We've finally landed
in Portland and this will be our longest stay so far. We paid for
a month's stay to get better rates and I will begin applying at
temporary agencies on Monday. Lots of mixed emotions about this
part... While if given a choice, I definitely would prefer not having
to work and just continue this moving around and having plenty of
time for sightseeing, there's another part of me that knows that
besides the necessity of working since I've blown through most of
my cash reserves now, that it will be a blessing in and of itself.
I will enjoy meeting new people and keeping myself challenged in
that way. It's always a little scary going into a new job and the
first couple of days are generally the worst. Then you get a little
more comfortable and get to talking with the other workers, telling
them about your life and hearing about theirs. Doing nothing but
temporary work will recreate that experience over and over and while
there appears to be some bad and some good associated with that,
I generally believe it better to be exposed to new experiences that
may challenge you as opposed to getting and staying into a rut just
because it is easy and more comfortable.
I am also of two minds
when it comes to the matter of staying put here longer vs. continuing
to hit the road every week. No matter how much I've enjoyed places
we've visited, I've always gotten a bit excited when it was time
to leave. Sometimes it's all I can do not to smile and break out
into singing Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again." Since
nobody can see or hear me, I'll confess here that sometimes I actually
do. There's just this great feeling of anticipation as I go through
the checklist to make sure Inspiration is totally road ready, dump
her tanks and get a fresh start with the gray water (I've gotten
a reputation already as the "Gray Water Queen." Hey, I
like long showers, OK?
So now I have full hookups
and feel that it will be nice to put down "roots" for
a while. I'll get out all the outdoor chairs and indoor accessories.
Sometimes when we're packing up every few days, I've not bothered
to put out the decorative "homey" things I brought with
me, my family pictures, etc. It's now nice to have everything out
and not having to worry about packing everything up again so soon.
Also we feel like we're more in civilization now because both our
cell phones work better now and email is more readily available
at this park.
This park is really quiet
- in fact it is the only place we've stayed that is adult only -
no kids are allowed except for brief visits by the seasonal campers.
That was a draw for us because a bunch of kids running, riding and
screaming through the park gets old real quick. And kids have a
particularly peculiar way of looking at things sometimes - totally
oblivious to how what they are doing is affecting others. Like when
Don was passing the pool at the last park we were in - he heard
one kid tell the other one on top of the slide to "pee down
the slide first - it makes you go faster." That apparently
made perfect sense to the other kid who proceeded to follow that
sage advice - he whipped it out, peed on the slide and gleefully
slid down it. Now, I know the chances are good in any public pool
that not all of the liquid is pure water, but there was something
particularly disquieting about hearing it from their mouths first.
I passed on swimming from then on.
We bought a couple of
bikes yesterday and hope that not only will they provide a fun and
alternative way to explore where we are, but good exercise to help
us shed some of the unwelcome pounds the RV lifestyle has visited
I admit I've been a bit
discouraged lately because it hasn't been as easy getting a job
as I hoped and anticipated. In the past, whenever I've wanted to
work, all I had to do was show up at a temp agency and I was put
to work almost immediately and then had to keep beating them off
with a stick when I was ready for a break. But when I went to visit
the top three employment agencies here in Portland, I was told they
had very few strictly temp jobs - that most of their assignments
came from firms looking for temps to try out for permanent hiring.
They were all very impressed with my skills after testing, but weren't
very encouraging about temp hire prospects. So I then decided to
try some self-marketing. I made business cards with my picture,
put together a short introductory letter, attached my resume and
hit the streets visiting some of the largest law firms. So far that
venture has been unproductive, but I just received a call from one
of the agencies who has at least a two week assignment for me starting
Monday. Although the pay is not what I'm used to in Austin, it is
enough to keep Inspiration in gas when I'm ready to hit the road
again at the end of September. Whew!
Lesson learned here:
Stop for long stays in big cities where job opportunities are greater.
I had even considered going back to waitress work, something I haven't
done since the dark ages when I was a teenager. However, I don't
think my 50 year old feet would handle that well. Also, when I did
talk to a restaurant manager about what I was doing, he said I'd
have to lie about how long I'd be in the area because they wouldn't
want to train someone who was leaving soon. Since I believe that
is bad kharma if nothing else and I just don't want to lie as a
regular part of my inspirational trip, that is not an option for
me right now.
But the other lesson
learned is that I will do whatever is necessary to support this
travel habit, because there is still nothing I would rather do and
despite the periodic panic attacks, I still believe this is what
I'm meant to be doing and still have faith that I will be given
every opportunity to keep living this dream. And as my daughter's
email signature keeps reminding me: "If you're not living close
to the edge, you're taking up too much space." I love that.
Yesterday we went south
to Kennebunk and Kennebunkport and really enjoyed these very quaint
and lovely towns. Of course, "quaint" these days mostly
means "quaint shopping districts" and since I'm still
unemployed, I'm not partaking of that activity, but it was fun nonetheless.
Again, driving through towns that were settled before Texas was
even part of the United States and seeing buildings built in the
1700's is more interesting than I ever thought it would be.
It's really meant a lot
to me to get the responses I have from my last update. I have been
reminded from you, my home-town angels out there, that I have everything
I need to accomplish anything I want to do, something I tend to
forget sometimes. Then once I get proof again of that fact, I get
ticked off at myself for having "lost faith" even for
just a moment. A wonderful woman friend sent me the following quote
that sincerely helped put my head back on straight:
"I spent a
long time trying to find my center until I looked closely at it
one night and found it had wheels and moved easily in the slightest
breeze, so now I spend less time sitting and more time sailing."
- Brian Andreas
How appropriate is that
to me?? My center (real home) really does have wheels and I intend
to sail along with Inspiration and try to keep mindful of all the
miracles I have experienced that made this journey possible, and
recognize all the blessings and angels that keep popping up in the
strangest of places just when I need them the most.
I got a call from a woman
at one of the firms I had visited. I met with her today and I have
a job there for 6 weeks making much more than I would have through
the agency. Talk about good news! So I have plenty enough from that
assignment to get me to Florida when I leave here at the end of
September. The weather has finally stopped its resemblance to Texas
and we now have daytime temperatures in the 70's, dropping into
the low 60's at night. In talking to one of the locals, Don commented
that he was glad it wasn't so hot anymore and the man said "Yea,
that was our Maine summer - one week in the 90's and that's it."
Yesterday we packed a
picnic lunch and took it to the beach, but left right after eating
because it was too cold for us. We cracked up about how our Texas
friends would laugh at us freezing our butts off at the beach in
Well, my first work week
is over and it is just as I suspected - I would rather not be working!
I know, I know, I have nothing to complain about, but sometimes
I just have to do it anyway. I have to admit, though, the law firm
is a nice one and the people are really terrific. They all get a
kick out of my "cute accent" but it's all I can do to
keep from cracking up at theirs. This one lawyer in particular is
just hilarious. One of his clients is a Dunkin Donuts developer
and I was telling him about how we noticed there is such a profusion
of those stores here. When we were in Bar Harbor we almost died
laughing when we were given the directions: "go down to the
Dunkin Donuts traffic light and take a left..." We just looked
at them and gasped "Dunkin Donuts has its own light???"
This lawyer said a comedian on Saturday Night Live does a whole
routine about Dunkin Donuts in Boston, which supposedly has more
stores than here. Directions there are "it's only a couple
of miles from here - you go past 4, no wait, 5, Dunkin Donuts, not
counting the ones with drive-throughs, then past the big Wal Maaht
(not Mart, notice, but Maaht)..." Anyway, there's never a lack
of things to be amused at, so it can't be all that bad.
Getting a paycheck again
is sure nice. I admit I was sure sweating it for a while. Even though
my experiences have shown me better, I still can get into these
little panic attacks every now and then, especially over money.
I guess it's the Taurus in me - while my free spirit craves liberation
and adventure, the bull in me expects it to be tempered with security
and collateral - quite the conflict at times.
Although I am enjoying
Portland, I also find myself counting the days until I hit the road
again. The travel bug has sure infected me, no doubt about it! I've
already started plotting the trip back down south and at this point
plan to leave on October 6th, right after this job is over. They
way I've planned for now is a total of about 2,800 miles to get
us to Ft. Lauderdale by the third week in October. Places I want
to visit along the way include Provincetown, Plymouth, Nantucket,
and Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, then a lot of the civil
war and historical sites in Virginia and North Carolina, and Myrtle
Beach in S. Carolina.
We spent the holiday
weekend in Boston and I just fell in love with it! There was so
much to see and I just loved the whole feel of the place. I have
always been attracted to those whole-block buildings built on a
corner that come to kind of a point - for some reason I've dreamt
of them quite often, so it was like heaven because there are a zillion
of them there. It was a kick seeing the Brownstones, touring one
of the old homes, visiting a park where a village was recreated
of a 1630 settlement with people in costumes, etc.
I also truly enjoyed
Salem - the witch museum was pretty much a rip-off, but I still
really enjoyed walking around the town and touring the shops - really
cool and unique things. I had no idea how much I was interested
in historical stuff until I could see some of the sites with my
own eyes - really a huge difference from just reading about or seeing
pictures of them. We toured the USS Constitution and the guide really
drew a graphic picture of what life was like on the ship back then
- really fascinating.
Lessons learned there,
also. The trip there from Portland should have only taken 2 hours
- it took us about 5. Since all the campgrounds and reasonable hotels
were full due to the holiday, we decided to take advantage of having
a fully self-contained unit and dry camp at the Wal-Mart in Salem,
where at least the price was right. Don led the way in his truck
so we'd have transportation around town. Anyway, at some point while
we were circling Salem for the zillionth time looking for Wal-Mart
I got separated from him. Those little New England streets are not
exactly conducive for a 36' motor home to maneuver in, especially
when you're not sure where to turn, etc. It all turned out OK, and
in fact it was kinda funny when it was all over. I wound up about
10 miles away before I could stop in a parking lot of a mall. I
stopped a couple of nice ladies to ask where I was and called Don
on the cell phone so we could find each other again. As she was
giving directions, I had a hard time understanding her because of
her accent. I was trying to repeat what she said to Don and started
spelling some of the streets, joking that since they didn't pronounce
their "r's" that I had to resort to that. The other lady
laughed and said "if you want correct directions, you better
not make fun of the way we talk." The lady talking to Don said
"when you pull up in the Staples parking lot, you won't be
able to miss the lady in the huge motor home who talks funny."
So, it was great to meet those "angels" and add another
"don't do again" to my list. From now on, I will have
my own explicit directions to where we're going, no matter how seemingly
short the trip. It was silly to just take off believing I could
just follow him.
for more of his brand of fun!