So here I am at the end of January, 2018. The past few months, I have been mostly silent on this blog. It has been a time of introspection. Mostly due to the 10th anniversary of my nomad lifestyle of living in a tiny home on wheels and traveling hither and yon around the country.
Through it all I have enjoyed intermittent bouts of retirement and long periods of fascination with various work camping jobs. Over my 10 year adventure I have worked at well over 30 jobs. Some of those have been places I have eagerly returned to several times.
My plans for 2017 did not coincide with what actually happened in 2017. Yet I enjoyed everything that did happen and am grateful to that higher power that guides and protects and strengthens me and brings me great joy.
In 2017 I traveled to and worked at six different jobs; two of those were volunteer positions at federal and state parks where I traded work for my campsite. All the jobs involved working intensely and delightfully with the public in the Tourism and Hospitality industry.
I spent January in the cold reaches of Arctic Ohio with family and despite the love and warmth of hearth and home, I longed for my nomad life and warmer climes.
February and March, I returned to Palo Duro Canyon in Texas, volunteering as the Sagebrush campground host and befriending two roadrunners who watched and followed me on my daily campground duties.
In April I traveled north through Kansas and Nebraska to a workamper job at Wall Drug in South Dakota, a vast conglomerate of folksy down home stores in the true middle of Nowhere. Can you even imagine driving 60 miles just to get groceries and do laundry? Rapid City was the closest act of civilization.
The best compensation for my foray into this seemingly endless wilderness was the glorious Black Hills, Custer State Park with its fantastic Buffalo Herd,Iron Mountain Road (an amazing feat of engineering), Crazy Horse Monument, Mount Rushmore and the Badlands (where bubonic plague thrives among the gopher colonies there).
May found me in New Mexico selling handmade Native American jewelry, fireworks, and Mexican imports at a trading post/travel center. I learned that I simply love working with customers and sales. But after a month I needed to return to Ohio, to family and the return of my prodigal granddaughter ( this move from NM was fortuitous, as I will explain a bit later)
A June/July volunteer position at Shenango Lake in western Pennsylvania gave me the opportunity to travel between states (a 2 hour drive one way) to spend time with family. It was here that I got to experience again the extreme summer humidity which would often leave me dizzy and drained of energy.
I happily returned to New Mexico for another go at a different sales store. It was at the Bluewater Trading Post that I learned of a huge 2 hour hailstorm of baseball sized hail that occurred shortly after I had left for Ohio. Fellow workers in a Class A had extensive damage to their RV. I am ever thankful that I avoided having to experience that.
My stay lasted long enough for me to kayak Blue Water Lake and enjoy paddling alongside a family of wild horses but the desolation of the outpost setting of the job was not to my liking.
A fortuitous email came from my old boss in California once again offering me my old job at Westport Beach. I knew the people, I knew the job; it was sanctuary, retreat, respite and hard work all rolled into one.
On my way here I travelled for a month through Arizona and Nevada enjoying the wild lands and generous, kind people along my way.
Westport Beach has been home base since October. This time around I am seeing and experiencing a time of deep satisfaction, exploring the same beach every day, finding new things to revel in.
This time I am all about enjoying all the precious “now” moments.
This time I am allowing myself the gift of exploring my creativity and learning to be still……if just for a little while.
Peace to all ~ annie