Toys! Toys! Not Just For Boys!

Look at this bad boy! It’s what the pros use. Yep… This wrench is important for being able to adjust the lugnuts on the wheels and take the wheel on and off. Could I have gone cheaper? Yes… but I’m worth getting the best of the best!

OK, this is not my typical post, but it’s been on my mind. It has a different flavor and touches on topics of money and cost. Everyone wants to know how much an Airstream costs. Well, you can go to the Airstream website for that, and Airstream Groups to learn about used Airstreams for rennovating. What I didn’t realize getting into this was all of the cost of all of the extra stuff. As a rule of thumb I have found when I have the extra tools and gadgets, I have not needed them, and if I have not had them I wish I did. So, yes you can roll right out of the dealership and start camping, but all of the extra toys help you have peace of mind and save you money in the long run. After all, your home on wheels is an investment. And with that said, I tend to like buying quality. I’m not going to spend time on the dollar amounts and have your eyes glaze over even more, but I thought I’d throw a few of the things I’m glad I bought, all together here to get you thinking.

In the beginning I debated generators or solar. One of the people I was listening to encouraged me away from solar as new developments are happening daily improving the technology and the expense is coming down. Since I had literally never camped they were encouraging me to start out in a campground where you don’t typically use solar. Do I wish I had solar now, yes, but like many folks, my budget allows for just a little at a time, so I went with two generators. I went with two because they are smaller so I can actually lift them each up, and when I connect them they have a combined power that is enough to run one of my air conditioners. That is super important in these warm climates. Everyone said Honda is the way to go. The day I found my Hondas the clerk couldn’t figure out why they wouldn’t ring up. Google! Yah, I was the one to figure out and inform the store that at that time there was a serious recall. So I went with Yamaha. They purr like a kitten, empty and refill easily and I have no complaints. But like I said, I have not needed what I have bought, yet. And with the generators I have put in a lot of time running them because once you put the gas in, you have to run them regularily. But, I know, if I didn’t have them I’d need them.

As you may have figured out in my “Four Dead Batteries” story, I did not have jumper cables or anything related to battery care. And of course, I ended up needing gadgets for batteries. I was grateful that I had upgraded to the AGM batteries that did not need water added to them. If I hadn’t have, I would have had to when I killed all of my batteries. Now I am the proud owner of a solar trickle cell battery charger. It’s awesome. I also have a way fancier than I actually know how to use meter for my battery. You Tube is my friend. The weather radio that got me through my Tornado Hopscotch fullfilled it’s purpose but I have moved on to this sleeker model shown in the photo. And as for safety, my first can of bear spray fell into my sink and went off in the camper so needless to say, I’m not a gun person when it comes to safety, but I did get another bear canister after the Bobcat jumped from the tree and landed just feet in front of me.

I love that living tiny in a trailer has made my footprint on this earth much smaller. Yes, I used to be a bath person. In the winter I could go through a lot of water. Now, showers are short, and sometime sailor like… that’s all I’ll say abou tthat. Gear to manage my water has been one group of gadgets I bought that I use daily. Buying water in bulk at water stores was something I didn’t know existed before living in the desert. There is no need for me to dump tons of water bottles into the trash. It costs $1.25 for a five gallon jug vs $6.00 and up for a 24 pack of bottles. My first hoses were plastic and would often burst midday on a hot day. I switched to these hoses I got at a hardware store that is now out of busines so I can’t even remember the brand. when I do my first winter camping I’ll need to get heated hoses, or insulate them which reminds me of insulating my pipes in my old house in Minneaplis. One important think is that the hoses I use are hoses certified to drink from…. What?! All of those years growing up playing all day outside barefoot drinking from the garden hose. Oh my… Well. You get the idea. Make your own choices.

My trailer will be in the shop. I ussually enjoy some luxurious hotel stays when that happens but my ussual lovely high end hotel was converted to a COVID hospital…..soooo…. I’ll be tent camping. I got myself the well debated Mr. Buddy in case temperatures get down to where it is actually cold. Folks will say they are very safe, and others will say beware since carbon monoxide is a silent killer and I don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in my tent 😳😂😊 So… I’ll likely turn it on with a flap a little open while I’m awake for extra safety.

My gas jug, again, I have never actually used. I think I’ll get another one. (Laughing to myself.) No seriously, one for diesel for my truck on those long back road stretches…. since my next ventures will take me off the beaten path. And, another for gas for my generators. If I need to run them I definitely won’t want to run out of gas, although it does seem like they will run for a good eight hours before running out, so likely not needed.

And that last photo, no matter how I tried to make it look pretty, well, it just won’t. I found the black tank hose my trailer came with was not always enough. In some sites the dump hole was too far away to reach, and in this site, a neighbor actually gifted me his broken looking attachment piece which worked perfectly because my site acrtually went uphill and the regular attachment made dump time really fun. Has anyone seen that post on the internet “How To Know When You Are A Fulltimer?”

There are tons of great Apps I use regularily to show things like where to find BLM land to boondock on. I love my memberships such as Harvest Hosts where I can find parking for the cost of my annual membership and a glass of wine if it happens to be a winery I’m parked at. Of course I love the security I can have knowing my Tripple AAA Trailer and Truck plan means if towing is needed neiver vehicle will be left behind, and it gets me good discounts at campgrounds as do a few other memberships. My Boondockers Welcome membership gives me more optins. And Escapees membership gives me access to good information from actual lawyers on residency, mail and other issues that effect my ability to still be able to vote. My Airstreaming Women’s Network (Shoutout to Lindy who created it.) allows me to have an entire sisterhood to rely on for support, advice and help, as do all of my other groups I’m in and youtube blogs I follow.

In summary, these are just some of the toys and gadgets I bought to compliment my travels. I’d estimate I spent somewhere between 5 to 10 thousand dollars on the extras, and I still don’t have solar or jumper cables or the fanciest batteries. Soon I’ll likely need to replace tires and batteries which can both be big expenses. And every year basing out of California, I pay a hefty fee for tabs and insurance. That may change soon. Most of the things I have I have not needed, but when I don’t have them is when I will need them. They give me piece of mind. In life, it’s always good to have a plan B and in my art, when it comes to buying quality tools, my theory is you get what you pay for.

Thanks again for the “follow”. Share with folks you think might like going on the journey with me. Possible future posts, my thoughts on Nomadland, Changing It Up With Tent Camping and My Trip Up the 395. Chow!

“40 Desert Days and Nights”

“Walk like you have 3,000 ancestors walking behind you.” Heather Ashamara – Warrior Goddess Training

This last year has been a challenge for all of us and will continue as we work our way out of what some call the traumas of isolation that we have experienced. I’m thinking there may be another way to look at it. Writers have written about how we struggle with the thin line of being alone vs lonely. Living in an Airstream on the Colorado River for the last year really gave me a taste of this. I am grateful to the CRIT (Colorado River Indian Tribes) for allowing me on their land and keeping me safe during the pandemic. Although sometimes I didn’t like it, the fact that nobody could come or go not only kept me safe but also really helped me embrace being at peace with my own company. It was a spiritual journey. Either I would make it or I would crumble and crumble was not an option.

I reflected on all I have come through in my life and those who have come before me and realized, even when I am alone, I am not alone. I have the strength that was given to me from everyne who has come before me. That strength has helped me in my activism work, as well as in simply surviving a pandemic. I’m not going to lie, at times I was a real mess in 2020, however, that strength my ancestors and my circle of those who have loved me instilled in me helped me to embrace loneliness and turn it into pure joy and alone time, over and over again this past year. (Along with some zooms with all of you. )

Living in a trailer I had already been on a journey towards minimalist living, focusing on only what is important, what is present to me in that moment, not worrying about what had passed or what was to come. Living in a trailer I was already learning to enjoy my own company. Little did I know, Airstream life was perfect for preparing me for a pandemic.

I was not one hundred percent alone. And unlike the charachters portrayed in the new Netflix movie Nomadland, I was actually quite well off and living the life. I had my trusty dog Dudley and a handful of households that were still here in the park for the summer. Of the folks who are left in the park we all found ways to help each other, lift each other’s spirits and feel a sense of normalcy. In spite of our varying political views in a year full of division, we showed up for each other underscoring the importantance of the challenging task of loving one’s neighbors no matter who they are, finding the beauty in them, seeing their humanness. This can be easier said than done.

We helped each other out when a wave of COVID spread through the park by checking in on each other, we helped older folks get groceries so they wouldn’t have to enter the local stores, and we helped folks get to the hospital when they were too weak to do it themselves. Simply walking through the park and saying hi to folks, letting them know they were not alone was another way we were there for each other. All of it I know helped remind me time would pass and we would be ok.

Of course being in a location where there literally were a lot of donkeys during a hot election year, you know I had a little fun teasing my “elephant loving” friends. The donkeys were showing up in large groups right before the election results went through. Emotions were high for all of us and I found a little humor about our real life donkeys showing up, kept it light and allowed us to stay out of the weeds.

The donkeys reminded me I was not alone in another sense. Wildlife seemed take over the park with the lack of people here. It was as if they were saying this land was theirs and they were taking it back. Many of the routines of the wildlife taught me to put routine into my own life and magically a few days melted away into an entire year slowly flying by. I felt like I was on some kind of special journey. 

Just keeeping quiet and keeping my eyes open to seeing the wildlife was huge. Unfortunately my photography did not capture much of that. But, I had a huge bobcat land right in front of me after leaping from a tree above. There were coyotees that made a daily visit to my trailer and beyond, when the bobcat was no longer around. The birds and their singing was intensely beautiful, beyond description. The local bats that housed them selves in the purposeful architecture of the Parker Bridge would come out like clockwork as sun set and fly south in single file down the river while the Falcons would swoop down on them for their nightly dinner. There was a beaver couple who swam up and down the river, I’m assuming, back and forth between their homes, at certain times of day. There were sightings of a six foot rattle snake six inches around, and tarantulas in the back row. I feel fortunate to not have seen those. And of course jack rabbits and road runners were everywhere when the predators were not out and about looking for prey. The big horned owl would come and stare into the trailer at poor little Dudley, which was a little unnerving. And all sorts of fish would escape the occasional dancing fly fish lines that one or two weekenders brought up when the park opened up for public use. All of this wild life was like going to the movies, since of course the theaters were closed and we couldn’t. It was fascinating to capture in photos when I could, or just listen to and watch in general.

But back to the idea of being alone. Many famous writers and artists talk about the difference between being alone and being lonely. The idea that we are fed great nourishment in being alone… or with ourselves, contradicts the societal norms that when we are alone we must be lonely or flawed. When we hear that message enough the danger is that we might start to believe it, when in reality it is being alone that gives us so many gifts and helps us find ourselves. Sara Maitland who writes “How To Be Alone” says we give ourselves gifts when seeking solitude including a deeper consciousness of oneself, a deeper attunement to nature, a deeper relationship with the divine or spiritual, increased creativity and an increased sense of freedom.

I definitely dove into my painting and photography in this last year, connected with wildlife and the divine, developing a deeper sense of self and I truly felt free.

Living in my trailer in 2020 I established many routines that helped me enjoy my own company and deepen my life in all of the ways mentioned.

I loved my daily prayers and meditation, just as I woke each morning, giving me a sense of grounding. Along with that I tried hard to stay off social media for the first few hours of the day, really embracing time with myself. 

It was very important that I kept moving each day. I began the pandemic walking four and five miles a day with others in the park. However, as my walking partners disappeared I was not comfortable going solo into the middle of the desert. If something were to go wrong nobody would know where I was. Thus, I walked the desert washes a little less and cricled my trailer park a little more. The days the bobcat hung out in the park I pretty much stayed inside all together.

I lost my longest, oldest friendship, not to COVID, but to cancer and realized all of our established traditions for dealing with grief and loss had been put on hold for the pandemic. I’m still not sure I completely processed that and think my solo time will be a place to continue to process all of the loss during this last year.

Of course, solo time allowed for me to work on a new vision board, a work that is still in process. I realized everything I put on the last one has come true. There is a real power in the words we put out into the universe. So again, I am working on goals and a vision for the upcoming year. 

Driving through the desert was so breathtaking, grounding and connected. It prooved impossible for me to capture that in a photo, but I’ve thrown in a few of my attempts. There is nothing better than hitting the desert for a three hour drive with nobody else around.

In reading “Daily Rituals of Women At Work” many writers and artists grew themselves the most during that quiet, introspective time they spent with themselves. As an extrovert/introvert I find that both challenging at times as well as affirming. As much pain and sorrow as this pandemic has brought many, like most difficult times it has also brought us the gift of solitude and trailer life has made that even more possible and fun. For that I am forever thankful.

Interesting Folks I Meet On The Journey

Today a new solo traveler came through the park with nothing more than a backpack, a tent on her back, and an incredible spirit. She’s been on the road for just a few weeks starting somewhere near San Fransisco and headed back to New York making a powerful statement about her passion to connect with people along the way and raise money to improve the environment. Twenty something Hannah from New York immediately reminded me of Cheryl Strayed’s Pacific Rim Trail hike. She is a strong, intelligent, woman, finding purpose in a journey after a loss. She is one of the many who have lost their jobs during this pandemic and found a way to live a purpose driven life in 2020. She blogs about her adventure letting us get a peak into sites she sees along the way. Friends have joined her for parts of the hike, and other parts she will go it alone. She loves seeing women accomplish cool things on their own. And she is humble as heck. Sure she is trying to raise money, however she said she sees herself making a difference simply by connecting with all of the people she meets along the way. Having a smaller footprint on the earth is also important to her. As she travels she will determine what’s next and where.

Sharing stories of my art journey with Hanah.

She definitely has the skill to make one feel special as she showed a sincere interest in my journey as an artist. I think if I had just hiked three hundred miles I might be curled up in a ball in my tent feeling sorry for myself that I had not had a building to retreat inside of, and a bathtub to soak in for the last few weeks. Instead she drinks in the Colorado River views from her little tent popped up on the shore and blogs about the sites she is seeing.

Of course starting in California she covers the effects our fires have had on our state. If you remember back to my post “Tornado Hopscotch” you got a peek into a new phenonmena many of us fulltime travelers are experiencing. As we criss cross the country we are seeing the extremes of our climate in the various regions. Knowing I always see more in my “neighborhood” when walking, it will be interesting to follow her journey and see our country through her eyes. What a great cause, raising money to support saving our enironment. Hannah is truly committed. I hope you will follow her and donate to her cause.

Sharing a little of my “gallery” with my new solo traveler friend.

I have to be honest, it’s fun to meet strangers who also get excited about what I’m doing. Hannah graciously wanted to purchase a piece from me supporting my art. I pictured her lugging that across the country, laughed and suggested instead that I ship something out once she was closer to home.

I love that my travels have introduced me to so many new and interesting people. Meeting others who live outside of the box, care about having a smaller footprint on our planet and value people over things, reminds me that its ok to go off the beaten path and live a life that matches one’s values. (By the way Jeff and Coffee, if you are reading this, you just might get to meet Hanah in Las Cruces.) Meeting people like Hannah and seeing how courageous she is adds to my own ability to tap into my own inner strength and continue on my journey. My plan is to keep introducing you to people I meet along the way, making “Interesting Folks” a regular feature of my blog as I journey on.

Thanks again for your follows! It means a lot to me.

Reflecting on Interiors – Not A Magazine Photoshoot

“Once in a Lifetime” Talking Heads….

“And you may find yourself
Living in a shotgun shack”

“And you may find yourself
In another part of the world”

“And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile”

“And you may find yourself in a beautiful house
With a beautiful wife” (or husband, or partner, or self and dog in my case. )

And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?

I get so many private messages from folks asking me to display the insides of my Airstream. “What does it look like?” they ask. I’m guessing they really want to see it as a clue into what is this life choice like. What is it like to “live the dream?” As anyone who has ever sold a house knows, photography of the house sells a fantasy of a better life, greener grasses. One can look at the professional photos taken and say “This is not my beautiful house! In downsizing I went in search of a more beautiful house and life. I think the gift of this pandemic is it slowed me down and helped me appreciate I had found it, instead of listening to my inner citic who liked to point out that it did not always look like the magazine photoshoot you see all over instagram, perfect and dreamy. I learned to stop comparing myself to every other Airstreamer. We all do it differently, and things like a pandemic can alter how you do things too. I am getting better at accepting what is. When one lives in an Airstream, it will look lived in. Whatever package that picture comes in actually is dreamy and picturesque. Where we all are in life, is exactly where we are supposed to be.

In my Airstream interiors, you’ll find a bunch of colorful over stuffed baskets filled with sstationary and cards for inspiration, paints, brushes and canvases, as well as my camera and lighting equiptment, tons of industry magazines and book collections from my various book clubs. I climb off the end of my bed rather than walk on the sides so that I can keep my keyboard and get lost in the joys of creating music, something I do with headphones on in total privacy thus avoiding the snow bird jam sessions in the parks until I feel more confident with my skills. The other side of the bed has baskets of all of my favorite shoes… which are the one thing I have difficulty downsizing. Since I was young, I have always loved shoes. If I’m lucky you’ll come for a visit when I have actually made my bed and not just a heaped up pile of my favorite Peruvian blanket, down comforter and pile of pillows with a pile of some of my weeks choices for outfits folded neatly on the end of the bed unless toppled to the floor by the dog. Yes, I tend to leave out a few outfit choices so I don’t have to dig through the small closets as much. And I’d say 1/3 of the time their is a pile of dirty dishes, 1/3 a pile of drying clean dishes and the 1/3 I’ll share with you is when the counter is perfectly cleaned off and staged to look amazing. Yes it is a bit messy which mirrors life. Life is a bit messy, whether you stay in a sticks in bricks home or roll down the road to the next stop. I love that you follow me, but seeing the actual visuals of some parts of my Airstream interiors will depend on just how cluttered it is in the moment. Something, only my dog and I get to see.

Living full time in my trailer has taught me lessons that spill over into all areas of my life. Learning to accept my current life just as it and not expect things to be perfect, has made me a much happier person. I have learned self acceptance in all arenas, including accepting right where I’m at in my process of being an artist. Most artists know, we are our worst critics. I love some of my works. I can’t wait to paint over some pieces. I sometimes think I am finding my style. Other times I choose to break out of it and therefore think I’m still discovering it. I ebb and flow from being a good business person to watching other flourish and thinking I’m not so good at it. But then I get up the next day, maybe get a delivery of fresh paints in the mail, take a breath and start all over. It has all helped me slowly build myself as an artist and build my business too. Soon I will make the jump and open websites where folks can support me and go home with some of my creations with the click of a button.

When we see these magazine photoshoots of all of our favorite Airstream travelers we get to dream through them. What we really want is to see the interiors of another life, different choices, grass on the other side. It’s funny, even living fulltime in an Airstream I still love looking at my sister solo travelers magazine views of their lives. And yes, I still appreciate the beauty of the stand still homes you all live in. It keeps the possibilities open, the choices endless and the dreams alive. There are no right or wrong choices, only choices. I realized I am not alone in living a life that is not as photo ready as one would think with a quick look.

We all go through imperfect love lives and relationship failures or lessons. We all learn how to navigate loneliness when traveling solo, worry about our personal health or the health of loved ones and its possible impact on our ability to travel, or hustle to make ends meet . We all work on our confidence in our skills at doing what is needed to live like this. As a solo sister traveling I learned that guys are not born with an inherent ability to deal with tools and engines, but rather have to learn, just like I am.

Like the sticks and bricks folks there is a huge range of how much income we live on from those of us who have kept our large land locked homes, art studios, rental properties, along with their multiple Airstreams, or those of us who own memberships in Airstream parks and their equivalents, to those of us who have gotten quite savy at making a small income stretch by downsizing our need for physical possessions as well as exploring a variety of parking options like National Forests, private land, Hip Camp as well as parking on BLM lands and other options, thus living very frugally.

There are those of us who have a magazine life of grand adventure, daring and courageously going where some of us only dream of going, but also those of us who in reality maybe move about within a state, or crop things out of our amazing photos that tells on us that we actually don’t head too far out into the crazy wilderness. And there are those of us who truly are incredibly brave adventurers, but we still have to deal with the ups and downs of life in other arenas, just like everyone else. I realized for myself I don’t need to traverse the steep mountain slopes, even if I have sown myself I can. It’s the bravery of those who do that inspires me. It inspires me to be brave in other ways like putting my art out and asking people to spend money on it.

As Streamers and Fulltimers we have gotten the art of finding employment from the road, either out of necessity, out of the desire for some extra cash, or out of a wish to continue to share the gifts we have with others. For some of us it is simply just because its fun to bring in a few extra bucks to splurge on that latest industry gadget. And sometimes its just fun, like me learning how to make a little cash being a bartender, or devote myself to full time volunteer in campaign organizing in an area with high need during the elections. We might do a littel work here or there, but its not work in the form of the standard American way, where we give our souls to our jobs, define ourselves by which rung of the ladder we are on, and abandon our families, friends and most importantly ourselves to make everyone else happy. The work we do now, if any is work that we take away something and its typically humble and small and not a significant percentage of the time we spend on the road.

As you can see there is an overlap between the visual interiors of our rigs and the interior souls of this lifestyle. For each individual, it is just that individual. The best way is to know what your interiors would be like is to jump in and see for yourself as you travel down the road. There is no right or wrong way to do it. You can always go back to sticks and bricks, get another job, change your mind or whatever. It all is what it is. It all is a part of the interiors of Airstream Life, RV Life, Nomad Life, or just life in general.

I hope you enjoyed another tiny peak into my interiors. I thank you if you are still following me, especially after long break (dealing with pandemic and 2020 in general). Well… I’m back! We only have one more month until 2021. Let’s enjoy it like it’s all we’ve got, while being safe of course. Thanks for sticking with me!

Revolution, Home, Love and Connection?

I have always loved Minneapolis, my past home of twenty five years. Suddenly, I found myself approaching a journey that would teach me home, for me, is defined by having connection with people who deeply care about a common cause. Having community to be actively involved in is not only important but transcends geography. As I watched a revolution sprouting in Minneapolis and spreading like wildfire around the world, I knew I was being called to committing to long term action. So it was inevitavble my current and past homes would intersect. Having gone on my tiny home journey I’ve learned the things that make a place home for me are having my dog with me, having outlets for creativity nearby, such as painting, writing, music, photography, and being able to have meaningful connection with people who care about me. With the pandemic I have learned to get creative via zoom, messenger, and facetime to accomplish this. It’s important to have a tiny space I can rerrange and call my own, like my patio garden at my river spot.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a huge shout out to Unicorn Riot, an independent news media source that I had not heard of before, and have grown to highly respect for renewing my faith in quality news reporting. They were the only news media reporting on and showing the third precinct in my old neighborhood being lit up on fire and sparking hope in a new kind of world. Their bold raw coverage of history in the making at a time where major news outlets could not find entry was powerful. I knew it was no accident I stumbled upon this. I was being drawn to get involved in the beginnings of a movement. Having lived in Minneapolis for over twenty five years I knew first hand that this precinct lived up to its reputation as being a precinct where cops who are known for doing the unspeakable get transfered to. This was a precinct that I myself have so many stories, none being positive. The news on my screen was personal.

I have to be honest, when it comes to the idea of traveling across country to a location to be boots on the ground fighting the good fight, I had had a romantic notion that when I lived in a trailer and was free of job, it would be easy to travel to areas of the country, and help in organizing efforts or political campaigns. I imagined setting up my trailer and being able to really help, kind of like Mother Jones… my home would be where my boots were. Yah that’s part of the problem…. with everything, I tend to look at and embrace the romantic view of life. Maybe it’s the creative in me. You see, for Mother Jones, home really was where her boots were. There was no travel trailer involved. I realized my lifestyle did allow me the freedom to go get involved, but bringing the trailer with would be unrealistic. For one, it takes time and money to get across country, and with the violence breaking out it was just not safe to drive, none the less drive with a trailer. So instead I chose to downsize yet, one more time, hop a plane with a few items in a back pack, of course some art supplies ordered to meet me at my destination, and my snuggle pup Dudley in my arms.

When it comes to race and my trailer life, no different than life anywhere else for most of my black, brown and indigenous brothers and sisters, there are places I have traveled where I have felt quite unwelcome, invisible, and alone to say the least. People ask if I ever get lonesome traveling by myself. The answer is yes, both the fact that I am alone and I don’t see a lot of other solo Black women traveling takes a toll on my spirit. Thank goodness, my internet groups for Black folks living the RV life are one place I can see myself. The fact that I’m a Black female, viewed as everything from unwelcomed while Black to not Black enough, also creates issues where I travel and drains me of some life years. Because trailer life allows me the freedom to up and travel and be around whoever I want to be around makes up for that invisibleness I often experience, and possibly also fuled my desire to risk the COVID virus and go help out with a 400 year old virus called institutional racism. Plus I knew I’d have the added comfort of reconnecting with friendly folks who love me as I am.

When I arrived in Minneapolis I crash landed in the hospitality of a friends’ basement, which truly was a God Shot. Renee and Jim and their little boy Andrew have become family, supporting my efforts around the cities. There home with it’s beautiful wild prarie back yard was a great source of meditation, rest and rebuilding after each days protests and marches. It didn’t take long to figure out multiple ways I might get out on the frontlines and help.

I don’t even know how to explain what it felt like to deal with the fear of a real threat that racist hateful folks who lived near my parking location would trash my trailer and belongings if they witnessed where I had traveled to and what I was involving myself in. To be honest, I thought of my little silver home often and wished I could have brought her with me . But that was just not possible this time. Luckily, things have been uneventful back home. Wherever I travel Renee and her family have an open invite to come travel and explore with me. As some folks know, there is room in the trailer for guests. Because of them, I was able to dive fully into action around the Twin Cities in deep, meaningful, ways that were all a part of the long game, not just some fleeting instagram moment. For that I am forever grateful.

On the news it all looks like the events in Minneapolis all happened in one location. When you get here and drive about, you see the entire length of Lake Street, or Broadway Avenue, or one of the St. Paul Streets competely boarded up. The scenes, looking like a war zone, were from all over both cities, some as close as the end of the block by my old house. It was clear that our issues are inescapable. Nobody will be able to go unscathed by the events. We are all called to step up and be a part of the change in our institutions. There is no way folks can stay silent, play Minnesota nice or any other type of nice, and not be a part of the solution. We are all called to be a part of the solution, take long term action, and choose the right side of history.

Like a fire in the desert, incredible beauty springs up from ashes which gives me hope that some true beauty is being born in 2020, some real change might just happen. I look forward to being a part of building that something new together. I commit to the long haul of honoring the voices of my sisters and brothers who lost loved ones to the hands of police violence. Together we will make sure the embers of what has been started will not die until real change happens. Of course my familiar world in the fields of education, union work and community organizing burn inside of me calling me to action. However, like every instituton Arts Organizations and Artists are not exempt from taking a look at themselves and checking their institutionalized racism. I see myself continuing the work there to help more Black artists, including myself go from invisible to visible and thriving.

Although I am “back home” I also I look forward to when I can get back to my trailer and establish my next home on the road where I will continue the work. For now, I feel hope in the conversations I hear around me. The fact that folks are talking about everyone’s role in the dismantling of racism is a hopeful start.. Marching in protest with mothers who were Black, Indigineous, and People of Color and having the White women and men stand aside and cheer us from the sidelines letting us lead in finding our answers and creating something new was an empowering experience. Watching friends who didn’t get it, go educate themselves felt affirming. Seeing my old students as young adults in the movement gave me joy. Being at the actual site where it all started and witnessing a community of grief was unexplainable, something no tv news will ever capture.

It has also been an honor to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. Helping out the McKinley Center, on the North side, as they became a location for supplies and resources for many community members who have lost jobs and struggle with the effects COVID has had on them financially, and seeing all of the good they do first hand really touched my heart. I have met more beautiful people and had the honor of helping out as well as helping others help out through donations as this center grows into being bigger and better each day.

Markella Smith, who on top of being a community activist also happens to be a sister artist and Shemeka Bogan a friend from way back who works on the local poitical scene and does a lot of community organizer, have worked hard connecting to the local and larger community making this location a successful resource for so many in the community. If you’d like to help support the efforts here in Minneapolis McKinley’s Northside Strong is one worthy organization that will be fighting the good fight long after the cameras are gone. To donate go to:

I may just stay for a month. I may stay longer. I don’t know. But I do know I am honored to have support of all of you to be here and get active in the long game of making change.

As for home and downsizing… well… it has taught me I have gotten as small as I ever want to. I can do just fine on next to nothing. To feel like I’m home, I do need creativity and beauty and purpose around me. I can’t imagine being without my dog. And I absolutely need to have those who love me and I love nearby. As for romantic love and Airstream life in a pandemic and a revolution, well…. I’m not sure if that will weather the storms. But I have no regrets. Every experience in life is our story, makes us better if we let it and gives us the gift of life intersections with others who have amazing stories too. Its these life intersections that forever change us and add beauty and love to our own stories. I thank all of you have been in my life somewhere along the journey for that. After all, what is the point, if not to love life in community! And what is the point of having a revolution to make the world a better place if one isn’t going to enjoy the results with the ones you love.

Thanks again for following, commenting, sharing my blog! And supporting me as a writer an activist and artist. Love you guys!