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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Excuses excuses

One morning at about 3 AM I had an idea, so I got up and worked the numbers. Figured out that if we cleared up a little debt, we'd be able to take winter's off. If we didn't mind living out of a tent, we could spend winters traveling the south. Then I woke my lovely wife up with the news.
She was up for the adventure.

So that's what we did, for about 8 years.

We had a great time. Camped in a lot of campgrounds, but also camped on the property of friends and family. Once in a while we'd couch surf. On rare occasions, we'd even stay a night or two in a hotel. Usually when it'd been raining like Noah had been lied to and we needed to dry things out.

Here's the thing. We'd tell people about our adventures, and we had plenty. Then they'd say, "Oh we'd love to travel like that. . . but . . ."

Its the "but" that kills the deal. They'd love to travel like us, but they couldn't stay it a tent. It'd have to be a motor home or hotels every night. Well, then I guess they really didn't want to travel like us.

Every time we'd make suggestions on how they could travel, they'd make excuses.

I'd winterize the house every winter -drain the plumbing, and shut off the power. Friends and acquaintances would have excuses why that wouldn't work for them. They'd have to keep the house heated. If we did that, we'd be unable to afford to travel. A big excuse was, "What if something happens to the house?" I'd say, that's what insurance is for. I buy insurance so I don't have to worry.

Here's the thing. People make excuses to stay in their comfort zone. Most people really do want to stay in a nice clean well lit box. Once in a great while they may peek over the top, but then quickly duck down back inside where it's safe. My more well to do relatives went to a lot of a the same areas we went. They'd stay in a hotel that was the same as every other hotel in the chain. It could be in New Orleans, Atlanta or Montreal, it's all the same. We'd camp out in our friend's horse pasture. My relatives would spend time in Florida playing golf. We'd be canoing among alligators. Same planet, different worlds.

A lot of things we did because it was the only way to make travel work. We had no one to watch our dog for us, so we took him along. The first year we traveled, our only car was a Dodge Neon. With roof racks for the canoe and a cargo buddy for more gear, we made it work. The next year we stripped our gear down to the point were we could dispense with the cargo buddy.

Ran an on-line S/F and Fantasy magazine while on the road. (www.quantummuse.com) As long as I could occasionally get an Internet connection, I could do the magazine. Never missed an issue.

We figured out ways to make everything work. After the Neon, we traveled in an '81 Mercedes Benz 240D converted to run on vegetable oil. Once went 3000 miles without stopping for diesel. Just burned veggie. That really turned people off to our way of travel. They could not picture themselves dumpster diving for motor fuel.

Of course, we saved enough money that we could do things like go sailing out of Key West. Everyone could imagine the sailing, but no one could imagine a cheap way to get down there.

I must admit that while some of my friends might be interested in traveling like me, their wives were much cooler on the idea. My lovely wife has a taste for adventure, so she was up for it.

Life is too short to spend it in a box.

-Sixbears

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