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Reflections in the Silver Cup

WHAT I LEARNED ON THE ROAD

1. Less stuff. I know I did much better than John Steinbeck when he loaded his camper in Travels with Charley, but I can do with even less than I thought.

 

2. More organization. On this trip the storage area next to my bed became a pile of cloth bags filled with various and sundry items. Bins will make the bag I need easier to find and the whole space feel more orderly.

 

3. Denatured alcohol. My little Solo Stove uses twigs or denatured alcohol as fuel. Twigs don't stay lit as easily as I'd hoped and need to be added fairly constantly during boiling/cooking. They also coat the stove and pans in soot. So alcohol most times.

 

4. Eat even more simply. Less food for the cooler, less cooking.

 

5. Chairs are important. The chair I bought at REI did not provide enough support for my back, and I ordered a better one but didn't have it for this trip. Picnic benches aren't enough for getting work done or just relaxing.

 

6. A fixed place to wander from. When I was in my early twenties, I immersed myself in Thomas Wolfe's novels–Look Homeward Angel; You Can't Go Home Again; Of Time and the River; A Stone, a Leaf, a Door; The Web and the Rock. The voluptuous language flooded my senses, and his dark romanticism was utterly relatable to a twenty-something. But it was his perception of movement, fixedness and wandering that drew me in so I still remember the words 50 years later. I didn't realize yet how restless I was; I didn't truly observe that in myself until I counted house moves on my 60th one. I didn't begin to comprehend it until I read Third Culture Kids. In one place Wolfe wrote, "...we are fixed and certain only when we are in movement." Even more compelling to my young self then, and to my much older self now, was the idea (and I could not locate the exact quote) that the true wanderer can only wander from a fixed place. I didn't know what a wanderer I would become, and if I've had a fixed point from which to wander, it has undoubtedly been an inner point until now.

 

I've mentioned that I've felt something akin to shame about my mobile life, and that shame has come from external sources–people jesting about my changeablilty, although some admire the adventures. But on the return road from this trip, I began to feel an actual need to settle, and it came from within–wanting, even longing, to have that Wolfian fixed place from which to wander. Wanting to be on the road one week of the month and home the rest of it, rather than the other way around. For the most part.

 

Although, as many of you know, I've never liked Albuquerque, there are parts of it that I love. I've spent more adult years here than anywhere else, so I have friends here and a beloved community. I have to ask, please don't judge me, maybe don't even make a joke about it, as this is a tender spot for me: I am looking for a small home to rent here. Adventures are still in the works but most likely I will not be living on the road.

 

 

 

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