What Makes My Journey Interesting?

Why would anyone read my blog? Borrowing a phrase from peace activist Wavy Gravy, I’m just another “Bozo on the bus.” I’m just a guy with a dog who wants to see what life is like outdoors on the road. However, I’ve been surprised by the number of people who, upon hearing my plans have lauded my decision to leave familiarity and embrace the unknown. I’ve heard, “I want to be kept apprised of the experiences that you have.” I’ve also heard, “Thank goodness someone is living my dream.” Upon hearing my plans, one friend said, “You’ve always been one of my heroes.” While not aspiring to be anyone else’s hero, I think this person meant that he, too is jazzed by my plans. If others I knew were taking a similar path, I’d want to know about their experiences. Nonetheless, I have no clue what benefit will accrue to someone else who will read my record of occurrences and observations.

Years ago yoga teacher Rodney Yee said that he was not in control of what students were learning when teaching a class. He could be teaching the fundamentals of back bending while a random student might be resolving a decades old disillusionment with his mother-in-law. Degree of impact is an interactive phenomenon. Sometimes the writer is enlightening. Other times the reader happens to need what is on the page. Might individuals that I don’t know gain inspiration from one of my blog posts? Might a post of mine help you resolve a decades old disagreement with your mother-in-law?

I’m writing this blog in part because I want a record of my thoughts and feelings during the adventure. Day to day I’ll evaluate what reaches the blog worthy bar that I’ve set. How much will I plan and what will occur without planning? Will the plans that I make be malleable? What podcasts will I listen to while I’m driving? Which audio books will fill the air? My music will be a blend of artists like John Prine, the Indigo Girls, Jesse Winchester, John Hyatt, the Avett Brothers, Paul Thorn, Joni Mitchell and Brandi Carlisle.

Will I have followers for whom water piques their interest? I’ve acquired an inflatable kayak for recreation and fishing on rivers and lakes. I have no clue about whether my dog, Lola can maneuver in a kayak without tipping it over. I’ll carry a Grayl water purifier and filter bottle. Most rigs have a 6 gallon hot water tank. Sixteen gallons is the average amount of water consumed when showering at home. I’ll still get wet, and I’ll still get clean, but I’ll not dwell in the shower. My top choice for swimming is a lake. My top choice for canoeing or kayaking is a river. Wet weather is always an influencer. Rain doesn’t dissuade me from going outdoors. My intention is to ultimately drive from the Atlantic to the Pacific, stopping at the Great Lakes, lots of small lakes, and rivers along my way.

Will anyone following me wonder how Lola is getting along? At times she’ll be alone in the rig, barking at all who pass, guarding our turf. We’ll have long conversations, me for the sake of talking to a being without concern for keeping it interesting, and her for the sake of being reassured that I’ve not forgotten about her. I’ve just ordered a backpack for Lola to carry her own supplies when we’re hiking, a collapsible water bowl, and a personal flotation device for when we’re on water.

Several years ago I attended a music workshop with singer/songwriters David Wilcox and Andy Gullahorn. A session they hosted was entitled, “Using My Guitar As a Personal Flotation Device.” They spoke of and performed songs that had served to keep them afloat. My adventure will serve me in a similar. I’ll pay attention to what keeps me afloat. I need to move or I’ll sink.

Published by jmlewisjr

Hello. This is Jimmy Lewis. I'm in Memphis, Tennessee. My golden doodle, Lola and I are leaving on a North American tour in May, 2021. We'll be traveling in a 2021 Jayco Melbourne 24L motorhome. We have neither time constraints nor exact destination specifications. We'll spend May in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and then head north through New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont. If Canadians resume the practice of putting out a welcome mat for Americans, then we'll cross the border.  The seed for this journey began after my wife, Sarla passed away in May, 2020. Sarla was a yogi. An early yoga teacher of hers implored her to "Have what you need, and use what you have." As I prepare to close on the sale of our home on April 30, 2021, I'm deciding what I need based on the likelihood of using what I have. I give some things away without a flicker of feeling. When more meaningful items like the piano I inherited from my parents leave the premises, I feel like I'm saying goodbye to an old friend for the last time. Sarla's death lessened my attachment to the home we had enjoyed for 15 years and life as I knew it. I didn't need and couldn't possibly use a house that could satisfy the needs of a family with four children. I'll no longer experience residence, a concept identified with staying in a specified place, as I've heretofore known it. Life will never be the same, nor do I want to attempt to shape my future into a likeness of what I once knew.   I've set my sights on adventure. I want to be challenged by not knowing who or what I'll meet on the road. The outdoors is one of my default antidotes for stress. Other than my rig, I won't have an indoors base. Whereas others might opt to downsize so that they have the stability of a landing spot, I won't be able to go "home" as I've known it. I'm jazzed about the prospect of being at the whim of the muse, to go where my finger lands on turning pages of the Rand McNally atlas. My dog, Lola is indifferent even though I've been talking to her about the journey every day. She looks quizzically at me when I enthusiastically say we're hitting the road together. I'm confident that she'll do well. We've previously driven together to and from a destination 12 hours from home. She curiously gazed out the window and occasionally snoozed in the passenger seat. She didn't express displeasure about the podcasts and music selection that I chose to entertain and inform me while driving. This trip isn't driven by personal goals. Will I learn more about myself? Will I take advantage of the opportunity to reflect? Will I be lonely? Will I be uneasy? I'm motivated by a curiosity to follow the questions.

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