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"I offer no apologies for any departures from an usual style of travel writing that may be charged against me – for I think I have seen with impartial eyes, and I am sure I have written at least honestly, whether wisely or not.
~ Mark Twain ~ San Francisco 1869 [The Innocents Abroad]
Regarding Spirit and riding… it is not sad… Common reaction? Uncommon? Why go there? Let’s think about the positive before the negative. That dark side which never ceases to circle us. That minus I see as a somber dump where it belongs. It takes effort but we can do it, we can push it back. We must.
After reading the outpour of such kind and thoughtful comments regarding "Spirit and Old Faithful", my previous rambling entry, I feel it being proper to change the high notes of my tunes towards Social Media. Some of my words have been unfair. Unfair for more reasons than one. As the story goes, we left years ago, Spirit and I, alone on our Journey. Some have called me courageous for those times when so few lived on the road, especially with a dog in a sidecar and a tent, yet it was not courage but cornered in this winding tunnel with no light at the end, it was more "I have nothing else to lose". A decision but not a true decision. Kind of like being pushed off a cliff. The only choice was where we would land. Yet, here we are… Lance talked to me that deciding night. He is truly the one responsible for these past thirteen years and will be for the years to come. It is "his Gift". I thank him daily. You and I would not be here together if it was not for him. Social Media then on appeared while I was promising myself I would never buy a smart phone having enough trouble with a laptop. That of course did not last too long as I bought my first Apple Phone one evening in Las Vegas out of all places, Spirit in the sidecar being watched by the Shopping Mall’s Concierge. I still have that phone! I use it as an iPod. Apple and I did not get along while further down the line switching to Android.
Facebook mainly trickled in. What a novel idea to meet people on line! Exchange thoughts, photos, you name it. It was for me and still is "sharing". I did have a lot of thoughts and still do. Such Social innocence becoming diverse today. I think, maybe [?], we all got heavily "sucked in" at one time or another. I know I did. Libraries in just about every town was the prize before food and anything else of value. Cell service! As time passed on, now almost a full blown source of curiosity, the reality of this "reality" started appearing. The days only have 24 hours, time was being cheated taken away from Mother Nature while at the same time more often than not asking myself "why am I doing this?"
I use to carry a little scale at one time. An ancient one, the kind with the chains and the scale pans, one I would always hang on a tree branch when we set up camp [or a Cactus in the desert!]. It always kept me focused and, well… balanced! I had lost that scale by that time and actually I should probably get another one as in one word, it is the solution of not only maintaining a healthy Social Media "entourage" but also a healthy physical and spiritual Life. The balance… the balancing act throughout calm or windy days, storms and blue skies, in health and in sickness. That is what I am thriving for, while I feel, as mentioned above, such kindness from so many we have not even met, yet.
But that is not all. I have learned a lot from destinations, words and quotes sent to me from uplifting emails and private messages. I would not be standing on this step without them. That is a certainty and so I feel lucky not still being at the bottom of that ladder we left with. It is comforting to know that my crazy buddy Spirit is so loved as he so fully deserves it. This dog who could barely stand up when I rescued him. This dog who was so afraid of people and today in love with everyone and "has" to mingle to no end! He has been a certain common denominator with the many we have met in person or on line. He himself has taught me so much including being cautious from the ones who do not like dogs, even hearing one day past "I don’t think they should had ever domesticated dogs…". I will never forget that line as I remember exactly who, when and where. I love all animals. There is so much to learn from them, so much we still do not comprehend about them. Social Media spoils him to no end and I am so happy about that aspect.
And there is more. I cannot forget the times, twice, when we broke down without Plan B. I am still dumbfounded from all the help we received… through Social Media. It took me weeks to individually thank everyone. The surprise was intense and immense, it left me speechless for a long time. I then learned something new from one of our readers as I have such a hard time accepting "gifts", yet, likes to share and gift to others. He asked "Doesn’t it give you pleasure to help someone?" as I replied "Yes, of course". He then said "Why don’t you allow others that same pleasure by accepting help?". The goodness of Social Media. We cannot throw it all away. I am now realizing that fact . Keeping it balanced… keeping the scales on the same plane…
There is one comment that made and makes me smile "I have always appreciated your writing style and the way you seem to ‘touch’ on real feelings and pieces of Life unique to you but striking a nerve for many"… It was never an intentional aspect, just who I am without any fear of exposing to the public my inner thoughts into words. I like honesty, I like as I have written before having "one face". And I do. It is always sad and disturbing to me when I read from others that I know well projected aspects on Social Media which are not real. I joked about it with a Friend the other day. I said I should use another name and start posting photos of Rolls Royce’s, Yachts, mega million dollars homes, expensive suits… a fantasy Life as he replied "it is already being done". There is an image portrayed that seem to be so important for it to be painted in bright colors while sending a message of "I am better than you because…". I guess it is a game people play, a game I cannot participate or would want to. We are truly all the same with happiness, sadness and all in between. Nothing wrong by having an intelligent conversation about it all… About the true reality and not that image we envy and try to portray. About how we can overcome the lows while balancing the highs.
We are bouncing between Big Bend National Park, Terlingua and The Oasis. That would be Texas. End of the line on Paint Gap Rd in the Park. I started writing Black Gap Rd but we have never done it, could not do it as not being a maintained road. Why subject ourselves to torture? I forgot what silence was. It is the wind howling under a not a cloud blue sky and right ahead of me slowly trying a half moon is making its own path. The camper is providing some much needed shade except of course around noon throughout this day in the low 90’s. I am not quite with it yet! I have not adapted this soon. I almost, I actually did, asked myself "what do I do now?". Of course there is no Internet, no cell service if I need anything. I have however a SAT phone which works well. My lifeline, $17 a month for 300 minutes. What a deal.
So there are no thoughts [can that even be possible?], no wondering, no guessing, this is the "nothing" I have been missing, this whole vast nothing which these days is everything filled by Mother Nature. Quite a job she has done and keeps on doing. My pass time while sitting and writing [as I like to!] is also watching four vultures checking out the neighborhood. Way up above they are quite a sight flying seemingly forever without flapping their wings. Two of them took off South and the other two dove on the crest of a hill ahead of me suddenly only a foot of the ground. Those two must have found dinner!
I feel as this would be a good time to share some thoughts I have had for quite a while towards an aspect between Humanity and Mother Nature.
Not a day goes by without a Natural disaster. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic activities, flooding, lately the fear of the ocean levels rising due to the melting glaciers and so much more. We can’t and do not directly blame Mother Nature because she not a living creature per say, if she was I have no doubt we would. My perception of it all is that we ourselves are to blame. Earth and Mother Nature are their own united entities and here we have come, us Humans, living and building where we should have not. It is really that simple. So where should we live? Someone will ask. We will never get away from the harshness of the weather up above us but we could for sure find safer places to live.
We will not either get away from fires set by lightning or even unaware others doing stupid things. We want to build on the cliffs of for example Santa Monica because of the view. A house on the shores of the Gulf Coast in Texas or Florida, for that matter any shore because "it is so nice to see the water" yet eventually all will be taken away. Why even build a city under sea level? I am not an engineer, an architect or city planner so my view might be naive yet that is how I see it. We have pushed the boundaries of "where we want to be" and paying for it. Spirit and I do not camp just anywhere…. Much thought goes into the spaces we do.
Stay well, Ara and Spirit