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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

   “Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

Fall was in full progress when I arrived in Maine, and followed me on my southward return. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Fall was in full progress when I arrived in Maine, and followed me on my southward return. — Photo by Pat Bean

Is Finished

For all of you who have stuck with me for a bit, and followed the writing journey of my book, “Travels with Maggie,” I’m delighted to inform you that it is now ready to go out to the world.

Maggie claiming the driver's seat during a stop for gas. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Maggie claiming the driver’s seat during a stop for gas. — Photo by Pat Bean

The 75,000-word travel book/memoir is about a six-month journey my canine companion, Maggie, and I took in 2006. The title is inspired by John Steinbeck’s  “Travels with Charlie,” and I’ve been telling prospective agents it would sit nicely on a book shelf between his book, and Charles Kuralt’s “On the Road,” with Tim Cahill’s “Road Fever” nearby, but that its uniqueness lies in the fact that it was written by an old-broad, wandering-wonderer.

I’m currently in the process of looking at ways to get it published as an e-book, and getting a cover designed for it. Next will come a printed book – I’m hoping.

The journey began in Camden, Arkansas, where my youngest daughter lived at the time, and ended in Rowlett, Texas, in time for Thanksgiving dinner at my oldest daughter’s home. It was a trip of 7,000 miles that took me to Maine and Acadia National Park that wriggled its way through 23 states and Canada.

Any advice those of you who have self-published a book is welcome. Especially helpful would be experiences any of my readers have had with Vook or Bookbaby.

Meanwhile, this is my way of yelling from the mountain top that the third rewrite of “Travels with Maggie” is now behind me.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Two short videos. Footloose and Kevin Bacon fans will enjoy this one, even if they saw it on the Jimmy Fallon show: http://tinyurl.com/oldwfxj And old broads and anyone who loves life will enjoy this one. I smiled all the way through it. http://tinyurl.com/qz8btq6

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“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” – Gilda Radner

Me, Pepper and Cayenne. -- Photo by T.C. Ornelas

Me, Pepper and Cayenne. — Photo by T.C. Ornelas

Hello Cayenne

            Ten years ago I sold my home and traded in my car for a new RV, which I named Gypsy Lee, in honor of my wanderlust and a grandfather I never knew but from whom my mother claimed I inherited my rootless ways.

Me and Gypsy Lee in 2004, 140,000 miles ago.

Me and Gypsy Lee in 2004, 140,000 miles ago.

I lived on the road for nine years before settling in a Tucson apartment a year ago, during which time Gypsy Lee, a 21-foot motor home continued to be my only means of transportation.

This past weekend, I parked Gypsy Lee at my daughter’s house and drove away in a bright, red new car that I named Cayenne. I thought it was a fitting name to go with my canine companion, Pepper, and this flower child who still loves to wear tie-dye.

Over the past few months, I came to understand that driving an RV in a crowded city was holding me back from doing things, like attending a play where there was no parking or driving on city streets at night. There was also Gypsy’s gas guzzling stomach to consider, which meant I mostly only drove her for errands once a week because of the cost of keeping her fed.

My beloved Maggie, who spent the first eight years with me in Gypsy Lee. She is still missed

My beloved Maggie, who spent the first eight years with me in Gypsy Lee. She is still missed

I knew I was going to eventually have to give her up, but sensibly had decided to keep her one more year for financial reasons.

Then it finally dawned on me that while I’m, thankfully, healthy and physically active now, I’m going to be 75 this year. Now is not the time for me to slow down. I need to keep running as fast as I can, as far as I can, and as hard as I can for as long as I can.

So on Saturday it was good-bye Gypsy Lee. We had an awesome 10 years together. I will always treasure the memories we made during our 140,000 miles on the road.

And hello, Cayenne. You’ve got a lot to live up to in sharing your life with me and Pepper.

Oh, and the first place I visited yesterday, after waiting a year to do so, was Tucson’s downtown main library, where Gypsy Lee couldn’t go because there was no parking space for her.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: You gotta do what you gotta do to survive http://tinyurl.com/k8tor9v This is a story that made me feel blessed for everything I have – and for the power of starting over, which I once had to do in life. Although my situation wasn’t as drastic as this story, I did have to borrow money to pay rent for a while.

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What is Home?

            “You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right.” — Maya Angelou

This view from my balcony is now part of what means home to me. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This view from my bedroom balcony is now part of what means home to me. — Photo by Pat Bean

Whatever You Want It To Be

            I spent nine wonderful years living and traveling this country full-time in Gypsy Lee, my 22-foot motor home. Recently I realized that was more years than I had ever lived in one specific dwelling in my life.         

Desert sunsets from my front balcony now seem like part of my home. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Desert sunsets from my living room balcony now mean home to me.  — Photo by Pat Bean

All that time I was traveling, the road felt more like home than any of my former rooted dwellings. This wondering wanderer pondered why?

            The road, I finally decided, with its wondrous sights and beauty, was what I had longed for almost all my life. I dreamed about exploring this country, from coast to coast and border to border, ever since I can remember.

            The hundreds of travel books I read over the years — “Blue Highways” by William Least Heat Moon, “On the Road,” by Charles Kuralt, “Travels with Charley,” by John Steinbeck, “A Walk in the Woods,” by Bill Bryson, “Desert Solitaire” by Edward Abbey, and many, many more – fueled those dreams.

            Then finally, at 65 years of age, I made the dream come true. I figured I had about five years before age would catch up with me, and I would have to stop living atop wheels, but I almost doubled that expectation.  

And Pepper is part of my home now. I'm a very blessed and a very thankful person. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And Pepper is part of my home now. I’m a very blessed and a very thankful person. — Photo by Pat Bean

          This year I exchanged the road for a Tucson, Arizona, third-floor apartment in the Catalina Mountain foothills. Although I find it hard to believe, it now feels like home. Of course this wondering wanderer pondered why?

            In doing so, I listed what home meant to this old-broad wandering wonderer these days. My answers included: A place with a large bathtub so that I could soak in a hot tub whenever I wanted. This, I should tell you, is the only think I missed after paring down for my RV lifestyle and the road..

            Home also means a place where I can spend a whole day in my pajamas – if I wanted and did not have my dog, Pepper, to walk, but then Pepper, herself, is home.

             Home is a place with lots of books, even if one has a Kindle. Home is my desk and computer, where I can write to my heart’s content.  Home is a place where I can keep in touch with loved ones, and occasionally travel to visit them. Home is a balcony with a view of nature and birds and mountains. Home is a place to bring friends.

            What I now also know is that home is more inside of one than outside of one, and that it can be whatever you want it to be, and make it to be.       

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

     Bean’s Pat: The Road Not Taken http://tinyurl.com/l37f994 Something to think about.

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Wherever I traveled, books were always part of the journey. And this lake in Illinois' Lincoln Trail State Park is just one of many I've sat beside while reading. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Wherever I traveled, books were always part of the journey. And this lake in Illinois’ Lincoln Trail State Park is just one of many I’ve sat beside while reading. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Travel is like love: It cracks you open, and so pushes you over all the walls and low horizons that habits and defensiveness set up.” – Pico Iyer

Finding Buried Treasure

The above quote begins essayist Pico Iyer’s foreword in the book “Wanderlust: Real Life Tales of Adventure and Romance.”

Just find me a bench, like this one that sits in Amherstburg, Ontario, beside an Erie River harbor and a book, and I can be happy for hours. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Just find me a bench, like this one that sits in Amherstburg, Ontario, beside an Erie River harbor, and a book, and I can be happy for hours. — Photo by Pat Bean

I recently reclaimed this book of travel essays, unread except for the foreword, from one of the dozen or so bins of stuff I couldn’t part with when I began a life on the road in 2004. Finding it again – with its many intriguing chapter titles such as “On the Amazon,” “Naxos Nights,” “I Lost it at Club Med,”  “Bewitched on Bali” and “Sleeping with Elephants,” was like coming across buried treasure.

A travel book is always one of the books I’m reading at any given time, along with a mystery, a fantasy and a nature book (more and more these days on my Kindle); and I always have dozens of backups – I guess you could say books are my security blanket.

As I renewed my acquaintance with this book of essays called “Wanderlust,” which I acquired before spending nine years living full-time in a small RV, I saw that I had highlighted quite a few of Pico’s travel quotes in its foreword, which probably coincided with my frame of mind with freedom of the road loaming ahead.

Perhaps they will mean something to you, too.

  “…home is something portable that we carry around with us”

            “…’wander’ has little to do with crossing borders and getting stamps in one’s passport, and everything to do with stretching the boundaries of one’s perspective and being constantly drawn to challenge. The person susceptible to wanderlust is not so much addicted to movement as committed to transformation.”

            “We travel, then, in search of both self and anonymity … and people cannot put a name or tag to us.”  

            “A man (or woman) never goes so far as when he doesn’t know where he is going.”

            “Many of us travel not in search of answers but in search of better questions.”

That last was certainly true of my travels. I found few answers but hundreds of questions.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Autumn Path http://tinyurl.com/mt4uedk I chose this blog today because it made me want to get out and take a walk – and moving is a good thing to help insure this old broad’s ability to continue traveling.

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“The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dew and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” – John Muir

The view from my RV, with no photographic enhancement. — Photo by Pat Bean

Lake Walcott Welcomes the Day

Reflections: A calm lake provides a second canvas for Mother Nature. — Photo by Pat Bean

I took 25 days to drive from my daughter’s home on the outskirts of Dallas, Texas, to Lake Walcott State Park in Idaho, where I’ll be spending the summer.

It’s my third year here as a volunteer campground host. I return because it’s an awesome place, where Mother Nature changes the scenery daily. I arrive in time to see the first buds of spring paint the landscape, and stay until the crisp colors of autumn paint over the green of summer.

Nowhere, however, have I ever seen more spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

Thankfully, my canine companion, Pepper, wakes me in time to see that magic hour of grayness, when all the world seems to hold its breath for a moment, in anticipation of dawn’s first light.

This morning’s explosion was especially spectacular.

Bean’s Pat: http://photonatureblog.com/ This blog helps me get a daily dose of nature’s wonders. Today it’s a butterfly that stirs my soul. Blog pick of the day by a wondering wanderer.  

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This is how Pepper spends much of her time as we drive Route 66, her chin on the co-pilot arm rest staring at me. I actually snapped this picture as I drove down a lonely stretch of the road. Any guesses about what she is thinking? — Photo by Pat Bean

The Dog

I lie belly-up
In the sunshine, happier than
You ever will be.

Today I sniffed
Many dog butts—I celebrate
By kissing your face.

I sound the alarm!
Paperboy—come to kill us all —
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

… Sleeping here, my chin
On your foot—no greater bliss—well,
Maybe catching cats.

Look in my eyes and
Deny it. No human could
Love you as much I do.

I came across the poem above and it made me laugh. I don’t know who wrote it. Do you?

Bean’s Pat: Joy http://jmgoyder.com/2012/05/06/joy/  Very true words. I loved this blogger’s thoughts.

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Note the tail kink -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Happiness is a warm puppy.” – Charles Schulz

Already the Love of My Life

I wanted a 20 to 25 pound, female canine, one to three years old, from the sporting group of dogs, as the replacement for Maggie, my treasured, Cocker Spaniel traveling companion. I got an 11-pound, four-month-old puppy instead.

It was meant to be.

She’s a cross, most likely, between a Scottie and a Schnauzer. I’ll never know for sure because I’m not going to pay the $60 for DNA testing. It really doesn’t matter.

She has chocolate, melt-your-heart eyes, when you can see them beneath her long silky hair – I think we’ll do a little trimming soon. She bounds when she runs, has a kink in her tail and bless my lucky stars, is potty-trained.

Why won't they play with me? -- Photo by Pat Bean

She came from the third animal shelter I visited, it being the Second Change SPCA Shelter in Plano, Texas.

I’m not sure if I picked her, or she picked me. It was as if our eyes met and we both knew we belonged together. The deed was sealed when someone put her in my lap and she nestled down as if this was where she belonged.

Although friendly with everyone, she has already decided she wants to keep me in her sight. For example, she’s lying at me feet right now as I sit at my daughter’s dining room table, and she followed me into the kitchen twice when I got up to refill my coffee cup.

Photographing Pepper wasn't easy. Not only was she constantly moving, her black fur made her look like a bundle of rags in most of the pictures I took. She actually has some red and blonde tints in her coat, the kind women pay a fortune to achieve, that show well in the sunlight. -- Photo by Pat Bean

When I went out to my RV, Gypsy Lee,  for our first night together,  she eagerly bounded into the motorhome and was soon settled comfortably beside me on the over-the-cab bed. When I got up in the middle of the night to visit the powder room, she greeted me on my return as if I had been gone a week.

I’ve named her Pepper, partly because of the spice I know she’s going to add to my life and partly because she is so full of it. She acts as if that’s been her name all her life, even though the shelter called her Kenzie.

I yelled Pepper yesterday evening when I saw her headed for the kitchen and the food bowl of my daughter’s two dogs. I yelled because her tummy was already full, and I didn’t want her eating more and getting sick.

Face-off with my daughter's Cocker Spaniel, MacBean. -- Photo by pat Bean

She immediately did a U-turn, jumped back up into my lap and gave me puppy kisses.

Pepper and I will be getting on the road heading west tomorrow. She has already tried out the co-pilot seat and it fits her well.

I suspect that when we pull away from my daughter’s home, I will turn to Pepper and quote Dr. Seuss: “Oh the places we’ll go, and the things we’ll see.” That’s what I told Maggie when we got on the road eight years ago. And we did.

Bean’s Pat: Stopping the Wind http://tinyurl.com/cbtkqwo Mostly a reblog of Trey Ramsey’s blog by someone trying to change their future. It includes some hard-nosed, kick-butt advice for all of us who are trying to meet new goals. I took notes.

 

 http://tinyurl.com/cbtkqwo

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