The Next Kind Loving Thing

I was visiting with my Dad and Step-Mom (Nickname: Oso) one evening this past week while playing cards where we are camped and we started discussing mindfulness. Oso shared a saying that a dear friend had told her. She said that when you get confused or anxious just do the next kind loving thing. That could be cleaning a toilet, cooking a meal for a loved one, or smiling. Whatever form it shapes, being mindful is at the center of it. This stuck with me and the next morning as I was doing my daily meditation session I decided to try mantra meditation and used this as a chant. Later that day after work as I was walking through the hills 21towards the mountains behind my camp this continued to resonate in my mind. Then I saw lots of trash.

trash

This kind of trash is everywhere here.

Immediately my thoughts were, the next kind loving thing I could do would be to organize a great RVers trash pick up day where everyone will take time to clean up where ever they are camping. I giggle now thinking about how easy it was to forget to be mindful. As I continued to think way into the future and how I could make a difference I overlooked what I could be doing in the now and present. I stopped myself and told myself I would return with a bag and gloves the next chance I got free from work and pick up the trash. THAT is the next kind loving thing I could do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still excited about the idea of a some kind of RVer movement for trash pickup, but I will start at home with myself first! Of course this led to me carrying someone else’s trash 3 miles back down from the Crack in the Wall trail I completed on Saturday. I’ll tell you all about this in my next blog. This was one of my favorite all time hikes so far!

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Trash from the trail that I carried back. It was left on the side of the trail. I imagine someone sat down to rest and just forgot about it.

I’ve had a few people wonder about the recent places I’ve stayed.Two of the most recent have been at American Girl Mine Road featuring a trip to Puerto Penasco, a.k.a. Rocky Point. Rather than write about them myself I will share with you the posts made by two of my fellow campers who did a great job writing about our stays there.

American Girl Mine Road by RVChickadee and Puerto Penasco by Becky of Interstellar Orchard.

Until next time.

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On Stuff and Gifts When Living a RV or Mindful Life

I recently was camping down at American Girl Mine Road BLM with some fellow Xscapers. One of my fellow campers, Kelly, started posting some items she had to give away as she was downsizing her stuff. Both Kelly and another camper wanted to have less items so they had the freedom to get a smaller trailer if they chose to without stressing on where everything would go. This inspired me to do some more minimizing myself. I had been feeling antsy and uncomfortable in my trailer and part of that is stuff everywhere. I easily found two bags worth of stuff for donation that I don’t and haven’t used. The reality is most of us don’t need a lot of things. We want them, we hang onto them just in case, but what really happens is they hang onto us, they tether us and tie us down. I immediately felt better after getting rid of these unneeded items (and cleaning up)! Each time I have minimized or downsized in my life, it has always been a positive change.

old95

Having a smaller trailer and choosing this life allows me to fit in small peaceful places like this in the Old 95 camping area north of Lake Havasu. 

Which brings me to gift giving. I’ve stopped regular giving of gifts for holidays and birthdays. Why would I send some meaningless, date obligated trinket to weigh down someone I care about. Instead I would rather wait until I can give a gift of real meaning. Maybe I don’t give my sibling a birthday gift for years, but then one day see a very special, very expensive item that I know they would cherish. Guess what! I don’t hesitate to buy it. I could spend $ each year on items that will ultimately end up in the garage or wait until something very special comes along (doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive).  I also ask my family to not give me gifts. When you live in a small space every item counts. So what do I do when someone wants to give me a gift? I make sure to include on my Amazon list items that I truly need or plan to buy for my RV or self. I suggest a gas card or Walmart card. But mostly I let them know that they best gift they could give me would be their time. It could be a video chat, nice long phone call or in-person visit. I would love to hear about how you deal with gifts and stuff in your life. Please share in the comment section!

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Old 95 camp area north of Lake Havasu. This is behind my camper. It’s a bit close to 95 so there is road noise, but surprisingly beautiful. Lots of off-road trails and vehicles around too.

 

Currently I’m camping north of Lake Havasu City. I started at the Old 95 camping area but that road is really rough and my parents couldn’t get their rig down it. In fact, my Dad and Step-Mom had to come help me exit the area since I had already damaged the bottom of my trailer some scraping on the road in (thank goodness we had a lot of boards and levelers!)  Today I went into Lake Havasu City to shop. I kept thinking about a junk food food fix as I was driving towards town. Usually in my mindlessness I would assume this is what I would want and would just go through a drive through without even giving it a second thought. But today I gave it mindful consideration. You know what I realized? I wasn’t really craving junk food. I was feeling peaceful and healthy and didn’t want junk food from the grocery store or fast food from a drive through that would just make me feel crappy. So I went to town, dropped off my donation of stuff to the local Veteran thrift store, did my grocery shopping and left as healthy as I came.

One really neat thing was Smith’s had a very large bulk food area. This is great for a solo RVer or anyone with minimal space. I can buy exactly what I need without having a big package that will sit around taking up space or a whole jar of spice that will lose its freshness before I can use it. BTW, Smith’s is a part of the same chain as Kroger’s and Fry’s, so if you have a card for one of them you can use it at all of them!

Please share any ideas you have for incorporating mindfulness in everyday life.

Until next time!

 

 

 

Being Truly Free

Like me, many of you probably embark on this adventure or dream of embarking on this journey looking for freedom. Freedom from the daily grind, freedom from your current life, freedom to explore and freedom to enjoy. I sought freedom of choice too. Freedom to explore my passion in this world, find a meaningful way to earn a living and live my life. Like many, I found myself in the same habits and patterns I had when living stationary. I knew there was something I was seeking but didn’t really take the time to truly explore myself and my inner issues.

So that is how I found myself 4 months into the journey with a new Airstream travel trailer. In case you aren’t aware, they are extremely expensive trailers, especially new. I was sure that’s what I needed to fix this unsettled feeling. The reality is, while I love my home, I am no closer to freedom. The combination of my car payment for my new truck and my RV payment for my new trailer is more than my mortgage on my home. So just as before I am still stuck. Yes I can move my home, but I can’t explore new jobs, new ways of life because I have these huge debts that tether me to my current employment.

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My previous trailer. Never felt like home. Hated pulling it.

My biggest advice to someone looking to start this journey, buy the trailer you can afford now. Whether that is 100% cash, or something you can easily pay off in a year. You will find as you travel that what you thought you wanted, where you thought you’d go and what you thought would make you happy is different then you realized. Leave yourself free to explore. It’s easy to upgrade or change your RV later when you know more about what you need and want. Please don’t delay your journey for years trying to save up enough money for the expensive RV you think you need. Go out, find what you can afford TODAY, and get started.

I would also recommend heading to the West coast first. You can find a lot of places to camp for free. These place can be remote or closer to towns. Either way it will help you to save money. I burnt through most of my savings in my first 6 months of travel on the East coast where it’s harder to find free parking spots that have good enough internet to work. Check out Campendium and FreeCampsites.Net for places to stay and reviews.

My other advice is to spend some time realizing why you want to journey. Is it the simplicity of the life, the exploration of the land, the opportunity to make new friends and build real connections? Or is it to escape your unhappiness? Maybe its all of these. For me, travelling is how I want to live my life, but I know that it will take more than an awesome view outside my window to be truly free and happy.

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

Which brings me to my inner journey. I have been learning about mindfulness in a casual way over the last few years. I have decided that I will focus on practicing mindfulness so I can be more aware, more present and more focused. I believe this will help me in my inner journey greatly and will help me to break free from old routines and habits that don’t serve me and aren’t healthy.  I watched a movie on Gaia.com called ‘The Mindfulness Movie‘ by Dr. Rick Handson. It was a good overview from various researchers, doctors and people on what mindfulness really means, how it can help transform your reactive patterns and some ways it’s being used in society today to make a difference. The movie showed a study of veterans with PTSD that have used this practice to make a real difference and I personally know someone with the disorder that found mindfulness to be very effective.

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My meditation spot this morning. I prefer to do this outside, but I’m not all set up at my new spot yet!

What shape my practice will take is yet to be determined, I have much to learn. I will update you in my next blog on camping near Lake Havasu and the progress I’ve made in my practice!

 

Arizona Oasis RV Park – Ehrenberg, AZ

Occasionally I like to stay in a park with full hook-ups so that I can flush my tanks, charge up all my devices, give the trailer a good scrubbing and maybe even enjoy a relaxing dip in a hot tub.

Arizona Oasis RV Park is located in Ehrenberg, AZ which is on the border of California and Arizona. It’s a town of about 2 streets in between Blythe, CA and Quartzsite, AZ (a place many gather in the winter). Ehrenberg has a Flying J’s with a Wendy’s, a few RV parks, access to the Colorado river, a laundromat and a less crowded place to pick up General Delivery mail (I haven’t personally, but knew an Xscapers member that did). If you pass Ehrenberg and continue onto Blythe, there is an Inspection station immediately after the exit. They normally just wave people through, but occasionally stop you to ask a few questions. There isn’t much to do here but they do have a few festivals each year in the area.

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Front entrance to the park.

While here I decided to drive down the street to the Laundromat/Mall to do laundry. Washers were $1.25 and dryers were .25 for 8 minutes. The facility has a good amount of washers and dryers but is not overly spacious. However, I found it to be clean and in good working order.

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Laundromat down the street from the RV Park.

Nearby in Blythe, CA you find grocery stores including Albertsons and Smart and Final (an inexpensive store with decent produce), fast food joints, a decent Mexican restaurant and a Starbucks with free wi-fi. Nearest Walmart – 45 miles away in Parker, AZ.

If you are a Passport America member you can stay for $20 a night for up to 7 days here on a standard site. I booked 3 nights because I wanted to arrive before a big storm with wind so that I wasn’t driving in dangerous conditions. I was given a pull through site. The place is pretty quiet with only the occasional road noise and chirping birds. Sites are pretty close together with gravel surfaces, a concrete pad and a BBQ pit. My site is level and hookups are close and easy to hook into. Not a fan of the BBQ pit being a few feet from my neighbors sewer but I’m not planning on BBQing during this rain anyway!

There is access to the river, a heated pool, hot tub, clubhouse, laundry room, dumpsters and on site activities. While I was here they had music and bonfire on the beach Thursday night, live music Friday evening, breakfast on the weekends and several other activities including a full day on Sunday planned with many events. Thursday night I had the hot tub to myself and enjoy a good long soak till closing time at 10pm.

They also have nice tent pad sites, park models, river front sites, cabins and nice landscaping.

Overall it was a good inexpensive stop to get chores done. On my way out of town I stopped at a historic pioneer cemetery. I’ve never seen grave sites like this. I took the scenic road towards Lake Havasu and was rewarded with interesting and beautiful scenery.

Park Summary:

Arizona Oasis RV Park

50238 Ehrenberg-Parkey Hwy, Ehrenberg, AZ 85334

928-923-8230

http://rvoasis.com

$20 a night with Passport America

Level Sites

Free wi-fi included

Cable included

FHU (Full Hook Up)


Nice shower facilities in two different buildings


Restrooms


Clubhouse


Social events


Heated pool and hottub


Laundry facilities

Connectivity
Each test done twice! No booster used.
Conditions: Rainy and cloudy

Using ATT Unite Hotspot and Samsung Galaxy 7 phone with Ookla Speed Test app
Ping: 55ms/46ms
Upload: 14.10 Mbps/15.13Mbps
Download: 5.89Mbps/16.97Mbps
Was easily able to stream Netflix and work using my AT&T hotspot.

Using Samsung Galaxy 7 phone on Verizon network with Ookla Speed Test app
Ping: 39ms/136ms
Upload: .10 Mbps/.15Mbps
Download: .32Mbps/.59 Mbps

An ending and a beginning

This isn’t my first blog. No my first blog was kattraveldiary.blogspot.com. As with all journeys in life, as we grow, as we change, so do the things in our life.

My first blog was to serve as my personal travel diary. I’ve been on the road for 9 months now and am realizing that my journey is about more than just where my wheels take me and my ‘toaster’ each week. There is a deeper journey, one that explores who I am, seeks to enrich my personal self and seeks to develop meaningful connections.

As with anything in life, its easy to get distracted. Find ourselves falling into old patterns rather than new growth. I hope to use this blog to help keep me on track. I hope that some of the journey’s I take and explorations I make will help you on your journey too.

With that, a little intro about me, why I chose this blog name and what’s next in my journey.

About Me

I’m a single lady of working age with a daughter in Louisiana who loves to hike, kayak, explore the outdoors and make new friends. I’m an outgoing introvert. I struggle with leading a healthy lifestyle. This is important to me because of my family’s health and how good I feel when I am healthy.

Why the Tethered Toaster?

I played with many names, like Journey Squared, Tethered Travels and others, but alas, they were taken! I thought of Tethered Gypsy but found that gypsy represents a people and I do not have that heritage.  I chose tethered, because due to my remote work for my company I am always required to be somewhere where I have good connectivity. I chose toaster because of my Airstream. Kind of looks like a big toaster doesn’t it?

What’s Next?

As I move from this point, my journey will focus on several things: increasing my interpersonal awareness, finding a balance with a healthier lifestyle and exploring new skills and talents such as learning to play the violin, getting better at yoga and speaking a new language.

Thank you for sharing my journey with me, I look forward to meeting you down the road!

Thanks to William Trinkle for the awesome picture of my rig featured in my blog header.