady stuffed pooch that accompanied me to bed most nights. It was different with my children though because the influence of Disney became so pervasive for kids of the 90s (much more that the Sunday evening Wonderful World of Walt Disney programming we had in the 1970s). My daughter had a full wardrobe of Disney princess gowns, tiara and slippers that encompassed her daily wardrobe. My son’s toys were 70% Disney-centric (think Buzz Lightyear and Woody, Aladar, Mighty Jo Young, Simba and on and on). It was ALL Disney ALL THE TIME.
Today, my husband and I visited Epcot. As we monorailed over to the park, I caught a glimpse of the face of a little boy who was sitting on his mother’s lap. His wide eyes were fixed on the window beside their seat, filled with views of the vast and rolling landscape of Disney. He was listening intently to the conductor who briskly announced the upcoming stops, making sure not to miss a thing. He was adorned with Disney gear…hat, shirt, action figure, sneakers. He was obviously over the moon to be in this place. As I watched him, I secretly hoped that his experience would far exceed the expectations he had amassed for it. More than that though, I hoped that his mother’s heart would forever warm at the memory of her delighted baby in the “happiest place on Earth”. I know mine does.