I’m now 20 days into my second year of full-time wandering. I was going to write something on that 1st year anniversary, but all that was coming to me was “I want to do it a second year.” Then the thought of a boat came to mind as it often does when I’m in a contemplative mood.
This winter I was paddling when I came across a beautiful old wooden boat named “Soul Etude”. The name captured my heart and soul, and the next day I sought out the owner. I wanted to know how the name was chosen. The story was a bit underwhelming! He said he also loved the name which came with the boat when he purchased it.
MY SOUL ETUDE
SOUL - such a complex word!
1.the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.
2.the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect, or as believed to survive death and be subject to happiness or misery in a life to come:
arguing the immortality of the soul.
3.the disembodied spirit of a deceased person:
4.the emotional part of human nature; the seat of the feelings or sentiments.
5.a human being; person.
6.high-mindedness; noble warmth of feeling, spirit or courage, etc.
7.the animating principle; the essential element or part of something.
8.the inspirer or moving spirit of some action, movement, etc.
9.the embodiment of some quality:
He was the very soul of tact.
10.(initial capital letter) Christian Science. God; the divine source of all identity and individuality.
11.deeply felt emotion, as conveyed or expressed by a performer or artist.
ETUDE - so simple
1.a musical composition, usually instrumental, intended mainly for the practice of some point of technique.
One word is very complex and the other so simple but when I saw them together they seemed to fit so perfectly to my life.
Our country is my church. I have no current church building affiliation, but have always identified my closest relationship with God when I’m in the midst of our natural world. With all my senses I’m aware of the hand of God at work with nature and people.
My first year had a few distractions such as three axles, hating to do laundry in public places, and wishing I could truly wander and stop where I want to without having to make reservations. But those are minor compared to the experiences and joys I’ve lived.
My year was filled with beautiful views, new birds and animals, a closer relationship with my Josie Cat; from mountains to ocean to prairies I witnessed the incredible beauty of our country. I often stayed off interstates and experienced small towns and country roads, and enjoyed the journey wherever I went.
I’m basically a shy person and I do not like large public gatherings. I either hide in a corner, leave as soon as I can or find friends and never leave their side. I mostly avoid those situations as my friends also prefer small gatherings usually involving birds, paddles and campfires. I don’t make close friends easily but treasure those that I have. And now, I’m learning the art of 20-minute friendships that actually work well with my personality. I'll come across people who catch my attention or I theirs in campgrounds, while kayaking, birding, biking, walking my cat, or taking photos. We stop and chat for five to thirty minutes. Sometimes we end up at each other’s campsites, paddling or birding together. Rarely do we exchange our names and when we do it is usually with a laugh as we depart. Names are not important as we will never see each other again or keep in touch. But for those few moments in life we connect. It’s an interesting social life and allows me to meet fascinating people!
For some, Facebook is decreasing in popularity. But I love that I’ve been able to keep in touch with friends and relatives that I no longer see. In some cases it’s with relatives that I had lost touch with through most of my life and never knew as adults.
A few facts:
The Yukon, purchased August 2015, has 39,300 miles
The Casita, purchased in December 2015, has 16,500 miles
My average nightly fee is $20
I’ve camped or traveled through 22 states with the Casita
My annual expenses are 23% less, which wasn’t a goal as I’m doing what I want to do and going where I want to go; however, I pay no state tax, no rent, no utilities and my cell/internet is less expensive
I’ve spent 3 months in my brother’s backyard. I love the connection with the family, and that helps ground me. What has kept me here is the experience to observe, study and photograph the Peregrine Falcon family, that I discovered in 2015 - from eggs to hatch to fledge of 2 eyasses who are now learning to fly and hunt. They are the first confirmed Peregrine Falcons to successfully nest on a natural cliff in Kentucky history. Very few people have had the experience that I’ve had, and I treasure it. It has enriched my soul.
For 386 nights I’ve laid my head on my pillow in my Casita. I’m ready to see new places, make new 20-minute friends, find more birds, paddle new water, and revisit some locations. I want to travel to see friends and relatives. I want to see how the sky, with its stars, clouds, sunrises and sunsets, looks different everywhere I go. So, soon I will hit the road and lay my head on my pillow with new views out my window
Soul Etude revisited…
Soul - I can identify with each of the definitions. Which one specifically, including #3 when I feel my parents’ presence, is ever-changing. I like that awareness of the shifting and evolution of my soul.
Etude - The music of my soul. The study of my soul. Both are at play in my life.
I’m eager to see how my Soul Etude composition will evolve over the next year!
The Happy Wanderer