To Plant…or Not To Plant! –A Nomad in Limbo

The hardest thing about sitting still for long, is being at-odds with two sides of myself.  To plant…or not to plant a garden.  With Spring in the air, it’s impossible to resist sprinkling a few seeds about…just to watch them grow…for as long as I am here in this one place.

No, I realize, I cannot take a garden with me when we do actually pull our Mermaid Mansion on down the road.  But I can at least enjoy the fruits of my labor while enjoying this island life for a little while longer.  –Or until our old vintage relic-of-a-tiny-home-on-wheels is ready to roll.  She still has a ways to go, and her tires are pretty lifeless; so new rubber is tops on our list of To-Do’s…when it comes to setting our nomadic spirits free once again.

For now…here I sit, writing a few words and thoughts; struggling still with two extremely different sides of me.  In the meant-time, when I’m not writing, chances are I’ll be out back…digging and planting the ‘bit of earth’ I’ve been Blessed to call mine…for now.  Never mind that it is only borrowed.

Do any of us ever really own the land on-which we sit…live…or garden?  I know we cannot take it with us when we go.  But we can sure enjoy the smell of soil on our hands, sifting through our fingers, and the scent of sweet blossoms before they bear fruit.  I can only live in the moment and enjoy what life has brought my way.  And when we do ‘set sail’, and Mermaid Mansion is bumping down the highway…to destinations unknown, I’ll gaze out the window…with the scenery zipping by, and I’ll embrace that moment with every ounce of my being.  –Ever-so grateful for the change it will bring.

*Embrace every moment*  **Live for today!**

 

Going Inland

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So…we went inland for the Easter holiday, to see family in La Porte.  Funny how we’ve blended into the weave of fellow IBC’s (Islanders by Choice) here on our Gulf Coastal Island home.  Even still, we long for the water, the rocking back and forth of our sailboat, the clinking of the masts in the wind.  We visited with a local marina the day after Easter, after we got back to the island from a second trip to La Porte in two days because Nico left his phone at his Mom’s the day before.  I have to admit, that day was a good one: lunching with Nico’s dad (the baby’s only living Grandpa), the lolly-gag-of-a-drive back to the island, the visit to the marina…and the smell of the water…down along the slips.

My wanderlust is really getting to me these days, and I miss our sailboat more and more.  If not this year, since we just can’t bring ourselves to sell our old girl, I think next year we’ll certainly be bringing our boat to her new island home.  For now, Nico and I are still working on new tunes for Gypsy Vin Rose, and getting ready to start touring…again.  Gigs…?  Well, that’s another story.  If only we could get around the little problem of ‘no sitter’ and no room for another passenger (Grandma) in the Peniki van, we’d be good to go.

For now, I continue to write songs, and work on getting my voice back after a long battle with the crud.  Honing my mandolin skills, while continuing to remodel our old Gypsy Caravan and Island home Mermaid Mansion is the way I’ve been spending my days lately.  That…and going to the beach almost every day, if we’re not biking to Nixi’s favorite play park, has become our Island way-of-life.  I can’t complain, though I sure do miss the smell of our boat, and the cold spray of water splashing up onto the deck as we cut through the waves…sailing into the sunset.

I guess you could say I’m kind of ‘sea sick’, though in an entirely different way.  I miss the water, instead of being sick from it.  :  )  So for now, I’ll just remember-when, and continue to work on decorating Mermaid Mansion.  This week…I’m sewing new couch cushions.  And I must admit, I am so very proud of the way our old caravan is ‘coming about’!  Next up…sewing a custom quilt for Nixi.  I have the kewlest Hippie Van fabric I bought from Ebay, which I’ll pair with a flower child sort-of print.  I can hardly wait to see how it turns out!  I’ll post pics for anyone who wants to see how it all comes together.

For now, I think I’ll get back to my stitch-witchery, and making my vintage trailer a comfortable island home.  Cheers to all who read my scribblings, and Blessings to those of you who comment.  :  )  And…Fair Winds to all you salty Sailors and deep-sea Pirates out there.  May you find true happiness…just over the horizon.

.V..

Cap'n Nico

Cap’n Nico

Nixi Down Below in the Galley

Nixi Down Below in the Galley

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Getting Underway

Getting Underway

Relaxing Down Below With Some Cartoons

Relaxing Down Below With Some Cartoons

Sunset Sails

Sunset Sails

Me at the Helm = Bliss!

Me at the Helm = Bliss!

 

A Place To Call Home

Cozumel Caravan

Cozumel Caravan

Sometimes we take the smallest things for granted in life, including ‘life’ itself.  But in the end, if a lesson has been learned, we find that the simpleness of living is priceless.  This is what I’ve come to find since we up-rooted from my hometown of Fort Worth, and relocated to Gulf-Coastal Texas.  It has been a long road to plow (as my dear Mother used to put it), but I find now that our ‘garden’ (the garden that is life) is beginning to come-in quite nicely. 

It all began the day we pulled out of Jamaica Beach RV Resort; happy to be leaving the paved-but-posh confines of the best RV park on Galveston Island.  (Our opinions…and we’re sticking to it!)  I have to admit, our past experiences with campgrounds has left us with a bitter taste for such surroundings.  JBRV would have to be an exception…if you ask me.

Either way, and even though we would miss the hot tub, laundromat, pool…playground, and the charming little Seven Seas Grocery just across the road, we remained hopeful that we’d be well-on-our-way to actually gaining a semi-permanent address on Galveston Island.  The Blessings we’ve been met with since that day have been abundant.  We have been at our island home ever since; being lucky to have a very understanding landlord who knows what it means to start from the bottom and work your way up.  He has become somewhat of a friend since we’ve gotten to know him better. He has also taken Nico under his wing by teaching him a trade that my husband had never-before learned.  It brings to mind a saying I hold close to my thoughts: We never stop learning until we are no more. 

So there we were– we had a place…but not entirely.  Our very understanding landlord had taken a chance on us–renting us a lot, even though I know we appeared a rogue bunch.  We had made a deal that if we could rent the place ‘temporarily’, and set up Camp Peniki, we’d be hard-at-it to find a better-suited living quarters…to keep up appearances mostly, since we’d live in our old Campervan full-time if society allowed.  Had it just been us (Nico and I), we would still be out there…giving in to Wanderlust.  But most vandwelling souls with little n’s find out the hard way–like we have–that we really aren’t free after all when it comes to the way we are ‘allowed’ to live or be. 

So…we had a limited time to find a larger place to put on our really great lot…with a priceless view of the sunset…out over the bayou.  I set to work searching and combing the internet, selling everything we didn’t need in storage to raise the money for our new home.  Two weeks later, with half of our belongings sold and our storage half empty, we were on our way to get our new/old place: a vintage caravan in major need of some love.  Perhaps it was the way I had called and called the man to see if our ‘home’ was still there (I had already claimed it in my mind).  Maybe it was the desperation in my voice (I’ve never been very subtle with my emotions).  I guess I’ll never truly know.  All I do know is that he (the seller) took pity on us and ended up knocking $200 bucks off the price when we showed up with cash-in-hand.  It’s a very good thing too, cause without that extra money…we wouldn’t have made it back to Galveston with our new place. 

I know I’m just one of the numerous folks who believes that Blessings often come in disquise.  This was so true for us when it came to getting our caravan-home…home.   More than 24 hours later we finally pulled into our lot with what would become a full-time remodeling job.  As that day before had gone, we’d suffered a major blow out in Liberty, Texas…right in front of a church, where the pastor had just arrived, on Memorial Day weekend.  Due to the holiday and the late hour, no tire shops were open anywhere near the small town.  The nice preacher man Blessed us with the offering of allowing us to park our travel trailer there…safely in the church parking lot for the evening.  We all headed back to my Mother-in-law’s to stay the night, with hopes that we’d find a place to buy some spare trailer tires on a holiday Sunday.  It’s great to know people when you are in a desperate state to do business when everyone else is on vacation or just off work. 

Thank God we have good family to help us pull heavy things our old VW Van can’t; nice folks who know Nico’s family back in his home town; nice sellers on C List who don’t mind taking less and giving more to a family who was in need of a place to call home.  And even though it has been a steady stream of remodeling our badly damaged and neglected caravan, I can honestly say…”It sure is a great feeling to actually ‘own’ our home.  Bought and paid for; it may be small and not so pretty to some, but to us…it’s perfect! 

It’s all in how you look at things.  From where I’m sitting, this place is really coming around.  I’ll gladly be sharing photos of our remod when the time is right.  I hope it inspires some family…somewhere, to step off the crazy train of keeping up with the Jones’s, and live within (or below) their means.  We are so-very glad we made that leap! 

Blessings your way, from our Vagabond family to yours! 

.V.. (Peace),

GVR    

Sunday Mornings at the Club…

It’s a beautiful Autumn morning here at the Sailing Club; I’ve been walking along the shore admiring all of nature’s bounty in the trees…filled with pinecones just waiting to fall; the shrubs brimming with berries of red…purple…blue. 

I’ve already polished off my first cup o’ joe…and I’m hankering for another.  Little Blanca, our bratty schnauzer, didn’t mind me sharing my cold tamale with her; we both like ’em that way. 

I hear another dog—not qute as content as my little dog laying quietly beside my chair—barking off in the distance…over across the cove.  I feel the breeze brushing my hair, the sun on my face.  I hear the wind rustling the leaves on the half-bare trees, the waves lapping ashore.  And all is right in my world. 

Nico and Baby sleep soundly inside our old camper van, though I know I don’t have much longer to be alone with my thoughts.  I think I hear a rustling inside…baby is now waking.  My morning is fast-turning into day.  I sigh a farewell to peaceful morning. 

Blessings to all this Sunday. 

.V..

 

Key West Road Trip — The Journey Home

{Journal Entry}

DAY 4:

‘Pulled out of St. Joseph’s Peninsula at around 1:30 or so, headed West on Scenic 98 to 71 North.  We’re planning to visit the Southern Tip of Georgia before we head home on El Camino 84 to Texas 287.  That’s the plan anyway.

*Update*

We ended up at a rest stop off of Interstate Highway 65 at 1 AM in the morning.  Ugh!  ‘Drove all night, but we didn’t want to pay the $$$ on a room for just a few hours of sleep.  So…after stopping numerous times at various motels–and trekking out to the ONLY (what seemed like it) National Forest in Alabama, we settle for a nice…much safer, rest stop.  It was the best choice, and one we should’ve made much earlier in the evening. 

*What I Learned*  Sleeping at rest stops isn’t half as bad as I suspected.  Guess it pays to listen to Nico sometimes; as much as I hate to admit it.  lol

St. Joe Peninsula — Day 3 of Journey Home

{Journal Entry}

‘Pulled out around 11 am and headed North on 301/27/441, we will take 441 N/W when we see it and hopefully hit 98.  *Camped at St. Joe Peninsula last night.  I met a nice Mother-Daughter (Rebecca & Nicole) camping team, set up right beside us in a Classic Serro Scotty Vintage Travel Trailer.  I loved their rig as much as they loved ours!

We sat up ’til way into the early morning….laughing and talking, tossing back a few cold ones, just having girl time.  Lucky for me, Nico is great with Baby….so I kinda had the night off.  Come to find out, they are Florida ladies.  I exchanged emails with Rebecca so we can keep in touch.

*About St. Joe*

Beautiful beach.  Had Fun fun fun!  Watched a show-stopping sunset!  We hope to return someday soon.  Loved the beach and company, though the sites are really close together and very hard to get.  I’d definitely make reservations for out next visit.

Off the Grid in The Florida Keys

We’d lost all track of time or day by the end of our first week in The Florida Keys.  Sugarloaf Key had proven to be a perfect landing spot for our little family; our old rig a welcome sight to practically everyone at Lazy Lakes.  I had the feeling that most folks didn’t know quite what to make of the ‘Hippies’ in the classic Volkswagen Westfalia Van.  I was proud of Peniki…beyond measure!

So we’d survived Publix Market that first trip to Key West; never to return again.  Winn Dixie had proven to be our grocery store of choice on the island.  As for short ‘beer runs’ and other necessities, we biked on over to Kickin’ Back Market a few miles up from Sugarloaf Key, or just made a quick jaunt over to the KOA Campground Store…right next door to Lazy Lakes.

We had fallen into a laid-back routine by our second week in the Keys:  I fed the fish right behind our camp-home every morning, Nico had his regular visits from friends for guy talk out by the street or sittin’ around our little abode.  And even though it had been our intention to ‘rough it’ while we were on this adventure, it seems the kindness of others had lavished us with a few of the ‘finer’ things of camp-life; furnishing us with a TV hooked up to cable, fans, and a few chairs we’d really needed, freshly caught Mahi Mahi steaks, and some of the best company I believe we’ve ever shared.  I really was loving life in the Florida Keys.  Still, in my deepest subconscience…I knew, we would soon be returning to the rat-race to welcome our first Grandson into this world.  If only, I thought to myself often, we could have everyone we love in one place…this place, I would never have wanted to be land-locked…ever again.

All in all, we stayed a full 3 weeks in the Florida Keys, and loved every minute of it!  After that night at T.J.’s barbecue, we were destined to sing our songs on Mallory Square, for all of Key West to hear at the Sunset Celebration.  It was an entirely different gig for us; an unforgettable experience I’ll forever cherish.  I met a man who made an impact on my life; a fellow, much more seasoned, street performer.  His name was Dr. Zeaus (spelling?), though I cannot recall his real name.  I hope someday I can remember.  Either way, we had an interesting conversation about life and the way people aren’t allowed to live the way they wish anymore…in this day and age.  How we both feel that folks are no longer really ‘free’.  I’m sure our beliefs would be met with much opposition, but to each his own.  Right?

Needless to say, Nico and I took Gypsy Vin Rose to the Sunset Celebration on Key West and the evening was truly magical!  Just as the sun was setting, we sang our hearts out; one of our favorite original songs ‘Time’.  The music…the moment…the bit of money we made from passersby…the memories made…the much-appreciated words of a stranger “You guys have great spirit.”  I’ll never…ever forget such words of encouragement.  Still, no one was ever more encouraging when it came to our music than our friend T.J.  And even though the CD we left him with was still just a rough-cut, live and unedited, he loved it just the same as if it were our polished studio work.  It was real!  As we know GVR must always stay!  To us, our songs need to flow like the water, remain free as the wind: that is the voice of Gypsy Vin Rose.  To us…anyway.

As for our thoughts on Key West, besides that first bad experience at Publix, we took rather well to the island life and the Conchs thereabouts.  Riding bikes, snapping pics, fishing, kicking back with friends, swimming, touring and lunching on Key West, and singing at the Sunset Celebration.  So many things about our three weeks in The Florida Keys, not to mention the wonderful new friendships we’d formed, are memories I’ll always treasure.  And because there is still so much to tell, I couldn’t possibly cover it all in one sitting.  I invite you to keep posted.  The adventure is just beginning!