Isn’t it funny how you expect 60 days to take forever? It’s now our 60-day “anniversary” on the road, and where we imagined we’d be tired and missing home, we are finding that we are just getting in to our groove and really enjoying living day-by-day. We’ve had some little challenges, but nothing that significant really — especially compared to the amazing experiences we’ve had. Come to think of it, the only real “problem” was a leaky connection under our sink — which we weren’t able to fix, but have simply made a daily routine of changing the towel that catches the slow drip. We adapt, right?
We have become really comfortable just flying by the seat of our pants each day. We never plan out where we are going to stay more than a day ahead of time, and when we find a place we like, we just stay there a bit longer.
We’ve learned that talking to strangers is the best thing you can do. Funny how it takes us traveling in our RV, in new territory, to really get that. We’ve met so many amazing people, who have given us great suggestions and tips for things to do, and places to see. They’ve given us ideas that have made our travels smoother and easier. They’ve entertained us with their quirky personalities. Life takes on a whole different direction when you make a point of really conversing with new people each day. It’s more than just being friendly and saying hello, but really making time to inquire, listen, share, and appreciate what people have to say and offer. Doors open up. Life becomes way more interesting.
I still find myself shying away from certain encounters, but when I remember to engage — or Clare takes the lead and beats me to it, then it always turns out to be an enriching experience. Some of our most memorable and enjoyable encounters have been with people we “normally” would not have thought we’d naturally connect with. I’ve realized how easy it is to allow myself to be in my own bubble, unaware of the amazing connections just waiting to be made, right within reach. All I have to do is make the effort. Being the first person to smile and say, “Hello”, then listen, is often all it takes.
Take the other day for example. Clare and I were in Mammoth Lakes and needed to do a little business stuff, so we found a nice little coffee shop to do some caffeine and wifi surfing. As we sat at the little round table, facing each other with our faces buried in our laptops, a portly grey-haired man sugared his coffee next to us. He commented out loud that someday young people will reminisce about how they used to have time to actually sit on their computers together. Instead of giving a courteous chuckle and turning back to our work, we laughed and agreed with him, then closed our computers to engage him.
I said, “Well, we have been traveling in an RV together for almost 2 months and rarely get time to get on our computers, so this is unusual for us. We’ve had plenty of time to talk.” He laughed too, and said he gets it. He is a local shuttle bus driver, but used to be a truck driver, a cowboy, was married for 6 years, loves living simply, wants to live in an RV when he retires, is a Vietnam vet, and was an angry and rebellious biker gang member who realized that he was only hurting himself by being pissed off at everyone else.
Wait, that’s profound stuff there. He realized he was only hurting himself by allowing himself to be angry with other people. Clearly this cheerful and talkative man, full of crazy stories and experiences, has evolved beyond most of the planet.
We chatted for quite a while and he seemed to be smitten with Clare and her adorable smile. I don’t blame him. He asked me, “Now, did your heart just skip a beat the first time you saw her?”
I said, “Yes, it did.”
I think that when we are in the flow of life, and make ourselves open and available to others, and let them do the same for us, things just work out wonderfully. There is a natural sychronicity that happens when we engage each person with a simple mindset: you’re awesome and I appreciate you. While we travel, this seems to happen more readily because we are feeling a little vulnerable, out of our element, or curious. What if we could activate this frame-of-mind everyday, even when at home in our comfort zones? Would life take on new meaning and direction for us?
Soon we head home. We are moving that direction anyway. This road-trip certainly won’t be our last, and has inspired so many ideas for our next adventure. While I expected to see beautiful things and amazing places, I didn’t expect to be so profoundly moved by the simplest of daily conversations with everyday people. I am grateful