Today I visited the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum. Established by the Equal Justice Initiative, these sites are dedicated to telling the ugly and painful history of the United States: from slavery to mass incarceration.
As I walked through the memorial and the rows and rows of pillars marking the Southern counties where over 4,000 lynchings occured I was holding back the tears.
The memorial’s sculptures and grounds are amazing works of art but the ugliness they portray made it hard to see any beauty.
I was saddened and angered by the individual and collective stories told.
No pictures are allowed inside the museum where artfully conceived exhibits further describe the horrors of slavery, segregation, lynching and the ongoing brutality today, especially in the racist criminal justice system.
The statistics are overwhelming…one in three black boys born will end up in prison!
For years, I’ve posted #findbeautyeveryday pictures daily. I was thinking about skipping it today. But then I remembered how we have persevered and how much beauty there is in the struggle.
I leave you with this art piece, representing the strong sisters of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I encourage everyone to visit Montgomery and the many sites of civil rights history here, especially
the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum.
There is a long and winding road through rural Virginia to get to this resort but Oh! is it worth it! This is one of the most beautiful RV parks I’ve been to.
There is a lovely and tranquil lake with swans.
There are wonderful trees everywhere.
The campsites are shady and spacious.
There is a great pool, surrounded by plenty of lounge chairs.
There are two activity centers (family and adult) and both have delightful decks.
The lake has a beach and swim area.
There are outdoor activities like shuffleboard and playgrounds.
I especially love the many walking trails, both paved and dirt.
Kathy and I are very satisfied with our Thousand Trails membership. We have enjoyed exploring the states and having nice spots to stay.
A friend asked me about how Kathy and I began to consider prepare for and experience BOLT (Black Old Lesbians Traveling) life. As I answered her, I decided to also share my answers in this post.
Kathy and I have talked about a life of travel from the moment we met. It was something we always considered. We traveled a lot even while working. We found we travel well together.
In 2014, after years of caring for my mom (an ancestor now) and being at my job for 32 years, Kathy and I set our intention to be”home free” travelers by the time I turned 60 in September 2015.
It took us about a year of preparation and letting go of stuff, property, etc to be ready to hit the road:
- We had yard sales, donated stuff, gifted things to friends. We sold our house and cars.
- We made living wills as well as traditional wills.
- We got bank accounts with no ATM fees (Charles Schwab is good).
- We digitized all our important documents and keep them in the”cloud”.
A few guidelines and agreements we made:
- We could each have one rolling bag, one backpack and one purse which must hold everything we need.
- We limited ourselves to one bin of stuff to save: pictures, mementos from my kids, etc. These are in Kathy’s mom’s garage.
- We made budgets and savings plans.
We talked a lot about what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go.
Then we set out. The 30 day cruise was the perfect way to begin world travel. We went to over 10 new destinations and traveled from Seattle to Singapore with no jet lag.
I still had too much stuff, broke our 1 rolling bag rule and had to give a bunch more stuff away while traveling. It worked out ok because the the cruise and hotel staff benefited.
After a year in Asia we decided to pursue another dream: RV travel. I love road trips and seeing beautiful North America has been wonderful. But full time RV life is not for me. I like mixing it up with long term stays in foreign countries. I have not found the same connections to community with RV life.
Somethings I’ve learned about myself are:
- I don’t like fast travel. In the beginning we would stay places a week or less and they became a blur.
- I like staying in places long enough to get to know folks, find meetings, activities etc.
- Kathy and I get along well in small spaces but it’s important for us to have solitary time daily. I have quiet time in the morning and I take a solo walk daily.
- I’ve always been a neat freak but in RV life it’s super important. A place for everything and everything in it’s place!
- I’ve learned I don’t need as much stuff or variety of stuff as I thought… cosmetics, vitamins, hair care stuff, jewelry are some of the many things I carry only small quantities of.
I’m not sure if I answered my friend’s questions but these reflections have been rewarding to me and I hope helpful to someone. If you have any questions about a life of home free travel, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 Thai embassies
There are many types of visas obtainable for travel to or living in Thailand. If you are visiting for less than 30 days this post is not for you. You are able to fly in and obtain a visa exemption on arrival at no cost.
However, for those who wish to spend a significant amount of time in Thailand here is some information you might find helpful.
There are 5 Thai embassies here in the U.S. Luckily there is an embassy right here in Los Angeles. While it is possible to obtain many types of visas in Thailand we found the process much easier here.
If you are 50 years or older you can get a retirement visa, good for a one year stay. The big advantage of getting it in the U.S. is that you only need to provide proof of 800,000 Thai Baht (approximately $25k) in the bank. If you get this visa in Thailand you must put your money in a Thai bank. This is probably perfectly safe but we do have some concerns. The cost of this visa is $200. See the link above for all details.
Another good visa option is the Multiple Entry Thai Visa.
No matter what type of visa you want, read the information provided in the links carefully and do your best to follow the directions to the letter.
Some things we found out:
- No matter the type of visa, you must pay by cashier’s check or money order. Cash is not accepted. We saw several people turned away because they missed this in the instructions.
- Arrive in the morning. Long lines but the service is pretty fast.
- Don’t pay for expensive passport photos. Take your own. There are several apps that can help. We saved over $60 dollars doing this!
- Have all your paperwork in order. The more organized you are the easier it seems to go.
- For the retirement visa you must obtain notarized statements from your bank. Our credit union provides free notary service which made it easy.
- Also for the retirement visa you must have a clearance from your doctor and a letter from local law enforcement. The instructions say these must be notarized as well. Turns out this means that you sign the clearance reports and have your signature notarized.
- We felt kind of overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork… breathe deeply, take your time, check, double check and recheck.
- The laws and regulations can be confusing, they change a lot too. Be sure you visit the official Thai government websites and don’t hesitate to ask questions (I called the embassy at least 4 times).
I hope this information is helpful. Thailand is such a wonderful country, the visa processes are relatively easy and most importantly…BOLT will be there! We hope to see you soon.