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Workamper Rendezvous October 27, 2015

The Workamper* Rendezvous in Heber Springs, Arkansas, last week (10/20-22/15) was amazing… They – being head honcho Steve Anderson and his awesome crew of family and friends — fed, entertained and educated us with a smorgasbord of creative wisdom and delicious expertise…!!!

Education, education, education filled the halls and meeting rooms of the Heber Springs Community Center while the 2015 Workamper Rendezvous was in town.
Education, education, education filled the halls and meeting rooms of the Heber Springs Community Center while the 2015 Workamper Rendezvous was in town.

FYI: This event is NOT just for those who are (or would like to be) earning an income while living full-time on the road. Even though all the info is geared to assist those who choose to explore this dream, anyone who enjoys camping in any kind of RV could definitely learn a lot.

I, for example, learned much more than I already knew about the 30amp electric system in my RV. Excellent info that will save me tons of $$$ on needless repairs precluded by a few ounces of preventative wisdom.

I also learned the legal difference between a domicile and a residence… Do you know…??? <smile> Because if you don’t and you happen to fit a particular demographic profile, you could be wasting big money paying taxes that you are not legally obliged to pay…. thus proving that sometimes, ignorance is not bliss…!!!

And the social environment of the whole event was wonderfully convivial. Attendees were mostly in the 40s-to-70s age range; retired (or soon to be), or already ‘living the dream’ of freewheeling independence, earning their keep through various means as they wander scenic byways, tour national landmarks and mosey through life at a pace uniquely their own.

The convivial crowd of workampers and wannabes gathered at the Rendezvous.

The convivial crowd of workampers and wannabes gathered at the Rendezvous.

Which sorta-kinda describes almost perfectly the overview of ‘living life’ that I envision and am enacting for myself as my transition from full-time mom and head-of-household-working-professional ebbs away from the sacrificial duties of titles and tasks, flowing into the realm of ‘whatever I choose to do next’.

As anyone who has already made this passage knows, it could be likened to navigating the Straits of Magellan, tossed about by shifting gusty winds, feisty currents, the narrowness of the channel through towering rock cliffs and the deceptively beautiful wailing of emotional sirens.

Me and my darling brood (left to right): Adam, Patty, mom (aka: me), Shawna, Shalom, Josh.

Me and my darling brood (left to right): Adam, Patty, mom (aka: me), Shawna, Shalom, Josh.

My personal crossing from the ocean of family responsibility to the sea of doing for myself began just over 4 years ago when my youngest darling daughter turned 18. And in fact, that day of emancipation had been envisioned from the birth of my eldest child… at least from the standpoint that I as a mother had one very important job to do: to prepare my darlings for adulthood; to make sure they were as equipped and as ready as I could coach them to be to take on the joys, challenges and responsibilities incumbent of adult life… on their own.

And now, with all of my darlings living their own dreams (and happily thriving), I am in what long-ago colleague Alan Lakein would call ‘the end game’ of my transformational journey and I am ‘trying on for size’ the doing of things that I have for (lo, these many years) imagined I would be doing ‘after’ my kids were grown.

Thus as my Maiden Voyage was (to me) all about proving to myself that I and my rig were up to the challenges of solo RVing… attending this conference was (for me) all about finding out how easy (or difficult) it is to attend and participate in such events given my mode of transportation. And under this heading, I really learned a lot.

These full-timers live in style and tow their 'garage' (which houses their auto and an office) with them.

These full-timers live in style and tow their ‘garage’ (which houses their auto and an office) with them.

Mainly, that having a very mobile (20′) van-type RV does give me easy access to convenient parking at an event. However, with the RV being my only transportation -and- my home, it is neither easy nor convenient to get involved with ancillary activities that take place away from the main event.

For example, there was a solo RVers meet-and-greet held at a park pavilion one evening which I would have much liked to attend. Yet the fact that the gathering was (for me) too far from my campsite to walk, and that driving there meant I would have had to back-into my campsite when it was pitch-dark decided my fate.

On the other side of the coin, I loved the camping experience. In contrast to other sections of the park which were full nearly to capacity, the section I chose for my 3-night stay was empty, save for Louise and me <smile>. Thus things were blissfully quiet -and- I felt no compunction about turning up the volume on my radio when the spirit so moved me <grin>.

The dwelling inside the stately bus is truly glamorous... Thus the term coined to describe this lifestyle:

The dwelling inside the stately bus (pictured above) is truly glamorous… Thus the term coined to describe this lifestyle: “Glamping”.

This area of the Dam Site State Park campground was bustling with big rigs.

This area of the Dam Site State Park campground was bustling with big rigs.

Back to the downside, I learned very quickly that the duties of being a solo RVer take precedent over and may interfere with the desires of an event attendee. Thus a couple of times – mainly because I am ‘old’ and simply cannot cram as much action into an hour as I once did – I found myself doing necessary routine RVer chores instead of attending a conference presentation.

And it also became self-evident that in order for me to pursue my envisioned ‘home ranger’ lifestyle in a long-haul manner, that I will have to allot time not only for travel, routine maintenance, sleep, general housekeeping, provisioning, cooking & eating, etc. -and- time to ‘do stuff’ (like visiting places and enjoying events), but that I must also factor in ‘time to write’… because, of course, this is the gold nugget of my personal work-camper plan… to supplement my retirement income by peddling my wordcrafting charms… <grin>

The 'empty' area of the park that I had to myself for my 3-day stay.

The ’empty’ area of the park that I had to myself for my 3-day stay. And yes, that is the lake in the background… which gave me a great view from my bedroom/living-room window…!!!

So, that is my current story <smile>, except to note with great glee that my eldest son, Adam, has now officially moved to Austin, Texas, where he has (as of yesterday) commenced employment as Field Services Engineer with Crushing Tigers, Inc. Wow… not too shabby for a homeschooled boy with a post-grad degree from the hands-on school of hard knocks…

Yes… I am very (very, very, very) proud…

Until next time, (((hugs))) and happy travels… ~Christine

*The term “Workamper” is a registered tradename of Workamper News.

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BirthDays March 2, 2011

If I had gone to our state capitol today, in the hopes of addressing the membership of one of the various legislative committees who are considering bills which — in my self-esteemed wisdom — deserve critical attention, then I would not have shared breakfast and conversation with my daughter. Reason enough, it could rightly be said, for not going. But the issue to me is bigger than that.

Today, I am 62.

Thus, in my self-esteemed wisdom applied to me, I have arrived at a new benchmark. The beginning of a time in space where I get to more freely choose those things that will fill my present moments. And, with my children now predominately at the helms fo their own lives, my business obligations all satisfied, a comfortable roof over my head, a reliable vehicle to drive and the benevolence of a tidy Social Security pension, the expanses of what I may if I wish to do with my time are, perhaps for the first real time since I was twelve, seemingly limitless.

This is an odd and wonderous place to be, the liberating sensations of which wash over me like warm effervescent tides of sunshine and smiles.  It is a lovely place of mind to simply be. No ‘pressure’ of any great magnitude to ‘get things done’. Not that there isn’t a ‘to-do’ list — which I know is a double negative, but serves the point well. Because there is and will always be a to-do list. Its rigors, whether consciously chosen or memetically engendered, are assigned from our first breath of life.

Knowing this, when posed with a meaningful and substantive equation to resolve — such as ‘what do I want to do with the rest of my life?’ — my solution is simple. I ask myself “What will I be doing the day after all the ‘problems’ are resolved?” And of course the operative ‘problems’, generally speaking, constiute a whole lot of different things and are usually respective of the circumstances immersing my moment-to-moment reality.

At one time in my life, for about ten years, the ‘problem’ was how to steward our family resources to make sure all the bills got paid, that we had a comfortable home, reliable transportation, nutritious food and suitable clothing while homeschooling four children and being the (hopefully) loving spouse of a disabled person.  That decade resounded with a series of life-quaking problems, such as arriving home from work one day to find all four of our children (then ages 9, 7, 5 and 3) ‘missing’ from our home and yard while their dad slept on the couch and, when awakened, had no idea where they were.

It was a revelation for me to come to grips at that moment with the inhibiting constraints of my husband’s disablilty.  The ‘problem’ was real and huge. That instant of cognition added a heaping of ‘new tasks’ to my to-do list, some immediate and many long-term.

Thankfully, the children were quickly found playing at a neighbor’s. And I resolved in that moment for everyone’s sake that my husband — whose dysfunction is predominantly cognitive — must never be left alone with reponsibility for our children ever again. Thus, until we divorced some years later (by that time our eldest was 18 and our youngest was 12) I was effectively a single-parent ‘head of household’ for a family of six. And trust me, there were many problems.

But always there was this vision of what life would be like ‘after’ all the problems were resolved, and a yearning for some sort of blissful meadow of contentment to prevail in my life and, to whatever degree it is in my power to affect it, in the lives of all others… all of which comes with its own set of problems. Such as, for example, the crossroads I am camped at now: Taking stock. Inventorying my ‘to do’ list. Assessing what is (and what is not) truly important to me… Asking myself, somewhat obsessively, ‘what do I want to do with my time now that I am more free than I have ever been as an adult to make the choice…??? 

And the truth of the matter is that I just don’t know yet…

What I do know is that I don’t want the rest of my life to be a recurring processional of things I have already done, which brings me back to the legislative hearings I did not attend. For better or worse I have been doing my bit as a ‘good citizen’ to uphold my civic duties for over forty years. And, respectfully, over the passage of time I have done this with increasing vigor. But now I have arrived at a break-point and before I take another step forward I need to assimilate, digest and ponder which direction I really want to go…

Which is exactly what I am doing and, as with the choice I made this morning, this path of ‘not’ doing is feeling pretty good…. except for the part of me that still feels a duty to share what I’ve learned about all of this stuff over the course of the last 62 years, in the hopes of making life better, easier, simpler and more satisfying for everyone, every day.  So I’ll have to see what I can do about that… (((hugs)))

 

Details June 5, 2010

The London Frontier Theatre, Magdalena, NM, presents: Hard Times and Hope.

The London Frontier Theatre, Magdalena, NM, presents: Hard Times and Hope.

T-minus 72 hours until the journey begins, and life is now a maze of tiny-tweaky details which must be attended in short space.  Though predictable and unavoidable — at least in context of my personal standards — the time now evaporates in pursuit of packing, organizing and strategizing so we can do everything we wish to do over the course of the coming weeks.

I was thrilled to get a phone call from a dear cousin yesterday, in response to a call I placed to her a couple of days before that. We have not been directly in-touch for decades, and now we will be visiting in-the-flesh next week!

And the ‘computer & camera’ set-up project is nearly complete. Shawna managed to upload a video clip and a couple of photos to her Facebook page,  so we are good to go with that. Just have two more programs to install… my Skype line and PhotoShop. Then everything should be ready to rock and roll!!!

Have also confimed permission to do a very special interview/feature article with the folks at London Frontier Theatre in Magdalena, NM.  Watch for more about this toward the end of this month. ~~~

 

En route… June 1, 2010

The expedition is begun, with one week to lift off. On sweet Shawna’s to-do list today, after her ‘last day of 10th grade’ at Clinton High School, is getting her Tuscon serviced; oil change, wipers replaced, tires checked to see if they’re up to traveling the 4000 miles we will cover by the end of this month.

It has been a while since I routinely did three-week road trips, and I’d forgotten about the lists. Today, as I began the first of what I know will be many lists to be compiled, detailed, itemized, budgeted and checked-off over the coming weeks, I remembered; thankful that I already know how to plot such courses and choreograph such routines to accomplish the doing of the extraordinary.

Not that what my darling daughter and I will be doing is anything truly extra-ordinary. Taking a road trip, really, is just not big a deal.

Still, wandering through places new to us, experiencing different things, such is the salt of life. Something we sometimes simply want and choose to do: The experience in and of itself is extraordinary to the experiencer <grin>, given (of course) plans coalesce as happy outcomes…

In finite reality however, the magical manifestation of happy outcomes generally translates to a growing ‘list’ of things which must be done in order to get from where we are to where we we want to go and back, and we have set our sights to head out on the first leg of our excursion by the middle of next week. 

Thus also on my daughter’s to-do list today is to meet with her employer and see if the company is willing to grant her request for a 3-week leave of absence, knowing that it is entirely possible that her employer will choose to simply let her go. This was a difficult choice for her: to be prepared to give up a job she dedicated herself to getting, finally got, really enjoys and now must be willing to leave in order to do something else she really wants to do.

And so maturity is cultivated, endowed with the liberty to grow. En route to self-responsible adulthood. ~~~