Be Here Now: The Quest for Simplicity

We’re in Pennsylvania!

Driving here, my body remembered the feeling I get when I’m ten minutes away from the endpoint, when I never gave over the wheel to Beth, and it consequently feels like twenty minutes instead of ten. It’s not one of my favorite traveling memories.

Still, I love being on the road. I miss it. A lot.

Friends have been asking us, “so how do you like living in one place, again?” I can’t be positive, but I sense their surprise when one of us says, “It’s okay” or “I miss life on the road.”

The wandering minstrel existence has its drawbacks, of course, but, ironically, it’s much, much simpler than staying in one place.

Simple = Less stress.

Householders have a different set of responsibilities and, I’d argue, they are more numerous than those of the road warrior. Let’s not bore one another to tears by naming them all. Suffice to say, my analysis and preferences (after 2 months of being grounded, again) is that simplicity is one of the prime benefits of traveling with one’s home attached to a truck. And I like it simple, thank you.

On the road or off, the closer I get to freedom from things and the responsibilities needed to tend to them – the happier I am.

Detachment = Less Stress + More Happiness

A householder life can be more comfortable with lots of useful and interesting things at arm’s length, but life on the road is free from maintaining that lifestyle. It’s a no-brainer, really, but I’ll say it a different way to remind myself…It takes a lot more work to keep a 2000 sq. fit. home and an acre of property than it does 120 sq. ft. of trailer space and the inside of a pickup truck.

Being here at a friend’s home in a city I don’t know well brings up two more things I’ve learned to love about travel.

1) Pre-Adventure, I used to HATE staying away from home in a place where I didn’t know where everything was located. Now, I see this “not- knowing” as a kind of lovely detachment. I don’t mind the lack of control (freedom) that comes with a non-mastery of my environment. My friend in PA, Bill, knows where everything is in town. If I need to know, I’ll ask him. In the meantime, all I’ve got is my clothes, a guitar, some yoga stuff, my phone and today’s food and drink.

Less = More

2) I like being with people like Bill or the friends we saw last night, David and Jenny. Traveling, I get to see the friends I want to know better by staying with them. For me, traveling is less about scenic vistas and more about hanging out with the people we meet and the way we feel when we’re with them. I like the vista of your eyes as they meet mine.

Traveling = More connections

Is it possible to mix the householder life with the traveling one? Yup. We are doing that by taking trips with and without the trailer while planting some roots in Sullivan County. It remains to be seen, though, whether this semi-nomadic strategy gives us more or less stress, more or less financial stability and whether being close to family is a boon that overrides our traveling jones. Time will tell and 2 months is not a long enough experiment.

Today, Beth is giving a yoga class and then spending part of her day with cousins. She’s originally from this part of Pennsylvania. Coming home gave her an opportunity to reconnect with family and both of us the chance to connect with Bill, David and Jenny. (And we did it w/o Thanksgiving traffic, thank you, God.)

Bill, Burning Down the Labyrinth

While Beth is doing her thing, Bill and I will meet up with another mutual friend to tour Chanticleer Gardens. Outside time – woo hoo!

Later, we’re having a pot luck supper and, perhaps, enjoying some music with a larger group of PA friends. These are people who I know from Zoom meetings that I really like. And traveling has made it possible to be with them in the flesh.

It’s 7am. I’m happy and far from the life I’ve known. I miss Bradley, but he and the home I used to know are now part of my memory. Today I’m here and here is what we’ve got. And it’s really quite wonderful to be wherever we both are – you and me. I am blessed.

May we all have less between us and our bliss.

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