Just a moment I don’t want to forget.
I took my husband to the botanical gardens I had my ‘bit of zen‘ at and we saw this little guy.
These past few weeks I’ve been quieter on here and I want to share why.
When I say quiet, I mean quiet regarding my thoughts on things. I used to share a lot of my thoughts, via podcasts or posts. I don’t as much anymore but the number of thoughts I have and urges to share has not subsided.
Now I only share after I’ve done things. I’m a words girl. I always will be. Writing is the best way I know how to express myself. But I want my words to be backed by action. I mean, Dumbledore doesn’t have all the best lines in Harry Potter because he’s a great speaker but because his actions back it. If he acted otherwise then many readers wouldn’t have had such a liking to his wonderful words. They wouldn’t have meant as much.
And so I want my words to be backed by action because I really do believe actions speak louder than words. It’s why I now mostly focus on things I’ve already done, seen, made, read, lived. I share our RV decisions after we’ve done research and come to conclusions. I want my words and photos to be a reflection of what I hold dearest and admire most.
I’ve recorded lots of podcasts and written draft posts but I rather like letting them sit to see just how much they mean to me and how badly I really want to share them.
It’s why I often don’t share my goals. I have no qualms against doing so. I have lots of goals. Some I set for myself for a month, some to be done in a year. But I’ve found that when I keep the goals to myself then I’m more likely to do them because I want to, not because maybe others are looking on. My mom taught me that. She started working on her weight over a year ago. It would have been easy for her to share how often she was working out, what she was doing, how she changed her eating, but she kept quiet (just between those closest to her) until she got to her goal weight. Then she didn’t even have to say anything. People asked, they wanted to know because they were inspired by her actions.
I’ve been quiet because I’ve thought back to a lesson my dad taught me. Back when I was in business school I felt like an outcast. I didn’t fit in, didn’t agree with the mentality and thinking of my classmates. I raised my hand a lot mostly because I liked to participate but those open debates frustrated me. They wore we down. I called my dad one day sobbing. He said, “Aubrey, try going in and not raising your hand. Don’t say anything, just watch.” I did and I called him back and told him how much I learned. I realized that when I said a bit less I had more opportunity to understand my classmates, to listen to their side, which often made me rethink my own and be glad I didn’t shout out what I wanted to out of impulse.
And lastly, I’ve been quiet so that I can write more. You see, working on my novel means a great deal to me. When I write something down it’s cathartic but it’s also sort of expunged, done for. I already got it out and don’t need to revisit. I rather save up some of my thoughts and put them into my stories. I want my stories to mean something, to come from very deep places because I know no other way. And so that’s why I haven’t written much, kind of like a frog who you don’t know exists until that infrequent ribbit. I want to make it count in all the right places. It’s not about saying nothing, but figuring out what means most to you and living by it, and letting how you live be a reflection of you.
A trip out canoeing we made this past weekend on Town Lake. So lovely we’re going again.
Know your parameters and make decisions on the waves of your life, not the lives of others.
As many of you know, we plan on living in a RV and traveling the country full-time. Our original goal was to try and sublet our apartment and be out by December 2013. Our lease ends June 8, 2014. Living in a college town (Austin), there is a darn good chance we could have subletted it by then. However, we’ve made a decision to finish out our lease.
While this bums us out that we won’t be RV-ing until early June (though 7 months isn’t all that far away), there are too many perks to doing so, to not rushing. With our budget we will save more than half of our income. We’d be starting travels in the summer instead of winter. It would give us time to continue working towards one of our other lofty goals of becoming self-employed but the biggest reason we are doing this is because picking out a RV (our home) is a huge decision.
We have four cats to accommodate. My husband’s work requires a few things that would not feasibly work in some spaces. Our plan is to RV for 3-5 years and then buy a piece of land in Oregon or Washington, build our cob/earthbag house and allow my parents to live in our RV. So it has to be suitable for them as well.
We’ve narrowed down our options to Class A or C RVs but we don’t know which or even the length quite yet. Plus, the more we go out, beyond books, blogs, and articles, and physically go in them do more questions come up that we must answer. We know lots of little things, like how many solar panels we will need, that we’ll be installing a composting toilet and doing away with black water, but the big one, what type and length RV we want, is still undecided.
7 months gives us plenty of time to figure that out, to learn what to look for when purchasing used, what sort of discounts are out there, etc. We’ve been inspired by lots of varying RV stories but are focusing more on the facts of living in a RV because it’s important to remember that’s their story.
Create your own story, appropriate for your life. Challenge yourself beyond what’s comfortable to learn more about what truly makes you happy but don’t ever fall in the cracks of comparison when making decisions about your life, for only one person lives your life. Be vulnerable, try new things, listen to others with experience, but know your parameters and what makes you happy. It’s not about the square footage of space but the level of daily joy.
I’m very easily overwhelmed. I have found, however, a simple method that has allowed me a needed deep breath. It’s but one word, focus. These flowers remind me of such a feeling, for they overwhelmed the forest floor we walked. They line the pathways for what seems like forever. And yet they are just one kind of flower, one focus of golden yellow. They are a reminder to take one thing at a time. Let yourself be immersed in that one thing, for the result is often beautiful when given your full attention. It could be as simple as a cup of tea or cleaning your home, or as complex as the many thoughts, dreams, and aspirations that fill your head.
That’s what I’ve been doing, taking my time focusing on one thing, finishing that and then moving on to the next. The beautiful thing about getting lost in one thing is it tends to take you places you never knew possible, paths you didn’t know were there. Doing so also lets you see the detail that a multi-tasker would miss and the details are the best part. Had your mind been split between trying to tackle so many things would you never get lost. It’s good to get lost, to fall back with the knowledge that you will be caught by that one thing. Swim in it and forget all else, their time will come. No need to rush.
To be totally honest, I’m not a big bath and body person. In fact, I don’t even like baths. They make me tired. Yesterday I was watching RV tour videos (more details on our RV move soon!) and a lot of people had installed door organizers for their bathrooms. I thought, well, that’s one less thing that I need because I make my own shampoo, deodorant, detergent and some other things. I don’t wear makeup. If I do it’s mascara and chapstick, the only makeup I own. I just like to keep it simple.
However, I had three boxes of tea that I didn’t like. I tried them out and, while I loved the smell, I didn’t love the taste. Plus I want to switch back to loose leaf tea only. So I tried to think of ways to use up the tea and decided on the ever popular scrub. I’ll be using the scrub on my feet because frankly, I don’t take care of my feet all that well. They’re often dirty from walking outside barefoot and a bit rough around the edges. So I concocted a way to use up what I didn’t want to go to waste. Here is my recipe for an orange (because I had an old orange sitting out) green tea scrub.
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons Epsom salt
10 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons maple syrup
3 green tea bags
1.5 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tsp lemon extract (I used my homemade lemon extract)
orange zest (optional)
Just mix everything together. Make sure to open the tea bags and dump them in. And scrub, scrub, scrub.
Made myself a quilted and zippered laptop sleeve for my Macbook Pro. The outer is quilted floral scrap fabric that I got for $1 at a vintage shop. The inside liner was a bed sheet that was outside of a thrift store in a box labeled ‘free.’ So I snagged them both, washed them, got some batting (turns out batting isn’t cheap), a zipper and stayed up until 1 am sewing like a madwoman. I’m so happy to now have something to protect my laptop and be proud of.
Went to my first ever corn maze, a five acre Willie Nelson themed one. We had the option of using handouts as guides. But me, I wanted to get lost. And that is just what I did. At one point I was busy oogling the many grasshoppers that I lost Matt. Maybe once we get our RV we’ll make it out to Cool Patch Pumpkins in Dixon, CA which has a 45 acre corn maze!
Stopped to smell the roses. No, really. Saw a random bush, pulled the car over and inhaled their simple beauty.
Curled up with Dexter and watched The Way Way Back (loved it!). Writing a lot. Enjoying the 70 degree tank and sandals weather with some open windows. Well, the weekend isn’t quite over and I have a few more things I’m itching to do.
I hope your weekend has been just as lovely!
It’s no secret that I love the rain and yesterday, after mentioning how much it was raining, I decided to go out. I went for a nice leisurely walk, let go of any heaviness and tuned into my surroundings, to the very things we often walk past without a blink of an eye. I let go of regrets, worry of presentation, and any lingering unnecessary thoughts about things I can not control. I walked the rail of nearby train tracks, went under a bridge and enjoyed the sound of a swooshing stream, fancied the many flowers I saw, let the rain glide down my cheeks and took in all the beautiful colors and little beings around. After that I sat on the floor of my apartment, looking through the open door to my balcony, and enjoyed a fresh arugula and artichoke salad while watching the rain pour. To think, I only walked less than a half mile from my apartment. There is so much beauty right in front of us, waiting for us to take a gander, reflect in the simple.
As the wise lover of nature, Henry David Thoreau once said,
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.