Confession: I’ve fallen off the blog wagon and would love to get back on. I’m seeing it now as a great way to stay in touch with family and friends who are not on Facebook and also as a way to share more than can be shared in a 2 sentence status update. I started writing this post a couple of months ago and it has been sitting in my ‘drafts’ folder.
Big hugs and ‘hello!’ to all of you who have asked me to continue to blog. I’d love to keep sharing with you! Bear with me as I catch up… <3
Once we found our groove of living ‘on the road,’ we found (retrospectively) that we tend to plan about 5-6 months in advance, live it out, and then plan another 5-6 months. There are different phases involved in the planning so that everything goes smoothly but we never feel rushed or stuck. First, we’ve learned not to plan things that feel like a stretch. Because then the time in between becomes wrought with the stress of trying to make it to whatever, wherever we had planned rather than focusing on the ever-present opportunities wherever we are- and there always are… everywhere. We try to make our life a journey of flowing adventures with planned highlight points rather than a disjointed there and back, up and down, back and forth. So far, we’ve found ourselves in all the right places at all the right times. It doesn’t mean there aren’t people or places we aren’t seeing. It means that everything and everyone we are seeing are perfect right now.
So here we are in Tucson, AZ. Last fall, as we saw our savings taking hit after hit, I put out a call on Facebook for ideas of places to work camp. The kids and I love to do a variety of projects and would like to contribute to the family economic well-being while Chris is teaching online. I was expecting RV park recommendations for work camping from my traveling friends. Instead, a dear family of friends in Tucson invited us to share their land in exchange for some project work. I was hesitant. Where would the boundaries lie? How would our relationship be affected by the close proximity, extended time, and work expectations?
We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 or so days with them as we passed through the area last year. And so, after some heart-to-heart e-mails and being really clear about everyone’s expectations and emotions, we all agreed this could be really great. We started with the intent of staying a month or so - to be extended as determined by how everyone was feeling. It ended up that we stayed about 2 1/2 months. Yes, it went well. Better than well, really. The sense of community with a continued ability to retreat to our own dwellings and routines was perfect. Having good friends a stone’s throw away for play, talk, hobby and project work, and emotional support was wonderful! The best part? No guessing. There was always open, honest communication about where people were at on a given day. Have you read The Four Agreements? The biggest that came into play in this scenario were that we don’t make assumptions and we don’t take anything personally (because it’s not about you). These have been huge realizations and paramount to living well in community. Everyone was supported in their journey and in responsibility for their own, unique needs and desires. Wow- we just loved it in Tucson. It’s hard to separate what we loved about it but I can tell you that our ‘neighborhood’ had a lot to do with it. And that ‘neighborhood’ extends to a tremendous network of unschooling families who engage in many ways at all hours of the day and night- children and families who enjoy each other’s company and share similar values in child rearing but whose journeys are extremely varied. I enjoyed time with other moms both with the children and at moms’ nights out. Chris went to dads’ cards night and always came home smiling and refreshed from some time out with the guys.
AND! We had a most amazing visit with our friends the Camerons (who you may remember we met just as we were beginning our traveling in late summer 2010) from British Columbia. They’d parked their campervan for a bit and were living a cozy life up north and decided to hop back in to spend a couple of weeks with us in Tucson!!! AND! They ‘brought’ the Rosnaus! We’d heard tell of this fabulous family many times from the Camerons and hoped to meet them one day. All the stories were true. We felt an instant kinship between our families and know that we will continue to share a deep connection whether we are next door or across the globe.
But now that we’re in Tucson, it’s time to plan out another 6 months or so. Where do we go from here? We have ‘high’ points but what we have realized is that some of the most special memories are the ‘in between’ spots. So does it really matter where we go? While basking in the glow of shared time with friends, we acted on a dream that we’d been tossing around logistics of for a long time. With a kick in the pants from the Camerons (thank you!), we booked an Alaskan cruise. Chris and I could have gone round and round on the logistics (and we had for months and months) and never made the final arrangements so it was very exciting to book it and plan while in the company of our shipmates (yes, the Camerons are going with us!).
With that as our final destination of the next leg of our travels, we have begun to plan out the days, destinations, and activities (roughly) for our journey north. And, boy, are we excited!
And that is what keeps us from completely falling apart (or staying still) whenever we leave people and places that we love so much. Tears flow and then the thrill of new sights, sounds, and people to hug flow in and create a new sense of excitement. We love you, Brett family! Tucson - until we meet again.
Our Tucson favs:
Agua Caliente Park- an oasis in the desert!
Saguaro National Park- the kids are Junior Rangers here. Amazing desert scenery. I’ll be posting lots of photos to my Flickr account once we have better internet. We made several visits for photography, hiking, and I took my mom on a sunset drive. Just beautiful.
Tucson Tamale Company- organic, non-GMO, with vegan options. We got there right before closing and they sent us home with a huge bag full. We’ve tried almost every kind and they are all delicious. Sadie has proclaimed this her favorite restaurant thus far.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum- Wow. Must see. Raptor show was fabulous.
Buenos Aires Wildlife Preserve- We tented here with the Rosnaus and Camerons. The complete desolation and beauty was perfect. Sleeping on the ground… not so much.
Tubac Arts Festival and Tubac Olive Oil- Tubac is an hour or so south of Tucson. It’s a lovely little town with a western feel and a nice vibe. We happened upon the festival on the way back from the camping trip to BAWP (above). Wow! The artists and selection of art were so beautiful and fun! The actual destination was Tubac Olive Oil. We love balsamic vinegar and use it a lot. Now we use it even more. Ho-ly Cow. We got two bottles of the 18-year traditional. The second was supposed to be a gift. We’re using that one now (so much for the gift) and I’ll be ordering more soon. Taste testing there was delicious and overwhelming. Everyone in our family was in heaven.
Sabino Canyon- Close to town and really great (endless) hiking. This is a national park so the NP pass gives you free parking.
Farmers’ markets- they have one on the west side and one on the east. The offerings are a testament to the interest in and dedication to food of the city’s inhabitants. Gluten free baking, gourmet, grain-free dog treats, organic and pesticide-free produce, free range/grassfed meats, free range eggs, locally dried and blended teas, etc. AND- they have a knife sharpener and jammin’ live acoustic bluegrass music (at least the day we were there). Skooter liked that they welcome well-behaved doggies.
International Wildlife Museum- OK, so everything here is dead. It’s a museum of taxidermy animals. That said, this was SO awesome. My kids would rather one dead animal be preserved so they can look at it than to go see live ones in cages at the zoo. The range of animals here was extraordinary.