Dec 29, Friday
Saddle Mountain BLM near Tonopah, AZ continues to treat me well. Despite the crowds that flock to southern AZ during the winter to escape the cold, this boondocking area remains relatively empty.
It helps that it’s a large area, with multiple spur roads. The one I’m on is just west of mile marker 13.
I come here to enjoy the peace and quiet of the mountain…
Because I know I’ll have no such respite at Quartzsite.
Christmas is a quiet affair. I spend the evening online with several friends playing a cooperative game. We’re spread all over the US from Wisconsin to South Carolina to Texas to Arizona. I know a lot of people poo-poo how technology has changed the way we interact with each other, but while I absolutely love living closer to nature out here on the road, I simply wouldn’t be able to do it without the internet. How great it is that we live in a time where it’s possible to have both: a more deliberate and simple life, with the ability to communicate with multiple friends across the country simultaneously.
The evening walk routine continues, although the fullness of the moon means it’s also possible to take moonlit walks after the sun sets. If you’ve never taken a walk at night under a full moon before, I highly recommend it. It’s a very different experience from walking during the day.
One evening I walk the 4-wheeler track out past the main mountain, to where an old barbed fire fence runs in a broken line as far as the eye can see in either direction. The sun has set behind the mountains to the west, and they look like a rusty fringe on the horizon.
I sit down in the middle of the path, instantly coating the seat of my pants in a fine tan dust that won’t completely go away until I next wash them.
But that doesn’t matter.
The faintest stirrings of a breeze alternates between warm and cool. Heat is still radiating from the ground but now that the sun is gone, cooler air is moving in. Headlights from distant traffic on I10 aren’t visible on this side of the mountains. The birds have all quieted for the evening. It’s very still. I’m completely alone.
This is the start of one of countless magical moments I’ve had since becoming a full-time RVer. I sit in the middle of the road for no other reason than that it feels like the right thing to do. Were I not alone, I wouldn’t be sitting here because people would find it odd and wonder what I was up to. But not having any witnesses, I’m free to indulge in this whim without fear of judgement. I sit cross-legged in the sand and dust, facing the slowly fading colors in the west, and start humming. No song in particular, just enjoying the sound of it.
Above me, the first few stars become visible in the deepening dusk. Soon, the nearly full moon will clear the mountains to the east and illuminate the way home to the RV. I stand up and untie my poi from my belt loop. I dance for an audience of one, just for my own enjoyment. I am happy.
Some people have a hard time being alone. I don’t bring that up much here on IO because being content with my own company comes so easily to me that I forget this isn’t the case for a lot of people. It’s during the holidays mostly, when people’s statuses on Facebook really drive home that for many, traveling solo is not what they’d prefer.
Typing this up at the computer now, I wonder if there’s any advice I can give to help people be more comfortable being alone (my previous article on this subject was about how to connect with others on the road). I know for a fact some people will see the title of this blog post and automatically associate the word ‘alone’ with ‘lonely’ and feel sorry for me, when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. As a solo traveler I treasure evenings like this one, and I wish others similar experiences. It’s something I’ll have to think about.
After about five minutes of pretty intense poi dancing, I brush off my pants, tie up my poi, and head back to the Casita under the light of the moon.
* * *
Thanks everyone who attended my work-camping seminar at the RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous) on the 13th. Turnout was great and everyone seemed to enjoy it! I’m now at the Xscapers Annual Bash and will be giving the same work-camping seminar here on the 18th at 4 pm so if you’re attending the Bash, come on out! You’re also welcome to drop by my rig (during normal hours, haha). I’m at 33.7640940, -114.1794060 southwest of the main gathering area. Note: you do need to be an Escapees/Xscapers member to attend the bash.
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