Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Importance of Doing Nothing

The blog today is aimed at myself and Terri.  Sometimes it is important to sit down and have a good talk with yourself.  So listen-up Russ, this is for you.

We are finishing up the third year of our nomadic lifestyle.  In that time we have learned a few lessons about ourselves.  As a matter of fact we keep learning the same lessons over and over.  Maybe in a decade or so those lessons will sink in.  I doubt it, because I am a Ranger and we don't learn quickly.

On Saturday we start a three month adventure of travel around Europe.  This is where our lessons in life need to be applied.  Given my "normal" nature I would be trying to cram as many things into that time as possible.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

The best memories of our travels have come when sitting around, listening, observing and letting life pass by.  It's not about doing stuff, it's about being present in the moment and letting "life" happen all around us.

We were given a great lesson in our first few weeks on the road.  We were at Craters of the Moon National Park in Southeastern Idaho.  We had great plans of climbing a cinder cone/mountain at night to see a completely unobstructed night sky.  It was a Ranger lead hike and as we began going up the small mountain the atmospheric conditions began to cloud the sky.  By the time we hit the top there were no stars or planets to be seen.

At this point the lady Ranger sat down and asked us all to sit down with her.  She explained that she was going to teach us a lesson she had learned early in her career.  LISTENING.  It was amazing.  After we all quieted down the sounds of nature began happening all around us.  It turned into one of our best evenings ever.  It was the "importance of doing nothing".

We have applied that principle many times through the past three years.  Sit down, shut up and observe.

We had hiked along a cliff edge overlooking the Colorado River thousands of feet below us.  As we became tired we sat down with our feet hanging over the edge of the cliff.  As we sat there we watched the birds using the thermals to soar in the lifting winds.  The longer we sat the closer they would fly to us.  Soon they were coming within feet of our heads as they crested the shear cliff.  At that point we were rewarded with a discovery.  Small birds flying a bazillion miles per hour past your head sounded like little jet engines.  The "importance of doing nothing" was the discovery of a sound we had never heard before.

One day amidst the hectic pace of New Orleans I was tired.  I picked a park bench and sat down.  I closed my eyes.  I had successfully closed out the over stimulation that was all around me.  In the distance street musicians were playing.  The tuba players notes stood out above the rest of the band.  I sat and listened.  That bass line still replays in my head when I think of New Orleans.

So what is the lesson to be learned from writing to myself?  Sit down.  Shut up.  Observe.  Listen.

It will provide more memories than museums, castles, crowds and tourist stuff.

Eva seems to have the "sit down, shut-up and close your eyes" thing down pat.

Monday, April 18, 2016

We're Home..... We're Leaving

We had a nice 13 day drive from Mazatl├ín to Tacoma.  We made several stops along the way to visit family and friends during the 2,584 mile trip.  The motorhome got 7.1 MPG burning 268 gallons of fuel.  The saving grace was the cheap price of gas, $1.84 to $2.25 in most places.  $589.64 of fuel for the USA part of the trip.

There were no camping costs due to our boondocking and mockdocking all the way up the coast.  Many thanks to all who provided their streets or driveways during our drive.  It is such a great way to do a visit and bring our own home with us.  Always my own bed, priceless.

The sun sets on another year in Mexico.
We're only here in Tacoma at Tamra and Robby's place for a week until we fly off to Europe.  The kids have an RV storage space in their backyard that will hold the motorhome for three months.  Rumor has it that grandson Andrew will be using the RV when he visits from Kettering University this summer.  He no longer has a bedroom in the house so Grandma and Grandpa's place will be his "pad" while we are off traveling.

We picked the RV out of storage in Tucson.
It's hard to explain but each 6 months we have a drastic change in our living place.  We go from a big condo in Mazatl├ín back to our 342 square foot motorhome.  It may sound funny but I enjoy the more confined living space.  I like my leather recliner in the motorhome better than the multiple seating options in the condo.  I like the compact kitchen.  I like the sound of rain on the roof of the motorhome.  For me the motorhome feels more like home.

Terri's friend Cheryl's granddaughter takes over driving the RV in San Diego.
On Saturday we are flying down to San Francisco to fly to Europe with Terri's sister who works for United Airlines.  We are getting an unbelievable rate to fly and combined with staying part of the time with our son Matt, we can have an extended stay without breaking our budget.

Shari toured United Airlines latest new plane, a 787, this week.  It does a non-shop flight from San Francisco to Frankfort.  If Shari can get us on that flight we will make that slight detour.  If not we will fly into Brussels.

Eva will be spending the next 3 months with my cousin, Sandi.
My brother Dave and SIL Jamie are boarding a cruise ship on Thursday for a 17 day cruise from Florida to the Mediterranean.  We will be meeting up with them in Brussels later in May after they tour Eastern Europe.  Our parents seem to have given us all the "travel gene".  Sister Sara is staying home to await the arrival of her next grandchild.  She was planning to come along until Margaret's due date fell in the middle of our trip.

I had to leave my final painting of the year unfinished.  More work waiting for next year.
See ya later.
As always, life is good.