Archive for the 'Pondering Life' Category

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Take a Chance, Before You’re Too Old and Afraid

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When I hear people in their 50s talk about how they wish they had started traveling when they were younger, I know that despite the financial uncertainty that my man and I live with, we made the right decision back in 2007 to chuck our old lifestyle and hit the road.

This great story about a mid-life couple shares the good and the bad about living the vagabondish lifestyle:

Turning Points: Sheri and Gregg Pasterick

Lost in the Crowd

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Been in Los Angeles for almost 1.5 months now, and I still feel like a fish out of water. Everything screams at me to be more beautiful, spend more money, and eat more food. There are too many distractions to get any meaningful work done. Money making ventures are falling by the wayside as we continue to spend income we don’t have.

Suburbia never changes. Every week, the neighborhood routines repeat their patterns. Each neighbor has a gardener that shows up on different days of the week, all of them generating ear-splitting noises that add to the aural pollution in the air. Kids go to school, parents to go work, dogs stay home and bark lonesome songs in their backyards. Night falls, and everything happens exactly the same when the sun comes up again. It’s all a very good reminder about what I do not want in this lifetime.

The lonesome desert landscape is calling my name. It’s time to go.

Another Year Comes Around the Corner

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With less than 2 weeks left in the year, it’s time to look back and ponder.

  • Did I make good use of my 40th year on earth?
  • How much did I really get done?
  • What goals did I accomplish?
  • Am I happy and fulfilled?
  • And what do I want to check off my list next year?

Seems like there’s never enough time to do what I want to do in this life. It astounds me that some famous our powerful people out there can get so much work done and rise to stardom or notoriety or whatever, when I’m just struggling  to keep some blogs going and make enough money to live on. What do they know that I don’t?

Next year it starts all over again. The lists, the goals, the trials and tribulations. I can make good use of my time on earth and live in the now, or piss this life away like so many others do.

Hmmmm….guess which route I’m taking?

My Simple, Rich Life

Caught up in the pace of urban living, I found myself taking short shallow breaths while combating a nauseating feeling in the pit of my stomach as I sat in Friday afternoon traffic in my borrowed SUV.

Whenever I return to my hometown, I never feel like myself. I’m even more oddball than I ever was when I lived here nearly 15 years ago. At least back then I tried to fit in on the outside. My expensive hair and makeup and stylish clothes kept me in the game. But now I stick out. I’m different on the outside too, and it’s obvious I’m a square peg.

During my visits, I hopscotch around the social awkwardness, and keep myself focused on the things that await me outside of this madness called Los Angeles.

It’s good to be back, because it reminds me of how I really do have so much more in life.

Self Employed RVer Fails at Being an Employee

Some of us are born to follow, others were meant to strike out on our own path. While I can’t exactly call myself a “leader,” I’m really awful at being a follower. My personality lies somewhere in the middle, which explains why I’ve been happily self-employed for the last 12 years, but don’t want to grow my company into the kind of huge entity that good capitalists are supposed to.

This much I know about myself: I cannot be part of an organization that does not value the individual. So if the company won’t value me for who I am, then I might as well be captain of my own dinghy.

I jumped Satan’s ship earlier this week. There was no way I could tolerate idiot managers breathing down my neck, feeling like a number and being treated even worse that that, for even one more day. I will not sell my soul again for the lure of a paycheck.

Although we barely covered the cost of our rent with this 30 day gig, I got something far more valuable than money can buy out of the deal.

A fire under my butt and a swift kick in the teeth to make our next venture fly . . .

or else live that nightmare over, and over, and over again.

I’d rather not, thank you.

What is the Real Cost of Productivity?

Since I sold the farm two years ago, I’ve spent a lot of time just hanging out, doing what I want to do. Mostly this involves a lot of writing, reading and being outside.

I’m happier than I’ve ever been, but I don’t feel like I’ve been as productive as I was in the past.

But maybe that’s because I used to equate being productive with a lot of screaming, nail-biting, phone-slamming, computer staring, booze drinking and late nights at the office? Not particularly in that order.

I had more money then. But was that the result of being more productive? Was I really getting more things done then? Or just pushing myself towards an early death?

Today, I still bite my nails, and drink booze. But at least I can honestly say life is better than I ever thought possible, even without “real” productivity.

Oh Why Do I Dye?

I’m sitting here having doubts about my cowgirl authenticity.

What kind of cowgirl tries to cover up who she really is?

Every 3 weeks I’m slathering hair dye onto my roots, because the gray hairs keep sprouting.

Why can’t I just be me? Why must I conform to society’s expectations of a woman my age? Who am I trying to kid? Must I continue spending money to try to hide my premature aging?

This is a messy endeavor and after 20 years I’m getting pretty durn sick of it. I feel like I”m getting really close to telling society “the hell with it!” and getting on with my life. Enough of this cheap mascarade.

Home on the Mummy Range, for a Little While

We did it. Bought a little ranchette on some 5 acres overlooking the Mummy mountains of Colorado. The setting is stunning, it’s everything we’ve been searching for over the last 2 years.

So why is my stomach in knots? Maybe it’s a sense of stability that we haven’t had for a while. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m worried about how we need to start making some steady cash. Possibly, it’s because we’re bringing a new mascot home with us this week. Could it be the fact that we’ve never lived in a place this remote before?

Or how about all of the above. Yeah,that’s it.

Life’s serving up another great adventure, and we’re along for the ride. Giddyup!

What I Would Give for Dog Hair on my Sweater

Sometimes I have to remind myself that we did the right thing by helping our leader along to his next assignment in the wheel of life.

We thought we were prepared to say goodbye, but once we thought we knew the time was right, it felt like our hearts were being ripped into a million pieces.

Were we doing right by him? Was it his time to go? Were we acting too quickly?

At the time he was in pain, and we knew he was miserable. The cancer had taken its toll, and our baby was telling us he was ready to fly free.

But afterward, I heard stories of other dogs that lived longer than he did with the same kind of cancer, I’ve started to doubt the timing of our decision.

When I do, all I have to do is look at this photo we took of him on our last earthly day together, and I know he was ready. He was already soaring through the universe.

Someday, I know we will play again, and I’ll inhale the heavenly scent of his fur once more. And I’ll cover my wool sweater with as much of his hair as I can.

Until then, my heart continues to ache. I miss him so much.

Wondering Why We Work at Jobs We Hate

Recently a friend of mine got in touch with me, and had just discovered that hubby and I walked away from the conventional life. Several years ago, she was actually one of the people who inspired us to change our life, when she sold her house and traveled overseas to India on a sabbatical. She has since moved back to the states and joined the working world again, but is having some dilemmas with the career thing. She asked me in an email:

“Do you think you would or even can ever go back to the “professional” career? I feel so ready to make the leap to a low-pressure, non-leadership, more concrete type job. And then to just enjoy life.”

I always feel like a fish out of water in professional settings, but keep landing management and leading roles. It doesn’t feel authentic. Is it a skill to learn, or a message that I’m on the wrong path?

. . . I don’t have romantic notions like I did in my 20’s, like working in a cafe. I know I need more variety of intellectual engagement than that, and I want to earn a decent living. Yet, doing something more tangible and concrete, and being satisfied as a team member and not a leader, is the draw.”

Could I ever go back to a professional carer? Without hesitation, I say: Never!

Hoeks Death Metal Pizza Sixth Street Austin TexasWhen I finished college, I swore I would never work in a traditional office setting. Sitting at a desk and answering to suits was my worst nightmare. I slung coffee. I interned as a print journalist. I cocktail waitressed. And I even volunteered at NPR to try to land a radio gig. I did everything I could to avoid a traditional office job.

The jobs made me happy, but they weren’t paying my outrageous college loan bills or credit cards. I surrendered, and joined corporate America to pay off my debt.

I felt such like a sellout. Wearing the outfit, putting up with the politics, and taking orders from higher-ups killed my spirit. I yearned for the days I had fewer responsibilities, but I fell into the trap of thinking that this was as good as work life got. Later, when we started our business, I found my true happiness as a free agent.

accumulation of stuff when living in a in stick houseUnfortunately, to make our business thrive, we needed to borrow money. So back into debt we went. We bought a building and equipment, then worked our butts off to grow it. Along the way, we accumulated too much stuff. When we finally got out of debt and sold everything, I sure slept better at night. The debt free lifestyle gives me the ability to explore the kinds of work that make me happy. As long as I stay out of debt, I’ll do what I love, and I know the money will follow. With my writing and our websites, we are making it happen.

And while having money and a real income can be nice, I finally accept that all the money in the world isn’t going to make me happy as all of the experiences, good and bad, that we encounter on a daily basis as a fulltime traveler. It might make some of you happy, but it’s not for me.

Many people who aren’t passionate about their work just trudge along, trying to fill that void by acquiring stuff, digging themselves deeper into that consumer debt hole, and blindly focusing on that “someday” when they can retire. But I ask; what’s the point? Traditional full retirement is going to be pretty unrealistic for many of us, so why are so many of us working ourselves to death during the prime of our lives?

cranes in flight over Arizona ranch sunriseI think my friend can figure things out by asking herself: why do I “keep falling into management roles?

Are you drawn to them because you: want the challenge? The money? The self-esteem from being a leader? To pay off debt? Because you’re afraid to try something new?

I think that if you are unhappy with your chosen career, before you try to answer “what should I do with my life?” maybe it’s best to step back and ask yourself: what’s keeping me from doing what I love?