Pausing… Texas

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

 sunset b

The Images are the last of the “Greatest Loop” through Pinto Canyon, Ruidoza, Presidio, Terlingua and back to The Oasis. The map is on the previous Blog.

“For a long while I have believed…that in every generation there are a few souls, call them lucky or cursed, who are simply born not belonging, who come into the world semi-detached, if you like, without strong affiliation to family or location or nation or race; that there may even be millions, billions of such souls, as many non-belongers as belongers, perhaps; that, in sum, the phenomenon may be as “natural” a manifestation of human nature as its opposite, but one that has been mostly frustrated, throughout human history, by lack of opportunity. And not only by that, for those who value stability, who fear transience, uncertainty, change, have erected powerful system of stigmas and taboos against rootlessness, that disruptive anti-social force, so that we mostly conform, we pretend to be motivated by loyalties and solidarities we do not really feel, we hide our secret identities beneath the false skins of those identities which bear the belonger’s seal of approval. But the truth leaks out in our dreams… alone in our beds (because we are alone at night, even if we do not sleep by ourselves), we soar, we fly, we flee. And in the waking dreams our societies permit, in our myths, our arts, our songs, we celebrate the non-belongers, the different ones.What we forbid ourselves, we pay good money to watch, in a playhouse or movie theatre, or to read about between the secret covers of a book. Our libraries, our palaces of entertainment tell the truth. The travelers: if we did not recognize in them our least-fulfilled needs, we would not invent them over and over again, in every place, in every language, in every time.” — Salman Rushdie

 Pinto Canyon f

Pinto Canyon h  

I was reading a Friend’s Blog the other day titled “waiting”, and hope she does not mind me borrowing it’s resemblance, only the title that is, as the word is in parallel with my present time. A “traveler” pausing… It has to happen, it is needed. It is not as we are “waiting” 24/7 for the next step up, but yet, kind of. It is that time of the year to redo much and get reorganized. Smooth the path. Someone asked me why our SPOT was showing the present routes as we are going in circles? Errands! Sometimes also “Mother Nature” makes us take that position in Life throwing a bit of a temper tantrum… cold temperatures, winds, basically a real need to stay sheltered and switch activities. Mix them up. So we wait, do some thinking, some catching up on the unpleasant tasks of maybe rearranging paperwork, those pieces of papers that follow us every month in which I do not find much purpose, but the senders somehow do. Reorganizing for the miles coming up ahead of us, clean up, so many odds and ends to take care of. Going through what lays here asking myself the now eternal question: can I live without it?

Pinto Canyon c

Pinto Canyon i  

Someone also reading our Blog the other day asked me if I could remember from day one the logistics we had to get used to enabling us to live on the road, including the difference being solo years ago, and now with Spirit. Mainly also the difference between “traveling” and “the road is home”. What would the new comer need to learn? There is I have to admit, much attraction from many, as yet I personally feel it being just another way of Life, logistically harder, but with a mind set so totally different than any other living situation. The closest I have come comparing these times has been when living on a sailboat. Another totally free space even more within the womb of Mother Nature as the shelter was only that minuscule floating box, if I can call it that.


There is always an invisible wall, partition of some sort between us when communicating with others, “normal life living” others. The “belongers”. It is not a disconnection, not a rupture, it is only a fence that separates us in the sense that we can step in their World but not vice versa. Our World can only be read here, only few others experience it. I feel as being odd at times and yet it is that oddity that keeps my sanity on the needed path. So, hypothetically, the traveler, the rider with their two weeks vacation, or driver for that matter, when decides to live on the road must cut all ties with their belongings, honestly that is… without a storage left behind they could go back to, filled with “stuff” still in their possession. Where does one start? By letting everything go.

pinto k

The riddance of most possessions is the start of it all, and sometimes at first the hardest step, as the Journey then has not even began to teach us that what we need is already within us. It is hard to let go of our belongings when we think that they were the ones providing our well being, but, luckily because we have to for lack of space, it is an act we do not have much choice to follow. There are two avenues that present themselves immediately when one starts “living on the road”. One mental and one physical, often associated, one leaning against the other for their own comfort sometimes under the pressure of being robbed from it. It happens that many that live on the road cannot really afford the past luxuries present when traveling. There are months ahead, years maybe and no door waiting with that knob we can turn and glance at a space that would welcome us with our past comforts. The realization that they indeed where not comfort but only an attractive cover of a book maybe not so easily readable takes time, as only those multitude and interminable array of moments are the teachers of a developing chosen future.

mail box

They are the overnight stops when we need to find that little patch we can rest on for a few hours, safely, and go on the next day toward “that” destination we would like to reach to experience it for a few days, maybe longer. There are no closets to reach in and pull out what we need. Everything is in bags and will stay in bags that have to be undone daily and redone enabling us to go on without loosing the little of the necessities left. I have to remember where they are. Safety has become the biggest issue being within a social scene that has so much changed over the years. It is the one aspect that I am thankful to Spirit being with me. As inviting as he is, he also keeps the not so honest away from our path, he is after all a Pit. It was really not planned that way, but turns out to be an asset. Those spaces we seek need in our case to be dog friendly as not everyone is. It adds a bit of complexity to already sometimes a complicated situation.

pinto j

Pinto Canyon a  

There is cooking involved so often dictated by the weather as one cannot afford to eat out on a daily basis, or can even for that matter when in isolated areas. Food means storage, storage is slim, refrigeration is often non existent as summer with high temperatures only melts the few expensive ice cubes stored in the little cooler. Water is gold for the both of us, also dictates how long we can stay within the most attractive spaces which ironically do not provide any unless being lucky to be near a stream when we can filter the much needed liquid. Water is also part of hygiene, a path one needs to positively follow allowing themselves to stay healthy.

Ruidosa a 


There is no home to go back to when repairs are needed, when the basic servicing of a vehicle has suddenly it’s due date. There is no address in one’s wallet when a Doctor is seeked, there is no local Pharmacy that knows you month after months refilling the precious prescriptions when and if needed. There is no mailing address besides a “Postal General Delivery” which does not accept UPS when a part has to be ordered. Every destination is as starting a new Life over, setting up shallow roots enabling one to continue collecting what is needed. The rules are pretty much the same everywhere and yet are not. We go with the flow, we learn daily the good and the bad, the better ways to accomplish the tasks. We learn sometimes the hard way to be smart, specially where we can go. Again, the weather being the biggest factor of it all in parallel with seeking a space inviting to the mind and the soul all at the same time.

Ruidosa b

The prize is huge and is the reason why the above quote caught my attention. The award is outstanding and I have no doubt that for many as for ourselves it represents a freedom few have, even if ourselves ironically are never totally free. The expansion of the senses is free, the respect acquired toward Mother Nature helps the daily Life’s comfort one needs to attain only to survive within ourselves and toward others. The “others” that secretly are the “belongers” only wishing deep down they were “non-belongers”. It is a choice, not an easy one, not any greener, only brighter.

rear view mirrors

We are on “pause” only in relation to distances covered. The days are actually going fast forward, one piece of the puzzle at the time is starting to fit again within the frame we will be living in soon. Only wish I could take this fire ring with us!

road d

Twenty nine months of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In “Your Favorites”, in “States”, some labeled “first year” and second year”, now also “Texas the third year”. Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun. Merchandise is also available through SmugMug. If you like to order prints, all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload them on the Galleries.

Maybe your reading the Blog is worth $1 a month…

Be well…

Ara & Spirit

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3 Responses to “Pausing… Texas”

  1. John Says:

    Ara, I thought your words were well chosen and interesting as always. Salman Rushdie’s description of the belongers and non-belongers tells it like it is. It might be lonely being “semi-detached” but if it is your path no other will make you happy. And your photos, Ara, are wonderful and your eye for “the shot” is unique. I was in the Valley of the Gods a short while ago and it is as lovely as you describe it.

  2. conchscooter Says:

    The best part about being a nomad is when you realise that you have reached the destination, because until you reach a destination there is the self doubting, self questioning,need for justification. You’fe heard them accuse you: It’s all very well for you, but I can’t afford it- the belongers whine. The beauty of living your life backwards is that intemperate youth does well “not belonging”. Middle aged wisdom enjoys settling down, the wisdom being informed by the travels of youth. My secret is living life backwards, something that happened to me pretty much backwards. Wandering when young and settling down when older is a notion that is not accepted by society at large.

  3. Zelda Says:

    Hi, Ara & Spirit,
    Love your first picture, the one on the water surrounded by reeds – is it sunrise or sundown? You sure make Texas look surprisingly beautiful! (I’m sure our friends in Texas have mutual feelings for Iowa!) Even makes me want to visit Texas!
    Take gentle care of yourself and Spirit,
    Pam “Zelda”

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