First of all, sorry for being an absentee blogger! I missed writing and posting my travels! I’m a bad travel blogger. I write posts in my head but they don’t make it onto the computer. Dozens of stories are swirling around in my brain, unedited, unposted. Perhaps a glass or three of wine will entice them to my keyboard one day soon…I’m willing to try : )
Traveling and working and blogging and exploring is a lot of responsibility.
It is time-consuming to write the blog posts, review photos, edit photos, upload photos, edit the post and finally publish the darn story. On top of that I often question whether the writing is interesting enough. I’m going to try to let all that slide and just post more often. Less editing, fewer photos, and if I feel like writing about something I don’t really care who reads it. That last bit is bullshit but I’m going to try to not care!
My last blog post was in April 2016 from Port Townsend Washington. I LOVED Port Townsend! The Victorian architecture, surrounded by mountains and water, excellent restaurants, friendly people, and pleasant climate make Port Townsend a comfortable nomad location. Big plus is the generally laid back vibe and a definite hippy feel to the place.
On three separate occasions I met people who were “alternatively housed” as one man described the situation. He lived out of his car. Another fellow recently relocated from Wisconsin, he was living outdoors. I had a great discussion with a musician who goes by the name Crow, he plays a mean fiddle. He informed me that living in his vehicle was a choice, he was not homeless. Good point.
I actually have a lot in common with the alternatively housed people. We are nomads. Each of us have made a lifestyle choice that is confusing to some people. We own few possessions.
During my nomad journey I have begun to explore and imagine various unconventional homes. Yurt. Tent on a wooden deck. Teepee. Tiny homes. Papercrete homes. I used to think I needed at 600 to 700 square feet in order to be comfortable. Now, back in Austin for a few weeks at an Airbnb rental I am living in 400 square feet and it’s plenty for me. Outdoor living space is important to me. Walkable neighborhood is important to me. During my travels I am evaluating my wants and needs in more detail.
I wouldn’t have even heard of Port Townsend, except for an artist friend, whom I finally met in person on my way to Port Townsend. Ruth relocated to Olympia temporarily and I met her for lunch at her new home. I knew Ruth from an online artist website (I used to sell my handmade jewelry) and we had known each other for about 10 years – so cool to finally meet in person! Ruth gave me a tour of the house and told me about the renovation plans. It’s fun to follow along with the transformation as she posts photos on Facebook. You can check out her raku fired sculptures on her website One Hundred Horses.
While planning my nomad life I wanted to mix it up a bit, small towns and big cities. After Port Townsend I drove to Vancouver BC and stayed for 5 weeks, in the trendy Yaletown neighborhood. I’m not much of a trendy girl but I wanted to be central. It was a bit of shock after Port Townsend. Fortunately, there is some good hiking around Vancouver and I made a couple of side trips to Squamish and Whistler.
I met up with friends in Vancouver that I hadn’t seen in years. A big highlight of my nomad lifestyle is the people I meet along the way and catching up with old friends. I feel fortunate to have this opportunity. My plan is to keep on living this lifestyle for as long as I am able. And I figure I can do this nomad thing at least until I am 70 years old, maybe 80, who knows?
My nephew Nathan lives in Armstrong BC so I stopped there for a couple of nights on my way to Lake Louise. He has two adorable kids so we met up for dinner and enjoyed catching up. The next morning, I stopped by to hang out with them. I bought some cheese curds and the kids liked munching on those tasty morsels. It was fun to watch them play, young kids embrace their imagination and simply live in the moment – sweet! We could take some lessons from the little ones I think.
In Lake Louise my sister and her trusty sidekick met me for a couple of nights. They brought all the fixins to make Caesars – I love them – my sister and her friend I mean, and maybe love isn’t too strong of a word for my devotion to the beverage known as a Caesar. To my non-Canadian friends a Caesar is similar to a Bloody Mary. BUT – a Caesar is made with Clamato juice not plain ol’ tomato juice! We played cribbage and Clue, and I kicked their asses! Really, I’m not making that up.
We three hiked to the Lake Agnes Tea House and enjoyed a tasty but extraordinarily expensive lunch. The staff have to hike in all the supplies, so that is why it is so expensive, like $20 for a pot of tea. But you’re worth it honey! Just do the hike and either bring your own picnic lunch or plan to spend a few bucks and support the local economy. Everything was truly yummy.
Another fun thing to do in Lake Louise is to rent a canoe and paddle around the lake – gorgeous! I think you have to do it at least once in your life, not necessarily at Lake Louise, but paddle yourself around in a canoe or kayak, on a glacier fed lake somewhere in the world. You will feel invigorated. You will feel the love of the mountains and glacial waters hugging you. Just do it!
June 18th I arrived in Calgary, my hometown : )
In total I spent 3 whole months in Calgary, with one trip to Shuswap BC for a girlfriend weekend with 4 of my grade school buddies. Some of us had not seen each other for decades! So much fun! I thought I was going to have several weekends away traveling around Alberta. But I settled in with my parents, working Monday to Thursday, swimming a few times a week, and enjoying dinner with my parents each night. I helped out around the house, enjoyed talking with my mom and dad, and just hanging out with them. There was great success with my basement organizing project at my parent’s house.
Spending time with my parents was a big motivator for my nomad plan, and I will be working my way back up to Calgary for summer in 2017. I also have 3 siblings in Calgary so we were able to spend more time together.
In Calgary I also discovered The University of Calgary Outdoor Centre – they have great prices for outdoor equipment rentals, and a bunch of classes for very affordable rates. I took three kayaking classes with Outdoor Centre and I found out that I love kayaking!
I left Calgary on September 15th and took a month getting back to Austin Texas, with stops in Bozeman Montana, Fort Collins Colorado, Santa Fe New Mexico, and Alpine Texas. And I was able to meet up with online friends Billie and Steve of Santa Fe Travelers blog. They invited me to dinner one night and we hit it off like old friends. Billie and Steve have lived in Santa Fe for many years, worked in the hospitality industry, so they know Santa Fe extremely well, check out their blog if you are planning a trip to Santa Fe New Mexico!
Alpine Texas was my first nomad location in 2015 and I love the place! I met up with friends Allyson, Nancy, Harry, and met some groovy new fiends as well. Did you know Alpine is the perfect location to explore the wide open spaces of Far West Texas? I took day trips to Balmorhea, Marathon, Terlingua, and Big Bend National Park – one of my favorite places on the planet! And it is one of the least visited National Parks in the USA.
Nomad life road trip plans for Year 2
Now I will spend another 5 weeks here in Austin Texas before heading east for more road trip adventures in the Southern USA and Midwest region. So far I am planning to stay in:
- Lafayette Louisiana – December
- Oxford Mississippi – January
- someplace in Alabama…February?
- or maybe Chattanooga Tennessee instead?
- Hot Springs Arkansas – March
- Lawrence Kansas – April
- Minneapolis Minnesota – May
I will make my way back up to Calgary Alberta for summer with family, then east to enjoy the fall colors and back south before winter sets in.
If you have any suggestions for things to do or places to see where I will be traveling, tell me! I am always looking for fun and fabulous places to visit, restaurant recommendations, or panoramic hikes to enjoy.