Redefining Success…

Earlier today, I started writing a post for LinkedIn, with this same title. I’ll probably finish it, but this one is completely different. That article is about a social movement that I’ve observed, especially among Millennials who are choosing alternative lifestyles. This one is about me, doing the same thing. (wink)

You already know that I travel the country in my Stew Wagon, meeting people and learning on the road. Over the past year, I have learned more than I can even share, and I’ve met some of the most amazing people. There was a woman who was going to skydive in memory of her father. A man who traveled with a carnival, until his van broke down. Two guys, hitchhiking from Seattle to New Orleans, just to see the sights. Last September, I drove up to Standing Rock, ND. On the way, I stopped for gas at a little mom and pop convenience store. It had a sign in the window that read “Casino”. When I went inside, I found that the Casino was a card table, set up in the middle of an otherwise empty room, where four guys were sitting around swapping stories, and playing five card draw.

On that North Dakota trip, I stopped along an old farm road. It was a beautiful, clear night, and I could see an unbelievable distance across the valley. As I lay in the Stew Wagon, waiting for sleep, I could see the lightning of a far away storm, tiny and marvelous in the darkness. The thunder of it woke me, a few hours later, and I continued on, but I’ll never forget the beauty of that sight. If I were still saving my money, so that I could afford to travel, I’d have missed it.

The truth is, I’m already doing the thing that other people are still saving up for, only I’m doing it better. See, they’ll save up and fly somewhere. They’ll stay in a fancy hotel, and visit all the touristy places…and they’ll never meet the Skydiving Woman, or the fellows in the Casino, or the people at the camp in Standing Rock, ND, or see the lightning in the dark of a September night, from fifty miles away. Where’s the fun in that?

Successful? Yes, I am. Only, I’m doing it better.

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Still working…

I havent gotten back to the RV since I last posted. The owners of the property, where it’s parked, have given me permission to work on it, in place. That means I can get all of the fluids and filters changed, etc., before I have to move it. What a relief that is.

New Projects

There are a couple that I think you’ll be interested in. One is called a DoodleBoard, and will be a great thing to sell on the road. Cant wait to show it to you.

The other is more philanthropic. Wines for Humanity is a marvelous way to make a difference to people in your neighborhood. Doing wine tastings in people’s homes, I raise funds for charity. Although I took last year off, in 2015, my friends and I were able to raise enough for over 10,000 meals. That’s substantial. Beginning a few days ago, I began working to see what we can do in 2017.

 

Reveal

Well, today’s the day. In my last post, I told you that there was a surprise. This is it!

A 1981 Ford Econoline E350 Mobile Traveler, and man, does it need some work. It’s okay, though. It’s a gift, from someone who wants to help me achieve the things I’ve never been able to do before. Now, you may say, “Wow, Don. I think I’d pass on that one.” Would you really, though? Here’s what I say.

TANSTAAFL!

There aint no such thing as a free lunch.

See, here’s the thing. This vehicle represents the future of my Vagabond Life. Is it in rough shape? Obviously. Is it going to cost a lot to fix it up? More than likely. Will it take a long time? Definitely. Am I going to let those things intimidate me? Not on your life.

I’m excited for the possibilities. The interior is in pretty good shape. According to my benefactor, everything works – heater, lights, refrigerator, stove, etc. The junk inside was left there by some homeless people, who squatted in it for a while. He has promised to clean it out before he turns it over to me. After that, it’s all on me.

“That’s a big project, Don.”

I know, but I’m not alone in this. There are people in my life I can go to with questions about RVs and campers. One friend even works for an RV storage lot, so I’ll have a place to keep the thing, while I’m working on it.

I already know that the waste tanks need to be replaced, but that isnt an immediate concern. A composting toilet and Planet Fitness membership will get me by. So, I’ll drive it to the storage place, flush everything, and replace the fluids belts, points, plugs, condenser, and wires. Next, comes the first major expense – tires. I looked for a date on these, but they’re mounted with the code on the inside. If they’re too old, I’ll have to replace them. I’m not looking forward to that.

In any case, the perspective has changed on my Vagabond Life. A year ago, I had given up and was simply waiting to die. So many things have changed. Today, I’m excited and encouraged by the prospects that lie ahead. I’ll keep you posted.

Now, you get out there and get your Go on.

 

Four months is too long, and a lot has happened…

It’s surprising, how quickly time seems to pass. Seems like only a couple of weeks, since I was in North Dakota. I dont know where to begin to tell you about what’s happened between then and now. The Stew Wagon and I have made trips to Oklahoma and Wyoming, and to the top of Jones Pass. There’s more travel on the agenda, now that the holidays are over. I also have a Big Surprise! I know you’ll be astonished, and excited for me. Now, though, it has to wait, because I need to get pics.

The most powerful thing that happened, was the death of my mother. Details arent needed here. I just think that you need to know, so that you can understand why my silence was so long. It was on the day after Thanksgiving. I drove down to be with her, and stayed until she was gone. As you may imagine, my mind wasnt on photography, although I did take one pic, when I woke up Saturday morning. It’s the one you see above.

After Mom’s last breath, I closed her eyes, kissed her one last time, and called the nurses in. There were some documents to sign, and a couple of other things to do. When they were taken care of, I gathered my things, went out to the Stew Wagon and started home, driving until I had to sleep. The photo you see, is where I woke up. For me, there is not a better place to awaken, than parked on the edge of a corn field, with cattle all around.

Since then, I’ve been kind of collecting myself. It’s only been in the past few days, that I’ve begun to feel some way towards normal. I dont know what’s on the path from here, but it wont be the same.

Thanks for following. Till next time, Keep your Go on.