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On The Road Again

Hello from the heart of Texas where the stars at night are big and bright, or so the song goes. I have been doing road trips since 2014. I wanted to take my kids out to the Grand Canyon many years ago. I envisioned renting an RV and heading west. It didn't work out for many reasons and I sometimes wish I had been more determined to make it happen back then. Maybe that's why I started my cross-country adventures. Mostly, I wanted to visit my daughter for more than a week or so at a time. Rearranging my work life was the first step and then, I loaded up my car, picked up a TripTik from AAA (this was before my iPhone could guide me) and off I went.

Twice, I had a friend in the passenger's seat for the trip to the Pacific Northwest and it was lovely. I really appreciated the company and sharing the experience, however going solo has been just fine for most of the journeys.

Part of the reconfiguration of my life involved getting rid of most of my furniture. At first, I was able to store a few things at my parents' home. After a few years, my mother died and my dad decided he didn't want anymore cold, snowy, icy winters. He moved to Florida and I no longer had a "home" address or someplace to put my stuff. My sister and brother-in-law came through for me and I ended up also filling my car with most of what I needed in life and it was fun ... for several years.

Before COVID I had a kind of "schedule" to my travels. I would work as a nurse, on contract, all spring and summer, in the Boston area and head west when fall arrived. Sometimes I spent part of the winter in Oregon and part on the east coast, anywhere between Boston, Virginia, and Florida. March 2020 I had an assignment in Boston where I stayed into September and continued my work with testing and vaccinating out west after that. The following year there was still a great need for nurses in my favorite hospital and I agreed to work from March through the end of December. My original idea was to spend January through March, 2022, in rural Oregon. I was also starting to look for a condo to buy or an apartment to rent in the northeast. Driving with my car packed as full as it could get was starting to lose its appeal.

As many of you know, I started my drive back on April 1 and my car broke down. Because of supply chain issues, I didn't get my repaired vehicle back until mid October. It wasn't what I had "planned" and it turned out to be great. I was cared for in so many ways and it was a reminder that the only thing that's the end of the world is the end of the world.

I finally found an apartment in greater Boston this past June. I won't lie -- it's been an adjustment after honoring my gypsy tendencies for so long. It also hasn't stopped me from heading out to see my daughter and visiting lots of friends along the way. I've got commitments mid December, so I'll be back east by then.

What's the point of this insight into my life? It's right there in Willie Nelson's song:

On the road again

Goin' places that I've never been

Seein' things that I may never see again

Yes, my main objective is to spend time with my daughter and visit friends. It's also a way to shake up my sense of familiarity and keep me alert and paying attention to life. As Jon Kabat-Zinn said, "Mindfulness means being awake. It means really knowing what you're doing." My treks don't allow me to fall into auto-pilot. I'm reminded how much life is going on around me and that I am a part of it. I encourage you to consider doing some wandering of your own and, as always, be care-full.

What would you like to do that is difficult to do alone? That could mean almost anything -- I'd love to hear your desires. Contact me, won't you?

Happy Healthy Habit Hump Day,


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About the Author




Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

the Mindful Maven and Mistress of Meditation, is a sassy Queen-ager, mentor, confidante and trusted guide who provides people with everyday life support. 

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