Sunday, December 2, 2012

Holiday Season Begins

I wish I had a better reason for the long absence other than the death of my laptop. There has been so much to blog about but typing a post on my phone is just not an option. So when the opportunity to use another computer presented itself, a post was born.

 Since we last posted so much has changed. We have faced struggles in our work camping position, but have duked  worked it out. There is something to be said about working with your neighbors. In many cases it is great to know your coworkers so well, but sometimes helpful gestures are really just nosy intrusive and a bit… aggravating annoying.

With the end of the summer, we prepared for our holiday season. In our family we look forward to Halloween because it begins the holidays for us. A few weeks after Halloween we celebrate Kaeden’s birthday, followed by Thanksgiving, many family members’ birthdays in early December followed by Christmas and New Years. So, we I look forward to an event almost every week. It is a festive and busy fun time.

I began preparing for Halloween thinking I would make Kaeden’s costume again. I also wanted to make a coordinating costume for his bestie, Colton. Last year, Kaeden was the Cat in the Hat, and his father and I were Thing 1 &2, all homemade. I saw some really cute costume ideas on pinterest. I wanted to make Cookie Monster for Kaeden and Elmo for Colton. However, the fabric stores in rural Bremen did not cooperate. They did not have the colors I needed to make Elmo and Cookie Monster costumes. The fabric they did have would have needed to be dyed, without a true color guarantee (meaning Elmo could turn out maroon and Cookie Monster navy), plus a price tag of over $14 a yard. Well that defeats the purpose of sewing a costume when you require at least two yards per costume and factor in the price of dye and trims!

We settled on a Yo Gabba Gabba themed costume from *sigh* Party City.  Kaeden wore the Brobee costume which he loved. It also went with his Birthday theme, a Yo Gabba Gabba Dancey Dance Birthday.  At the camp there were many Halloween activities that he participated in. He rode the hay ride and painted a pumpkin. He went on a candy hunt and even won third place for the boy’s costume contest. While it may have only been third place, Kaeden felt that he won and told Grandma so. After the costume contest they held a dance party. Kaeden danced from the first song until the last. The events were held on the Saturday prior to Halloween. So when Halloween actually came we went to a local Church’s trunk or treat and had even more fun. They had little games set up for the kids to play like ring toss to earn their candy treats.

While things haven’t been perfect, we had a wonderful start to our holiday season. I enjoy creating these memories with my family.  Because you don’t grow up and remember how much or little money your family had growing up. However, you DO remember the special things you did and the time you spent together.  Next post will fill you in on Thanksgiving in a motorhome. I promise. Thanks again for sharing this journey!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day in the life

Birds chirping, rays of gentle sunshine warming my face, the smell of gourmet coffee filling the air, gentle breeze blowing through the trees and flowers... drool oozing down my cheek.... wait drool...what?    "SLAP... Momma wake up, you're sleeping, wake up!"

I awake to a demanding toddler, dreams of drinking a cup of coffee while lounging in the morning sun and listening to birds sing... quickly vanish. Back to reality, to my REAL life. Sounds much like your life you say? Maybe, especially if you are a mom or dad. I've received feedback on Facebook that wanted to know more about what life my life is like on a typical day. I don't have typical days, but I am more than happy to try and oblige.

Day in the Life:        I am a Fulltime RV Road Schooling Gypsy Mom

830am: Alarm goes off. One eye opens with raised eyebrow. Snooze button hit.

835am: Snooze expires, Alarm goes off again. I place pillow over my head. Snooze hit again.

845am: Alarm sounds...again. This time, before eyebrow raising, Que is up. He does his morning routine in what many would consider record time.

858am: Que leaves for his morning commute. Wait is a walk across the park a commute? What about just com since it's so short...?...Mute better? No, oh well, I tried.

900am Que is at work. I lay in the bed, wide awake.

930am Lay in the bed and beg sleep to return. Wait for it. Wait for it.

935am A little head pops up. A dialogue ensues:
Kaeden: "Momma. Momma. Momma. Ma. Ma."
Me:        "What?"
 Kaeden: "I gotta go potty"

9:36am: Potty; This is the last potty break on the timeline, WAY too many to post.

9:40am: Breakfast. I'd like to say that every day we eat some awesome culinary creation, but mostly its just eggs, turkey bacon, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, bagels/toast, or something similarly simple on rotation. Today it is Pancake and Sausage muffins( but only bc I found the idea on pinterest, made a bunch and froze them for homemade convenience food).

10:00am Clean up both breakfast and bodies. Pretty typical brushing teeth, washing hands and dishes.

10:17am School is in session. But not really. I grab my basket and we head outside. First, I let Kaeden get some energy out and free play with outside toys. There is no point in trying to force a toddler to sit when they are so full of kinetic energy.

10:42am School is in session, for real this time. I run inside quickly, grab a juice box and raisins, put water on low setting stove for experiment, then I get my book for the morning, Today we are reading Listen to the Rain by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault. Usually it doesn't take much to get his attention. I open the book and begin to "read" to myself and laugh out loud. OR it could be the allure of juice and fruit. Either way, I got the spark I needed, he notices and comes over curious. I introduce the book and ask if he'd like to sit down and read it. He agrees. Score! We read the book, taking time to play with the language of the rain sounds.{Sometimes he plays another 10, 15, 20, 30 mins. At some point he gets thirsty, hungry, tired...whatever, but I wait until he is ready to abandon his toys and sit. Once he wants to sit, I can keep his attention way better than had I ended his play time myself.}
Book time ends with my question, "Where does rain come from?" Answer: "Oh, rain? Ummm, rain in the sky." Well at least I have direction. We do a quick nod to the scientific method that I prepared. The sheet is a picture representation of the question posed. I pre-selected three pictures(to glue) as possible answers, a cloud, a bird and a house. He says no to all three. Perhaps because the picture of the cloud is not in the sky? But this is still an acceptable hypothesis. I ask him if he wants to draw a sky he says yes. I give him crayons and he scribbles draws something, that we call and label "sky".

11:08am Science time! Our wonderful book inspired Kaeden and I to find out exactly where rain comes from. Ok, really I just manipulated  guided it by having the experiment ready and cool looking. Had I fumbled around for more than a minute with just the promise of something cool, I would have lost him again to toys, running and/or mud. So I dash in for the boiling water, grab some ice from the freezer and carefully bring it out. We do the rain in a bottle experiment. { Note: I wrapped the inside of the bottle(where the ice goes) with white paper to make visual "clouds".}  I explain how the water gets hot, becomes water vapor aka clouds, cools then turns into rain. I throw out the word condensation and precipitation and he repeats both. Score! I pull the our hypothesis out and ask if we were right. Yes, rain comes from clouds in the sky. Should you be curious where this unit takes a two yo next, here is the link for tomorrow's science. Feel free to email a request for the lesson plan, book lists or other resources used for the water and wind unit(or any other) I am always happy to share;)

11:29 Extension play time/Math! I give Kaeden a magic bottle and tell him that he can make it rain. I provide him with a wagon full of water(to refill his bottle) and some measuring cups, funnels and bowls. He looks at me as if I just made him king of the world and goes at it begins work. Off for more play experimentation. I observe while I check my fb and blog do important things on my computer.

12:23 Oops, lunch prep time is a little late! Darn  fb  work. We leave the water outside and head back in our RV to begin lunch prep. Kaeden was not ready to leave the play, but when I mentioned food, food won. Simple chicken salad sandwiches for today. Kaeden enjoys helping so we mix the ingredients together so he helps there, but loses interest when sandwich assembly begins. Luckily, starting at 12 Calliou is on for an hour on Sprout. I turn it on and hide my face in shame. I also finish my lunch prep, wash dishes used, and cut some watermelon and wrap some portions for snacks. Kaeden? Still glued to Calliou. *hangs head

1:05 Dad is home from work and joins the family for lunch. Silence, save the occasional crunch of a chip.

1:20 Dad and Kaeden lay down to watch tv take a nap. Dad chooses the science channel. Kaeden falls into sleep within minutes. I explain to dad that he must take notes today, including times, when I go to work. He agrees. I go through my notes and add little details(before I forget).

2:13 Kaeden pops up. I ask Dad if he wants to take on a lesson or two. He agrees. They go outside to work shape sorting puzzles. I watch some tv.

2:26 Dad peeks back in. Dad: "What's next?" Me: "Wanna do art?" Dad: "Sure. What's art?" Me: "Oh, um it's mud painting." Dad: "-_-"

2:30 Dad and Kaeden made a bowl of mud. Dad gets out the paper. 10 big sheets wasn't enough. Fail. So Dad puts remaining mud into the wagon. Kaeden likes Dads idea and engages.

3:40 Dad and I look at our son and shake our heads. We give each other the look, you know the silent long pause look that confirms "MY BAD".

4:00 Impromptu midday shower. After Kaeden's mud bath painting I helped him shower off.

4:34 We finish showering just in time to see the reptile show. Kaeden feeds Iggy the iguana, Stinky the moniker, Scooby Doo the blue tongue skink. He also plays with Lucy the boa constrictor, King Caesar the giant tortoise and his tortoise buddies.

4:55 While Kaeden is still with Dad and the reptiles, I run home to put away our shower things.

5:00 Time for me to go to work. I remind Dad about notes, he nods.Dad and Kaeden ride the train.

6:00ish Dad and Kaeden go for a nature walk. They see 2 rabbits, 1 grasshopper, and lots of birds, butterflies and other flying insects.

6:45ish Dad allows Kaeden to play with his bestie, Colton(who is also two).

7:00 ish The boys share snacks and waters...quickly,

8:02 I return home from work. Kaeden and Colton are still playing outside. Hugs and kisses from the two best two year olds.

8:05 Dinner is working. We are having meatballs and rice. I cooked the meatballs in advance and froze, so really only the rice is cooking. We sit outside and share another book, this time Rain Drop Splash by Alvin Tresselt. Dads turn to read!

8:25 Dinner begins. Followed by our nite time routine. It's nothing uber fancy like a song and dance that magically takes kiddos away to dream land, just typical bed time stuff: brush your teeth, use the potty, make sure you got all the worms, all of them, that one yes, read a book, fall asleep. You know, the usual.

9:45 Kaeden sound asleep. PARTY TIME!

9:46 Grown up bed time routine. Clean up, mess with my hair groom, watch tv, read.

11:45 Power down.

4:49 Rudely awakened by uber bright lights and a crash.

6:55 "I didn't do it"

9:13 Slap! "Momma, wake up!"

I hope this glance into our day gives you some perspective of what it is like being a fulltime RV road schooling mom. I have found that when I share this detail of my lifestyle in conversation most people have very different (and sometimes absurd) images that come to mind. While this lifestyle is not for every one, I hope that somewhere, someone is inspired.  I feel very fortunate that our family can share this life and experience with eachother and moreso to share our ins and outs with you.

If you have questions regarding our day that you find still unanswered PLEASE feel free to comment below. Thanks!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Another year, A Fresh Start

Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.
—Hal Borland

One year ago I was much like any other typical American. I was getting my a** handed to me beaten down by the economy. I had downsized from a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath house to a two bedroom apartment to compensate for the financial strain. Savings were on life support, prices were rising and disasters, the costly kind, lurked around every corner. Then life decided that we were dealing with our hard times too gracefully and threw a wrench in our well planned coping strategies. We were successfully handling living with one income instead of two, why not no income at all? Yes, in the middle of the largest unemployment season in our lifetime we found our household without any income at all. Trying to make a budget of $0 work is impossible and savings can only stretch so far. In addition, Atlanta was far from the best city to live in unemployed with a hiring environment of at least 1000 applicants to one position, at best.We found ourselves in an impossible situation and we lost big. Being homeless is a situation that many of us never believe will happen, at least not to us. We are careful, educated, hard working and homelessness is something that doesn't happen as a result of being "that kind of person". It happens to unfocused, uneducated druggie winos not hard working, intelligent people. Luckily, we were offered a way to turn things around. We secured employment elsewhere and family helped us move from Atlanta, GA to Birmingham, AL. There we settled into two new jobs, a modest rental house and after a couple of months, life seemed to normalize again. The problem is that this "fresh start" didn't seem fresh at all. It reeked of familiar frustrations and a haunting doom lurking over our shoulders.

I found myself unhappy as I had been in Atlanta. I felt stifled and trapped. It was as if life was a never ending loop of meaningless tasks that accomplished an invisible, unrewarding goal. Depression overtook my bubbly persona and I became a social recluse. To make matters more complicated, towards the end of the year, my maternal grandmother suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. Luckily, she survived but not before many long weeks of not knowing whether she'd make it through the surgeries, the stress of the surgeries on her aging body and immune system, not to mention the complications. When I returned to Alabama, I saw my tired excuse of an existence and felt ashamed. I felt as if I were wasting my life away. I had (and still have) an awesome partner, a wonderful child, yet life didn't seem meaningful.

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
— Alfred D. Souza
It took some time to figure out how to bring meaning and happiness to my life. It took abandoning my comfort zone and seeking a new way of living life, a real fresh start. That meant taking an idea off the back-burner, for when enough money was saved and putting it in the forefront of our plans. It meant stripping all the expectations given to me by others and creating my own. Armed with courage, support and a new dream we abandoned the American dream for our own.

It is hard to let old beliefs go. They are familiar. We are comfortable with them and have spent years building systems and developing habits that depend on them. Like a man who has worn eyeglasses so long that he forgets he has them on, we forget that the world looks to us the way it does because we have become used to seeing it that way through a particular set of lenses. Today, however, we need new lenses. And we need to throw the old ones away.
— Kenich Ohmae

We began our journey of living our dream in a motorhome and seeing the United States in February on 2012. Since then, six months have passed. In those six months alone, I have lived a life full of more passion and meaning than the last 10 years combined. I've embraced the magic in sunrises, evening walks and smiles. I released the attachment of wanting more stuff, keeping up appearances and worrying about what others think of me. In the last year alone my family has gone from rock bottom to living a dream. Don't be disillusioned to think it was easy, that there weren't sacrifices or that we are finished with our transformation. Instead, feel inspired, be challenged and examine what is keeping you from living your own dream.
Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?— Mary Manin Morrissey

Life doesn't have to be the plan that you wrote when you were 21 or the one given to you by your parents and teachers when you were 18. Instead it is an ever changing, ever evolving journey. Be open to new experiences, overcoming challenges and bringing about change. What could you accomplish in one year? If you are open to hard work, overcoming challenges and stripping away all that is unnecessary, the possibilities are as endless as your potential and as unique as you.
We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is awaiting us.... The old skin has to be shed before the new one is to come.
— Joseph Campbell

Good luck on your journey.  Thank you for sharing in our journey!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Life IS Change

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” –Jim Rohn

Change is life. Life is change. There is little no sense in fighting to remain stagnant. Yet, making the transition from caterpillar to butterfly isn't easy either. Change requires tasks that are seen(and known), i.e. feasting on leaves, making the cocoon but also has its components that can't be witnessed( and many don't even know take place), i.e. phases of transformation, actual metamorphosis. Change takes courage, endurance, perseverance and patience. All of this has been true for our own life changes. Despite the thoughtful planning, strategic plotting, and careful consideration we gave our transition, we still encountered chaotic instances of chance that made us want to curl up in a ball and cry for mommy hardships and challenges. This was the price we had to pay to achieve great change.

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” -Deepak Chopra

It began when researching a possible work camp opening in Georgia. The position appeared out of the blue when life canceled our plans of going far West to Utah. The first thing I did after we spoke with the owners was consult my many Rver groups on the web. The community of fulltime RVers is a close knit and supportive one, so who best to give us information on this particular business than those who have worked and/or visited? While the groups have been a valuable resource in many other instances, this was not one of them. The feedback I received was very negative. Some said they had a lot of turn over in staffing, others said the park wasn't a nice place, and others said that they had been warned not to work at the park by many other RVers. We discussed the opportunity and feedback, deciding to pursue our own experience(hoping not to regret it).

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” 
― Eckhart Tolle

Oh boy! What an experience life had for us on moving day. Despite my checklists, handy research or any other part of our preparation, moving day was a complete nightmare full of challenges and opportunity for significant growth. To give you a quick glimpse without tramatizing boring you, according to mileage the trip should take two hours or so being generous to allow for my speed racer traveling speed of 60 mph in the camper. The trip was planned to launch at 10 am, it launched at 4 pm. Based on these figures we should have arrived at out destination at 6 pm Central or 7 pm Eastern. We arrived at 4 am. I am proud to say that despite our many reasons to give up, we worked together (with eachother, family and even complete strangers) until we reached our destination.

When we arrived, I immediately put Kaeden in his bed. (He'd been sleeping/traveling in his car seat) Que and I began the process of setting the camper up. As we finally got the camper ready to greet us to a long awaited and deserved night's sleep the sun came up. Instead of rushing to sleep, Que and I watched the glorious sun rise. It's light radiated across the sky and the warmth kissed our face. At that moment the fatigue of the previous day's trials faded away and a new feeling emerged. Happiness? Fulfillment? Freedom? Triumph?  I couldn't narrow it down to just one. It was a feeling of triumph for the challenges we'd overcome, a feeling of happiness and fulfillment for having chased our dreams and a feeling of peace for seeing them realized. There was also the flutter of butterflies in my stomach, reminding me that this was only the beginning.

How are you realizing your dreams? What will you turn to when you face those tough challenges that will try to discourage you? How can you grow from these challenges? Here is some inspiration for you while you begin or continue your own journey. Best of luck to you!

"Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it." 
— Mother Teresa

"She had just realized there were two things that prevent us from achieving our dreams: believing them to be impossible or seeing those dreams made possible by some sudden turn of the wheel of fortune, when you least expected it. For at that moment, all our fears suddenly surface: the fear of setting off along a road heading who knows where, the fear of a life full of new challenges, the fear of losing forever everything that is familiar." 
— Paulo Coelho (The Devil and Miss Prym)

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Absence makes the heart grow fonder and the readers grow bored.

I am so sorry for the abrupt absence.  Life went to hell in a handbasket got complicated. When we last left off, we were planning to work camp somewhere West of the Mississippi River beginning in July.

Life is what happens when you're busy making plans 

Right? Exactly, plans didn't happen, life happened. We had some illness in the family, combined with a kink in our finances, combined with some mechanical and technical difficulties with our camper. Long story short: no one died, we tightened our belts and are still without air. I still consider it a victory because you can never forget that things can always get worse.

Since life demanded we make changes, that is what we did. We postponed the West of the Mississippi part of our work camping job search and adapted it to be closer to family. After much review we chose the position at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Camp in Bremen, GA. Yes, we were told it didn't live up to the website. Yes, we were told Yogi Bear Camps were hard work. But, if you go on what people tell you in life, you won't experience anything for yourself.

We plan to move on Tuesday, July 24th, begin work on Saturday, July 28th and are super excited! It has an adult and kiddie pool, train ride, hay ride, peddle carts, mini golf, playgrounds, mini arcade, indoor activities, animal habitat and is filled with wild ducks and rabbits. We are anxious to see Kaeden's(2) reaction to the park. I will be posting updates and pics soon! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How Did We Get HERE ?

Once upon a time, I lived in a place where each dwelling looked much like the dwelling next door, where green grass was manicured and life was good. All of the people worked somewhere in the city,  all of the children went to the local schools and life was good. Each day was just like the one before and life was good. One day I awoke to find I had everything I wanted and life was good. Life was so good in fact that I had trouble finding the source of my great unhappiness. I had reached all my goals and life was good  yet I found myself feeling unfulfilled, stifled. I had a family, a good job and a nice house so why wouldn't I be happy?

My first thought was it must be a connection problem between myself and creator. I then set out on a journey to explore my spiritual shortcomings. I began a spiritual blog, The Spiritual Feast, and began to really engage my relationship with my creator. I wrote about how material items diverted much of our attention from the natural world towards the superficial, consumer driven world. I realized that these things were causing traits like greed, desire and envy to exist within me. Despite my ability to understand that this unhealthy attachment to things was keeping me from becoming the me I wanted to be. Understanding the concept was simple. Reinforcing the principles behind the concept was far from simple.

Before I could act on these self discoveries and make appropriate changes in my life, the economy changed. I lost my great job. Two months later, my fiance lost his job too. We got rid of our house and downsized to an apartment while we worked our new jobs. After moving to another state we were able to recover and find comfort again. Yet, I still found myself plagued by the same unhappiness I had experienced before. 

We found ourselves at a very tricky crossroads. We could begin to reconstruct our lives as we had  before or we could dare to change. After close examination we realized our previous dream had only been a product of the culture in which we were raised, a dream written by others and imposed on us. Many people will ask, "How did someone impose a dream on you?" Simple, both my fiance and I grew up in the inner city (Chicago, Brooklyn respectively) where children are taught there are two paths in life, good and bad. One path is a revolving door and the other an exit. The revolving door spins you around and puts you right back in the life you were trying to escape. The other path, the exit was a chance to leave the life you grew up in for something better. 

We had lived our lives according to the myth that there were only these specific two roads in life, good and bad. The first step to creating our new dream was to shatter the myth that there were designated roads to happiness. This transformation of thinking empowered us to create our own dream without worrying about fitting in with norms created by society, our culture or our families. We explored all those dreams that had been on the sitting on the backburner until we had our lives in "order".  You know the "if I won the lottery" or "after we pay this off we will ..." dreams. Our most compelling options were travel and home ownership (without debt).

After much research and debate, we decided to achieve  both. We decided to become a full time RV family traveling and working our way around the United States. Since then, we have purchased an RV, purged 90% of our worldy possessions, reside in the RV working locally. Our plans to travel and work kamp begin this summer and take us to Utah near the Grand Staircase. Some people don't quite understand our desire to escape conventional life. Others understand and even envy our ability to break free of societal/cultural limitations to embark on an journey where our purpose is ever evolving. On this new road we hope to live our dream of finding adventure, knowledge, connectivity with the earth, friendship and closeness as a family. On this journey of growth and discovery, we hope to gradually  leave selfishness, materialism and the obsession with impressions behind in the dust.

I do hope this provides those straddling the fence with some insight of how we came to the decision to leave mainstream and forge ahead a path all our own. For more insight to our process and progress thus far read:The SearchThe PlanThe PurgeThe Dream and The Myth.

This blog post is part of a blog hop. Continue the journey of searching, discovery and choices with Break out of Bushwick. . My favorite part, one we can all identify with no matter what life we lead:
I felt like I was living someone else’s life. Indeed, I was living someone else’s life. Melissa- at least, the Melissa I recognized- was gone.
This mom decided to Choose Life and I can't wait to read about her adventures abroad.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pursuit of Happiness

I was so impressed with this article I had to share it on my blog. Many of us have given up the traditional life to pursue happiness. I am afraid that if these things aren't included in the transformation that we may be disappointed in our quest for fulfillment. I found this on Purpose Fairy Blog.
I hope you enjoy this and find it helpful in becoming the person you want to be.
Stay posted to our life as it unfolds as The Golden Gypsies...

15 Things You Should Give up to be Happy

Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:
 There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?”Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?
Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu
 Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.
 Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle
about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle
 Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.
Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.
 Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” 
Joseph Campbell
 Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer
Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.
“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.
I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.
This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another,  attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.
Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.  You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Nomadiquette- is a code of behavior that defines expectations for social behavior according to non-contemporary nomadic groups.

Being a newbie to the nomadic lifestyle, I personally have had anxiety about being accepted and welcomed by the nomadic groups that I encounter. It was something about knowing or learning the non-spoken law of the ever changing land. Since the beginning of our transition into full-timers I have learned some rules, but realized that there are others that I (and some others) wish existed. Here is a wish list of nomadiquette. Thank you to all of the FB groups members that helped with input!


1. Respect other's right to privacy and personal space. 
Just because you have no permanent land doesn't mean you don't want or deserve personal or private space. Majority of full-timers enjoy fellowship but not at the cost of privacy. Entering someones yard or site is similar to entering someones house...don't do it without permission.

2. Respect other's right to be different. 
We have our choice to travel in common. However, our reasons, resources, beliefs, customs, habits, hobbies, parenting styles, experiences, outlooks, attitudes, race, religion and whatever else may not be common. Discussing these things as a form of education, understanding and/or reaching out are fine but don't use these differences as opportunity to judge, belittle, preach, talk down or convert people. They have as much right to be different as you do.

3. POLITELY take your problems to the source. 
No one likes a tattle tale. No one can solve a problem they don't know exists. If you wish for a problem to have a solution, try talking to the source before any other action. Simply addressing the person(s) and having a non-accusatory conversation can alleviate majority of problems that arise. Most people would have no problem addressing the issue, if only you would politely ask.

4. When it is possible, help others. When you have information/ knowledge, share it.
There are moments when you see people reaching into the universe for information...You know the signs, confused look on their face, looking around with hand(s) on chin or hip, scratching their head.... Sometimes it is a simple answer to a question, suggestion or reference that is needed. We all have and will find ourselves in the position of needing assistance. Five minutes from your day could make the absolute difference in someone else's. Don't information hoard. If you find some great group, site, tutorial, recipe, attraction, service...then share the knowledge!   If there is some information or knowledge that could help them or save them a lot of wasted time, energy, money, pain... then share knowledge.

5. Clean after yourself and pet. 
No one likes other people's or pets nastiness. Use courtesy when using common areas by cleaning after your self, children and pets. Throw your trash away, clean the lint trap, flush the toilet and pick up pet poop.

6. Leave parenting to the parents. 
Unless you see a child engaging in an activity that could cause bodily harm/ danger leave the parenting to the parents.( i.e. running with a butcher knife, near a cliff,  near a rattlesnake) If you see something that alarms you, speak with the parent and voice your concern. BUT, understand that your concern may not be a concern to them and respect their right to parent. This goes for pet parents too. We all have different views of pet care. Unless the pet is being abused or tortured, don't judge or impose your pet care beliefs on others. (crates, tethers, inside/outside)

7. Introduce yourself first (not your blog, business, website) 
Nomads love to support other nomads' ventures. But more important is the opportunity to meet, learn, and experience someone/thing new. There is more life value in meeting people rather than clients or customers. If during conversation business or blogs come up, fine but don't introduce yourself for the sole purpose of advertisement. We got away from mainstream so we could experience life, not be bombarded with advertisements.

8. Don't ASSUME. 
If the Rv's a rockin', ASSUME their are kids inside! (what did you think Stephanie Mulac was going to say?) Things can seem to be something entirely different from what they actually are. People can jump to conclusions, react to misunderstandings and pass judgement on people because they did not see the entire picture or fully understand a situation. If you have a question, ask. If there is a matter that you feel you must address, before taking any action consider: a)whether action is necessary.  b) whether it is your place to take action. c)whether the action you take is in violation of nomatiquette rules 1, 2, 3, 6 or campground rules.

9. Don't Gossip.
No one likes to be the subject of gossip. No one likes their business being spread around. Whether you are in person or online, direct or indirect- RESPECT other people's right to privacy. Only share information that you have been asked or given permission to share.

10. If you can't SMILE and enjoy where you are, move.  
We all want to enjoy life! As people who travel for a lifestyle, there are always other places to see, visit and experience. If along the journey you find a bad experience leave it behind on the way to the next great experience because there are plenty. Some situations, places or weather just don't suit us or are unpleasant. Don't allow the negativity to ruin your day, week, month, year! The best part of this lifestyle is if you are unhappy with your surroundings unplug and move. There is somewhere out there where you can SMILE.
Thank you to the wonderful groups that help(ed) me when I am(was) lost:

And thank you again to the people who contributed to this post by commenting in the Facebook groups. Check out their blogs:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

World changers are never seen as the super geniuses they are when they risk deviation from the norm to explore life's possibilities. It is only after the success of their risk that they are taken for what they are, revolutionary. At times, this validation comes much later, after the world has had time to understand and accept life's new different possibilities. Until people are ready to accept change, those that strive to seek change will always be seen as deranged. 

Society exists according to the thoughts and beliefs of the people within it, challenging the accepted norm challenges the comfort which stability provides, however false it may be. While some thrive living confined in the box, accepting the reality provided, others seek the possibility of shaping their own reality. If you are one of those people, I have something to share with you. If not, it is never too late in your life to change and become one of those people. 

By no means do I claim to have Tesla genius or Ghandi wisdom. I did however learn a valuable lesson from the stories of history's world changers:

Society will always find flaw with the way you conduct your life. People will always question whether your methods, beliefs, choices, values, decisions are best, valid or correct. (Especially if you broadcast it to the world through a blog!) Regardless of the courage in your heart, the logic in your head or the conviction in your soul that the path you chose is right, doubt (in the human form mostly) will inevitably find you and when you are most vulnerable, strike.

Courage is defined as : mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Not the ability to make right decisions, avoid a fall, or inherently escape failure. It is the ability to face challenges, deterrents, and even our mistakes and to survive, to persevere through them. A world changer's most important quality is courage, the courage to break away from the known, the courage to face the unknown and the courage to discover the unknown knowns in life, that is the things we know but don't yet understand the meaning or importance of.

Part of being a world changer is following the drive within you that propels you forward, through trials, missteps and onward toward discovery and truth, in spite of what is popular or accepted. The point I am trying to make is live life according to your own standard. You will, as humans do, make mistakes and stumble. But this will happen whether you "play it safe" and follow the rules or "walk on the wild side" and write your own rules. World changers can't worry about the being accepted by society, instead they worry about accepting less than life has to offer. Don't allow others opinions, limitations or fears to dictate or determine your potential. No discovery, truth or greatness was ever found inside a box or within limits. 

I know we all need this reassurance every now and then, you wouldn't be reading this if you liked living in a box. Waking each day ready and open to where life has to lead you takes courage. Take this as the pat of encouragement or the universe sending you a message: Be courageous, be strong, be happy, but most of you. And when you question yourself, answer yourself...but not out loud in public...that's crazy. 

I'd love to hear your comments and stories of how you were questioned, shamed, or discouraged from living life according to the change you wish to see. Feel free to share how you overcame, reacted or responded to this negative energy.

Some quotes for you world changers:

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” 
― Paulo CoelhoThe Devil and Miss Prym

"Be the change you wish to see in the world"

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” 
― Lao Tzu

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
-Apple Inc.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” 
― Barack Obama

“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” 
― Libba BrayThe Sweet Far Thing

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” 
― Mother Teresa

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Escape from the Concrete Prison

Growing up in Brooklyn, my relationship with nature as a child was quite limited. My knowledge of nature, even more so. In fact, my life in relation to nature was limited to visits to Sunset park, the library and what I saw on tv.  My environment served as a concrete prison, keeping me encased in a man made world of greys and blacks, a world of sadness and desperation.The perverted versions of nature in the asphalt and concrete sea that surrounded my world featured small green patches of grass and the occasional tree. There were no bird nests, song birds or squirrels in these trees, instead there were pigeons, my idea of rats with wings. The sounds of the morning were the roar of the bus, the screech of the train and the occasional "shut up" shouted from a third story window.

However, there were a few moments in my life that I was able to engage fully with nature. Summer time meant beach visits to Coney Island, a trip I looked forward to each year. Looking back, a beach filled with littered sand, polluted sea water  and plastic bag jellyfish should hardly be considered communing with nature. Yet, it was at these times I was able to run freely along the sand with the salt wind whipping my hair behind me, feel the sun kiss my skin with its radiant energy, submerge into the weightless care free world underwater and enjoy feeling connected to something more, something bigger than myself.

In my teenage years, we moved South to Alabama. I cried as I watched the sun disappear and with it, my known reality as we crossed the Verazano Bridge for the last time. Although we moved to the city of Hoover, which was also more developed than rural, at last nature was around me. My building was surrounded by trees and grass. There were flowers, hills, lakes, rocks, birds and squirrels. I spent my free time outside climbing trees, walking nature paths, and soaking up sun until it set.

When thinking of my childhood and the desire to spend as much time as possible outside engaged in play I am saddened. I know that with this generation, modern childhood play has evolved into virtual relationships with tv, video games, cellphones and computers, in other words sedentary activity. After hours of this zombie play, children are left with their natural energy and no outlet. At school and even when with parents, this energy expresses itself in the inability to focus the mind, still the body and follow directions. There are lots of contributing factors, but mainly nature deficient play is to blame. More accurately, lack of active play outdoors engaged in physical activity is to blame. Let me elaborate.

Children should actively engage in play and exploration outdoors as often as weather will allow. This statement is not a mysterious wonder of the universe, most adults would agree with it, whether they hold a degree in education, health, exercise, forestry or none at all. Yet, our society excludes this message at all costs, on all levels. The message our society does send: Nature is scary and your doom, it is inconvenient, messy, boring and should be avoided at all costs! From the way we construct cities, structure schools, organize activities and the media we consume, we restrict our dealings with nature to a minimum and instead inject an impostor, that is synthetic nature. Yes, synthetic nature, you've seen it, you know the manicured lawn that is dyed green, or the stone, concrete and rubber water feature in your neighborhood park. This need for synthetic nature, the need to control and improve nature is rooted so deep in this culture that is even seen in our scientific motives to control natural rhythmic cycles and force bio-engineering and genetic modification. We as a society are sent a message to detach from natural and rely on man's ingenuity, we should get the latest gadget and be connected with the people of the world but not the actual earth we inhabit. We should eat global food and not participate or even know its origin or development. We should consume resources blindly without understanding their renew-ability or lack thereof. This lack of a connection with nature is hurting our children, our selves and our society.

I am not the only person that has detected that the need for human interaction with nature is becoming increasingly important. I recently read a wonderful book, in fact wanting to read and finish this book delayed my blog post. Sorry to all my regular readers, I had to finish it so I could finish this post. It is worth the read, Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.He coins the term Nature Deficit Disorder. It is not a medical condition, it describes our lack of a relationship to the environment. It hurts our children, our families, our communities and our environment. He links this to behavior disorders, health problems like obesity and depression, as well as a lack of knowledge and respect for nature. He argues that the implications are:
  • Children have limited respect for their immediate natural surroundings. Louv says the effects of Nature Deficit Disorder on our children will be an even bigger problem in the future. "An increasing pace in the last three decades, approximately, of a rapid disengagement between children and direct experiences in nature… has profound implications, not only for the health of future generations but for the health of the Earth itself." The effects from Nature Deficit Disorder could lead to the first generation being at risk of having a shorter lifespan then their parents.
  • Attention disorders and depression may develop. "It's a problem because kids who don't get nature-time seem more prone to anxiety, depression and attention-deficit problems." Louv suggests that going outside and being in the quiet and calm can help greatly. According to t a University of Illinois study, interaction with nature has proven to reduce symptoms of ADD in children. According to research, "Overall, our findings indicate that exposure to ordinary natural settings in the course of common after-school and weekend activities may be widely effective in reducing attention deficit symptoms in children."  Attention Restoration Theory develops this idea further, both in short term restoration of one's abilities, and the long term ability to cope with stress and adversity.
  • Following the development of ADD and mood disorders, lower grades in school also seem to be related to NDD. Louv claims that "studies of students in California and nationwide show that schools that use outdoor classrooms and other forms of experiential education produce significant student gains in social studies, science, language arts, and math".
  • Childhood obesity has become a growing problem. About 9 million children (ages 6–19) are overweight or obese. The Institute of Medicine claims that over the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled for adolescents and more than tripled for children aged 6–11.
  • In an interview on Public School Insight, Louv stated some positive effects of treating Nature Deficit Disorder, "everything from a positive effect on the attention span to stress reduction to creativity, cognitive development, and their sense of wonder and connection to the earth."

We must work to heal this broken bond our society possesses with nature. We must engage in nature, with our children and in our communities. We must find the innate natural bond we all possess with the earth and its life. We must try to allow our children to grow and develop their own bond with nature through family activities and time to explore independently. There are so many opportunities to engage nature! Take a camping trip, in the nearest park or your own back yard. Visit the farmer's market, a farm, or even in an urban setting, the botanical gardens. There are so many opportunities to get your family involved with nature, from the small like camping in your yard to the big like living in a RV and exploring the United States. Whatever your commitment level, big or small, your child, your life, your community can benefit from some quality nature time.  So put down the matrix, get motivated, get out and experience real life!

Need more help getting active?
Visit a National Park for FREE during National Park Week April 21-29th
Take a walk in the local park
Go birding
Ride your bike around the neighborhood or park
Plant a garden
Enroll your child in a nature based camp
Go camping
Cant find a group? Start one!

Link up with a local organization:
Children and Nature Network  
Boy Scouts  
Girl Scouts 
Outward Bound  
Wildlife Conservation Society 
Earth Explore Adventures  
National Audubon Society 
Into the Outside 
Ecological Literacy Program
Geography Action  
Sierra Club  
The Society for Amateur Scientists  
National Environmental Directory

"Along with milk and vegetables, kids need a steady diet of rocks and worms
Rocks need skipping.
Holes need digging.
Water needs splashing.
Bugs and frogs and slimy stuff need finding"
Go Rving

"Nature is just enough; but men and women must comprehend and accept her suggestions."
Antoinette Brown Blackwell

"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
An eternity in an hour.:
William Blake
"Children are born naturalist. They explore the world with all their senses, experiment in the environment, and communicate their discoveries to those around them. "
The Aubudon Nature Preschool

1."A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful, is dimmed and even lost  before we reach adulthood."

2."Play, Incorporating Animistic and Magical Thinking Is Important Because It:
Fosters the healthy, creative and emotional growth of a child;
Forms the best foundation for later intellectual growth.
Provides a way in which children get to know the world and creates possibilities for different ways of responding to it.
Fosters empathy and wonder."

"By suggestion and example, I believe children can be helped to hear the many voices about them.  Take Time to listen and talk about the voices of the earth and what they mean—the majestic voice of thunder, the winds, the sound of surf or flowing streams."

 "For the child. . . it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused - a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and the unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love - then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response . . . It is more important to pave the way for a child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts that he is not ready to assimilate."

1-3 Rachel Carson

"Children the world over have a right to a childhood filled with beauty, joy, adventure, and companionship. They will grow toward ecological literacy if the soil they are nurtured in is rich with experience, love, and good examples."
Alan Dyer

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature."
Anne Frank