A Writer Becomes a Gypsy: Transitioning to an RV lifestyle
March 23, 2012
Facing foreclosure, my husband and I have decided that this provides us with an opportunity to do what we have only ever dreamed of doing—buying an RV and going on the road for a year.
After nearly two years of grieving over the loss of our home—which for me meant safety and security—I am beginning to embrace the idea of becoming a gypsy.
The timing seems to be appropriate for the following reasons:
- I am about to complete my MFA in Fiction (May 2012).
- I have completed a novel and am now shopping it to agents.
- I have been physically unable to hold a “real” job, but this has freed me to be simply myself and to be the writer I really am.
- My daughter and grandson, who have been living with us, are about to reconcile with Kyle’s dad.
- Upkeep on the house is a lot of physical work that neither my husband nor I am able to do regularly.
- This provides an opportunity for my husband and I to spend time alone together while we are still young enough and healthy enough to do so. (Or at least not too old nor too sick.)
- I have published a book and re-established a role (more later) that requires promotion. Traveling to bookstores around the country is the best way to do that.
- My youngest daughter has just bought the home of her dreams and can provide a “home base.”
There are other things that have happened while we have been here the last thirteen years, that require lengthy explanation. I will list them so that I can come back to them later.
- I have fulfilled my dream of community service.
- I have fulfilled my dream of playing an important role in disaster response.
- I have fulfilled my dream of finally returning to college and obtaining my degree(s). (Read: A.A., B.A., M.A., M.F.A.—all in English).
- I have fulfilled my dream of once again owning a home of my own.
- I have made my peace with the trauma I experienced during the homeless years.
- The Universe has brought much restoration to my life: the Psycards, Kris, Luke, Mary Ellen, Sarah, Kip. All these relationships have now been healed and can be put in their proper places.
- I have had the opportunity to deeply love and help raise a grandchild.
- I have rediscovered who I am at so many levels.
- I feel ready to go out into the world and share my mission.
- This is an opportunity to practice radical faith; to really master the idea of Trust in the Divine.
- It is time to stop living with fear.
- I can use this year of planned travel to open new writing opportunities, including this blog.
There are, of course, many challenges involved.
- Sorting, organizing, thinning, storing, packing everything I own.
- Deciding what is important to keep and what is not.
- Dismantling my garden and gifting its contents to others who will love them.
- Deciding which of the beloved seven cats to take with us and which to find homes for.
- Working out logistic details like mailing address, telephone, storage, etc.
- Talking myself into the idea of living without my favorite treasures, my thousands of books, my paintings, my animals, my garden, etc.
Now, ideally, I dreamed of being able to do this with some sense of security: a home to come back to, money in the bank, a healthy income. But we have none of that. What my husband and I do have is a terrific relationship. He is my best friend. He is warm and funny and rarely ever afraid of anything. He has taught me by example more about faith than any religion or book or other person ever could. He is a lot of fun to travel with because he takes a child-like delight in new experiences. He makes friends easily. He has a way of finding or discovering or having someone gift him with exactly what we need when we need it. He (unlike me) does not worry. He is my Buddha.
I am talented, creative, volatile, emotional, passionate. I am a do-er. I have learned to use anger as a fuel source for positive change. He is patient and always lets me know that I am loved, even when I am the bitchiest person on the planet.
We share a joy in adventure. We share a yearning to see and experience new things. We share a sensible approach to these things; no need for “extreme” anything for us. We can take our pleasures and joys in even small doses and be happy and grateful. No bungee-jumping for us. (Sorry, if you need a true adventure blog, you’ll have to go somewhere else!)
We also share a spiritual sensitivity and awareness—no dogma, no organized religion, no specific ritualized relationship with the Divine—just a deep and real sense of the beauty, love, and power of the Universe. Together, we can travel to sacred spaces, especially little known sacred spaces. Sedona is nice, but way too over-promoted. I’ve been to Sedona. I did psychic readings in Sedona in ’89, during the Harmonic Convergence. I’ve been there, done that.
But I know that there is wisdom and spiritual renewal in this land, in many places and in many ways. And more and more, the lure of that, the excitement and anticipation of going and doing and being, together, is overwhelming any fear, doubt, or worry that might hold me back.
So, this blog is about the process, the transition, and later, the experiences we will have in our year of travel. We don’t yet know the day that travel begins and the “year” may be less or longer. We shall strive to remain flexible. I welcome readers who wish to share our journey.
March 24, 2012
I am hoping that this blog will be many things to both us and to our readers.
I hope that this blog will help others gain practical information on switching to an RV lifestyle. We are complete novices at this and will have to fumble our way to knowledge. Always good to share that knowledge, if it will help others have an easier time of it.
I hope this blog will be a place to share our spiritual experiences and growth. We are outside of any mainstream religion and yet we have a deep spiritual connection to the Divine. It is my desire to help others feel OK about their personal relationship with God, and to be unafraid to move away from dogma and what they are taught by society and church and family and friends to believe and discover what they really believe and what their own deepest selves know to be true.
I hope this blog will be fun to read and provide information about interesting people, places and things across North America.
I hope this blog will be a showcase for the beauty of the natural world in which we live and to highlight the problems and (more importantly) the solutions in our environment.
Honestly, I hope this blog will also help produce some income to support us in our journey.
America, be on notice, my husband says, prepare yourselves, we are coming to visit!
March 28, 2012
Today was interesting. Rick wanted to look at RVs, so we went to the local dealership. I don’t know what I expected, exactly—something like a parking lot with used RVs that we could wander through and price…
Anyway, what we got (or what I got) was a discouraging introduction to the terrible costs of RVs. The used RVs we saw were like from 2004 or 2006—to me, not “used” in the way I’m thinking. Price? $39,900. Used. And they looked like mobile homes on wheels—huge, even the small ones seemed huge. 10-cylinder engines. Really? 10 cylinders? Who the hell needs that? I’m concerned about carbon footprint, about cost and practicality. When the salesperson started to point out that this one was better than that one because it had full-body paint, instead of just decals, I thought, “Who the hell cares about crap like that?” I have no desire to become a member of some tribe that thinks the trivial difference between “paint” and “decals” has any meaning at all!
So, this visit to the RV store made me want to cry, though I couldn’t tell anyone why. I’m not sure I can explain it now. I just know that on the ride home, I wept, sobbed nearly, feeling so discouraged and rejected and oppressed. Later I realized that what I had seen there gave me feedback that said, “you don’t belong,” “you can’t do this,” “you’re irrelevant, invisible, unimportant, unworthy.”
As I sat with these feelings (still without words) through the rest of the day, I finally found my words. I was frustrated that Rick seemed so unrealistically optimistic that he seemed to think we could actually buy one of these monsters! (I will never, ever, ever, drive a 10-cylinder, petroleum-burning engine—it’s just wrong.)
And also that I had counted on him to give me hope, to make things seem possible, not impossible. I needed to find a way to BELIEVE that this whole plan could be made manifest, could be come a reality.
Well, my magic man redeemed himself. After watching me cry and hearing my objections (after I finally found my words), he found a 1974 RV on craigslist. We went to see it, and it seems perfect! A standard Chevy 350 engine (any grease-monkey in the country can work on this engine!), which give us mileage similar to any full-size van. (Not the 4 miles per gallon the 10-cylinder ones promised.) The interior had been completely rebuilt by one of its owners—built with love and care and real wood and practicality. It has character, personality. It is small enough to drive anywhere, but big enough to live in with careful planning. It’s not beautiful, but it’s not ugly, either. It is a one-of-a-kind unit—very much in keeping with our energies and our intentions. And it is only $4K. 30K miles. Excellent condition. Worst issue? Needs A/C for when you are driving (it has A/C when you are parked). Solution? Generator. Next worse issue? A little rust. Who cares? I love it.
The couple who own it seem as though they aren’t in a big hurry to get rid of it. Like they’ll wait for us to get our money in June. Very nice, real people. And this viewing renewed my vision of our coming excursion, renewed my belief in its possibility, renewed my sense of pride in what we are about to accomplish on a shoestring budget. It also stimulated my intuitive vision of the people we will meet—people who are self-sufficient, who are kind and neighborly and have skills and believe in family and aren’t afraid to eschew the SOP of our culture.
I dream tonight of campfires outside our RV. Of afternoons on the road, writing at the table, of nights filled with the sounds of crickets and coyotes, nestled up against my husband in our bed over the driver’s compartment.
Rick and I, together, have always been able to make something out of nothing. We bought a house when everyone (I mean EVERYone) told us we couldn’t buy a house. We got a mortgage when even I thought we couldn’t get a mortgage. Together, we have gone from homeless to living in a van that didn’t run and didn’t belong to us to where we are now. We left Tempe, Arizona one day in 1997 with literally eleven cents and no idea of where we would go or what we would do and found a way. We were gifted with a mobile home for the meager down payment of $300—from an ad that was misprinted and even the phone number was missing. But somehow the Universe got the right connection to us or us to the right connection. Together, we think outside the box and believe in solutions.
You can’t solve a problem that you don’t believe can be solved. You can’t put a gift into a closed fist. If you believe it is impossible, then it certainly is.
And that is why I need to avoid experiences that awaken the fear, doubt, worry, etc., in me. Because sometimes when these feeling are awakened, I can’t stop the cascading effect that I know leads to depression and discouragement. Experiences like visiting some fancy new RV dealership whose purpose is to make you think you MUST have this latest, newest, most fashionable thing at some outrageous price at some awful cost to the planet.
Can’t go there.
So, thank you to the Universe for the lessons learned today and the results we obtained. Faith is confirmed and validated.
April 23, 2012
This vision of the RV lifestyle and the changes to my life and career is beginning to crystallize more clearly in my mind. This blog isn’t just about going on the road. It is about a psychic vision of America. It is about writing the novels that carry the spirit messages I hope to impart—not in a crazy, woo-woo, way, but subtly, inspiring through beautiful passages and deep exploration of the human psyche.
It is about Psycards, yes, but it is also about me as the expert on Psycards. It is about my psychic gifts and talents and how it now time to bring them out from under my bushel.
I have a vision of two non-fiction books: A Psychic View of the American Landscape, and The Woo-Woo World: Understanding Paranormal and Psi Phenomena. It is about becoming who I really am, about branding myself, about “celebretizing” my talents and tossing the old chrysalis aside.
But, of course, I am just emerging, and my wings are not yet dry. Soon, soon.