Thursday, June 27, 2013

Newell Gurus Mini Rally - Day # 5 - This Lifestyle and Air Conditioning

A friend of mine posted a few days ago that they had lost power this past Monday in their neighborhood in northern Indiana.  They have a small gas generator they put into service when something like this happens, but it is not big enough to power their air conditioning.....just the basics like lighting, refrigerators, TV, computer, maybe the sump pump if needed, etc.  He observed that over the subsequent 3 days without city power (power was just restored Wednesday evening) they spent more time outside in the early evening where there was a breeze and it was cooler.  As a result they spent a lot of time talking with their neighbors.  His observation is that with the advent of air conditioning we spend more time inside where it is comfortable, and almost no time interacting with their neighbors.  Years ago before air conditioning in homes became the standard we all spent time sitting on the front porch of our homes sipping a cool drink and visiting with passing neighbors, or we walked around our neighborhoods talking with other neighbors.  While I know we can all agree that air conditioning is something we do not want to be without, especially on those hot summer days and evenings, the unintended consequence of that modern convenience, which we now take so for granted, is we don't know what is going on in our neighborhoods anymore.  It is easier to sit inside being comfortable in the wonderful air conditioning.

"This lifestyle" TLE and I have chosen to embrace has had the opposite effect of air conditioning.  We tend to spend a lot more time outside our "home" walking around our "neighborhood" than we did before we moved into our coach.  The unexpected result of this lifestyle choice is we meet people we would never, ever have met before. Not just because we spend time outside our "home", but because we keep moving our home, and changing our view.  We find ourselves in new neighborhoods and want to get out and see what's happening.  The natural result of this lifestyle is that you spend more time outside, and you spend more time talking with your neighbors.  We strike up conversations with people in Walmart parking lots, in Lowe's parking lots, in Cracker Barrel parking lots, in RV parks.  A great example of this phenomenon was when we were in Hammond, IN a few weeks ago.  I was outside in the Walmart parking lot cleaning the residue of the rain storm from the day before off my aluminum wheels for about a hour.  No, it didn't take me an hour to clean the wheels.......there were three conversations with passing strangers during that the wheels took about 10 minutes, but the conversations lasted over 45 minutes.  I met a gentleman who had just purchased an RV and was thinking about traveling full time.  He had lots of questions.  Then another couple (husband and wife) pulled up and began inquiring about our coach, and our lifestyle. Then a third person, a young lady, stopped to talk about our lifestyle.....she was thinking about making a change in her life and was exploring the possibility of living full time in an RV and traveling while she worked.

Sometimes I feel like our journey has turned into sort of a ministry where we preach the gospel of unfettered living, changing your view on regular basis, and having plans written in jello to all that will stop and inquire.  We don't always stay in the moment eschewing the desire to plan everything out.....sometimes we are frail and want to know what is coming around the corner, or make a reservation, but most of the time we are true to our goal of living day to day and letting tomorrow take care of itself.  When we are able to stay in the moment, in the day, we are so much happier, and so much more open to serendipity.  There are days when we wish everyone would, or could share what we are experiencing, but the reality is if that happened it would get very, very crowded out here.  

This Newell Gurus Mini Rally we are a part of is a great example of the blessings of this lifestyle......Wednesday in particular.  We started off the day taking a tandem ride for about 13 miles with our friends the Entrekin's who also have a tandem.  When we returned we went and spent time with our friends the Day's whom hadn't seen in 17 months.  Then we sat talking with our new friend, and current neighbor, Chester Stone.  Later in the afternoon I spent time with the Flickema's helping Todd finish the installation of the satellite dish we began installing the day before.  Around 6 pm we headed over to the pool area for our second potluck dinner of this rally.  We spent time talking with Paul and Cheryl Nelson who own one of the rare 47 foot Newells.  They also own, and operate a hunting lodge up in Gettysburg, SD.  They are very interesting people, and have invited us to visit their lodge the next time we are in South Dakota.  Then I spent about 30 minutes talking with Larry Brachfeld another Newell owner, and current neighbor.  A very, very interesting guy.   My point is in my prior "sticks and bricks" lifestyle I rarely visited with neighbors, or took time to engage in random conversations with strangers.  Now my days are full of those events.  In this process I have learned a lot about myself, and met a lot of interesting, wonderful people.  In many cases those former strangers are now friends I stay in contact with, and because we all move around the country we continue to cross paths with them.  Just Tuesday we crossed paths again with Forrest and Mary Clark whom we first met in Cedar Key back in January.  They were on their way to Gillette, WY for an Escapees rally and decided to stop here in Spearfish to catch up with us for a couple of days.  In the process they made some new friends, too.

In my old life spending all this time conversing with people would have worn me out, but now it invigorates me in a way that is hard to continually puts my life into perspective.  When you sit inside your air conditioned home you tend to lose perspective.  Your own problems, struggles, etc. get blown out of proportion.  When you are outside talking with people you hear about their failures, their successes, their struggles, etc. and you realize your life is not so bad, or so good as you thought.  In fact, you tend to stop thinking about  yourself as much, and you tend to become more grateful for what you have, and less focused on what you don't have.

This post was kind of wordy, and maybe a little preachy.......I hope it didn't come across that way.  I just woke up today feeling so happy, and so blessed I had to share it with ya'll.

Thanks for stopping by!!


  1. Your second to last paragraph pretty much sums it up-look around and you will discover it's not so bad after all!

  2. You are so correct...thank you....

  3. Great post! Your insights about the social nature of full-time travel resonate with me. As part of our travels, I look forward to meeting people and hearing their stories as much as I do to discovering new places.