Thursday, June 4, 2015

The End Is In Sight

It's Thursday, June 4, 2015. I'm in the Walmart parking lot in Carmel (Indianapolis area), Indiana. I'm nearing the end of this six month odyssey. What a trek it's been.

I've seen so much, met up with many old friends, sometimes in unique situations, met lots of new friends, seen so much, experienced so much, learned so much, endured a major breakdown and looking back - realize that I have only scratched the surface. It's just the tip of the iceberg. I certainly don't recommend my current chosen lifestyle for everyone because it's not. It saddens me that so many people never get an opportunity or, perhaps, don't make or seek opportunities to explore this world, even if it's only our own country(s).

This week I stopped in West Branch, Iowa, the birthplace of President Herbert Hoover and the home of my speaker friend, Jolene Brown and her husband, 'Farmer' Keith Brown. Besides visiting the two room house Herbert Hoover was born in and the museum depicting his life and accomplishments, I also learned so much about agriculture and the farming business. Jolene and Keith have a (as they described it) small, 500 acre family farm. Now, I lived on the small 49 acre ranch in the Shenandoah Valley for six years. That was a lot of land in my mind and the upkeep was substantial and I wasn't raising huge crops of corn and soybeans. The Brown's 500 acres seemed like a "kingdom" to me. Heck! I lived on a 243 acre lake for several years and I thought that was pretty big, but it wasn't half the size of their farm.

Eastward Bound

Then, on my way eastward I stopped in Pontiac, Illinois at a Walmart Supercenter to overnight park. There, I met Nathan. Actually, I met Nathan first in the men's restroom as we were washing our hands. Nathan immediately impressed me as one of those special people in our world. He was upbeat, friendly and ever so polite. He said he hadn't seen me before, was I from around there. For some reason when I told him I was born and raised in New Jersey, he was very impressed and said he'd never been there. Nathan was a Walmart Greeter. He appeared to be in his late teens or very early 20's. He made everyone smile. He gave and received hugs from shoppers as they entered the store at his door. His co-workers liked him, too. But, there was something even more about Nathan that I discovered as I ate a breakfast sandwich at the Subway sub sandwich shop near the door where he was stationed.

I'll tell you more about Nathan and the Browns in future articles. I've said it before and I'm saying it again. I am meeting amazing people all the time. But, I firmly believe that the reason they are amazing is because I see things in them that they take for granted and don't see in themselves.


My old college friend, Greg Cordano, along with his lovely wife, Mary, from New Jersey is always reminding people there is greatness in them. I absolutely agree with Greg. But, most people don't realize it because they were never inspired by parents, relatives, friends, teachers and clergy (not to mention employers). Others may have had some dreams, but gave up on them way too early when the first few obstacles and setbacks presented themselves. Others simply gave up and accepted their lot in life and don't realize that everyone is part of the whole and makes this life and world work because of each contribution, regardless of how humble or high level.

Time Off The Road

Once I get off the road I'll begin a recap of this trek, as much for myself as for, hopefully, your edification. I have a lot to do. The van needs a thorough cleaning, both inside and out (especially outside, what a collection of bugs I've acquired). I have some routine maintenance to do on the van and a few repairs. It's a machine. Things breakdown and need fixing and replacing. I have some cosmetic things I want to do to the van. I have some interior renovations and modifications I want to do.

I still have some storage units full of stuff that I'll never use again and need to be emptied. So, I'm going to be busy with Ebay, maybe Amazon Marketplace and Craig's List.

Then there are the thousands and thousands of photos I need to edit. I shoot a lot of photos, but only a small percentage of those photos are valuable and depict what I was attempting to capture. I also have a few video clips and I need to go through those as well.

Writing! Boy, do I have a lot of writing to do. There are several books that need to be edited and formatted and (at least initially) released as e-books. There are pages of topics for blog articles. There are also some articles I want to edit or write for possible broader mainstream publication.

Slaying Dragons

Finally, I've been battling some of my own dragons. Without belaboring the subject, if you've read my blog for a while and read the "About Me" section, you know about my background in the recording (audio, video, duplication, etc.) industry and my book publishing exploits. I've spent a fair amount of time during this trek attempting to face the age old challenge, figuring out what I want to do when I grow up. Well, first of all, I really don't plan to grow up. But, I do have an internal drive and need to continue doing something to be a productive member of society.

It's been a real challenge for me to accept that while I've identified myself with the recording (mainly sound) industry for over 50 years, I have become a dinosaur and feel separated from the current state of the industry. This is hard for me to comprehend. It seems like only yesterday I did sound for and clandestinely recorded the Count Basie Orchestra. It was at the beginning of my career and the event that helped me make the decision that recording and sound is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. The same is true for the decade I spent in the book publishing industry. 

So much has changed. The industries have changed. The technology has changed. Music and even recorded spoken word products and delivery methods have changed. Publishing has changed. And, of course, I have changed. I'm not the same person I was all those years ago. So, fitting my life and experience and, maybe (some might consider it), wisdom into a new model of me has taken a lot out of me. But, along the way, I've been fortunate to receive a lot of encouragement and inspiration, as late as just with week while in discussions with Jolene Brown. She helped till the soil of my mind and soul a bit and planted some seeds. So, doing some cultivation over the next few months, I'm looking forward to what may germinate.

It isn't over until it's over. I'm speaking about life. I've met so many people who are living their dreams. They may not be rich and famous. They may not be living a perfect life. But, they aren't sitting around moping, watching others live their dreams and letting life pass them by. All I can say is - ME TOO! And how about YOU?


Lois said...

Ed, I'm one of those people you've met along the way... and I can say that I relate to your words very much. While I've never had a place to go back to once I started this trek oh so many years ago, I understand needing to wrap up loose ends before the "what am I going to be when I grow up" question can be fully answered. I wish you continued progress with that endeavor.

I, too, found myself unable to continue in my chosen field due to circumstances beyond my apparent control, and what I did with that at-the-time horrible information, was start the blog I still am writing, which is now coming up on a five-year anniversary in four days. There's nothing quite like that feeling of knowing you're no longer able to do/capable of or interested in doing what you've been doing for years (decades!), and nothing quite like the knowledge that you're never going to do it again because everything's changed, and in my case, I was not willing to expend the time/energy/money in the extensive work required to keep up with the changes. It can be a rude awakening. However, it is also the spark that starts the next fire and that's what I know will take place for you. Whatever you come up with next will be magical if you let it be, I promise you that.

Rock on, my friend! I hope to cross paths with you again some day!

Ed Helvey - Location Independent Traveler said...

Thanks for your insights, Lois.

Of course I remember meeting you and sharing time with you and the group outside Quartzite, checking out petroglyphs, sitting around campfires and solving the problems of "our" worlds. You are one of the many amazing people I encountered on this particular trek. I'm sure we'll cross paths again. I'll make a point of it.

Procrastination is a long, 5 syllable word that can turn ugly very easily when it holds one back. I, like so many (maybe most), people am a master of this questionable art form. My place to go back to here in the east isn't a place of my own, but that of a very tolerant friend who allows me the courtesy of using her place as a base camp. I love it on the road as do virtually all of the full-time vandwellers and RVers I meet along the way. But, from time to time stopping for a few weeks or a few months to "take care of business" is more or less a necessity for me. I'll roll into Winchester, VA today, my hometown area for about 27 years, and go right to my doctor's office for a blood draw and then my mechanic's to establish a schedule for taking care of some routine maintenance and a few repairs to My McVansion. But, there is a list of other things I need to take care of over the next couple of months, too.

This "Next Chapter in Life" thing is the most perplexing. Some people, especially those who've led more traditional life/work style lives reach the "magic" age of retirement and just hang it up and do little or nothing. Perhaps they travel a bit. Or they take up fishing and/or golfing, some other hobby or just puttering around the house. But, that has never been a way of life for me in any traditional sense. I was pretty much burned out when I left the ranch (literally) and did the major downsizing at the end of 2008. The publishing industry had taken its toll and the deep recession knocked out any thoughts I may have had on actually having some kind of serious retirement fund. It wasn't that hard to give up being a publisher, I was a fish out of water there. But, the electronic media - audio and video recording/production (especially audio) - was different. That is more like divorcing someone you're still in love with. It was my love/passion. But, it's time to let go and utilize my life experience and, so-called, wisdom to help others realize their potential and dreams. How best to do that is my quest. Thankfully, others see in me, things I'm missing when I look in the mirror of my life. They are my inspirations, muses and motivators.

You, too, rock on, Lois. We have roads to travel and dragons to slay.

Fireman428 said...

Ed I enjoyed your stop at my place in Kentucky.and I am pleased to have met and call you friend. And you have actually rekindled the spark of creativity in my life that the routines of a normal life had quenched. Sitting around that evening and reliving some of our memories of analog signals, really wide tape reels, and machines that are now collector's items was fun. It made me realize what I missed by getting caught up in all the other daily drama. I'll just bet you're simply going to make a turn on your path and head off in another direction. I know this because you helped me realize the need to turn instead of sit at the end of one path. Safe travels my friend, you're always welcome wherever I'm at. And I'll be watching. 😉

Ed Helvey - Location Independent Traveler said...

Thanks, Dan --

I appreciate your hospitality and friendship. I'm sorry, due to circumstances beyond my control, that we didn't get to meet up again our west this year. I enjoyed our conversation about "technology" and really happy I played a small part in inspiring you to start playing with music and recording again. I think that's becoming my new calling - to be an inspiration and catalyst to help others discover or rediscover their dreams and reach for them. I look forward to our next meet up whenever and wherever that may be. I, too, will be watching . . .

PS No more repeat performances at the ER, eh?

Richard Rosen said...

As I am wont to do, let me share a spiritual perspective about when a long phase of living ends and a replacement is sought.

Each of us are provided a divine Spirit who has mapped out an ideal career for us that, to the degree that we cooperate, it results in a character of integrity and a soul of nobility. We are thus led into relationships and occupations that promote this objective. Our spirit helpers open and close doors, which the attuned person perceives, and enters into those that are open and will not force those that are shut. These turning points occur throughout our lives. We can look back all the way we have been led and gain insight in how to perceive and choose new ways.

Following the divine will of our indwelling Spirit is the most important thing you can do to live in harmony with the forces of the universe and be a blessing to all whose paths you chance to cross.