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.
We are on the road, heading to DC and then Alabama. We are taking it slow. Probably no more than 300 miles a day. Using our Thousand Trails membership we took a nice break at Verde Valley in Cottonwood, Arizona. It’s really hot here (100 degrees) but I did take a walk and got some pictures of this lovely park.
We found a nice shady spot for Winnie.
There are many interesting walking trails.
The pool was very inviting.
I think the thing I liked best were all the beautiful varieties of trees.
You can stay here permanently if you choose.
But we will be leaving in the morning… heading to Sedona!
Kathy and I recently joined the Thousand Trails RV system. For about $500 dollars per year we can stay for 2 week periods at a wide variety of RV parks in California, Nevada and Arizona. Additional states can be added for under a $100. This seems to be a great deal for RVers. The average one night stay in most RV parks is $30 in California.
The Palm Springs park is our first Thousand Trails stay. I’ll be reviewing all the parks we visit.
This is a very small, basic park. It’s like a big parking lot. However, we find it quite pleasant. There are palm trees everywhere and I find them beautiful.
There’s a wonderful pool and hot tub…very clean, uncrowded with plenty of lounging areas.
There are nice, air conditioned areas for family and adult activities like games, poker and billiards.
There’s a very small playground but not much else for children to do. It’s very hot so the pool is the spot to be.
There are really cute little cabins that visitors without RVs can rent.
Our first Thousand Trails experience has been a good one so far. We will be here for a week. If you are interested in a Thousand Trails membership please let us know. We are happy to answer any questions or help you to arrange a visit.
Descanso means rest in Spanish. After 7 lovely days on the road in Baja California, Mexico we crossed over into the mainland. We are currently in the Mexican State of Sonora in the town of Puerto Peñasco.
Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, is a Mexican fishing and resort city on the Gulf of California. It’s known for dune-backed Sandy Beach and Bahía la Choya’s tidal pools.
For BOLT, Puerto Penasco will be a place of rest. We have found a lovely RV park, just blocks from the beach, and plan to stay a month.
Sunset RV park has a beautiful salt water swimming pool, an area for barbeques, laundry facilities and everything else we need.
Kathy and I are looking forward to a wonderful month of descanso and exploration of this part of Mexico. We are very close to the U.S. so please come visit!
There’s just something about Chiang Mai! Kathy and I came here over 3 years ago and stayed over a year that time. Yes, we visited other cities and countries but we always came back to Chiang Mai. This time we came and have stayed a solid year. Except for a brief visit to Bangkok we have stayed in Chiang Mai for the whole time.
It’s hard to describe the magic that happens in Chiang Mai and I’m not sure if you can feel it during a brief visit.
Chiang Mai Magic occurs in the over 300 temples, places of such sacred beauty that I never get tired of visiting them.
Chiang Mai Magic is at the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs, one of my favorite places to practice self care.
Chiang Mai Magic is in all the wonderful festivals that occur throughout the year, especially Yi Peng, the Flower Festival and Songkran.
Chiang Mai Magic is overwhelmingly at Inthakin Green Village. There is so much magic and healing here that I have written several blogs about it.
Chiang Mai Magic happens for Kathy on the motorbike. She experiences magic on her many rides in and around the city. If you want to experience Chiang Mai in this way, I highly recommend the Honda Safety Riding School.
Most of all I think Chiang Mai Magic is the people, the beautiful Thai people, the fabulous members of the African American community here and beloved friends and family who have visited. The magic is in planned events and random meet ups. The magic happens just walking down the street where I always see and greet someone I know.
We leave Chiang Mai and it’s magic tomorrow. I’m sad to leave all this magic behind. However, part of the magic of Chiang Mai is that I know we can’t stay away for long. BOLT loves you Chiang Mai and we’ll be back soon.
I love a good road trip and yesterday was the perfect one! We set out in the morning from Inthakin Green Village in Mae Teang. We headed north, destination Chang Dao, just a few kilometers from the Myanmar border.
Most of the drive was along the Ping River which was lovely in itself. We traveled through small villages and lots of lush greenery.
Our first stop in Chang Dao was the temple /home of a local monk. It was wonderful to see him again, he had given us a special blessing a few months ago. We also got to see our friend, Pi Oi, who lives near the monk.
No road trip is complete without delicious food. The gyoza at this small restaurant is amazing!
After our bellies were full, we headed up to this amazing wat (temple) . Called Wat Tam Mung Na, it’s building it built onto a cave. There’s an easy trip up several levels of ramps to the top where you find the cave and are surrounded by soothing chanting and can join in sitting meditation.
Many people come to spend the night or several days in meditation and chanting. There were tents everywhere.
These are the views from the top of the temple.
The temple grounds were very beautiful with lots of amazing statues.
There’s even a cute little coffee shop, which also offered amazing views.
Kathy and I had a truly fabulous day, made even more special because we spent it with people we love. Thank you Wanvisa, Jen and Ajan Sai for a perfect day!