Most travelers, myself included, spend a lot of their time searching for the perfect spot. It might be a locale, a resort, a restaurant, a chair on the beach, or even a parking spot. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder and what seems just right for one may be the exact opposite for another. Take a second to consider what these might be for you:
❤️your perfect spot for watching the sun rise or set
❤️your perfect spot for being one with nature (sea, mountains, lakes, forests, plains…whatever lights your fancy)
❤️your perfect spot for feeling at peace
❤️your perfect spot for feeling inspired
❤️the place where you can truly be yourself
Okay, where is your spot? How did you find it? Maybe you’re not quite sure yet and if that’s the case, keep on searching!
On Day 109 of the Nowhere To Be Project I languished in the luxury of my perfect spot. I awoke to a beautiful sunrise over the mountains. I had coffee on the deck as I listened to the rushing of the nearby waterfall. I meandered through the village enjoying the farmer’s market packed with fresh local foods. I’ll doze off tonight to the cool mountain breeze flooding through my open window. My perfect spot is Vail, Colorado. It is my chosen hometown. Give it a visit if you’ve never been. You never know, it might just be your perfect spot too.
On day 107 of the Nowhere To Be Project I found myself back in the mountains of Colorado. For some reason, the mountains always nudge me into a contemplative frame of mind. I got to thinking about a conversation I had yesterday on a shuttle with a couple who had been up for 36 straight hours as a result of travel. It reminded me of the countless times I’ve promised myself that I’d sleep on the plane or nap during layovers. It almost never works out that way though, does it? If you’re anything like me and my husband, you make all sorts of empty promises to yourselves to rationalize travel…
“We won’t eat out”
“We will stay out of the gift shops”
“This is our Christmas, birthday and anniversary present to ourselves”
The list goes on and on.
The reality is that when we’re in the heat of a trip, we do anything and everything available to immerse ourselves in the experience of the place. We relish in the reckless abandon of each moment betraying the promises we made to ourselves at the outset. Oh, the wicked webs we weave when travel is our mistress!
On Day 106 of the Nowhere To Be Project I found myself crammed in the middle seat of a 737. Clearly, karma sought to even things out a bit after the pleasantness of my flight ten days ago. Life in the middle seat bears a striking likeness to middle age with it’s annoying limitations. If the middle seat is midlife, the aisle most definitely represents youth with its freedom to escape on a whim. That would leave the window as an ode to old age, I think. The window gives sight and with that comes the wisdom we often associate with aging. I don’t care for the middle seat. I don’t especially like the window either. I absolutely adore the aisle though. Does that mean I’m young at heart? Or perhaps I’m just trying to hang on to the zeal of youth with all my might? The bottom line is that no matter which seat we find ourselves in, we must find a way to make it fit. If we can do that, we might just enjoy the ride.
On Day 100 of the Nowhere To Be Project I found myself on the verge of an emotional meltdown. I’ve been in my hometown for the past couple days to deal with some family stuff. I’m not one of those people who longs for the familiar comfort of their hometown. Quite the contrary actually. For me, my hometown is more comparable to a haunted graveyard than a welcoming respite. As a result, I came here very, very reluctantly after receiving some news that left me feeling compelled to leave my husband and dog midway through a RV road trip. In short, a sense of obligation led me back here again. Truth be told, I usually avoid being here at all costs because the ghosts of my dysfunctional childhood seem to lurk around every corner, both literally and figuratively. Every street holds a memory. The faces seem to stare with a sad and familiar knowing. This place nearly stole my spirit and that is why I left. I knew that happy people existed and I eventually found them. I also found my own happiness along the way and I protect it fiercely.
Many say that running away is never the answer. As a retired mental health professional, I can tell you that sometimes running is an effective survival mechanism. This is especially true if what you’re running from is incapable of change. Flight can provide sweet relief when you’ve exhausted every ounce of fight within you. My personal beasts only show their fangs in Central Florida so I generally stay away.
The good news about today is that I self-medicated with a joyful lunch with my happy, healthy, fang-free adult son. I followed this up with a trip to the mall (another perfectly acceptable coping mechanism, within reason of course:-). First, I devoured a scoop of Häagen Dazs dairy-free chocolate salted fudge truffle ice cream, each lick bringing a bit of calm and composure. Then I bought a luscious cruelty-free tarte lip gloss at Sephora in the cheeriest color I could find. Surely it will help me shine my way through the rest of my time here. Self-care comes in so many forms, doesn’t it? Maybe, just maybe, these small indulgences will keep the ghosts at bay until my impending escape.
On Day 94 of the Nowhere To Be Project we ran out of gas. I’m not speaking figuratively! We actually ran out of gas. Well, not so much me, but my husband (on his scooter). Luckily, we were just about a mile shy of our RV, so the push, pull and drag of his empty scooter wasn’t too treacherous. Even though he knew he needed gas, he decided to wait because we had groceries on board. On a tiny scooter, the gas tank is housed within the storage area. He was fearful that a fill up at the gas station might have spilled onto the food. That’s RV life, I guess. We’re living in a tiny, tiny space. Once parked, our only means of transportation are even tinier scooters.
For instance, we spent the day at a cute lakeside town in Michigan called Glen Arbor and I did a bit of shopping. When all was said and done, I had two small shopping bags of goodies that I WANTED and two grocery sacks of food that I actually NEEDED. Living tiny forces me to second-guess every single purchase because there is not an inch of extra space. If it isn’t absolutely necessary, I just can’t buy it (tell that that to the t-shirt and dress I bought today🙄). Prioritizing needs over wants is good because I’m learning just how little we actually need to live comfortably. It also requires me to be more creative by reworking the same garments into different looks and basic pantry staples into satisfying meals. The whole experience of living with less highlights the importance of treasuring life’s moments over possessions. Like right now, I’m sitting lakeside at our RV Park watching a mommy duck teach her brand-new ducklings how to swim. This moment is enriching my spirit in ways that the silly t-shirt I bought could never. Moments take up no space at all, yet satisfy the soul in ways that trinkets and doodads simply cannot.
Day 44 of the Nowhere To Be Project was all about the 90’s. My daughter has been relying on public transportation for the better part of two years. She recently got a job that was out of the bounds of the county bus. Mommy to the rescue! I told her that I’d buy her a very used car for the work commute. I’ve been looking here and there for a month and finally found the one for her, a very well-loved and cared for 1997 Toyota 4Runner. The car is a mere two years younger than she is, but she absolutely adores it!
After going with her to the DMV to obtain the title and license plates, we went to have extra keys made. As we were walking in to the hardware store I asked her what she’d like to name her new ride. She thought for a moment about the car’s age before exclaiming, “It’s Britney!” I loved seeing her sense of humor and genuine delight with the well-worn wheels. We placed the finishing touches on the car with four golden unicorn stickers on back window to further personalize the new-to-her 4×4. There’s really nothing quite like your first car, no matter how used it happens to be. Britney it shall be.
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier” Mother Teresa
I usually begin my day with a cup of coffee as I get caught up with the world. Day 39 of the Nowhere To Be Project started the exact same way, but instead of feeling ready to greet the day, I wanted to crawl back into bed to avoid the negativity that engulfed me. Between the television and social media, everything was bad. The only saving grace was the pet page in the local newspaper that introduced me to a friendly-looking neighborhood pupper who likes to roll in the snow. Most of us dread days that start out with a negative tone because it then darkens everything we do that day.
Sadly, we cannot control the tone of mainstream media. However, we can choose to be positive influencers on social media. I know some people think a sardonic tone is interesting or even funny. I don’t. Why post hate-filled or cruel messages when you can spread sunshine? Why follow or like those toxic people? It is not enjoyable to read others who criticize everything and everyone. It just breeds hate and vitriol. No wonder my bed beckoned this morning.
I refuse to engage with negative material on social media. This is not necessarily a Pollyanna approach, but a conscious choice toward gratitude. I just keep scrolling. Like attracts like. I have bad days too, but I don’t see the benefit of posting about them. Choosing to share good vibes might just make a major difference in another’s day. More than that though, actively choosing to focus on the good rather than the bad will change you. It will profoundly alter your mood, your life and even your relationships. Such a simple fix, isn’t it?
Day ten of the Nowhere To Be Project opened my eyes to the art and seduction of seclusion. We have been looking for an indoor option to store our RV when it isn’t in use. We found an advertisement that sounded promising and decided to drive 85 miles to check it out. We climbed our way through the mountains and off-roaded a bit before finally reaching a sprawling 90-acre ranch.
A genial older gentleman greeted us and showed us the available space. He explained that he and his wife have lived on this ranch for nearly twenty blissful years. He told us how he built his unique stretch of paradise with great pride and enthusiasm. He went on to say, with a wide grin, that due to the limitations of getting on in age, they are no longer able to ride their horses, plow through the terrain on their snowmobiles, or hike the many available trails. Clearly, he has no regrets and is absolutely making the most of his days. He seemed completely seduced by the land and we could certainly see why.
As we drove away, we discussed the beauty and remoteness of the ranch along with how utterly satisfied our new friend is with his spot in the world. I also wondered if I would reach a point where I was seduced by the seclusion of a single place, no longer aching to roam. I came to the conclusion that the seduction of seclusion is not necessarily tied to a specific place. Rather, it is a state of mind that results from gratitude for the gift of all of life’s moments no matter where they take place, past, present and future.