A Necessary Pause: Full-Time to Part-Time

After my restart back on the road full-timing, I experienced some further issues that made me head back to the Midwest for more advanced healthcare support. This time, I connected to the University of Michigan’s famed cardiology center in Ann Arbor for a round of “what’s going on” tests.

Happy to report I aced all tests and no issues with my thumper or its body-wide system. So the unsettling symptoms experienced in the wild–not a good place to be feeling poorly in mysterious ways–are not cardiac or related to the June stent. I believe, however, I’ve identified the culprit.

All that sums up to deciding to stop traveling for a while and take time to resolve the off-and-on-again nagging thing. That, plus winter is coming–my least favorite travel season (but a forever, memorable phrase from Game of Thrones). As an added bonus, staying in one place for six months should help me to catch up on writing projects including finishing two books in progress.

The decision to winter in Ann Arbor was not an easy one, but I have a friend here I can stay with comfortably plus a great, nearby RV storage place. For now, Tamasté’s parked (other than two short day trips per month to keep things working) until I travel west in March.

Some would say the phrase “wintering in Ann Arbor” brings shivers, and yes, it’s not as nice as saying “wintering in Barbados,” but it’s the place I need to be for all the reasons above and more. Ann Arbor has always been at the top of my list of landing spots after full-time nomadic RV traveling is over, so this is also a chance to test winter here (as a retiree who won’t have to get out when it’s nasty I’m hoping that will make it tolerable).

Now that I’m settled in my rented room, set up with my former writing studio’s books, supplies, dictionary stand, and such, I feel jazzed to get the work done. It’s nice to be pampered by space and essentials too. Funny, but fellow Travato traveler and writer Sarah hit the same notes when she posted about the experience of extended house sitting after traveling…the full kitchen, showers without timing the water running, real beds, couches, etc., all a siren song of civilized (nay, decadent!) living.

Nomadic traveling has its soul-satisfying reasons to be out there, but hard to beat…for now…a big refrigerator and pantry-a-plenty, washer and dryer, and access to the arts and culture that Ann Arbor offers daily.

Retirement: First Impressions

Officially, I’m on my fifth day of retirement. Unofficially, counting from when I vacationed out, it’s 20 days. But who’s counting?

I’m still in “vacation” mode so the full feeling of retirement hasn’t quite settled in yet, although there are glimpses that make me realize this isn’t a normal vacation, and vacation time will be over soon.

Since spending so much time leading to leaving Findlay and working on Tamasté prep, and since arriving in Florida and continuing the van prep, I haven’t had a lot of idle time to ponder the wonderment of retirement nor the somewhat freaky “what, no paycheck?” aspect. But that is about to change with tomorrow’s milestone of completing Tamasté’s prep followed by hitting the road Tuesday to begin exploring Florida.

So what’s different in retirement so far? Biggest thing is the absence of tracking what day it is. When weekends are like weekdays, and Monday could be any day of the week, those beloved guideposts on the path through working life are gone. I used to laugh at those “who cares?” clocks and now I’m living a calendar that looks quite similar.

All that’s good, since it also means each day is fully experienced and going slowly. When I do work on schedules for places and such, I’m surprised the current date is much earlier in January than I think it is. My mind must still be on work-time pacing, mentally counting the days faster than reality.

Look for the first video on the Tamasté YouTube channel soon featuring a complete tour of Tamasté. Hoping to publish one video a week, plus frequent posts here, but we’ll see. After all, not sure I can mentally track exactly what a week is, given that I can’t keep track of what day it is.

Fantastical Escape

An annual pilgrimage of sorts used to happen for me when I lived in Texas:  attending the fall Renaissance Festival. Billed as the world’s largest such event (both in size and permanence, at least back then), it was always a glorious day of escape into world of visual (and culinary) delights.

I haven’t been to a RenFest since moving to Ohio in 2005, despite having two within a few hours drive. Not sure why I haven’t upheld this fall ritual, perhaps because I feared the local versions would not live up to the legend that was the Texas Renaissance Festival.

This past Sunday I finally made the journey to the Ohio Renaissance Festival and thoroughly enjoyed myself. With wenches and dragons and knights and fools aplenty, it was a most enjoyable step back in time to wander and shed the worries of modern life. This weekend’s theme was “Fantasy” mixed historical expectations but still delighted. Enough chatter! A picture feast awaits you below…Huzzah!

All photos as shot, unretouched, and ©Gary Varner, 2018.

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Journey

Had a great, intense journaling session this morning, which included an unplanned (best kind!) sidetrack into thoughts about “journey.” Sharing a part here in hopes you find my thoughts useful in prompting your own thinking on journey. It is shared as written and unedited, but I think you can read my writing well enough to make out all the words.

For the stationery-tools curious:  written with a Franklin-Christoph P66 (Masuyama italic cursive nib) fountain pen, Robert Oster Caffe Crema ink, in a Nanami Seven Seas A5 Writer journal.