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Seasons Can Be "Complementary Lifestyle Modules"

Once again I am in Yuma, wondering if there is a business where I can put my brain into cold storage for the winter. 

And why not, I ain't got no use for it, anyhow -- at least not for the next couple months. In fact the intellect is over-rated, as my winter lifestyle will prove. My enjoyment of life will be physiological and anthropological: I will be roadie-cycling with the single best cycling club in the Southwestern winter.

As you can tell, I just finished my first club ride, came home and took a navy-style shower, popped "The Big Country"  into the DVD player, and took a deep sag in front of it. (Notice I did not say 'nap.')

There is a real satisfaction that comes from changing your lifestyle in the winter, rather than merely changing your geographical location. What is the marginal utility of one more location to an RVer after 50 locations, the rest of the year? [*]

But if he can spot some deficiency in his lifestyle the rest of the year, and if he can somehow come up with the complementary pro-s and con-s in the winter, well then, he has constructed the perfect 12 month lifestyle.

In my particular case, I experience more pretty scenery than a sensible human being would need. I know that Life's Little Adventures and Box Canyon Blog won't agree with me on this issue. Wonderful (and unique) people though they be, and as happy with their lifestyles as they are, they still suffer from a serious substance-abuse problem: pretty scenery is their heroin. (grin) Or it could be that they just don't invoke the concept of diminishing marginal utility as the Prime Directive of their blogs.

Thus in the winter I head to Yuma, one of the few places in Arizona that is visually uninteresting, if not positively ugly. Let my eyeballs and camera rest for a couple months.

The rest of the year I disperse camp, mountain bike, and walk arroyos with my dog, who is of course ridiculously happy about it. But unintentionally I live the life of recluse. I've tried various approaches to overcoming that; they were about 5--10% successful. 

Perhaps I will never solve this "problem." So be it. Life is too short to worry about the same old issues year after year. Whatever disappointment I feel in this one department of life can be turned to advantage by showing up in Yuma and riding with the road cycling club. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade!

[*] Isn't it strange how the prophets of the RV blogosphere, imbued with all their Higher Forms of Wisdom, can so easily see the folly of the conventional lifestyle with its insatiable demand for one more gadget or one more granite counter-top. 

But they cannot see the pointlessness of one more location, after pushing their geographical "channel button" 100 times per year.


Jim and Gayle said…
What is that old saying, "variety is the spice of life". I certainly agree with that. It is great that you found a group that you enjoy road biking with. Wish I still had my road bike but just no room.

Who doesn't enjoy beautiful scenery? Those who can afford it seek the beautiful places to live and play along the water and in the mountains. Surrounding yourself with beautiful scenery has a similar effect to listening to music. It moves the soul assuming we had one.

I have no idea what prompts your somewhat reclusive lifestyle but I can say this. Last year we had a great time cycling with you in Zion and unfortunately we didn't get to do that this year. But your refusal to hike in national parks because they don't allow dogs on trails is self limiting and seems pointless. Not all trails in national parks are filled with the much hated tourists. On most of our hikes this year we had the trails mostly to ourselves.

You need to come out and enjoy the fun and give in to your secret love of postcard scenery.

XXXXX said…
Your best writing, IMHO, comes when you reach inside yourself to get in touch with an experience which offers an insight in terms of understanding the human condition. Anybody can do this, anyplace, anytime if they simply let themselves go there. Some writing talent helps too as getting this across can be difficult. Everything else is of surface value and so of secondary importance.
Unless, of course, you simply want advice on buying a vehicle or other such practical matter. That counts too, in its own way.
John V said…
I think we'll be pretty old and crippled before we've seen all we want to see. Even then, there will be many interesting places we don't make it to before our time runs out. And that's even with retirement at 47. The real challenge isn't finding scenery, it's finding solitude in this country. It makes me laugh when RV people talk about boondocking in places like Quartzsite or those long term BLM sites. You might as well park in a friend's driveway somewhere is suburbia USA. The locations don't have to be postcard perfect, but if we are the only ones there, they'll always be beautiful to us. For the most part, having other people around is way overrated.
I agree that getting away from people is more important than scenery. It helps to get away from people to have a rig that can get somewhere that the usual suburban-house-on-wheels can't.
Chris said…
Boonie, you are physically "away from people" some of the time but you are never really totally away from people in that you are in constant cybercontact. When is the last time you took a time out and didn't blog or correspond or look for comments on your blog? If you did take a breather, did you have withdrawal symptoms? You always seem to enjoy and are often verbally stimulated by the scenery around your boondocks even though it may not be as spectacular as Zion canyon.
Jim and Gayle said…
Now that I understand your position on people it all becomes clear. Gayle and I pretty much spent our lives avoiding people. That only changed when we hit the road and it has made life far more interesting. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of people that are worth avoiding and I do my best to avoid them. ad I continued down my path I wouldn't have met either you or John V which would have been my loss but perhaps your gain.
Chris, there is no "Boonie." Many times, when people say "getting away from people", they really mean getting away from generator noise.

The other thing is how many activities are actually made enjoyable by other people being around? Most human interaction is built around food and small talk. Boring.

That is why I get such a kick out of being around fellow cyclists. Unlike donkey-like hiking, cycling with the gang is a primal anthropological satisfaction. It is like riding ponies across the steppes of Eurasia, at high speeds, rampaging, burning, and pillaging. That is exciting stuff.
" Anybody can do this, anyplace, anytime". Indeed, they CAN. But they probably WON'T because of comfort, routine, distraction and mindless busyness, and fear. Travel can be useful in reducing the hold these things have over a person's mind.
Jim, see the next comment. I would like to convince John V that Solitude is over-rated. The real issue isn't Solitude versus Other People. It is activity X with other people versus activity Y or Z.
John V said…
I wouldn't say we avoid people as much as we don't like very many we meet. In three years of being on the road fulltime I'd say we've met maybe ten with whom we would spend more than brief, superficial time. Finding people to hang with is easy. Finding solitude is a challenge. And it's more than just avoiding generators. Although generator use is a sure sign of poor character.
XXXXX said…
In regards to the above comments regarding the value of solitude and the limited value of being around most people (sure do agree with the small talk comment)......ditto here, from a common homeowner who doesn't own an RV and who doesn't need to go to spectacular places to feel alive and happy.
XXXXX said…
Let me elaborate a little more. You know, whether one is hiking in or out of national parks or cycling with the best club in the world, the day will come when your body gets too old to do it anymore and then, where will your happiness lie?
They are all classified as addictions in my book. Chris made a good point about internet addictions as well as one more way to connect to people.
Solitude is about more than spending time alone. It is an internal process of self-analysis which, over time, develops into a sense of inner independence and responsibility and a wisdom which results in an ability to age gracefully in order to be deemed successful, one which realizes that the process of aging is giving up everything that Mother Nature gave so generously and now is taking back bit by bit. It is learning to detach from physical and external entertainments which come in many shapes and sizes. If you can't handle that, then you missed the boat.
I don't disagree with what you said, George, it's just that "an internal process of self-analysis" doesn't interest me. Introspection and self-absorption are at the top of Bertrand Russell's "Don't do" list, and I agree with him on this.
edlfrey said…
I spend a lot of time alone but I would not say I am remote from society or in seclusion. That time alone does not seem to me to be an 'internal process of self-analysis' nor has it caused me to develop all the very good touchy-feely things that George indicates that it will.

I have learned to detach from external entertainment i.e. TV but still cling to the Internet and books so I guess I have not missed the boat completely.