A Gathering of Thanksgiving
Originally posted 11/22/2012
Well, naturally, I took a much-needed nap at 1:40 in the afternoon and woke up at about 3:30. Uh-oh. So much for a little catnap. I was late to the Thanksgiving gathering at Bob Wells’ campsite. Fortunately, the barbecued turkey succeeded wonderfully, and although they were just hitting the desserts by the time I got there, there was plenty enough of the staples for me. What a spread!
There were just short of a dozen people gathered ’round, mostly vandwellers, mostly full-timers, who were asking me questions about why I decided to pull up stakes and live in a travel trailer full-time. I had it pretty cushy next to this hardy bunch, but the basic motivations still applied. That also prompted them to go on from there and share their own perceptions of this unusual lifestyle. Most people don’t understand it, viewing it as dropping out of normalcy and becoming a part of some type of vagrant rebellion, but it isn’t that simple or that accurate. It’s a lifestyle based on personal freedom, a very deliberate choice of simplicity, and if you don’t personally know someone who has done it, they may often be written off as a group of some sort of undesirables or weirdos or dropouts.
Just the opposite is true. I’ve found that they are people worth knowing, and knowing well. Whether man or woman, they’ve each invariably done a great deal of thinking about mainstream values and “normalcy”, and adapted their lives to a greater call – one of thoughtful living. There’s a lot of accumulated wisdom lurking here, both inspirational and practical.
After stuffing our guts, at 4:30 half the group walked toward a mountain range before the sun would set at 5:30, talking and keeping an eye on the three dogs as we wandered down a rocky trail. Should have worn more substantial walking sneakers and brought my walking stick for the ultimate in comfort! Nonetheless, we watched the dogs unsuccessfully attempt to run down an errant rabbit. I felt sorry for the poor little bunny of course, but to my surprise, the little critter quickly left these good-sized dogs behind. One of the dogs, an elderly airedale, had a bad hip that magically seemed to disappear as the rabbit flashed into view. Such is the effect of adrenaline though – he was hopping on three legs when he returned, but he didn’t seem to regret the chase one particle.
We returned to camp just as the fading glimmer of sunset took hold. I felt it was time to take my leave, and bid them well. But I did so with the conviction that I need to live not merely to escape what hasn’t worked, but to expand my horizons and appreciate life in a more considered way. Quite a bit of value to pick up from a mere two-hour casual Thanksgiving visit.