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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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enemies February 23, 2012

 The following came to my Inbox compliments of Simon Black, author of Soverign Man, who (if you take what he says at face value) makes a good living out of telling people what’s wrong with government, the economy, health care, the media, banking and finance, foreign policy, etc., etc., and so on… and then selling them his version of ‘the answer’.

Please, do observe:

The war you won’t hear about in the media

There’s a war going on that you’ll never hear about on the nightly news.

This war poses, by far, the largest immediate threat to you, your family and your future well-being.

And provided you take no action to protect yourself, this war could very well alter the quality of your life forever.

But this war is not being fought against some unseen enemy on the far side of the globe.

This war, dear reader, is being fought against you.

You are the enemy.

Your way of life is the enemy. And your belief in your freedom to live that life as you see fit is in the cross hairs of a government desperate to maintain the status quo.

Your freedom is being destroyed. But it’s happening slowly so as not to stir the masses hypnotized by their TV and video game lifestyle.

During the collapse of an empire, freedom doesn’t disappear in a blink. As we can all see by the events around us, it disappears very slowly. Little by little, laws are enacted that remove it.

One day, there’s nothing left.

That’s the point at which people will wake up and start to freak out.

The goal of this message is to make sure YOU are not one of those people.

[sales pitch removed]

To your sovereign freedom,

Simon Black

Word-crafted rhetoric, homed to an invisibly transparent purpose, parsed with precision pronouncements all pitching to do one job: Sell a product.

Simon has something he wants you (anybody, somebody) to purchase. He wants to trade something he has for something you’ve got. 

His singularity is motivating you to ‘buy’ and he is using every manner of logic and persuasive (gravitational) cunning to pull you across his event horizon, punctuating each participle to stress every adverb that will help close the deal. 

Such is the distilled essence of all that we call ‘capitolism’, which — some would say — is the backbone of healthy free-market economies and the bedrock of global prosperity and peace. So, we wonder, why does Simon chronically tell us ‘how bad things are’ and blast us with info about why things are not working, and then offer to ‘sell’ us his ready-made solution for precluding such woes lest they befall us, ‘the enemy’, ourselves. 

That is, if Simon really does have a solution — a better way of doing things than free-market exchange — why isn’t he giving (yes giving) all of us a free lesson in the subject-matter. Why isn’t he — having (supposedly) found ‘the way to a better life’ — explaining this passage, step-by-step; handing out ‘maps’ out of the goodness of his heart? 

Does it matter…???

What do you think… Lemme know. 

“America: Love it or fix it…”

(((hugs)))

 

SeaSprites June 21, 2010

Tonight will likely be our last night in sunny/misty/foggy California, ending our quest for the last two days to camp in a place ‘by the beach’, optimally with some sun.  

Shawna sunbathing by the pool where we overnighted in Santa Barbara.

Shawna sunbathing by the pool where we overnighted in Santa Barbara.

  

Last night we camped in Santa Barbara. Very posh and pleasantly sunny, though unseasonably cool when we checked in, looking forward to a stroll on the beach just around the corner.  

Hunger called, however, so we set off to find dinner and ended up at an ornately bedecked and lavishly bedazzled India-cuisine restaurant in the heart of the tourist-trade district on (I think it was) Central St.  

The atmosphere was enchanting, lavish with tapestry ceiling and intricately carved woods. The presentation and service were charming and professional. Sadly for me, however, though I am certain the food was superbly prepared, I have never been a fan of curry and my hopes that perhaps my tastes had changed proved futile.  

View looking east from our 2nd floor room on Hermosa Beach.

View looking east from our 2nd floor room on Hermosa Beach.

  

Still, I reserved this news until Shawna — who was getting a first taste of the distinctive flavors — had finished her meal… or should I say stopped nibbling at it, sighed, and demurred that at least she liked the rice.  

View looking west from our 2nd floor room on Hermosa Beach.

View looking west from our 2nd floor room on Hermosa Beach.

 When I gave her the news that I’d never been a big fan of India food she, with raised eyebrow, enquired as to why I had not objected before we’d dined… and I told her that I wanted her to experience the tastes for herself, without my prejudicial influence. She smiled and said something like, yeah… but you coulda told me and I woulda believed you. To which I responded, sure… but now you know for yourself.  

What she did not get to know for herself, however, was that longed-for walk on the beach which was postponed after dinner last night, ostensibly until this morning. But with the fresh daylight, the sky was overcast and the breeze nearly chilly. So we headed on down the coast.Wending our way, making several wrong turns, keeping close to the seashore, we managed to find a motel that is right on Hermosa Beach. Not nearly so splendiferous in accoutrement, and nestled alongside a mixed residential and business district, the beach is literally right outside our door, the sun shines brightly and Shawna is enthralled!!!!

 

Reno June 16, 2010

Night berfore last we stayed  somewhere-mid-northern-Nevada at a posh ‘casino’ motel. Last night we landed in Reno. Still, proximity does not change habit. At least not automatically. And never having been much of a gambler, I have yet to place a dime on the tables or in the slots.

Shawna collects some salt from the Nevada flats, home to the 'measured mile'.

Shawna collects some salt from the Nevada flats, home to the 'measured mile'.

Which should not be construed to mean that I am not a risk-taker. If that were true I wouldn’t be on this road trip!!! I mean, three glorious weeks with a teenager… no sane person could contemplate this without comprehending that they are putting sanity at risk!!

Still, this is the role of a parent: To do what can be done to assist and enable our children to grow and prosper by exposing them to and immersing them in the way life is and the way it ought to be.  And to do this well, we must come to grips with the fact that the ‘daily routine’ we maintain is the real master of this (subliminal/pervasive) communication.

Yet there are moments when our surroundings and the events taking place present opportunities to emphasize important bits of ‘reality’ in context of our cultivated perception… which is, realistically, critical to each of us in developing an innate sense of well-being and cognitive health.

This morning, for example, as Shawna and I took our time packing, getting ready for my business meeting this afternoon, we had a chat about double-standards prompted by her questions about the California man who was pursuing Bin Ladin.

Not completely comprehending the details of a report on the TV news about his arrest in Pakistan, I gave her a factual account: That a U.S. Citizen had taken it upon himself to hunt-down Osama bin Ladin. That he had done this because he was pissed that Osama was still at large and since there was a bounty posted on Osama’s head — making him a ‘legal target’ for any self-declared bounty-hunter — the man had set out to bring Osama to justice, but was arrested for taking pursuit.

What?!? Was her answer. How could they do this? Why did they arrest him? She wanted to know.

And thus ensued our chit-chat about double-standards. How ‘we’ (as society) get desensitized to our own moral infractions: Saying one thing (ie: putting a bounty on a man’s head — which itself is to my way of thinking a questionable and immoral practice) and then doing the opposite (ie: punishing a person for taking seriously and acting upon our public encouragement to do something we have said should be done).

As if to make my point, the next news item was a video of a police officer punching a woman in the face for j-walking, which elicited an astounded ‘OH MY GOD’ from my darling child. Capitalizing on this illuminating moment, I gently chided: See… that’s exactly what I’m talking about. And that is why I am so brutally intollerant of ‘little’ inconsistencies in personal moral-codes and standards. Our society has come to worship  violence. We tollerate and even celebrate it as a supposed means of ‘doing good’.

However, this is not normal. It is a learned/inculcated behavior resulting from the incremental desensitizing of our innate sense of ‘good conduct’. It happens a little, and a little, and a little at a time, this inculcated immoral ideology until — socio-cultrually speaking — we end up in a space of time where law enforcement officers commit agregious criminal behaviors which are voraciously defended by officials as ‘honorable’ and old men are sentenced to five years in Federal prison for growing plants. ~~~

 

7 days June 14, 2010

Seven days (six nights) on the road… and two weeks to go <smile>. And I must add more kudos for this Day’s Inn, for the easiest connection to the Internet (egads, some of these places make you click through all kinds of ‘permissions’ every time you want to sign-on) and for having a modestly pleasant view. Anyway…

Though we are ‘behind’ the original travel schedule we calcualted (due to the luxury time indulged with kin), we are still on track with getting where we want to go by when we want to get there. Today we will drive through Utah and cross over into Nevada where I am ‘supposed’ to have some business appointments but have not yet confirmed. Thus now, with the luggage cart loaded, it is time to get back on the road.

 

Wyoming June 13, 2010

The road to my cousin's Rocky Mountain retreat winds through a deep gourge.

The road to my cousin's Rocky Mountain retreat winds through a deep gourge.

With business attended on Friday, we headed up into the Rocky Mountains. My dear cousin and her kind hubby had, when we visited in Denver, extended the invite for us to overnight with them at their hide-away cabin and we gleefully accepted. Well…

One night turned into two, filled with laughter, lots of catch-up conversations and an excursion of ‘thrift store shopping’ that Shawna said was ‘absolutely the best’ and bought so many clothes (for only $16) that I had to ask just how we were going to pack to get them all home.

My dear kin treated us like royalty, treating us to dinner Friday night at their favorite local restaurant and on Saturday we indulged homemade vegetable beef soup and fresh-baked wheat & rye bread. OMG… what a gastronomic pleasure!!!

Shawna is happy that the rain has ended and that the scenery is changing!

Shawna is happy that the rain has ended and that the scenery is changing!

There was, however, no Internet service which was really rather a treat for me as I am seldom disconnected from this virtual world for more than a day, and so I lavished in the 48-hour vacation <smile>.

Driving across Wyoming.

Driving across Wyoming.

This morning, though we longed to stay forever, we mustered ourselves to pull out early and made it — drenched in rain all the way — north out of Colorado into Wyoming and all the way across that state to the Utah line.

This time, we opted to camp for the night at a Day’s Inn, which has proven to be the best deal on accommodations we’ve gotten so far. The amenities are excellent (pool, hot-tub, spacious comfy double-queen room with refrig and microwave) and the price was well under the $100 per night I’d budgeted for the trip. Given the breakfast they provide is as good as everything else, I shall be a totally happy camper!!!

 

Denver June 11, 2010

Highplains
Driving across the high plains from Kansas to Colorado.

The drive across the high plains of Kansas into Colorado was smooth and uneventful. Miles and miles of miles and miles. 

Checking into the motel, where we’d made reservations to stay in Denver before leaving Limon, was a different story. 

While the MapQuest directions the gracious front desk clerk printed for us were perfect, the program that generated them was ignorant about major road construction in the area and so, for about 20 minutes, though we could see the hotel as we drove by it three times from different directions through a maze of barricades, blocked lanes and busy intersection traffic, we could not figure out how to get there. 

Before abject frustration set in, we opted to do lunch and retreated to the shelter of a Red Lobster which had a driveway we could locate! 

The meal was sumptuous: Linguine with lobster, shrimp and asparagus and a creamy white sauce for Shawna; Fried clams and garlic buttered shrimp with broccoli and a Caesar salad for me. For dessert, we shared some sort of fudge drenched vanilla ice cream and (warm) chocolate chip brownie concoction… which was simply decadent. 

Revived and armed with directions from one of the waitresses, we followed a series of detour signs and finally got where we planned to go, checked-in, unloaded, and called my cousin who immediately invited us over for a famly schmooze. I cannot count nor do I recall all the names of all the (20+) kin-folk Shawna and I met, that my dear cousin had graciously persuaded to come say hello to ‘cousin Chrissy’ (what I was dubbed as a child) and her duaghter, but all were wonderful. As Shawna said, it was like being in a room full of people you already knew and had much in common with.  Needless to say, we had a wonderful time. 

Double-rainbow in the sky southeast of Denver.

Double-rainbow in the sky southeast of Denver.

Driving back to our accommodations, though the sun was blazing bright in one portion of the sky, the portion that was over us let loose with a burst of rain which turned the road and all the traffic into a brilliant (and nearly blinding) mist of sparkling dazzle. 

As we pulled off the Interstate and stopped at the light where we turned to our motel, a double-rainbow arched across the sky. 

This afternoon is the first of my business appointments, up near the Colorado/Wyoming border. Then we will overnight with my cousin and her hubby at their mountain cabin in the Rockies. 

Does it go without saying that we are having a great time!