This has been another week that has made me embarrassed to be a United States citizen. It’s all over the news how our new commander and chief acts like a stupid child when he doesn’t get his way. From here on out I am Canadian if anyone asks.
It is beyond me how a group of elected officials can’t do what’s “right” for their constituents. I do realize there are many facets to this issue. I do understand that no matter what happens someone is not going to be justly served. It is difficult to put everyone into one box and find a health plan that fits all needs. What I don’t understand is how some countries can do it and have excellent healthcare. I have experienced this care myself while traveling as a tourist and gotten hurt.
A major contributing factor to us moving out of the US… as we move into the next phase of our lives… is a direct result of our broken healthcare system/government. There will be no way for the two of us to retire here and afford healthcare… or protect our accumulated nest egg. As a result we have chosen to leave everything behind. Cash out and travel. I have serious concerns that some or most of money we have paid into the Federal government for our “retirement” will be sucked up by said government.
Another issue is the lack of concern for our global wellness. Our symbiotic relationship with Mother Earth hangs in the balance. There are SO many documented symptoms to the ever changing climate of the earth. So many that it can no longer be ignored! Yet again our commander and chief has the audacity to look these in the face and still choose to ignore them stating it’s all “fake news”.
This is not something we can run away from… no matter where we travel to. This is a global problem and all nations must participate or it will be like lighting a bonfire in the middle of a dry field of grass… without serious intervention and planning, eventually everything will be consumed. The world will be plunged further and further into catastrophic disasters that will always be linked back to our lack of caring.
I am deeply saddened and feel utterly helpless. What kind of world do our elders want to leave for their children? Just because it won’t effect the earth in their lifetime… doesn’t make it a non-issue. We can’t wait for them to die off or be removed from “power positions”. We must somehow convince them the symptoms such as melting glaciers, rising ocean levels, catastrophic storms and droughts are a direct result of our choices to continue to rely on fossil fuels, forcing poison into the earth to make her yield minerals and fuels. The next generation will be handed a broken and poisoned world to try to repair so their children will have a beautiful planet to explore and enjoy. The Earth and the human race depend deeply on each other. Heavy sigh… WALL-E here we come…
So I always ask myself… What’s the worst that could happen? Next thing I know my mind is off on a nervous stream of random thoughts… and I promise they are not all good. There is always the flat tire in the middle of the desert while four wheeling, the blown hose when there is no service station or parts store within a hundred miles, being held up, car stolen by some rogue police men in a far away country… hell any of these things can and have happened right here in the US.
Some people think we are crazy! What on Earth are two middle aged women gonna do out there on the road, over-landing in “third world” countries… if something happens? I have never let my fears and nervous thoughts dictate where I am going to go, what I am going to take, what might happen to me. Quite the opposite. I let the fears keep me safe. I proceed with caution and good common sense. If I let the nervous jitters stop me I would never set foot outside my own house… hell maybe not even get out of bed.
Our plans for the end of this year are slowly gathering momentum and we are beginning to make lists, planing our financial well being, checking and double checking supplies. I spend at least an hour of everyday online, asking questions to those who are out there living the LIFE we only are dreaming of… gathering tid-bits on how to rig our Adventure Cruzer for over-landing… learning from others misfortunes. The best part is compiling the “BUCKET LIST”.
Everyday someone comes up to one of us and asks us if we are sure this is really what we want to do? The answer is simply, “yes or the stress is going to kill us”. Face it we are not getting any younger. The things we like to do take good health and strong bodies and time. Our life now is so stressful, we have so much “stuff”and so little time. We have been locked in the same career for over 25 years… it is time for a change.
When I was a very young child, I am guessing 4 or 5, we had an old black man who lived in a small little shack situated on the edge of the drainage canal by the truck yard. I remember he seemed quite small compared to other adults I knew, and in Baltimore, in the late 60’s, the fact that he was a black man in a predominately white neighborhood, stood out more than anything.
Mr Jiggles was a kind old man and would sit on his porch swing in the heat and humidity of a summer evening and play his harmonica. The sound of the harmonica would drift over the sound of the traffic from the main street. Beside his house he had an old truck tire full of dirt that he grew tomatoes in. I remember he would wonder up and down the alleyway selling them for 5 cents a piece. Maybe that is how he made a living since I can’t ever remember a time when he wasn’t sitting on his porch swing.
The memories of a child. The tainted memories from an era of hatred and bigotry, instilled on me by the adults I looked up to.
Mr Jiggles… now that I look back… had a very hard life. My memories of him are nothing more that those mentioned above. If I was to meet this kind sole today, I wonder if I would have the same impressions of this gentle little man? Would I pity him? His life was simple… yet incredibly hard… but he always seemed happy.
The last memory I have of Mr Jiggles was a city crew tearing down his little shack and chucking all the items from inside into a garbage truck. Mr Jiggles was gone… his music could still be heard late in the evening, on a humid summer night… if you sat still enough and listened.
via Daily Prompt: Jiggle
Stock photo from The West Virginia Gazette
The one thing that has always struck me when traveling abroad is how lucky… lazy we are. I envy the native peoples in the countries I’ve traveled in. They make a party out of gardening, laundry, cooking and playing. They are not glued to TVs. They do not have the luxury of a dish washer, a clothes washer or dryer, sometimes not even a true stove as we know it. For sure they can’t set a timer on their sprinkler system and forget about the garden.
I have traveled to Ethiopia on a humanitarian mission and helped build stoves, drip watering system, water filtration systems. Traveled to Bolivia to help build toilets and teach them about hygiene. Just as a traveler to other Central, South American and Caribbean countries and experienced the joy of neighbors doing laundry, cooking food in wood kindled ovens outside, and gardening together. The sense of community and neighbors is only some fake notion we have in the US
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I have noticed over the last few years the youth of these countries have embraced cell phones, computers and eating out. The sense of family seems to be splintering… if only just a bit. It is almost sad.
I live in a country that our kids go to schools with cell phones, the avgerage home has two TVs, every individual in a family has a computer. In my dealership I see teenagers come in with their parents and turn up their nose at a great first car… and the parents give in. What are we doing?
I know that I am not any better than the people described above. My first car was $500 and I bought it myself. I do own a Smart phone and a computer and a tablet. I have four TVs in my house. I own a washer and dryer and a professional gas stove, two fridges and a chest freezer. Yes I am comfortable but when I travel I envy the people I see that have something I don’t… real friends, community and a life that has real meaning instead of just getting ahead, keeping up with the Jones… and intimate relationships with my family and neighbors. Are we not the luckiest laziest race…
Here I am sitting on a rock in the middle of the NV desert. A minute ago I was driving and found myself just wanting to “get there”. I thought to myself, “why can’t you just stop?” Surrounded by all this beauty and the grandeur of the desert in all its vastness, emptiness, and its own beauty. Why can’t I stop? I finally pulled over and found this rock and had the desire to write. Writing makes me stop, turn inwards and listen. It tunes out the outside, complicated world and makes me calm down.
I hear the breeze blowing thru the dry brush. I feel the vastness of the blue sky. I feel the warmth of the sun contrasting the coolness of the rock I am sitting on. I hear my inner demons and the battle that I am waging on the inside. I feel the sadness of being alone, but not lonely. I feel the struggle of an inner peace scratching and clawing its way to the surface of my being.
It is a perfect 72 degrees. The sun shining brilliantly in a near cloudless sky. The desert surrounding me shows off billions of years of weathering the turmoils of life. Life of a desert. There are hundreds of colors if you look close enough. Birds sing their songs of the day if you stop and be still. When all stops the silence is deafening. I can hear the tapping of the keyboard, the rush of blood in my ears, my heartbeat and every breath I take. A car passing by breaks my trance and I must move on. A bit calmer and more centered than just a short time ago.
I found a trail that lead to the top of a ridge for some 360 views. Again the silence is broken by the sound of the wind in my ears and the sound of the passing cars below. Winding thru this landscape is a black ribbon that allows even novices into this stark landscape. I take a sip of water and am reminded that is this one element that is lacking here. It is the one thing that brings life and death to the desert. A gentle burst of rain is quenching. A sudden downpour can equal death and destruction as it upsets the tiny microclimate, causing run off, flash floods and great land disturbances that shape the ever changing dynamics of the desert.
The mountains of the desert are like folds in the earth’s ancient crust. Others are like ancient sea reefs. Others are great monoliths of long extinct volcanoes. They all loom high above the desert floor and are haloed by the true blue of the desert sky. They stand like monuments, thrusting out of the flat sandy bottoms to touch heaven itself.
I venture further into the ever changing landscape and come to my favorite, red rock. The red rock is the womb of Mother Nature. The wind and rain carve into this sand stone and give it its unique characteristics of color, carvings and caves. The caverns that are created remind me of a womb. This rock has pushed up from deep inside Mother Earth and survived years of punishing to create these eerie formations that hold a history lesson in fossils and primal composition. The layers reveal stories of years gone by before man and memory. Every sound echoes through its strange formations. I could sit here for hours and pick out faces, shapes and become entranced by is stark beauty.
A small lizard just ran past me and broke me from my daze. The desert has a way of stealing you away. It lulls you into a trance of sun, rock and heat. Transfix your gaze on an object and hours can go by without notice. The desert soothes the mind and rocks the soul into a blissful existence. The shadows grow longer and the sun moves slowly, methodically across the sky. These rocks and sand have seen the same path over and over again, but the visitor to this realm, is transformed with each moment spent in its splendor. Tread lightly and take only pictures and leave only footprints in this land of history and intrigue.
We’ve been back now from our vacation to Bocas del Toro Panama for a week. We are still moving forward with our plans to liquidate and become minimalists travelers. Our business has a for sale sign in front of it now. It doesn’t seem to deter the customers.
The list has been compiled for the reconditioning of the house to get it ready to sell. Items of little or lost worth are piled in our basement waiting for the weather to break so we can get some yard sales in.
I find this preparation very exciting, and as things go away, freeing! Our goal is still August. If things come together before that… well that would be ok too.
The fun part is the planning and investigating where to go, how to get there, and whether or not to camp, drive from hostel to hostel, house sit? Fly? The cool thing is we have at least 15-20 years to accomplish it. The excitement of the future drives me forward through the present.
If anyone our age tells you that they are not afraid to do something new, give up everything they have, quit their job, sell their homes, cash out their retirement accounts and leave whatever family and friends they have, I’d say they are not centered in reality.
As human beings we resist change. People cling to religion because it is a constant in their lives. They stay in their homes till they die or they can no longer live alone.
We are at a jumping off point that is like jumping off a 700 foot cliff with a wing suit as safety equipment. Oh… and with no prior training. Do not hesitate. Yes websites, blogs, Facebook and many other publications exist that make this journey a bit more manageable… but the actual “doing” is scary as hell!
Twenty years ago even thinking about doing this would have been a daunting undertaking. Where do you start? Where is it safe to cross a border? Where is it safe to spend the night? What do you need to cross a border? The world was a huge unknown for the most part. The US state department made you so afraid to venture into other countries. As a visual learner, I find the task at hand much easier to comprehend. The how to exists out there. YouTube, Blog sites, Facebook pages for expats, AIRBNB, VRBO, where to go and how to manuals are everywhere.
When we were younger this would’ve been an absolute thrilling notion, like when we hit the road back in 1993/4. Cell phones were new on the market and very expensive (for what they were). IPads were a futuristic concept. Hell a portable laptop computer was even just a glimmer in someone’s imagination. We were kids… we threw caution to the wind and just did it. Ahhhh… for the innocence of youth…
This time we have so many options… some more fraught with danger than others. Could we be happy settling down in some mountain town in Ecuador, Columbia, Peru? Become beach bums in Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, and Thailand? Travel the world from ‘point A to point B’ with no time limits? Will our vagabonding lifestyle be possible as planned? Best made plans are often laid to waist when put into action… still we continue to put one foot in front of the other. I continue to wake with butterflies in my stomach, that’s the “more mature age” jitters… The Fear Factor