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.
Day 108 of the Nowhere To Be Project took place largely on the top of Vail Mountain. This is because once we reached it after two hours of climbing, our legs were too tired too budge from our scenic perch. We hiked one of our very favorite trails, Berry Picker. It gets it name from the plethora of wild raspberries that line the path. It is a 3.2 mile climb through breathtaking terrain and ending at Eagle’s Nest. I’ve been hiking this trail for over 40 years and never tire of its challenge.
Today marked the first hike of the season and that one is always the toughest. The altitude paired with the ascent help make the climb a trek in all senses of the word. Many people choose to take the gondola to the top and hike down, but I always do the reverse. I want to earn that view because it makes me appreciate it more. That’s the thing with life and travel. We must amble through the rough patches tirelessly to be capable of feeling true gratitude for all of the lovely flat ground.
On Day 105 of the Nowhere To Be Project I was faced with a new side effect of constant travel. It came in the form of well-worn jeans that decided that today was the day they’d simply refuse to button. This happens to everyone, right? My mind immediately attempted to rationalize the affront by blaming the dryer for shrinking the pants, but deep down I knew that my Nowhere To Be Project lifestyle was the real culprit.
A life of constant travel brings temptation in so many forms. Food is a big one because for me, truly experiencing a place hinges on indulging in local dishes. Add to these bites the local wines that absolutely must be tried and I’m headed for trouble. So, even though I exercise daily and follow a plant-based diet, the jet-setting mojo is catching up with me. What to do?
Well, as tempting as it is, I’m not going to buy bigger pants and I will always aggressively shun the Spanx-life. I also refuse to change my pace of travel because who knows how long the opportunity to wander aimlessly will last? I will, however, do my very best to add additional exercise (e.g. more cardio and at least twenty burpees a day) and cut back on portion sizes a bit until that button on my jeans relents. How do you battle the side effects of fun?
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.
We were planning on boon-docking somewhere in Ontario on Day 91 of the Nowhere To Be Project. We had an epic fail when we realized that we forgot to fill up the fresh water tank before leaving Toronto. I was not at all up for a dehydrated night and called the RV resort in the upper peninsula of Michigan we had scheduled for tomorrow night to see if we could come a day early. Thankfully, they said “yes” and we’re on our way there now. I’ll take nine hours of driving over not being able to flush any day!
We’ve been on the road in our 2018 Winnebago Navion 24D since May 19. We’ve made literally every mistake that we promised ourselves we wouldn’t. We thought that our previous years of RVing had exhausted all of the “what not to dos”. Boy, were we wrong! With all of these little frustrations, I keep reminding myself that the joy is in the ride. Am I right?
Day 87 of the Nowhere To Be Project ushered in our final day at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in upstate New York. We have enjoyed a restful 72-hour break from the road and feel ready to grind out some more miles tomorrow. Staying in a place with a casino can be dangerous for some. I’ve seen so many people these last few days who seem positively strung out by the neon lights, the relentless dinging of slot machines and the endless hope for a big win. I often used the example of slot machines to teach probability while educating college students. More often though, I used casinos to exemplify addiction.
Many people don’t realize that psychologists work with casino developers to design systems that keep people playing. You give them some money and are strung along on the cusp of “the big win” until you’ve literally crapped out. As a result of this, casinos make a lot of money. In fact, they never really lose.
Luckily, I am able to see gaming as strictly entertainment. I never count on winning. Actually, I expect to lose. Every. Single. Time. I set a very modest limit at the get go and throw in the towel immediately after that limit is exhausted, or if I am gifted with any significant win. I have seen so many instances over the past several days where gamblers lose it all and more in the process of striving for “the big win”…grocery money, an entire weekly paycheck, or money that is needed for medication, etc. Gambling is an addiction that is just as fierce as alcoholism or drug addiction. Users chase a high that is fleeting at best and devastating at worst.
Surprisingly, my husband and I walked away from our casino sojourn a few hundred dollars ahead. I’m thrilled to say that we spent our last night feasting on pasta at an Italian restaurant, rather than blurry-eyed in front of a slot machine.
If you, or someone you love, has an issue with gambling, take action now to address it. A good place to start is: www.gamblersanonymous.org
On Day 85 of the Nowhere To Be Project we started the day at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. After such a nice time last night and this morning, we decided that we needed a vacation from our vacation. We’ve been moving from place to place each day, packing it all up each morning and unfurling it later each night. For those who’ve never RVed, the lifestyle requires a surprising amount of work and physical labor. As a result, we’ve been feeling a bit worn out and decided that we needed to find a spot to park and pamper ourselves for a few days. We lucked into a place with a RV Park called Turning Stone Resort and Casino. It is located in Verona, a beautiful area of New York with rolling hills and wide stretches of nature. The park itself is about a mile from the main resort and casino, but a free on-call shuttle service makes that a nonissue. Our goals for this get-away from life on the road are to relax at the spa and pool, and to live it up at the casino, restaurants and night clubs that are on-site. We’d also like to take showers that are longer than 30 seconds for a few days, haha.
We had an RV when our kids were small and always felt so exhausted after those trips. Back then, we were working around the kids’ busy school and activities schedules as well as our crazy work hours. These limitations made us feel like we had to cram everything the kids were interested in seeing into one trip. Now, we have nothing but time, yet we still find ourselves spinning like crazed tops. The bottom line is that we literally have Nowhere To Be (hence “the Project”) and it is about time we start enjoying it! I think a massage will be a good place to start tomorrow, don’t you?
On Day 62 of the Nowhere To Be Project, my husband and I (along with our dog:) worked our way back to our home in Lake Mary to close out four days on the road. As we drove, we passed several trailers filled with livestock. I mentioned to my husband that they were probably being taken to a slaughterhouse.
My husband is a self-proclaimed cave man when it comes to diet. Meat is definitely his primary food group. I have never forced my plant-based diet on him nor would I ever. I do encourage him to try many of my meals and he usually expresses surprise at how good meat-free food can taste. When we stopped for lunch at a sub shop, he decided to eat what I ate, a vegan sub on what bread loaded with fresh veggies, spices, olive oil and vinegar. After lunch, I asked him if he felt satisfied and he responded by saying that he didn’t miss the meat and cheese one bit! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t shocked! For dinner, he again decided to “have what I was having”. This happened to be vegan Italian sausage with sauerkraut on toasted sourdough bread with a side of fresh sweet corn on the cob. He dug in and said, “this is really good!” Again, I was shocked because he is the sausage king!
I am excited to share my delicious plant-based food with my husband, but I still don’t plan on forcing it on him. I do have a sneaking feeling that he is inching more toward a plant-based approach though and that makes my heart sing! He adores animals as I do and he has a strong desire to improve his health. The bottom line is that baby steps can add up to enormous differences and I’ll take that!!
On Day 41 of the Nowhere To Be Project I was stopped in my tracks by a photograph. The photo appeared in Martha Stewart’s Wedding magazine. It was taken at country singer Kacey Musgrave’s wedding and featured her horse adorned in fresh flowers. Evidently, he was a part of her wedding party. How could a wedding court be any better than that? The photo now graces my refrigerator as a life goals motivator.
I have always wanted a horse, but have found way too many practical reasons for not getting one. In the spirit of the Nowhere To Be Project, I am officially done with being practical. There is a horse rescue in my area that I follow. I am currently sending equine energy out into the universe with hope that the right rescue horse finds me. I might just borrow Kacey’s idea and drape him in flowers…every single day for the rest of our lives.
***Blogger’s Note: Martha Stewart is my BFF, but just doesn’t know it yet, lol.