Farewell

 

 

Never to be seen again, she smiled and brushed her hair

A beauty that was all but lost, a soul without a care,

The rivers raged and tossed their caps,

A tribute to the maiden fair,

For a moment, the whole world stops,

Farewell, to their maiden fair.

 

He holds his head in silence still,

The loss has all but killed his will,

As rivers flow with innocence,

Forgotten is that beauty stilled,

The world shall all pay penance,

For the beauty, it has killed.

 

The softest sounds you never hear,

Holding to your heart so near,

A beauty that was all but lost,

A visage gazed upon so clear,

We all shall pay a deadly cost,

For our ignorance has brought us here.

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No more Stepford

Along with our nomadic dreams, I would like to talk about the things I have accumulated in my mind that put this path directly in front of us.  It is not likely that someone wakes up one morning and just makes this decision without a motivator.  There has to be some sort of driving force that pushes us toward a goal.  So, what exactly is our goal and what got us to this point of departure?

For us, a big part of what we are trying to accomplish is, finding a town where our values align with the values of those around us.  I am a big picture thinker, my life is not the only one happening right now.  However, I am the only one who can impact my life on any great level.  I would prefer to be around people who would foster what my idea for my life encompasses.  I would prefer to be in a community who can see their surroundings in the same light.

Living in Naples is like something out of a movie.  The town strives for perfectly manicured everything.  Giant shiny vehicles and boats that match their giant shiny houses and expensive jewelry.  Yuck!  There is much more of a dog eat dog mentality here.  I’m starting to feel like I’m in a Tyson fight, where ripping apart another man’s ear is the only way out.

Now that’s not to say it’s necessarily a bad thing.  Naples brings a lot of money to the state of Florida.  With a population of about 20,600, a majority of which are retirees, there’s a good amount of money being tossed around.  Like Kanye before he married Kim.  For a bartender like me, it can be rather lucrative, as long as I’m willing to sell my soul and accept that I am a servant to their wills.  I am not Michele, I am bar wench with big hair and big boobs.  Not in this life, not anymore anyways.

When I was a bartender in Upper Michigan, the only time I was treated that way was when the guest came out of Illinois or maybe Wisconsin.  Even that was few and far between.  They’d show up for a week in the winter, bundled up like Christmas Story extras, drinking like Charlie Sheen and hoping to score an off-color story for back home.  It was my pleasure to assist in all but the last.  No happy endings at my bar, Pal!

Now, here I am in Naples, holed up like Emily Dickinson for the better part of year 33.  We made the choice to step away from the bar as patrons and, for me, as an employee.  If you have ever held a service industry job, you may know about the subculture that is rarely discussed.  You work a lot of hours, a lot!  You miss holidays and birthdays, concerts and fairs, you can’t get out of bed before noon.  When you aren’t working, there is a really good chance you are at a bar and everyone knows your name.  It may be between errands, but you will still find yourself sitting between regulars and bitching about the errands that are about to pull you out of your barstool.

You will pride yourself on the amount of alcohol you can consume and if you are a lightweight, you are working on your tolerance.  While I was submerged, this all made sense to me.  Now, I’m as confused as you are.  I’m not sure why this was ideal to me.  Other than the reality that I didn’t want to confront my inner conflicts.  

The other part of stepping away from the bar scene, the one you never see coming but maybe should have, is that your drinking friends lose interest in your life.  Like how we all lost interest in Brittany Spears once she stopped losing her shit in public and left her hair alone.  The subject matter becomes much less dramatic and therefore no longer interesting.  Nobody cares that you rearranged your living room and now have a more Feng Shui feel, they just want to hear if your buddy showed up and puked on the plant that pulled it all together.

On the rare occasion we stop at a local watering hole, there is usually someone around who probes one of us for a dramatic news feed.  Sitting on a question until one of us walks away, hoping the answer they receive will satiate the gossip hunger desperately clawing at their bellies.  That it will spread like wildfire through the oil pipeline that is their throats.  Again, no happy endings for you here folks!  Move it along!

The reality is, this strange addiction to drama isn’t their fault.  Look at the plethora of reality shows that are shoved down those throats.  While there are a few I can stand behind, Naked and Afraid is pretty cool while still feeding into the dramatic, I’m really not a fan.  How could one not be a bit dramatic while being naked with a stranger in the wilderness?  Any cooking show that doesn’t involve small children, the ‘cut throat’ type of cooking or cakes you can’t really eat is usually good for cooking tips.  And, well, I guess that is about it.

What does watching a stupidly wealthy person spending a stupid amount of money on a ridiculously over done pool contribute to one’s life?  How does watching grown women with too much money judge each others clothing enrich our outlook?  It doesn’t.  They don’t.  This is called dumbing down, my friends.  These shows groom people into thinking expensive living is the status quo and that the types of problems we should be discussing are how hard it is to find a name brand hand bag to match the color of our $10,000 dogs eyes.  People will find a way to make the money to spend on the name brand because it’s what Snooky wore that one time at the bar.  This makes me ache in my soul.  This is not why we are here.

We should be discussing the rate at which our planet is changing because of what we have done to it and the wildlife that dies daily because of it.  We should be focusing on homelessness and the welfare of ourselves and our neighbors.  We should want our friends and loved ones to come to us with their problems and offer our help and hearts graciously.  We should stop being offended by mothers who breast feed in public and start looking at what the closed doors of the elitists are hiding.

To bring my rant to an end, I could keep this going for a long time, I would like to thank my fellow bloggers and friends who have liked and shared and showed support as I get my feet under me.  This was a very random and unexpected decision, typical for me, and it was very unnerving to get started.  I find I am truly enjoying the experience thus far!  

Cheers!

 

 

Something Unseen

 

I have a longing for something undefined.  For something unseen.  Trees and rocks and rivers that beg the question “When?”.  When was the last time someone dipped their toes in this lazy river?  When was the last time someone climbed this rock to that peak?  Or pondered the direction of their life under this tree?

For now, they all have their cameras out around me.  Climbing those rocks with the 100 or so others.  Standing on the peak together.  Click.  Click.  Click.  Cameras take over reality.  Ripping branches off the tree to take as a trinket of reminder.  Changing the river forever by removing all its stones.  Their life having no more meaning than a duckfaceselfielookatmefest.

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What the hell is a Vanagon?

 

We  search.  And search.  And then we do it some more.  Through a myriad of posts, websites and YouTube videos we wade, hoping for our ‘aha’ moment to happen. We need our gypsy wagon to hit the perfect mark for us.  The more we search the more options come out of the woodwork. It’s not hard to picture ourselves living out of just about anything anymore. The whole situation has become rather comical. We have reverted into kids in a candy store, noses pressed against the glass, counting the quarters in our pockets.

If you remember from my first post, I mentioned something called a Vanagon.  Chances are you already know what it is, you just didn’t know that you did. We see them in commercials and movies as the stereotypical peace sign coated hippie bus. Complete with surfboards and dreadlocks and thick clouds of smoke. Like, has anyone seen Scoob?

As I began to search through copious amounts of information one thing became very clear.  I had to ignore a lot of what I was reading or I’d be at it for days.  Not only is there an incredible amount of information about the transformations VW has undergone but there are a lot of ties to less than favorable times in our history.  Every research door opened another interesting thing I wanted to explore.  I had to stop.

 

Originally, the VW Bug we all know and love was meant to be a vehicle accessible to the German masses.  Ferdinand Porsche and Adolf Hitler were the collaborators behind a campaign to provide the working class affordable vehicles.  Plans and production were impacted greatly by the war.  The more I read though, this seems to have helped with better designs.

Focusing on exactly what a Vanagon or Westfalia Camper is, because there is a lot in between, it is the evolved Type 2 Transporter.  The Transporters were used for exactly what it sounds like they would be.  Transporting food, mail, ammo and other goods during the war and many years after.

Vanagons are the perfectly self contained camper someone like me dreams of.  This incredibly durable bus turned camper has all the basic needs for nomadic freedom.  The spacious living area includes a stove, refrigerator, sink and two beds.  For my husband and I, that would mean a lot more space as we wouldn’t need to utilize the bed on the ground floor.  When parked, there is a pop up on the roof for the second bed.  My only worry with this is the actual comfort level of the thin mattress.  Sleep is my greatest hobby!

With all that being said, I don’t believe this will be our chosen method as of now.  Production stopped long enough ago that the prices are pretty high.  I have seen a lot of great options for Vanagons, but we are not spending $8,000-$25,000 on a vehicle for this adventure.  I am fairly certain that defeats the whole purpose.  Not to say, however, that I am not secretly planning to own one someday.  It’s a bucket list item.

 

Ample options exist for the type of experience we are looking for.  From converted work vans to teardrop trailers, we are only limited by our lack of imagination.  Thankfully that is not something we suffer from.  Every day we talk about another avenue to explore and find YouTube videos so we can study pros and cons.  It’s a lot of fun!  Today we talked about getting a small enclosed trailer and converting it ourselves.  As nice as it would be to simply buy something and go, we want to put the work in and feel that much more vested.

While no exact decision has been made, we know that we would be happy having a small bedroom to pull behind our Tucson.  A safe place to sleep at night that makes us comfortable and happy.  There are great ways around everything else you would have in a conventional camper.  What kinds of sacrifices would you be willing to make for nomadic freedom?  Think about all the aspects of our daily lives we take for granted.  Could you deal without having a sink/shower/toilet at your disposal?  An oven?

Thank you for stopping by and have a great week!

 

Cheers!
Michele    

 

Sources:

Wikipedia

bluehighwayvanagon.blogspot.com 

Google Images

 

Who doesn’t want a white picket fence and 2.5 children?

What makes a couple leave a materialistic existence for the open road and almost no possessions? We all get caught up in the grind, the robotic and boring system of providing our basic needs with sustenance daily. We have very simple needs that keep us alive and kicking; food, water, a safe place to sleep and well, sex(and I hope it’s really good sex, because that is key). Then there’s things like rent and cell phones and shiny pretty things that for whatever reason we would die without. People need a gambit of electronics and technology to feel a certain sense of oneness with society. I haven’t felt this since I was a little bitty thing who was jealous of everyone and their shiny possessions, I want nothing to do with it.

To make this a bit more relate-able, I’ll let you in on a bit of what gets me engaged in society. I am a serious people watcher and appreciate those who stopped worrying about other peoples opinions of them.  You’r opinion of me is none of my business.  “Look at that mullet!” has come ripping out of my mouth loudly on more than one occasion and there have been pictures. I’m not even mad about it, I’m impressed! If you can proudly sport a mullet in this day and age, you deserve all the credit for confidence, truly.

I watch the way mothers treat their children, how that child treats the little boy next to them on the playground and that child in turn. I watch the way a finely dressed and polished man treats a waiter, reflect on how I’ve been treated over the years. Each action and interaction having an impact we know nothing about.  I’m thankful for them all, without the bad it’s not as easy to appreciate the good.

I have met some of the deepest souls in the most amazingly random moments, so I know you all are out there. Moments that make me wonder what I had done so right in the last week to deserve something so wholly satisfying to my soul. Universal signals that good reaps good and alternately bad reaps bad. I’ve definitely given in to the universe and sobbed apologies into a bottle of Jack a few times. I have really been a shit randomly, and I really am sorry for all of it.

For me, this decision is an easy one. Hands down the most exciting life I could imagine, mostly because I have no desire to live on the moon, sounds exciting but I just know that overall I prefer gravity! I want a deeper existence than the one I observe most people drudging though monotonously. Life these days revolves around things and drama. When you look at large scale reality this mindset leaves no space for deep/independent/critical thinking. Trump…. Ugh…. More generally speaking, for a majority accomplishment means expensive cars and watches, high end clothing lines and name brands. It’s watching the entitled populous thrust their hands forward for their deserved cookie in front of someone dying from starvation. Why? They woke up today, duh! That cookie belongs to them. Again, something I can’t relate to. And never want to.

I want to know how it feels to wake up in the morning, shake off the fucked up dream I just had and fling open a van door to look out over lakeofmydreamsmiddleofnowhere America. Accomplishment to me means knowing that the only obligation I have that day is to myself and my husband and to any wonderful soul reading about our adventure. When you are really honest with yourself, what does accomplishment look like to you? Can you see it? Or do you feel it in you’r heart?

I woke up one morning and decided it was time to bring my life to that place of self-loving.  To love myself completely and wholly.  It’s what I’m doing now, minus the lake and the freedom, I will never look back. I’m more in love with my self, my life and my husband than I have ever been. And correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t that what we all strive for? I wake up every day filled with love and creativity and ideas, my god, the ideas! I can’t make them stop, it’s amazing and fulfilling on such a spiritual level.

What changed in the last few months? Me. My perspective of everything. What money and things and negative relationships add to a life versus independence of money and possessions and committing to doing only the things that are enriching for your soul. If you can’t smile while you’re doing a particular thing, why are you doing it? Like the moment I’m in now; I’m writing for the first time in way too long, for a purpose greater than myself. I’m sitting in the sunshine, in a chair that apparently is where the gnats are doing their gnaty things today and I don’t even care because I’m feeding my soul. Bet your ass I’m smiling!

I am embracing this entire adventure so I can tell you all what it feels like to experience bliss everyday for at-least a year. Yes, we will have bad days, but that only means we’ll be exceptionally good at making up and starting over the next day. Which is also something I look forward to! I don’t feel like we were put here to work 40 hour weeks in some job that doesn’t satisfy us deeply. I feel like we were put here to experience a depth of life that is found organically. Loved ones and friends, those random tourists that showed up and rocked your world for two nights before heading off to their next whimsical adventure, the fucking mailman if he’s really cool.  And puppies.  I want everyone who reads this to know it’s possible, anything really is.

There is so much magic around us in nature and the human spirit but corporate America loves its sheeple and sheeple are blind. Don’t be a sheeple.  At the end of the day, I can confidently tell you all that I have, in fact, lost my mind, and getting rid of that particular mind has been the healthiest thing  I have ever done.  I highly recommend you try it!  Get right with your mind.  Get right with your soul.  Lose your mind in saturating your soul.

I hope everyone has a great week and thank you for tuning in!

Cheers!

Michele

 

 

The Beginning

 

Hello, World! My name is Michele and my entire existence is about to change, dramatically. My husband and I are on the path to becoming Nomads. So, that means we have a lot to do! Where do we start? How will we eat and make the meager amounts of money we will need to pay our bills? How do we live out of a Vanagon? What the hell is a Vanagon?

I am starting this blog to help you learn these things with me. It is my greatest hope that somewhere along the way, you decide to follow a dream you never imagined you would. Remember, there is nothing more taxing to our souls than regret. These things can be scary, but it helps to have someone to relate to. To see that someone else is struggling to achieve the impossible. Because if we can do it, then dammit, you can too!

My husband and I are both from the upper mid-west; he Minnesota and me Michigan. We met in sunny Naples, Florida a little over two years ago and have loved each other passionately since. If you know anything about passion, you know it can lead to amazing fights and amazing make-ups! This my friends, is going to be interesting!

There has always been a certain pull to movement for us. We both traveled seasonally for work for a handful of years. There is nothing we enjoy more than driving aimlessly as long as we are in the country. I love gazing out into the vast expanse of the Everglades, picturing the places we will never go and animals we will never see. Ever heard of the Skunk Ape? Look it up! Good shit!

I have been a writer, bartender and server for the past 18 years. I remember people mocking me when I started, the whole dead end gonna do it forever crap. Well, I made amazing money bar-tending and had awesome opportunities and experiences! I have no shame in it. But something has changed.

I have changed. I don’t have the appreciation for the whole cog and wheel operation of the restaurant that I used to. That shit used to get me out of bed in the morning. I don’t want to watch people drown in their sorrows and cry, or worse, at my bar any more. I know that there is a better life. A simpler one.

Ok, so what does all of this have to do with anything? Our backgrounds and current living situation have set us up with something pretty amazing. An undeniable case of wanderlust and a gut-wrenching disgust of the plastic and frenzied society we find ourselves drowning in these days. You may feel the latter is not a very amazing circumstance, however, where do you look for your motivation?

I challenge you to take a reflective moment and find the connections in your past and present.  I think you will be surprised when you start to see how obstacles that seemed completely unrelated come together and give you strength you never knew you had.  For example, if either my husband or myself had grown up wealthy this wouldn’t seem feasible.  If he and I hadn’t traveled so much, we would be intimidated by the prospect of taking on our beautiful country in a large van.  We did this all separately growing up, now together it’s like the hands of destiny were always pushing us to this moment.  How has you’r life set you up to achieve something you wouldn’t have imagined five years ago?

A promise has been made and will be kept. We are going to do this, all of us, together! So as I research and plot and explore the world of the modern day Nomad I will share it all with you. We will laugh together. And probably cry together. And most importantly, we’re going to make our lives and the lives around us better! We owe that to ourselves and to the loved ones that share in our journeys.

If you are reading this, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Starting any new venture can be very daunting and I appreciate your support. Not to mention, as a writer, I’ll be damned if I’m not a bit nervous!

So, here’s to it, my friends! I look forward to the journey!

Cheers,

Michele