Tag Archives: changing plans

Finding Our Balance

It has been awhile since I have written. Time always brings change and the last two months have been no exception. As the dust settles it’s easier to have perspective.

We drove out of Mexico in late December and headed for our old home of Colorado. We had reserved a VRBO rental in downtown Denver, and have lived there since we arrived. We now own a condo in the Spire building — a highrise in the heart of the 16th Street Mall area. This will be the home base from which we will be “making tracks” in the future. We move into the condo in a week or two once the floors have been redone.

After having lived for two years with only the possessions that fit in our Chevy Blazer, the tasks of the next few weeks seem surreal. It seems foreign, but we have purchased a couch, bed frame, and mattress. We will be flying soon to visit the storage space in Chicago we filled in February of 2013 before leaving to spend most of the year in San Miguel de Allende. I fully expect it to feel like opening somebody else’s time capsule. What are all these items? What would anyone possibly need them for? What here could actually enrich someone’s life vs. what is clutter and distraction? That’s what I expect to be asking myself when the door rolls up.

We will be furnishing the condo to be able to rent out as a monthly corporate furnished apartment, but want to stay true to the minimalist principles we’ve come to enjoy. Of course a couple flat screen TVs, a compact stereo, and some kitchen items will make the trip back west with us. However, with the condo being a tad over 900 square feet, much from our previous lives will be (happily) left behind. I’m sure some of what does come with us will end up on EBay. Then we can settle in, spit and polish, and start the process of advertising for renters. The adventure of getting out and hitting the road again begins when we have paying tenants. We welcome the idea of the unpredictability of what lies ahead.

I do miss Mexico already. I miss the warmth and friendliness of the weather, and of the people. too. I miss the pace of each day and how it feels removed from the ticking of a clock, and how “manana” doesn’t mean tomorrow…..it just means not today. I miss that even the roosters crow on and off all day, when they want, and not just at dawn. I miss the joyousness of the culture and the day-to-day activity in and around the Centro and Jardin.

We will get back there. We will explore other places too……probably many more and more often, even if for shorter trips. The reality is that if we are going to spend significant time in the States each year this move makes a lot of sense. Months of furnished rentals in the States are expensive. Months of a rental in Mexico and many other destinations……not so much. This year will be about both adventure and stability — and finding the balance.

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Christmas Approaches in San Miguel, and Maya Angelou Points to the Way Home

It’s Christmas time in San Miguel de Allende. The mornings and evenings are cool and crisp. The light in the afternoon seems brighter, more intense. Families prepare their presents for each other. The streets are filled with poinsettias, posada processions, and festive decorations.

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After a two-year four-wheel walkabout (driveabout?) Traci and I have decided to give ourselves a gift. We’re going to give ourselves a home. We’ve road-tripped and crisscrossed the U.S. We have spent a winter on the ocean in the Baja Norte of Mexico. We have enjoyed two long stretches of time here in Mexico’s mountainous Central Highlands. Now we are going to “break camp” soon and head to Denver where we’ll search for a downtown condo in a neighborhood where we have lived before…..and loved it.

On the surface It might seem that, compared to the last two years, owning a property would be restrictive. We think it will be freeing. A home base will allow us to leave the cats at home under the care of a loving “pet nanny” and hop on an occasional plane to…..any number of places to which you cannot drive (The cats HATE flying and we hate flying with them). With a home base, the two of us can easily jump in the car and go to the mountains for a few days of hiking or off to see family. We will advertise our new condo on vacation rental sites for 30-day minimum rentals. If somebody wants it for a month (or three) we will pack up the Blazer, cats and all, and hit the road again. We will keep making tracks, but our adventures will depart from Denver.

Two years of bouncing among hotel rooms and rentals has been fun, but we miss having a home to return to. This should balance both. Maya Angelou said “the ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” As always, Maya was onto something.

Randy.

Worry and Waste

July is in the rearview mirror. It’s my first post in August, and last month is a reminder of how easy it is to become distracted and lose your ability to be present in the moment. The bump on my tongue that Traci named “Igor” ended up being removed in Seattle and biopsied as benign. Now it’s just a memory (and a small fading scar). Based on my  history the chances of it having been anything more serious were incredibly small. My regret is that reality didn’t stop me from the only thing that would allow Igor the power to derail me from being present and experiencing each day with consciousness. I worried. I worried steadily.

Mark Twain famously said “I have been through some terrible things in my life. Some of which actually happened”.  It’s important to be responsible, and it’s important to take control of that which we can. Being aware and proactive is essential to your well being. Worry isn’t….and serves no purpose. The lesson of July is to save the worry for what is, and not what might be. If the worry is taking the front seat you only experience the latter while the former slips by, and there’s no regaining it.

It’s good to be present again. The traveling menagerie is in Denver now and soon we will push across the plains to visit family in Illinois and Wisconsin. Four or five fall/winter months back in San Miguel de Allende are marked on the calendar and the gentle rhythm of the days (not to mention the joyous ring of mariachi music from the jardin) are starting to whisper in my ear.

Randy.

Riding Out the Bump

Every day is a new adventure, and every moment should be savored. But even in the middle of an odyssey like the trip we are now on it’s easy to get caught up in your own concerns. It’s easy to let worry creep in and take your focus away from the moment. So many things can alter your plans or your timetable….but that doesn’t necessarily mean you change the ultimate goal.

We finally left the Seattle yesterday, and we woke up today in Kennewick, WA. The striking backdrop of water, immediate forested hills and not so distant snow  capped mountains in every direction has now given way to flat stretches to the horizon of scorched brown grassland. In fact yesterday morning our hotel reservation was for Wennatche on the east face of the Cascades. That is, until we looked up the status of the multiple wildfires that were raging in the area…..much like when we left the Baja Coast of Mexico in May and crossed into drought ridden California. For us a small bump in the road. For the people in the communities where the fires rage it’s devastating.

It’s been a couple weeks since I have posted. Mostly that’s because we made the call to stay longer in Seattle and do a low-key gumshoe approach to trying it out for size and seeing how it feels as a place to someday plant a part-time flag. A mundane approach and not all that noteworthy to others. Partly because of another bump…one on my tongue that, although I have never smoked or chewed tobacco, had to be dealt with, removed, and hopefully ruled out. Thankfully it was, and yesterday the two stitches left where the bump had been were removed. We pulled out of the parking lot in our road formation (Traci and I in the front seat of the Blazer….Bubba, Lucy and Chuckie in their crates lined up in the back seat), headed east, and here we are Kennewick.

Having spent extra time in Seattle we probably won’t go to Glacier National Park this trip. We’ll get there next time as we hope to be back in this area soon enough.  Tonight we’ll land in Couer d’ Alene and then on to Missoula, etc……unless there’s another bump in the road. People don’t often consider Mike Tyson a great thinker, but even he once said “everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth”. If need be we’ll adjust. For now it’s back to soaking up each moment of the adventure.

Randy.

 

You can always access posts that predate this platform at http://www.maketrackstravle.blog.com

 

The Best Laid Plans……

We set out May 15th on a road trip that would encompass four and a half months, two countries, four time zones, and well over 6000 miles.  When you are travelling with all your belongings and your cats in your car….how does that work? Well it started with (literally) an excel spreadsheet that covered 5/15 through 10/1 and showed literally:

1) where we would start each day (2) how many miles we would travel that day (3) and where we would stay that night. That last point needed to be a mix of rental houses  and hotel rooms.

Why rental homes? They allow stability and normalcy. Nobody wants to spend every night for over four months in hotel rooms…..with cats. You need a place to relax, to stretch out, and a base from which to explore. You need a break from the road. You need a place to put some groceries and cook a homemade meal. You need a place to hang your hat for more than a night….and not have to put it back on the next morning

Why hotel rooms? They allow flexibility. When strung together a run of hotel stays let you reflect, reassess, and adjust your schedule. A hotel reservation can be cancelled on short notice and another can be picked up another time anywhere…..or anywhere you are or can get to. It would feel unsettling to most people. It feels like freedom and adventure to us.

We are currently in the middle of a two week stretch renting an old craftsman home in the Mt Baker neighborhood of Seattle. The neighborhood lies within the city limits. It’s a nice peaceful neighborhood with a park that leads to Lake Washington and has a nice neighborhood bistro. However it’s not within walking distance of downtown or it’s waterfront. It’s set apart from the beat of the city…which is great if that’s what you want.

Seattle is a beautiful city and a place where we could picture planting a flag at some point. A condo we could base in for the summer and rent out when we’re not there? Possibly. It’s never too hot in the summer. It’s green and lush.  Everywhere you look there’s water and a view of snow-capped mountain peaks. Vancouver Island and the San Juan’s are a short ferry ride away. It’s politically progressive and sociologically diverse. It very well feels like our kind of city and that is always how we have felt when we have visited before……so now’s our chance to find out……right?

Between the location of the house we rented and the time Traci has been spending working on a freelance project we haven’t really gotten to explore Seattle the way like to explore a city, and that’s on foot.  So what do we do now when we have to move out of the craftsman rental Saturday, Traci has a good three days of work left, and we like being in Seattle.

The excel spreadsheet shows an upcoming string of hotel reservations and a mid-trip stay in Denver of longer than we need (lived there five years and there’s no need for exploration). Time to reassess, flex our flexibility, and tweak that spreadsheet.

Randy

As always, you can find posts that predate this platform at http://www.maketrackstravel.blog.com