Endings and Beginnings

Have you ever noticed when you look back over the past phases of your life that it’s the beginning and the ending that stand out the most? Whether it’s a job, a relationship, or a place to call home, our memories are always sharper when recalling the start and the end of something.

Got my completion rewards from the 100 mile Hiking Club!

The end of something great, got my completion rewards from the 100 mile Hiking Club!

I believe it’s a matter of novelty. When you’re in a period of stability, there isn’t enough change to distinguish one day from the next so those times don’t stick in the memory as well. The middle blurs into a routine of sameness. For people who seek routine, years can pass with little to distinguish them. There simply isn’t enough novelty to make individual days stand out.

A chipmunk eating a snack on top of my waste hose earlier this week

A chipmunk eating a snack on top of my waste hose earlier this week

The novelty of something new, or the knowledge of something about to end makes us pay more attention. To reflect on what this new thing might mean or what this thing about to end has taught us. Time passes slower when your brain is fully engaged and focused on some new experience. Knowing something is about to end invokes the same feelings. If it’s been a positive experience you want to savor what time you have remaining and get the most out of it. If it hasn’t been as positive an experience, you’re working as hard as you can to ensure the next beginning after this ending goes better.

During the middle of my time here in Yellowstone, routine set in and days flowed one into the next in a predictable cycle of work, chores, cooking, writing and sleeping, even if the hiking and sightseeing broke up the weeks. The last week of work however, everything came back into sharper focus again as I thought: “this will be the last time I ride my borrowed bike home after sundown”, “this is the last time I’ll see Old Faithful erupt”, this will be my hike in Yellowstone”. Knowing something will be the last time (at least for a while) makes the event more significant and meaningful, and like at the beginning of my time here the park,Β daysΒ stands out in amazing detail instead of fading into the background of everyday life.

Last sunrise in the park

Last sunrise in the park

This is just another of the magnificent things about RVing, that you’re offered so many endings and beginnings to keep life fresh. That the years don’t run together and that new experiences await around every bend of the road, offering chances to learn, grow, and be.

Sometimes people recall past events as seeming like they happened ‘just yesterday’. My experience since hitting the road has been quite the opposite. When I look back at my various summer park jobs, sometimes they feel like they spanned years each. Because a traveler gets a limited amount of time in a location, we tend to pack as many experiences as we can into that time and my years since hitting the road are full and rich in memories.

One last picture of our resident bison

One last picture of our resident bison

Weather permitting, I’ll be pulling out of Yellowstone later today. Here’s to beginnings, endings, and new beginnings. May you all be fortunate enough to experience many in your lifetime.

* * *

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Goodbye Yellowstone, it's been fun!

Goodbye Yellowstone, it’s been fun!

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  1. Janett on October 6, 2015 at 6:54 am

    You’re an official member of the 100 mile Hicking Club! Of course, we all knew you’d make it. Hey Becky, I’ve been camp hosting since July in SC and reading IO just not commenting but since this was your ending to another beginning ‘as you so well put it’, I felt compelled. I want to join all your faithful follower’s of IO who salute your amazing talent of writing as though it was a conversation, stopping time with beautifully captured photos and walking us through your Yellowstone adventure. πŸ™‚

    • Becky on October 6, 2015 at 10:13 am

      Thank you for following along Janette, I hope your summer camp hosting went well and you made a lot of good memories yourself. πŸ™‚

  2. Omar Storm on October 5, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Hi Becky,

    Thanks for the nice post on Endings & Beginnings, it’s so true.

    Safe travels & best wishes,


    • Becky on October 6, 2015 at 10:12 am

      Glad you enjoyed this Omar, thanks for reading.

  3. Jerryc on October 4, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    We’ve really enjoyed your Summer in Yellowstone. Looking forward to meeting you at “Q”.
    Jerryc recently posted..Life is Never ScheduledMy Profile

    • Becky on October 5, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      Looking forward to meeting you too Jerry! I’m excited, my first ever rally type thing. πŸ™‚

  4. Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets on October 3, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Well, our month-long trip out and about ended a few days ago. We’re back home now but, interestingly, already thinking about and planning our next escape prior to really going full-time. Just in a 30 day trip, there lots of beginnings and endings. And lots of memories.

    This was a great post, one of your best. Spot on.

    May you have more good memories coming your way in Ft. Worth. And BTW, we saw lots of Casitas while on the road. And each time, who did we think about?
    Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets recently posted..Bear Creek – The Trail That Wants To Kill YouMy Profile

    • Becky on October 5, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      Glad your trip went so well Ed! I say, go out and get as many “test runs” in as you can before the real deal. πŸ™‚

      Thanks, and I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I’ve only seen one other Casita so far while on the road, we did wave to each other from opposite sides of the interstate.

  5. FrugalRVGals on October 2, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Not being full time yet I have this thought that when I do become full time the beginnings and endings are going to be less intense. Maybe I’m wrong, but now when I am out on a trip the excitement is huge in the beginning and then the sadness towards the end of the trip can be really hard. At times an extreme roller-coaster ride, But I have to remember that in just a short time the next beginning is right around the corner. Thanks for sharing be safe on the road!
    FrugalRVGals recently posted..A New Mattress for My Truck CamperMy Profile

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      As I told Terri above, I think you are correct Frugal, but the feelings will still be there. Well, they certainly are for me at least.

      You’re welcome and hope your full-timing preparations are going well!

  6. pamelab on October 2, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Wise beyond your years, you are. (yoda). I enjoy your blog, so much, Becky. All three of these panoramic shots are wonderful. Thank you and Happy Travels, as you move on toward your next adventure.

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      Hehe, thanks Pamelab, I’ve been waiting for a chance to use those pictures and this seemed like it.

      You’re welcome, and so far my drive is going well.

  7. Frank on October 2, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    I have enjoyed reading about your summer in YNP. My wife and I plan on spending at least one summer doing what you did. Hoping to work for the Yellowstone Association after reading about your time there. Would you work for them again?

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Yes Frank I’d work for them again. The site cost was the best deal of all the employers in Yellowstone, pay was higher than the concessionaires (still got a ton, but…) and the 30 hour work weeks with 2 days off in a row was good for getting to spend time sightseeing in the park. Bill and Mike are already hiring for next summer, you can find the ad on Workamper News or at http://www.yellowstoneassociation.org.

  8. Anne P on October 2, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Very thoughtful analysis, Becky. I’ve enjoyed your reflections and photographs this summer and look forward to reading future posts.

    Jerry, your study application of beginning/ending memories is fascinating. Will have to give it a try! Thank you.

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      You’re welcome Anne, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my posts this summer. Don’t think Haslet will be as exciting, but that’s okay. πŸ™‚

  9. Regina on October 2, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Safe travels to TX. We enjoyed your YNP posts and photos. We met you in August at the YGS you worked at. Hope we can meet again in Haslet.

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      Yes Regina I’m so glad we had the chance to meet! Hope the rest of your trip went well.

      Thanks, and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed following along this summer. πŸ™‚

  10. Jim Schmechel on October 2, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    I love the tags for this post: Gratitude, Inspiration, Lifestyle Design. Those are great topics, and you are an excellent writer on these subjects. I hope your new beginning goes well for you in Texas πŸ™‚
    Jim Schmechel recently posted..Born of the SpiritMy Profile

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      Thanks Jim! It’ll be warmer at the very least which is good with the weather getting cold in the mountains. I had to dodge snow advisories leaving Yellowstone…

  11. mike german on October 2, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Another great post Becky. They have a way of making me think about what you have said instead of just reading something and forgetting it. Very often I will go back and reread them and look at the amazing pics you put on them. Is there a way to put your posts together like a book to say keep in my kindle? Also congrats on finishing the 100 mile hikes. Hiking in that high altitude you should be in very good shape lol. Keep up the good work and thanks.

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:18 pm

      I hope I’m in better shape Mike, it does feel like it! Glad you’ve enjoyed following along with me this summer.

      I have thought about it, but it’s hard to get pictures to format well in a Kindle book, at least with the number of pictures I take. Would take a lot of formatting and time, but I haven’t ruled it out for a future project.

  12. Marcia GB in MA on October 2, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Thanks for sharing your time at Yellowstone and your perspective on memories with us. Happy trails, Becky!

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      You’re welcome Marcia and thanks for the good travel wishes. πŸ™‚

  13. Jim@HiTek on October 2, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Another great post. And did I detect the tell-tail smudging from a tear or two on the page??
    Jim@HiTek recently posted..More time with family…My Profile

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:14 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Jim. Actually I’ve never cried when leaving a place, tear-jerker movies rarely get to me either. Just the way I am, but I certainly do think a lot about it.

  14. Ron on October 2, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Safe travels to your next adventure & thanks for sharing your Yellowstone hikes and photos.
    Your reporting was exceptional.

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      Thanks Ron, and you’re welcome of course. πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed following along.

  15. Linda Pierson on October 2, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Here’s a link to the live webcam for Old Faithful in case you miss seeing it. http://www.nps.gov/features/yell/webcam/oldFaithfulStreaming.html I go to it frequently throughout the year.

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      Yes Linda, it’s pretty cool isn’t it? Some employees would tell their friends and family to watch the cam at a certain time and go stand out by the sign and wave, hehe. I should have mentioned in on the blog but I forgot, thanks for sharing.

  16. Pete W on October 2, 2015 at 8:14 am

    A great post Becky. Definitely one of your most thought provoking writings. Good luck in your travels and your next adventures. I look forward to every read.

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:10 pm

      Glad you enjoyed this Pete and thanks. The drive is going well so far!

  17. Sandy on October 2, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Wow, Becky. Your wisdom never ceases to amaze and delight. I just left a job yesterday to start an new one and was amazed that I kept reflecting on my first days there. You take a step back and look at life in a philosophical sense. I think we all treasure that. Anyway…best wishes for your next, new journey. Thanks for sharing.

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:10 pm

      I hope your new job goes well Sandy! Glad you enjoyed this and thanks for reading.

  18. Tom Reed on October 2, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Thanks for including us in the furthering adventures of “the Interstellar Orchard”…aka Beckey Schade…
    Hope your travels are safe and the next update comes to us soon. Keep the shiney sde up…TR

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:09 pm

      You’re welcome Tom, thanks for following along.

  19. Terri on October 2, 2015 at 5:36 am

    One of your best posts, ever. I really think so. It’s all so true. This kind of feeling definitely hit me a lot as I was getting ready to move from Boston. I can imagine it’s all that much stronger for you.

    There was a Casita parked near the laundromat yesterday in town, and I drove by it and slowed down and looked at it wistfully. So small and economical and damn cute! I thought of you immediately and was like “yep, that really is all the space you need. Nothing more. Makes you think of all your priorities.”

    The happiness in you while you wrote this post is so clearly there. I’m so glad for you.
    Terri recently posted..Signs That You Live in a Small TownMy Profile

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:08 pm

      Wow, glad this had a big impact on you Terri. In a way I think the feeling might be stronger for you even than it was for me because my beginnings and endings come more frequently so are more routine in and of themselves. Hard to say though. πŸ™‚

      Some day I hope you get the chance to travel in an RV, if you decide that’s what you want to do in the future. πŸ™‚ As is, I think your current life is pretty awesome.

  20. Lee on October 2, 2015 at 5:02 am

    Your Yellowstone writings & photos have given your readers a taste of an exceptional place, without having to hike the 100 miles ourselves! Kudos to you for achieving your hiking goal & excellent blog. Only while RVing can one make a pot of chilli in GA, freeze it in KS, defrost it in CO & finish it in MO. While eating that last bowl it seemed as if a lifetime of experiences & memories occurred since I put the beans on to soak.
    Lee recently posted..Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Mansfield, MOMy Profile

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      Mmm, sounds like tasty memories Lee!

      Thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed Yellowstone along with me.

  21. Jodee Gravel on October 1, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Expressed well as usual. I agree that this life provides that unique opportunity for many beginnings and endings that keep like so exciting. I’ve enjoyed your months in Yellowstone – more great photos to wrap it all up.
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..They Come in ThreesMy Profile

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:03 pm

      Glad you enjoyed this Jodee. I’m not likely to have as good of photo opportunities near Fort Worth so I had to squeeze as many in as I could. πŸ˜‰

  22. Norm on October 1, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Thanks for the (Yellowstone) memories. Now, “happy trails and tailwinds.”

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      You’re welcome Norm. Funny you should mention it, I’m responding from a rest stop along I80 and I didn’t realize just how windy it was until I pulled over, the wind is coming from behind so it’s been pushing me along the whole while. πŸ™‚

  23. OpenSpaceMan on October 1, 2015 at 7:55 pm


    I have a worn out Zion National Park T-shirt from15 or so years ago… it reminds me of all the good times I had there camping and hiking.

    Nice post or series of post on your summer in Yellowstone.

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it OpenSpace. πŸ™‚

  24. DebInIndy on October 1, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Just finished my first week picking at Amazon Campbellsville CAMPERFORCE. A lot of construction going on inside the building right now. I hope robots don’t replace me, but I wouldn’t mind it if they brought the shelves to me – my feet wouldn’t mind it either!

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      Yep, that’s what the KIVA robots in the Haslet facility do Deb. In theory anyway. It’ll be interesting to see what the reality is like. Enjoy your time in Campbellsville!

  25. Jerry Minchey on October 1, 2015 at 4:09 pm


    Your observations about remembering things at the beginning and end of a time period are spot on. A lot of memory courses teach this principle.

    The memory courses teach that instead of sitting down and studying something for two hours (with one beginning and one ending), get up every 15 minutes or so and look out the window, get a drink of water, or whatever. That way you will have several beginnings and endings during the two-hour study time, and you will remember a lot more. I’ve found that it works for me.

    Reine, thanks for the link to the info about the Amazon robots. It’s an interesting article/video.

    Becky, I assume you’re on the road by now. Have a safe and fun journey.

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      So far the drive is going well Jerry, thanks.

      I’ve heard of that technique too, but it was 25 minutes of work, 5 minute breaks. I think it was called the pomodoro technique or something? Can’t remember the spelling. Interesting theory.

  26. Reine in Plano on October 1, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    As you’re heading to your new beginning, I thought you might enjoy this article from Dallasnews.com about the robots at Amazon. Fellow readers might enjoy this also.

    I thought it was fascinating. It will be interesting to hear your thoughts on working with robots if that’s what your job entails.

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      Yeah Reine, you all can search on YouTube for “Amazon KIVA robots” and get some videos of them in action. I’m not sure yet what department I’ll be in, but it’ll be interesting regardless. πŸ™‚

  27. Linda Pierson on October 1, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    I’ve been to Yellowstone twice in the last few years. It was a magical experience both times. And because of your posts throughout the summer, I’m already looking forward to my next visit. I’m all choked up over your departure. Safe travels and looking forward to your next post wherever you are.

    • Becky on October 2, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Thanks Linda, I hope your third trip is just as magical!

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