Well we are off… spent last two days scrambling around to get everything just right. It’s an eight and a half hour drive and 531 miles. First road trip… me, Gandaulf and Lucky, the Adventure Cruzer!
The Overland Expo will fuel my imagination and give me great ideas for finishing off Lucky’s interior. It can also be dangerous! These guys live to outfit the lifestyle we are striving for. With our home on our backs, so to speak, everything we own inside a 12x6x4 foot space, we need to learn to travel safe. We need to learn how to read a map… not always gonna have GPS or cell phone service… can’t just call AAA if we get a flat. This weekend is gonna be like going to outdoor school. So excited!!
Flagstaff ARIZONA here we come!
It seems like forever since I have written. Life has been crazy… to say the least. We are continuing to sell cars, go to work everyday, walk the dog every morning, pay bills, do yard work, fix up the house for the eventual sale, and still try to fit some fun time in. I will be happy when the list gets cut in a third and all we have to do is plan our next destination, walk the dog on a beach or jungle trail, make new friends and LIVE.
We have been beefing up Lucky, our 1998 Adventure Cruzer. She has almost a complete ‘face lift’ now completely replacing most of her front end suspension parts, installed the roof top tent, added a great, non-ostentatious stereo with Bluetooth and XM, second battery system installed and cold air intake installed. There is still the interior build for storage coming up… but first The Overland Expo in Flagstaff this weekend for some over the top experience and lots off good ideas from fellow minimalists and overlanders.
It is amazing to know that there are other crazy people in this world that like to “hit the road”, abandon the “responsible reality lifestyle” we all have been raised to live in and forced to conform to. With the instability in the political climate of this world it it scary to even turn on the TV and wonder what stupidity has occurred overnight. To be reliant on fossil fuels, electricity, consume water like it’s a right… these items are what keeps most of us chained to our homes, our repeating loop of everyday living to support our reliance on our carbon footprint. Hitting the road forces us to downscale. Live life at its fullest without being tied down. It allows us to move freely about, exploring the world and all it’s back roads and byways, without having time limits.
In two days I will hit the road with Gandaulf and Lucky for our first 600 mile road trip. I hope to connect and be motivated. To be inspired by fellow travelers. To accept criticism on ways to better keep us secure as two women travelers. Stay tuned as we post some incredible pics and share great ideas as we travel to and attend the Expo!
Until we chat again…
In my younger days I was very active. Even earlier I thought I was invincible, as so many do in their teens and twenties. My body was fit and muscular. I was strong and full of energy. Then I hit forty… when did that happen? I found myself like an old car… not too eager to get started on cold mornings, bits and pieces not working quite right. Constant nagging pain in the joints. The things I once was able to do so easily before, now was taking a lot of effort.
As the years go on I feel like some major change is going in my body. I grasp at everything out there to attempt to diminish the constant nagging pain. Herbal supplements, alternative medicine, exercise and finally after 6 years of pain… not being able to do the things I enjoy… I sought major medical attention and surgery.
So here’s where the gist of the story comes into play. Growing up no one ever teaches you about bank accounts, finances, getting a house and what the body does as you get older. The first few things you can figure out by trial and a lot of error. Getting and growing old is not as easy.
I believe that nobody wants to talk about it much because it is down right depressing. When I could no longer go hiking without two knee braces, row my raft or fly fish without shoulder pain, I found myself getting frustrated. Soon after I found I lacked the motivation to do the things I love… but forced myself to do them and paid for it for weeks on end. I tried shots of this and that, I tried going chemical free, and physical therapy. It always came down to just grin and bear it. Then the doc says…”you’re just getting old!” Those are the worst words anyone can ever hear. It’s almost like a death sentence. This is how it is and it’s not going to get any better. REALLY??!!
I, however, will not just throw up my hands and succumb to “getting old”! I am always looking for the silver lining. This is the driving force for us to quit our job, sell everything and hit the road… before it’s “too late…” There is enough research out there that shows stress is a contributing factor to shortening your life. Pain is a cause of stress too. My hope is by alleviating that stress in my life, eating better food without chemicals, laughing instead of wanting to kill someone or something all the time, be able to be active on a daily basis instead of weather and pain permitting… I may be able to grow old gracefully and in less pain.
Lets face it there is no manual on life. No “How to Live for Dummies”. We all blindly go where each man/woman must go… and go alone. It’s just sad that the mind is willing but the body says… no I don’t think so. This too shall pass and I will overcome this temporary limitation… I hope…
Lucky is coming along! She got rear ARB Coil Springs for a 1 1/2″ lift to support the roof top tent and weight of gear and utility trailer. We tweaked the factory torsion bars to give her a front end lift. GeoAdventure Gear GT180 roof top tent ordered… ceramic heat reduction tint installed… and finally she’s been “tagged” with our logo and website! Check it out…
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.
There is no bigger obstacle than doubt. If the mighty explorers of the past ever listened when their peers doubted them… we might all be living on a very small and overcrowded continent. Planes would not streak across our skies everyday. The moon might still be made of green cheese. We might all still be using oil lamps and yelling from mountain tops to get our messages out.
When I was young, people including myself had doubts I’d make it to my 21st birthday… say hello now to 54! My life has been full of doubts, mostly from those around me, and like those explorers, I took on those doubts as a personal challenge.
In my present life we are starting to sell off everything we own and planning our getaway. Doubt?! OMG our minds are full of doubt… and on some days we have to pinch ourselves and slap ourselves out of the funk surrounding this doubt. We have planned carefully. Never in 25 years together has anything that challenged us, not been surmounted, conquered and accomplished with a little faith and hard work. We live for our dreams… as dreams are our stepping stones into our futures.
Doubt can be healthy or a huge detriment. It depends on how you approach it. We all have a grand purpose in our lives… it’s in our DNAs. We can choose to let doubt run our life or we can choose to take it in stride and take little steps forward around it. Doubt is a thought, an opinion, but don’t let it become a lack of action or something so powerful that you’re life stops
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