Day 60

Day 60 – two-thirds of this journey is completed! Someone asked me recently what I have learned. Yikes! There are several hundred answers I could give to that question.

On a practical level….here are some guidelines from riverroadwoman for living as a nomad.

  • Leave most of it at home! You probably need less than 1/3 of that stack of clothes. I end up wearing the same four outfits anyway. You seldom see the same people two days in a row, so no one knows what you wore yesterday! 
  • Put it back in the same place every time. Resist that “I’m in a hurry – just stick it here for now” moment – it brings frustration later.
  • Always do your “idiot check”. When you are sure you have everything packed, look once more – everywhere.  Eventually you will be glad you did.
  • (Here’s a biggie!) Turn in those hotel key cards. Save yourself from this embarrassing scenario – I went to the car for something and when I returned found that the key card wouldn’t work. I took it to the front desk and said, “This seems to have quit working”. The clerk looked at it (didn’t laugh) and handed it back with a polite, “M’am, this isn’t our hotel.”
  • Carry your own night light. When you wake up in the night, you don’t know what state you are in, much less where the bathroom is and what obstacles lay in the path.
  • Keep the little envelope with the room number. There comes a point at the end of a long day when 121 morphs into 112 in your memory.
  • Keep a box stocked with microwave soups, vacuum packed tuna, peanut butter, crackers, granola bars and fruit, napkins and plastic silverware.  Most hotels have microwaves in the room or you can always use the one in the breakfast room. It saves time and money.
  • Hang a couple of removable hooks from the window behind you for jackets. The ones for Christmas decorations have held 3 or 4 jackets without budging.
  • Two purchases from Magellan’s Travel Store that I love –  
  •  A small fold-up travel alarm with a light sensor that comes on when needed. All hotel alarms are different and it’s hard to be sure it is set right and even harder to find the right button to turn the thing off in the morning. The phone ringing with a wake-up call is a cruel and heart-stopping way to wake up!
  •  There are never enough outlets. Magellan’s has a very compact power strip that slips in the computer case.
  • Always leave a little something for the housekeepers – and put it out the night before in case you are rushed in the morning. They work very hard and are always willing to help in any way.
  • Do dawdle on the backroads – it’s the way to experience a slice of life wherever you are. But, pull over frequently. Dawdlers are a big pain in the rear to commuters.
  • Be curious and interested. Be a good listener. Be accepting of whatever is offered, but demand nothing.  
  • Leave your expectations of “how it should be” at home. Instead, be open to what is, without judging it or comparing it to anything else. Let go of the reins. Serendipity would love to be your guide – and she is far better at it than you are!

I’m not much for routines, but consistency helps when living on the road. I keep my glasses on a cord when I am shooting, so I can just drop them to my chest and look through the viewfinder. That is such a habit now that if I don’t have the cord on, I chuck the glasses to the ground. It’s happened more times than I care to say. In this morning’s pre-dawn murkiness, I suddenly realized my glasses must be somewhere on the ground in the 100 yards between me and my car. When I finally found them an hour later, I had apparently stepped on them because one earpiece was about 3” higher than the other. They are resilient, though, and now seem none the worse for the experience.  

It’s not actually harder living and working on the road – just different. For these 90 days, home is wherever I am at the moment. More than a place, it’s a way of being right here, right now, by myself or with someone. It’s being open and receptive to whatever is happening. Living without placing a demand upon the moment allows the constant, quiet Joy that is our true nature to be fully experienced now  – and again now.

Thanks for traveling with me these past 60 days. I hope you are ready to see what these next 30 days have in store! It has meant a great deal to me to know that you are here with me. I love hearing your comments and treasure your feedback and support. It is a shared experience that is much richer for the sharing. It’s an incredible blessing to be able to do this journey of discovery and it could never be accomplished without all the beautiful people who are participating. Thank you.

Love, Gayle

About Gayle Harper

Travel Photographer and Writer
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16 Responses to Day 60

  1. Bruce Helm says:

    Hi, Gayle —
    I have really enjoyed getting your posts and photos in my email every few days. It is almost like we readers are right there with you on the journey. I look forward to the remaining third of the trip along the Mississippi. Keep up your spirits, as I’m sure you have quite a few of us looking over your shoulder. Best wishes!
    –Bruce Helm

  2. Vickey Henson says:

    Every time I pull up mu e-mail I am anxious to see if my little rain drop has posted something. I read your posts faithfully! My daughter was home this weekend and I shared your blogs with her and the awesome chapter you wrote of staying here with us. I gave her one of your cards and am in hopes she will become a serendipity addict as well. It has been so much fun following your travels.

    Mz Vic

  3. Gayle, thaksl so much for letting me come along. I so enjoy reading your posts. Maggie

  4. joan says:

    We love reading you comments and seeing your pictures. We just returned from a trip to Costa Rica ourselves and have great memories to share sometime.

  5. Those lessons are good for many of us who travel. Right now, after my leg operation, I am not traveling much, but I can still use some of those hints.


  6. Marie Bintliff says:

    Gayle, I have been with you every step of the way…….the faces of people whether little or big, young or old, the little places that made this country, thats where America is to me. The river? Not just any river, but the mighty Mississippi river, history. You have done more, seen more than I have in my lifetime. Thank you for the trip so far. I am looking forward to the next 30 days. Does any of this make sense? Go ahead..the truth. Anyway, I have enjoyed my trip, the sunsets and sunrises, the river trips. Ok. I am ready. What are we waiting for? See you around the next bend!! Love, Marie

  7. Frances Spedding says:

    And thank you for sharing the journey. The prose is beautiful and the pictures are awesome. You are present to all you see and experience because you are filled with THE PRESENCE.


  8. Hi Gayle,
    I enjoyed visiting with you over lunch! I only wish I could have followed you from day one. I’ve read almost all of day 60-80 and feel like I’ve been to these places and know all of the people personally. Thanks for including Houmas House in your journey.


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