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“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!

She Kept Her Swimsuits

I write this post in honor of of one of my aunties. A caveat for my cousins reading this, I may not have all of the facts correct. My memory and my impressions of my auntie and how she lived her life may not have been based in fact at all. I saw her as someone who lived large and unapologetically and she inspired a lot of my downsizing. She got to a certain age and decided to take off for the states. In my memory of all of her belongings the only thing she kept were her swimsuits because even in her later years she made it a point to swim every day. She ended up finding a tiny furnished apartment on the Gulf of Mexico. She spent many of her last years enjoying time with family, swimming in the Gulf and being happy at the beach, until she returned to Canada for the last part of her life.

Auntie Lenore

Of course, as I shared earlier, my parents were also a significant influence on my life choices today. They showed me I could live in a tiny place in the first place. All of those years of visiting Canada and spending summers in our 100 square foot cabin that I shared with you earlier in this blog. The cousins would come for a visit and somehow magically we would fit everyone in and have a blast. I never thought of us as having a small place. We never owned our humble home in Chicago. It was a parsonage, something that has seem to gone by the wayside and made room for preacher’s mansions and BMW’s. For our family, we couldn’t have been happier growing up in a simpler way.

Nine Of My “Aha” Moments From Downsizing:

  1. Downsizing is a lifelong practice. This was my biggest surprise. I’m still downsizing! I thought that would be a decision, an action and then I’d be done. Nope. Downsizing, I’m learning, is a lifelong practice. So this Pandemic has been perfect as it has made me thouroughly comb through the entire contents of what I have been hauling around with me in my Airstream. I have had nothing but time to reflect on each thing and determine if it really brought me joy? Improving on one practice has me improve on all practices in my life. I am making healthier eating choices. I am hiking four miles every morning. I meditate more and have a stronger relationship with my creator. I am more careful who I let into my life and the quality of my relationships has drastically improved.
  2. It is ok to keep things I still use and slowly use them up. This includes things that I have more than one of like pens, shampoo and makeup products. I’m letting go of clothing that just doesn’t make me smile. And I’m accepting the fact that in the kitchen, I really only use a couple of cookware items for everything I make.
  3. It’s ok to acknowledge my fears but then it’s important to let them go and see what happens. I was hanging on to a bunch of “what ifs?” Somewhere in the back of my mind, having come from a well paying job, a big house and a lot of stuff, I kept the thought, what if I want to go back? What if this is not enough? How could I make some side money if I needed too? I held on to my cosmetics business. I had a full inventory stuffed in the storage compartments in the bedroom. I hung on to some of my favorite teaching items in case I went back to the classroom as a sub, or started my own tutoring business. I had fun with the bartending job and started to hang on to thinking I needed that. But all of these things were actually keeping me from focusing on my version of my auntie’s swimsuits, so, I let go. I feel a lighter each day.
  4. I realized creative outlets were a must. Painting and photography supplies as well as my keyboard were my top things to keep. Nothing else mattered. I can have fun with all of that. People have shown me that I can make a difference with these items both by celebrating the beauty of the world around us, and by challenging thinking on the events of the day. I love making money with my art and realized when I started valuing it myself, I have gotten out of my own way so others can value it too. I am an Artist. Also, even with the Pandemic I have knocked out debt and accumulated savings allowing me to keep pursuing what gives me joy. I’m thrilled to be really in it and excited to see what comes of it all.
  5. I have learned to live with less. Originally I got rid of I would guess 80% of my belongings…. and I don’t miss a single thing. Along the way, as life has changed so has what I keep and what. I continue to downsize. For example I am currently working on photo albums, sending them all to virtual land. I no longer need to lug those around as nobody looks at or shares ones photos that way anymore. Possibly my album that I treasure the most I’ll hang onto a little longer.
  6. It’s ok to bring back things I miss. In my case it was plants and beautiful pots. I know I love them but they don’t travel across borders well, so I have determined I will have them where I base camp, and if I can’t keep them alive, I will gift them and start new each time. Funny thing is I’m right now plant sitting for two different sets of fulltimers who summer up north. I have also gone back to paper books… I love them too much. Both of these give me the perfect gifts to share, and keep me focused on having community in my life.
  7. Beware of “To Do” lists, they are no different than things. Even in traveling it is easy to replace things with things I need to do. I quickly got swamped in making my annual plans, figuring out how to budget as a fulltimer, and technical care of my rigs. So being grounded right now due to the virus has taken all of that away. As soon as I got past the anxiety of all of that time in isolation I realized I was getting another gift, more time to focus on what was really important and question was I headed in the right direction.
  8. My job and other things (including my fancy trailer) are not my identity. I think everyone during this pandemic is learning to appreciate the unappreciated workers who we could not live without, and to care for them as fellow humans. I think on top of that having taken up a few side gigs just to see if I could, a kind of mental financial security that many fulltimers go through, gave me the opportunity to go back to my roots in experiencing work for work sake and how much of a difference we can make in people’s lives just by how we interact with them, no matter what the job title is. All of our jobs are just that, a job. Even in a career where one is passionate about what they are doing, this is such a freeing thing to acknowledge. Traveling in an Airstream, reminded me how quickly we can slip back into labels and titles identifying us.
  9. I downsized my use of time. In my new place of quarrentine, I quickly blew through the internet data available and realized how much time I spend online. Sure I could have bought more usage but I paused to think about it. I took an inventory of how I actually spend my time, and more importantly why. I learned that so much time can be spent doing things to simply not feel what one is in the middle of. Allowing myself to feel the anxiety of an unkown future, the sadness of the deaths of friends from Covid and the loneliness of not being with loved ones, allows me to move past that and get to the here and now.

What if this is the new normal? What if I do have to spend all of my time with myself? I guess its pretty important to maximize loving the time I spend with myself and minimize how much I’m simply checking out or numbing from reality around me. I guess it’s important to feel my feelings and then move on towards joy. And it’s also important to continue being real about what I value in my life. After all, shouldn’t we all be our own best company?

Oh and I, like my aunty, believe keeping a nice collection of swimsuits is pretty valuable too, even if for now I can only use them in my doggie pool. Thanks for following!