Saturday, December 27, 2003

I Never Thought About It As Surviving
by Shenan

I have been living out of my pick-up truck for about three years now. It started as a road trip across country and has just grown from there. My truch and I have hit every state except Hawaii. I never really thought about it as surviving. I just thought of it as living.

Free your mind... Your ass will follow.

I was living and working here in Georgia, living a pretty boring but normal life. A course of life-changing (threatening) events occurred, and I realized that if I had died I would never have seen anything, or been anywhere. So I took a trip.

I had always been the one in my group of friends to not go anywhere alone. I was always with a group. But I packed my car up and took off for Mississippi. I heard about a small women's festival and decided I would go. I was scared the entire eight-hour drive, but once I got there I made about a hundred friends over a weekend and was in love with life. I had to see more.

I ended up living at Camp Sister Spirit for a while, seeing New Orleans, meeting people from all over the world, and realized I had to get on the road. I had all these friends to visit now. So I started going to women's festivals across the country, meeting more people, and on and on.

I lived in Washington State for about a year and a half. I fell in love with the greenness of it, and the people were wonderful. But the bug started biting and I had to move again. I made this silly goal for myself. I would go to and at least set foot in every state. I've gotten every one of them except Hawaii. And as soon as they build that bridge...

The friends I have, I have more often than not met at a festival. But sometimes I make friends through friends, and sometimes I just meet them at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere. I guess I am easy to get to know. I have always figured you get back what you put out there.

For me, the positive aspect has been the freedom, of course. Waking up on a beach, then falling asleep on a mountain that night. And the people I have met on the road. I have so many friends now, I can't stop travelling. I love the simplistic chaos of my life. Everything I own is with me, I have all I need, my life is full.

Drawbacks... hmmmm. Traveling can wreak havoc on my love life. Hard to be in a long term relationship with a traveler. I do so hate getting ripped off. It has happened a few times. I try really hard to keep my cynicism at a low level. It's hard sometimes. My mother hates the way I live. She would be happier if I lived in one place-close to her.

Advice or helpful hints:

One, learn how to barter. If you have a skill or a craft you can trade, you'll be amazed what you can get.

Two, always carry those cheapy Mylar emergency blankets with you. They have kept me from freezing a few times.

Three, if you find a source of fresh, clean water, make sure you bottle some for a few days travel. I found out the hard way about the non-potable water in a few New Mexico rest areas.

Four, keep a small Styrofoam cooler with a hunk of dry ice in it. It's like having a small fridge, but cheaper.

One of my biggest tips is, don't forget to pull over, stop, and just look at where you are. The pictures in your mind will be the scenery of your dreams.

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