The Adventure Continues…

Two Minute Relationships

“If you’re enjoying the journey, you’re always where you want to be…and every step will be delicious along the way.” -Abraham-Hicks

I have come to the conclusion that traveling alone and moving every one to two weeks is not what I expected. Boredom has struck often enough that, although I thought I would embrace the down-time, I don’t necessarily enjoy having too much time on my hands. I have no yard-work to do, the driveway doesn’t need to be snow-blown, no firewood to cut/haul/split/stack, my family and friends are states (not just miles) away, and, and, and… Always having chores to do is so deeply ingrained that I lack the chill-out personality trait. Heck, “doing” runs in my bloodline; my father, his mother and on up the lineage all had the same there’s always chores to be done mentality.

The majority of state and national parks have a fourteen night maximum stay policy. Garner State Park has been the only one I could reside for a month (selected non-peak months only). You might be thinking, dah, people typically camp on the weekends or a week tops. Who stays at the same campground for more than two weeks? I thought this nomadic lifestyle of constantly moving would be more exciting to me. Alas, I’m still getting used to packin’ up and drivin’ to the next location even though every morsel of my fiber wants to sink roots into the ground at some of these locations to hang out for a while longer (like a decade or two).

It is interesting how fast I became acclimated to going to the grocery store and not knowing anyone. Growing up in the same county as my father, grandparents and their parents, I know a lot of people in the community. Shopping no longer takes me hours. I’m in; I’m out; BAM! all in twenty minutes or less.

I remember the words a friend told me days before my departure for this adventure. He said, “You’re going to have so much fun. You’re gonna make a lot of new friends.” What I didn’t know was that I would be developing a large number of in-the-moment-friendships and watching them wander away as we both continue on in different directions. As you probably suspected, most of these acquaintances are formed on the hiking trails. I believe I’m up to a couple dozen in-the-moment friendships that lasted two minutes or less. There’s been a handful of fifteen minute friendships and one that lasted twenty-five minutes (she’s the one I met in the bathhouse). Stefanie, the camp host at Lake Thunderbird State Park in Oklahoma, and I were instant friends. We lost track of time to the point her partner would find us to make sure we were both okay (she’s the gal I mentioned in the post about frozen poop).

One individual that I met was a dear friend of Jeremiah’s from when he was in the Navy and stationed in San Diego, California. We hung out for a couple of afternoons; I was an emotional wreck and not good company. I loved listening to the stories about my son while he was in the service. I miss my baby. And, it’s hard to be away from my youngest son and his family. I cannot wait to bear hug my three grandsons.

Disconnecting from everything familiar has been one helluva mindset shift. Routines dismantled. Beliefs of what’s important tossed into the blender. Chores eliminated with a couple of scribbles with a blue ink pen.

So… I find myself asking, “How does a person who hasn’t been on a vacation in too many decades to count be on vacation?” Each time, my internal guidance whispers, “Enjoy what surrounds you.”

And, that’s my intention. To entice myself to explore my surroundings even more than I have, I decided to write a series of blog posts on the places and things I’ve found interesting [access to the first one – “Pictographics in Seminole Canyon“], and on occasional write posts related to the VA services I offer [access “What’s In Your Elevator Speech?“]

History has always captivated me. Mr. McQueen, my 7th grade History teacher, was probably the first teacher that had my full attention. He shared stories and insights about the Native American tribes, the fur traders, the French, the British and everyone else that colonized our region of Michigan. Over the years I collected books and articles on the history of the county in which I resided. I wrote articles for the historical society to be published in our local newspaper and interviewed several individuals for their historical knowledge. Somewhere I have a final draft of a children’s book I wrote fifteen or more years ago about the surveying miscalculation that lowered Crystal Lake and flooded the Betsie River flowing to Lake Michigan.

What I am finding along the way on the back roads and highways, that I’m trying to wrap my head around as I drive across the country this winter, is what happened to all of these towns and cities that are virtually shut down and boarded up? One empty storefront after another; abandoned gas stations with the pumps missing; run down churches adorned with peeling paint; bars without cars out front; restaurants with no one to pour coffee. Somewhere in Texas, or maybe Arkansas, I started taking photographs of the ghost towns and cities.

There a large part of me that wants to know what happened to these towns. Where do the residents still living with in the village or city limits go to buy groceries? How far do they have to drive to get gas? Hell, how close is the next shot of whiskey? Is it the big box store chains wiping out the mom and pop businesses, or is it the mecca online options like Amazon? These are questions I am curious to know, but not so much that I am going to start researching. I’d rather learn about the history of the buildings and businesses housed in them.

To get the ink flowing, here’s what I put together this week – Pictographs at Seminole Canyon

What advice do you have for this gal who obviously doesn’t know how to vacation?

Captured moments along the way…

Enchanted Rock State Park, Texas
Beautiful plants grow along the fence.
Sheep Barn, South Llano River State Park, Texas
Sheep Barn, South Llano River State Park, Texas
Junction, Texas
Fredericksburg, Texas
The Peace Maker at Seminole Canyon State Park, Texas
Pictographs, Seminole Canyon State Park, Texas

Explore the adventures that got me here…

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About The Author

C.K. Kochis

I am a writer; it's what I do. My mission in life is to guide women exhausted from nurturing others and the stagnation of daily routines to ignite self-love through the power of their words. I am utilizing my Integrative Nutrition Health Coach education as the foundation of ElementsForAHealthierLife.com to create a platform for coaches and leaders to share pearls of wisdom and professional insights. I wrote, designed and published “Get A Compass Not A Clock” and “UnLeash Your Story: A Journal Writer's Guidebook”. My virtual assistant clients keep me creatively busy, while my grandsons teach me about the importance of play.

9 Comments

  1. Barb Parcells

    I find myself waiting in anticipation for your next blog post. It’s like following a series on TV! My advice to a gal who doesn’t know how to vacation? Just keep following your curiosity. When you find yourself curious about something, follow the breadcrumbs and see where it leads you. Write it all down. Let yourself be led instead of trying to do all the leading. Who knows? You might end up actually finding your next big adventure!

    Reply
    • C.K. Kochis

      Those are some of the sweetest words a writer could read, Barb. I’m happy to know you are enjoying the weekly installments of this adventure. “Follow the curiosity” – that’s the best advice! Right now the breadcrumbs are leading me to another set of pictographs (in addition to the ones I wrote about in Pictographs in Seminole Canyon). I can’t wait to see what’s next!

      Reply
  2. Heather

    I love what Barb said. Being a photographer I’ve always loved my surroundings. Going on “vacation” meant going on an adventure to see what I could find. I love documenting that in photographs and learning history, also wondering what happened over the years and how things have changed or gotten to the point of where they are now. I looked up many historic sites for the areas I went to. I enjoyed visiting waterfalls, it always seems an adventure to find them. I also love visiting ghost towns and light houses. I’ve taken many trips to Michigan to explore these things. Any type of park I’ve gone to has had something of interest. I wish you well on your journey.

    Reply
    • C.K. Kochis

      I like how you vacation, Heather. There’s something facinating about the days gone by, isn’t there? If only those old structures and trees could talk…

      Reply
  3. Tara sage

    As a fellow nomad, I celebrate you for taking the journey and seeing what you find. “Enjoy what surrounds you” is such lovely wisdom, no matter where we are or how often we travel to new places. Enjoy the journey and remember to do it YOUR way! xo

    Reply
    • C.K. Kochis

      I am grateful for your kindness, Tara. My internal guidance whispered “Enjoy what surrounds you” on a day I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. Those words gifted me a moment of pause. Amazing how our perspective shifts when we pause.

      Reply
  4. Kathleen

    I love your posts, Cindy! You make everything come alive in your writing. I’ve never visited many of the places you’ve traveled and I feel blessed to tag along on the road. <3 Kathleen

    Reply
    • C.K. Kochis

      It’s been an adventure, hasn’t it? Glad you’re hangin’ out and riding in the passenger seat. I’m not sure where I’m headed, but we’ll have fun. I promise!

      Reply
  5. Vatsala Shukla

    Amazing photographs, Cindy. I’m with Barb on this one, I literally wait each week to read more about your adventures in self-discovery.

    To answer your question, we all have our own way of enjoying vacations and in your case, I believe you are doing what you do best, absorbing the scenes around you and making more friends, even if they are for only 2 minutes. 🙂

    Reply

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