So far, this winter’s travels haven’t strayed much from my normal southwest routine.
After leaving Snyder Hill BLM area near Tucson, AZ, I moseyed down to Darby Wells Road near Ajo, AZ to get my fill of big cacti.
After that, I landed at American Girl Mine (AGM) Road near Winterhaven, CA for my annual walk across the border into Mexico for dental care. While camping at AGM, I met up with a lot of my Xscapers friends for the unofficial start of the winter social season.
During my stay there we visited the nearby Imperial Sand Dunes (where my profile picture was taken last year), went offroading in the mountains behind camp, and enjoyed a lovely sunset along the banks of the Colorado River.
From there, it was north to Quartzsite, AZ to begin a string of meetups and convergences, starting with the Xscapers New Years Eve party north of town on Plomosa Road.
After this, it’ll be off to the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) where I’ll again be giving the work-camping seminar on the 11th. And from there I’ll go directly to the Xscapers Annual Bash, which will be held in Lake Havasu this year instead of Quartzsite.
But otherwise, this reads a lot like my winters have since January 2016 when I started boondocking. This’ll be my fourth winter in a row down in the desert southwest. And while I love the desert, I really don’t need to hang out here until May again, waiting for other parts of the country to warm up. Been there, done that, ready for something new.
This is just one reason why I’m making today’s big announcement: I’m flying to Costa Rica on February 9th for 12 weeks!
This has been a long time coming. I originally confessed my Costa Rica dreams late 2017 on Patreon, when the canceling of my Amazon affiliate account the very day I was set to buy tickets made me change plans. Well, this year I’m making it work, and I’m excited to bring all of you along for this new adventure! (Newer readers might not know this, but my first travel ideas before Interstellar Orchard even existed had me traveling internationally, it was later that I landed on RVing.)
I’m going to be using my college degree for the first time since hitting the road, and volunteering at a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center along the Pacific coast called WildSun. I’ll be there 12 weeks, averaging 40 hours a week, and in exchange I get housing for free. I’ll be storing the Hiker Trailer and truck near Phoenix during that time (which is where I’m flying out of).
Those of you familiar with work-camping are probably thinking that sound like bad hours for no pay and you’d be right – my previous two volunteer positions required only 16-20 hours a week in exchange for my RV site. But this isn’t the typical volunteer gig. For starters the location can’t be beat, WildSun is located right next to a national park and very close to the ocean. During my off-time I’ll be hiking, beach combing, learning to surf, and improving my poi dancing skills.
But the biggest reason why I’m okay with working that many hours for no pay is that WildSun is a non-profit and my time is going to a good cause. WildSun’s big project currently is reintroducing the Scarlet Macaw to the Nicoya Penninsula, and I don’t mind working long hours to help them meet their goals. With my degree as a veterinary technician and previous experience with exotics, I’ll be helping nurse sick and injured animals to full health for release back into the wild which gives me the warm fuzzies. I’ll also be cleaning cages, building new enclosures, preparing food for the animals, and other more mundane tasks. But I don’t mind getting my hands dirty.
And you get to share in the warm fuzzies because you’re helping make this trip possible. My housing is covered at WildSun, but I’m paying for my food and other living expenses from the money I make through IO from book sales, PayPal donations, and Patreon pledges. Even if you don’t support IO financially, you’re helping by reading this, commenting on posts, and sharing IO with those who would find what I do here helpful and inspiring.
So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being here and joining me on this journey. You’re giving me a great New Year’s present, and you’re also giving those macaws, monkeys, and other wildlife that I’ll be able to help because of your support a great present too!
Get ready to join me on the most audacious adventure since I first hit the road. This will be the farthest I’ve traveled, having only gone as far as Canada and Mexico before. There’s a lot to learn about international travel and I’ve done a fair amount of research – not unlike going RVing. There’ll be more of the how-to kind of posts coming up, but today I just wanted to get the word out. And WildSun has usable WiFi so of course I’ll be posting while there, too.
Beyond Costa Rica, odd-numbered years are the years I go visit family and friends in Wisconsin, so after reuniting with my rolling home in May I’ll be slowly traveling that direction. There are also plans for a backpacking trip in Yellowstone National Park this summer!
But one thing at a time. Most immediately, I’m prepared to store Bertha and Tribble (yes, the Hiker Trailer now has a name!) at a storage lot for the nearly 3 months I’m gone, but if anyone in or near the Phoenix area has space, I’d much prefer to pay a friend than an unknown company. If you’re interested, please do leave a comment or contact me.
And that about sums it up. If you’re attending the RTR or Xscapers Annual Bash I hope to see you there! I’ll be at the RTR from the 8th to the 12th (my work-camping seminar is on the 11th at 10 am), and I’ll be at the AB from the 12th to the 20th (my poi spinning workshop is on the 16th at 5 pm). Journey well, everyone.