One Year in Beauty

Posted May 5, 2017 – Narrated by Carmen
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Truth is, we spent one night of “Year One” not living in Beauty. Due to the blowout, Beauty was in the shop having new side belly-wrap installed.

Rough night. We learned that “home” is where six inches of memory foam is.

One full year of full-timing is behind us – our “one year at a time” journey. Early on we agreed that our decision to continue would be made annually based on whether we had the heart, health and finances.

We’ve weighed the good and the bad and decided “Year Two” is on!

First, we’d like to share the good news about “Year One.”

It was all good.

Retired and living on the road is like endless holiday.

Bay St. Louise, Mississippi

Life on the road was stimulating, relaxing, messy, contemplative, eventful, adventurous, surprising, educational and scary.

In other words, it was just life.  

As we enter into “Year Two,” we’re making some thoughtful resolutions. We’d like to relax more … maybe add a hammock or zero gravity chairs and spend more time reading.

Walking the grounds at La Vigne Winery in Paso Robles.

“Year One,” I stocked up my Kindle, but more immediate concerns took precedence and I, too easily, slipped into constant research mode – seeking out fitness and recreation opportunities, natural remedies, docs, dentists, vets and WiFi.

Early on, an addiction to RV Lifestyle and yachting blogs took over and I gorged on info about how to travel with the climate, find the best weather alerts and emergency plans – where to recycle, donate and buy fresh local produce.

So much time was spent learning ways to stay healthy, safe and find dog-friendly camp sites, restaurants, breweries, and how best to maintenance and repair our Airstream while living in it that we missed some opportunities to recreate and live in the moment.

We love our “Lambright” recliners  and “Air Desk” desks

“Year One” was busy.

The days seemed way too short. I began to suspect a stowaway was chewing up my downtime – and I found it… Fear.

The gnawing possibility that a disastrous mistake or miscalculation threatening to sabotage our endless holiday was hiding in plain sight under The Age of Information.

Now, while that may not be entirely true, it certainly is a most ambitious metaphor. And, as I shall continue to fret because fretfulness is my nature, LIB isn’t nearly the challenge either one of us thought it might be – but it sure was a lot more fun!

Cycling the north shore of Lake Ponchatrain.
Kayaking Big Bear lake

So, during “Year Two,” if we don’t get hit by a train, I pledge to complete my “Year One” book list as well as edit and organize my bookmarks, stickies and notes and pursue some educational enrichment through online classes.

The best part of this lifestyle is visiting friends and family around the country, but they can visit us too!

We’re usually in a wonderful place during the perfect time of year. 

These days, many of the nicer RV resorts, like the one were in right now – Wine Country RV Resort in Paso Robles, offer cottages and guest houses beside full-hook up sites! Miss us? Come on!

Small cabin next to a campsite in Paso Robles … minutes from 100’s of wineries

Our San Diego love-base is still strong.

Putting San Diego in the rear-view mirror is the hardest part of this journey, and here’s why…

Now for the bad news …

Life is whooshing by … “Year One” feels like a couple of months.

Last time the whooshing was this fast, we’d just gotten married, and the next time was when our son came along.

Lately, we’re taking more photos and discovering our warts, wrinkles, bags and bulges. My chronically sore deleting finger is a reminder that “Every Day Is A Gift” – our LIB mantra.

As time passes, so do our loved ones … As we were preparing to leave San Diego, we lost our dear friend George Riley and then, Pat DiMeo and then Jim’s colleague, Kamal Muilenburg.

Early into “Year One,” our old friend, Dave Chamberlain suddenly passed away, and we toasted George Weinberg-Harter’s life on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

George Weinberg-Harter: October 26-1944 – November 7, 2016

We returned to San Diego four months earlier than expected because Jim’s nephew, John Nicita III, had passed.

While we were at the Chula Vista RV Resort, our friend Coqueeze Connelly, an old friend who inspired our RV adventure went to heaven to be with her husband, Mutt …

Mutt, Jan, K.K., and Coqueeze – photo taken mid-1960’s

Since we’re old, but still not on medicare (and because our incredibly expensive insurance premiums which could buy a house or condo in most states every single year only covers emergencies out of California …) our wonderful doctors managed to fit us into their schedules on short notice and … we’re fine!

Shoot, we’re better than fine – healthier than we were a year ago.

My paroxysmal AFib condition has been in remission for months, and though Jim was feeling tired and weak, it turns out he just needed to reduce his blood pressure medication.

We’ve both lowered our cholesterol through diet before and it looks like we’re at it again – so, during “Year Two” expect to see LIB tips about how to make collard wraps and flax pretzels and smuggle them into pubs.

Carmen’s collard wraps

At least once in your life, run away from sensible advice.”

Run, don’t walk!

We’re often compelled to turn toward the allure of the solid, grounded, conventional life.

Occasionally, I glance sideways toward an adorable cottage in a sweet little town, but it’s not time to get hooked-up again. We’re still in recovery from sticks & bricks.

In the past, a lengthy period of travel was considered prescriptive for body and mind – this advice came from esteemed doctors, professors, wise ones – and the benefits were based on precedence. If something bad happened, destiny was to blame not the risk of travel.

I wonder if something has changed.

There is so much pressure these days to grab a number, hunker down and stay put.

The wireless, nomadic lifestyle bamboozles industry, banks, medical systems and even digital infrastructure.

In many ways, it would be easier to call it quits. I guess the reason Jim and I persist is because LIB makes us so happy to wake up in the morning … takes a load off and makes our hearts feel better.

For now, the road is our address.

The journey is on.

“Year Two” is calling us out of ourselves and into the world and the joy of creation and recreation.

Thank you, “Year One.”

“You start dying slowly
   if you do not travel,
        if you do not read,
             if you do not listen to the sounds of life,
                  if you do not appreciate yourself.
You start dying slowly
   when you kill your self-esteem;
        when you do not let others help you.
You start dying slowly
    if you become a slave of your habits,
         walking everyday on the same paths…
              if you do not change your routine,
                   if you do not wear different colors
                        or you do not speak to those you don’t know.
You start dying slowly
   if you avoid to feel passion
         and their turbulent emotions;
              those which make your eyes glisten
                   and your heart beat fast.
You start dying slowly
    if you do not change your life when you are not… 
                 … satisfied with your job, or with your love,
        if you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,
             if you do not go after a dream,
                  if you do not allow yourself,
                       at least once in your lifetime,
                            to run away from sensible advice.

– a translation of the poem, “Muere Lentamente” by Brazilian writer Martha Medeiros and often falsely attributed to Pablo Neruda. Thanks to Kimberly MJ for alerting me to this internet meme.