Sunday, December 24, 2006

How do You Deal With Loneliness?

Dr. Lou Stoetzer, co-author of the book How Do They Live Like That?, offers a reminder that living a full-time RV lifestyle can be lonely at times. He recommends on his website that "when you load your rig for that big trip remember to take along the phone numbers of your close friends...reach out when the blues hit." This advice has helped me survive as a "road warrior" for the past five years. When I have an assignment in a new town, I check my PDA, PITT Alumni Directory, and Rotary connections for friends and family who may be living in the area. It's uplifting to reconnect with an old friend from college or a cousin who I haven't seen since I was a kid playing in Grandpa's back yard. A dinner out or quiet visit in their home can give you something to look forward to and make life on the road fun! I expect that as Ed and I travel we will be reconnecting with some people who have touched our lives. I also expect that we'll have some folks who will want to come visit us if they hear we're on a tropical beach in December or attending a special cultural event. Why not beat the loneliness by having an open door that swings both ways?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Do You Believe in Fortune Cookie Messages?

I love fortune cookies! Those eight to ten words printed on a paper no bigger than my pinkie finger can make me reflect on life, give me a boost, or simply make me laugh. Today, however, my fortune seemed prophetic. "A bold and dashing adventure is in your future."This message came out of my dinner cookie after spending a midday visit with Dr. John and Harriet Halkyard, authors of "99 Days to Panama: An Exploration of Central America by Motorhome." I read their book last August and contacted them by email suggesting that we meet when our paths cross in Houston. Instead, we met in Gun Barrel City. Ed and I meet with the Halkyards to discuss our RV travel plans, gain insight on Central America, and hear tips for life in an RV there. They offered a tremendous amount of information that only those who have been over the road can provide. Now, both Ed and I are aching to hit the road; and when we do, my fortune will come true.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Inspiration from James A. Michener

Imagine my astonishment when I read, "I had on file in the back recesses of my memory such a wealth of enticing subjects about which I would write that my brain would justly be termed teeming..." My favorite author James A. Michener described himself this way in the first chapter of The Eagle and The Raven. His words reflect my feelings too! For in preparation to travel full time aboard "Patty's Charm", I created and regularly update a list of ideas for articles and even books that I will write. I am also being selective about documents that I intend to keep handy for when the time comes to extract these enticing subjects and commit them to paper. These ideas harbor as memos in my Palm One waiting for the freedom of the road to unleash them. Until then, I remain committed to write a case for support for a client wishing to raise $50 million for a endowment campaign and a policy document for a new foundation. My brain is teeming!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Holiday Restraint

Holiday merchandise tempts me - ornaments for the tree, serving bowls painted with snowmen, Christmas decorations - yet I maintain restraint. The words, "Will it fit in the bus?" run through my mind with every item I pick-up. So instead of buying more seasonal stuff, I simply fight the urge to buy this year.

I have always loved Christmas decorations. Our tree went up on Thanksgiving night and will remain in the living room until New Years Day. Bayberry candles scent the dining room and will be burned on Christmas Eve in the half century old family tradition to bring us good luck. This year, I dug out my childhood Lionel train, the one with the orange colored engine. I like hearing it hum around the tracks under the Christmas tree. I found some working twinkling lights in the attic and hung them around the front door. And, in a burst of craziness, Ed and I used electrical ties to hold another set of lights around the arms and back of my Cracker Barrel porch rocker.

One new decoration did arrive in my weekly office mail. It's a 10 inch snowman toting a Christmas tree over his shoulder and holding a star as a lantern in its hand. I didn't actually buy him, I bid $10 on him when the online charitable auction started. No one out bid me; in fact, no one else bid on him. Guess people in Texas just aren't into snowmen like us transplanted northerners. I hope he will fit in the bus!