Well December came and my niece and nephew were expecting another baby. A girl this time! She was due the early part of December. So, decided to hunker down for 3 months and help with the new addition.
Spending 3 months in Nevada, hunkered down. I did sneak down to AZ for a gathering of women nomads. Such fun, socially distanced, mask wearing.
The ability to test the hot logic warmer to make delicious quesadillas and lentil stew. The fridge, the batteries. To meet such wonderful women, all nomads from various places.
My time in Nevada included cooking and cleaning and playing with the kids. Niece liked theses amazing nursing support cookies, so I made a batch a week – delish. During this time, they moved into a fifth wheel, so I helped them move. Having just finished selling my house and closing my office due to covid-19 back in February, I had a lot of compassion for the transition. Amazingly the kids took it all in stride.
After completing this 3 month stint, I headed to Salt Lake City to take another CranioSacral Class. Having taken the classes there for 3 years, I knew quite a few folks. It was a nice reunion. Now all the prepaid classes have been taken. A massage therapist by trade, continuing my education is super important to me.
I spent some reflecting time in Phoenix, AZ, someone showed me the Steele Indian School Park. There are a couple of ponds and areas that have the lovely sounds of running water. So soothing in this time of uncertainty.
Walking around this nature spot helped me to clear my head. So many decisions to make. Uncertainty around every corner. One thing was for sure – Still have too much stuff, so I was whittling away at 17 years worth of stuff, some older, some newer. Steele Indian School Park was close enough to take a break each day. To roam, to reflect and to sit and ponder.
As I would walk around … right foot let, left foot go, right foot let, left foot God. A wonderful walking meditation with a Buddhist influence. Right is “active”, left is “passive” if you want to get really mystical.
After the walk my mind would settle a bit. Often I would sit and reflect over the years. We are heading to winter equinox, change of season, holidays. A good time to reflect.
As I sat and watched the reflection changed, memories would come to mind. Worries about the future also came to mind. Bring the mind back to the present. Yes I’m reflecting watching it change on the surface of the water. I watched as my life has changed. The uncertainty of the future. Feeling of my breath in and out, the breeze, the sound of the birds, people. Time to go back and process through more things. I was able to downsize 3 more boxes. Still more to do, but taking a break for now. Gave a box of decent clothes, trinkets and things to a great Thrift Store – The Dove. I really liked their mission of helping people die with dignity and helping the families process through the loss.
One of the great things about being a #nomad/#vanlife is being able to visit these beautiful places. To take the time to reflect. Enjoy the journey!
If you’re new to meditation, welcome! You’re an old hand – enjoy! You are welcome to follow the suggestions from a sitting or lying position. Explore takes us through our body, mind and breath. We then go through an exploration of the body with the mind and breath.
How Might this Apply to #vanlife?
That’s a very good question. Have you ever been on the road and not sure which direction to turn? This meditation gives you that little time out to regroup and refocus. I do not recommend doing it while driving, pull over and enjoy.
Several people that I have met along the way say they have difficulty focusing for meditation. At just under 9 minutes, this becomes a tool to help you along the way. Peace, Love and Light
Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada #vanlifediaries
Woke up early in Colorado. I knew I’d have a 10-12 hour trip – #vanlifediaries. 4am. Let’s have coffee, finish cleaning up and hit the road. On the way down through Tres Piedras, New Mexico, the sun rose. So incredibly beautiful. Enjoying the hills and views, I was hoping to see some antelope – but none. Made it down to Albuquerque and onto I40. Heated up some bread in the wonderful 12 volt hot plate.
I love New Mexico, part wild, part tame, all beauty. If you happen to travel along 285 through here, do check out Ojo Caliente. Here’s a beautiful pic of Tres Piedras sunrise, also on 285.
As I entered Arizona, ah Arizona, this place that was on my vision board – not Colorado. I forgot how beautiful the lower part of Arizona is having mostly been in northern Arizona the last several years to visit and participate. The first saguaro, tears welled up. Heading down the mountain, breath taking. On a mission to get to a friend’s house to leave some of my things. No place to sleep, packed full. The van, she needs a name, was riding well.
For about 14 years I traveled all over Arizona. What was I looking for? What was so interesting to me here? Eventually, I found friends on the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona. I still love Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff. Forgot all those years flying into Phoenix and renting a car, going as far south as Tuscon and as far north as the Grand Canyon. Nothing like a good road trip – #vanlife – Ahhhh
Leaving Arizona, heading to see family in Nevada, northwest Las Vegas. Joshua trees, how could I forget Arizona has Joshua trees?
No I don’t go gamble, I go visit. Triple digits, I don’t like using air conditioning and I didn’t. Made good time, roads weren’t that busy. Still need to go back to Colorado, will travel northern Arizona that way! This time the van will have room to sleep if I choose.
Scored a new hat. My other had fallen apart. It was at a roadside “store” outside Phoenix.
Off to visit family in Nevada, the ride past Lake Mead is so very beautiful. After getting north toward Las Vegas, a different kind of beauty. Mount Charleston is a very beautiful place, perhaps another post.
So off I go to PHX, then forward to LAS – all by car now – testing the ride in the Promaster City. On the way back stop by the Rez, lost a friend. Since Betty, a friend named her Betty because she’s white, was packed to the rafters there would be no overnight stay along the way. A good 10-hour trip, I forgot how much I love Arizona. I’ve gone from having a Civic sedan that I traveled/lived in to a Prius I couldn’t do that in, because I couldn’t straighten my legs, to a Buick SUV that I couldn’t straighten my legs out in to a
City with a Wayfarer kit already installed when I bought it.
I really don’t like the set up, difficult to get into. The kit wraps around to a very narrow entry, batteries installed on passenger side so I can’t move that without a lot of hassle. How can I arrange/rearrange to get it easier. This is the test. Table was warped already since it was not a good design. Bed has a fold out section that can’t work with the table down. Grr, fold out section makes it very difficult to get into the largest storage compartment. Ok, let’s get onto solutions.
Testing the Ride – Solutions
Table has been removed, we tried to modify it, but no go. Solution, ahh no table rattling for miles on end, the quiet is awesome. It was also very difficult to put the leg on without being able to see what I was doing. You had to have the table down and twist the leg in underneath, weird.
Storage drawers on top of one of the back boxes that has ripped off many chunks of skin! A friend took off the back door openings – big mistake since there is threaded string to hold the table in back up, oye. Sanding would have been my choice. I could not get the string re-threaded after the board was cut down to open and close without opening the top. Solution? A five inch block suffices and no chunks of skin gone. The door opens and closes even if I’m sitting on it! I can’t tell you how happy that made me!
Another solution. the storage drawers kept flying off the shelf so I jerry rigged bungies and a dowel. No more crashes, YAY!
The large storage compartment. Hmm, I’m considering taking it off completely or cutting holes so I can reach in and grab things without having to open the top. This one currently doesn’t have a solution, still mulling.
Ahh, such beauty, I’ve always loved the desert. I’ve traveled to Arizona most of my adult life. Drove cross-country, flew, drove from Colorado – something about that place. A lot of people see desolate, I see beauty. Love for the Joshua Trees, Cacti, the mountains and canyons, I could watch it change as the sun passes by from eastern sunrise to high noon and down to sunset. I did that on Plomosa Road, BLM (Bureau of Land Management-Arizona) land outside Quartzsite, Arizona.
I camped alone, feeling like I just needed down time from packing and moving and selling my stuff for months. Heard about Plomosa Road through social media, Plomosa is free 14 day camping on BLM land near Quartzsite. The open sky and clouds totally captivated me. Being a loner by nature, I could be alone for long periods of time without really missing human contact. That part of the pandemic has been easier for me than most others I know. Alas, I made an effort to connect through social media for nomads and vandwellers, meeting someone somewhere every day I was there.
The gasone camp stove got its maiden usage, having given away my old campstove that used propane exclusively. This gasone dual fuel stove is much smaller than my big, old two burner dinosaur. Gasone heated food just fine with the butane canister. My battery bank is sufficient so I cook with a hot logic hot plate and trusty 1500W hot water heater. No problems being well fed.
Coyote came to visit one night. I’ve had experiences with the coyote in the past and recognize it as a relative. Having said hello, I also mentioned “we’re all related” and he left without incident. I put in a pee perimeter after that encounter. Other critter I saw was some sort of mouse or rat. I moved camp for that one, didn’t want to have it trying to get in and I’m not mouse proofed yet. Not sure I want to deal with mouse traps, so I’m studying solutions others have used.
As I take in the morning beauty at the dog park, geese are squawking, cows are mooing and the deer are grazing nearby. This idea of being a nomad has been with me for many, many years. Covid helped me take the leap. Could this be the answer to a prayer? Could this be the beginning of a nomad #vanlife, of life on the road?
I was fortunate enough to find a trade for my car for a van that is equipped with a desk, electric and a bed. What more could a girl want? Yards and parking lots? A digital business to tide me over until I can find craniosacral and massage work? Currently I’m offering online yoga 4 days a week. Yoga ! with Pam (now offered through a Rec Center).
This San Luis Valley has held me, nourished me and taught me many lessons. A year or more ago, a family member had complications and I couldn’t get out of the valley to an airport. As a result, I decided to start looking for a place easier to get to an airport. I sold my house and planned an epic adventure. Off to Las Vegas to visit family, then to Utah to take a class – whispers of covid. Out to Wyoming to visit an old yoga teacher, then down to Nebraska to teach some workshops. Staying at my Uncle’s – Big Covid Warnings.
Change of Plans?
Change of plans, second workshop cancelled due to weather, the places I was to visit in the East (Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee)- closed. Visiting my parents was on the list, so I headed there to let this blow over. I stayed with a childhood friend in Pennsylvania, good times, then up to Massachusetts to weather the covid storm.
I began teaching online while at my parents. It felt like the least I could do – most of my “students” are over 60 – nice to be an anchor amidst the chaos, to have a purpose. A number of people have continued to show up for the class, for themselves.
After about 7 weeks, it was time to transition back to Colorado, I had a summer job to get to and a cabin I was renting into the fall. Traveling and staying at hotels is a little intimidating. I really need something I can sleep in. Luckily I was traveling with my ozone fan to cleanse the room. Next! Summer job cancelled. All I need is something I can sleep in. Covid continues. No unemployment. Not enough work to pay so many rents. It’s time for #vanlife! Life on the road!
The Hunt for “The Van”
Prices were crazy high for all vans and RVs and watched the prices skyrocket, horrified. I had been watching “Cheap RV Living” getting some clarity. As I began to get clear about what I needed/wanted, a bed, standing up not necessary, electricity and a desk. Simple. I could not find anything I could afford already made, so I started looking at cargo vans – empty. I drove all the way to Centennial outside of Denver to look at a Chevy van. It was in terrible shape and expensive. So I started heading back, well might as well check out Colorado Springs as I go through … nothing, nothing, hmm what’s this? Already tripped out? Price seems reasonable. Let’s sleep on it. Three days later after haggling and back and forth I drove back to Springs. The rest is HERstory – nomad #vanlife a new beginning!
Practices that Helped Me – nomad #vanlife a new beginning
Making life decisions can be very stressful. One important practice that helped me to “get” clear and “stay” focused was this Conscious Relaxation
Local voyages to Taos and Crestone. Two places I visited often while living in the San Luis Valley. Both are beautiful and mystical. I started my stay in Colorado in Crestone. Test, test, #vanlife
Crestone is a community of individuals, my experience. Fell in love with Crestone, remote, Sangre de Cristos Mountain right there. They really do turn blood red, so beautiful. Alas I was unable to make a decent living there so I moved to the bigger town south.
There are a lot of spiritual centers in Crestone. One I really like the Stupa and Shrine to Dorje Yudronma, a divine mother. This is a lineage in Tibetan Buddhism. Because the Stupa is outside, it is still open. Free Tibet!
With the pandemic, a lot of the centers are closed. A favorite of mine, Haidakhandi Universal Ashram is closed. Still stay in touch, but miss sitting with Ma, with Babaji. I’m very ecclectic in my spiritual beliefs. Haidakhandi is dedicated to the Divine Mother in all her forms and aspects. It hosts many events throughout the year. Om Namah Shivaya!
Taos, a place I did many spiritual practice. Lodge on Friday, Saturday, then Sunday at Hanuman. Neem Karoli Baba Ashram and Hanuman Temple is such an amazing place of sustainability. Many events throughout the year. I see no conflict between lodge and Hanuman. Once I was a firekeeper at a vision quest in Questa. I saw Hanuman running the mountain in a fit of JOY. This routine really helped me to stay clear for my work.
Ah broken arm, being hit by a drunk driver, routines change.
Boondocked. May as well do it locally to get the kinks out yeah? Lovely drive down, had to stay quarantined, so I pretty much hung out in the van and appreciated the view. Hmm, I think I need a fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide detector. Check and check. I could really use 12v off the house battery. Check. I need bug screens. Check.
I need more blankets. Check. Bug screens worked great except when the dust devil came through, just a simple adjustment. Magnets, who would have thought they’d be so hard to find. Finally did and they worked great! I sat at the Stupa for quite some time. A beautiful view, a wonderful energy. Getting organized in this small van has a curve. I’ve never been the neatest person, but I really need to get organized here.
Storage within storage – that’s the name of the game!
The gesture of Ksepana Mudra pouring out and letting go. Allow this mudra to flush away toxins and negativity. See if you can allow positive to replace negative. What do I need to let go of? Is there something holding me back? Ksepana Mudra can help!
Begin by clasping the hands with the left thumb on top, then extend the index figures.
Find a comfortable position standing, sitting or lying down. Arrange the hands to have the index fingers point down if sitting/standing or toward the feet if lying down.
Ksepana Mudra Meditation
Key benefits are –
Aides in elimination through sweat (skin), exhalation (lungs) and large intestine.
Improves exhalation and removes unwanted gases.
Promotes release of tension.
Flows negative energies out allowing fresh and positive energy to replace it.
CAUTION: Hold only until a release is felt or 5 minutes. As you continue to practice this mudra the channels of release will open and you will begin to feel the effects. Practice once a day for 5 minutes or less is enough to encourage opening.
Getting ready for new beginnings, of life on the road. #vanlife #vanlifediaries. Exciting, scary all up and down – courage, adventure where will this all lead?
Carbon monoxide detector, smoke detector, fire extinguisher, my new best friend magnets! So many details to think about. People say be safe, I guess that’s my way of being safe for life on the road.
As I began choosing a leave date, doors started opening. Walk through the doors that open easiest spiritual leaders say. Another invitation to another location in Arizona. Someone invited me back to Nebraska. How can I organize these choices to optimize gas, to save money as I begin life on the road?
A friend helped me to get some netting put together, she sewed the edges and we put a magnet strip in the top since I’ll only have two hands. This wonderful strip of magnet is just strong enough to hold it in place while I smooth it out and put the heavy duty ones on. Who would have known!
Flashing back, I think about the times I’ve driven cross-country, with and without others. Memories of moving Caroline to Massachusetts, hauling a trailer with a minivan. Good times. Another time, three of us going from Massachusetts to Arizona, we drove straight through since there were three of us to rotate. Seeing the beauty of a Texas meteor shower. I always say I don’t like driving at night – I don’t consider waking at 3am and driving, driving at night!
Do I have what it takes to drive long distances anymore? Sure I did it at the beginning of the pandemic. Traveling from Colorado to Nevada to Utah to Wyoming to Nebraska, across to Pennsylvania and finally to Massachusetts – then back. I was very leery about getting hotels with the pandemic, but I had no other choice. Now I have another choice!
The maiden voyage – other than the 3 hour trip to get the rig – was to Taos. I love Taos. Luckily no major restrictions were in place. The ability to be self-contained and traveling was wonderfilled. Delivering leather to a friend, social distancing, visiting and reminiscing. Pizza with another in her beautiful yard.
This next voyage will be to Crestone, Crestone is where my Colorado experiences began. It seems fitting to visit there once again, to camp on the land. A lot of the spiritual centers are still closed to the public, but I will still be able to drink in the beauty of the Sangre de Cristos if the smoke isn’t too bad. Fires all around.