Well hi there. It’s been a while since I’ve written so I thought I would give you a Slatontastic update. We’ve been living on the road for over four months. In a way I feel like I’ve always lived on the road, I’ve settled into this lifestyle so seamlessly. I’ve watched the trees change from vibrant green to colorful fire to bare and sleeping. I’ve felt the air change from dry and warm to moist and cold.
In Texas, where I’m from, our seasons consist of burning hot and freezing cold. Spring and Fall last about a week. It’s basically Summer and Winter. So to be in a landscape that takes its time and moves slow is very therapeutic. I feel like my body and mind are being prepared for each phase. There is no rushing of the seasons up here in the mountains. It’s thoughtful and purposeful.
Andrew taught two photo workshops in Telluride, CO so we got to spend the peak of the Fall season down there. We left Gertie our trailer in Pinedale Wyoming where we have a free place to stay. Then loaded up Hoss with our gear and Islay and headed down to Telluride. It’s a nine hour drive from Pinedale, WY to Telluride and it’s a pretty one.
“My wanderlust would always cut the ties like a knife
Sometimes the lonesome wind
Calls out just like it knows me
And on a night like this
When I don’t know where to go, he shows me the way”
I’ve said it many times before, I feel most at home on an open highway with 18 wheelers flying by cutting the wind and shaking our truck. I feel most at peace on a dirt backroad, the rocking and swaying of the truck over the rocks lulls my mind.
I feel like I’ve aged 10 years in just these four months. I’ve walked around under golden trees and listened to the wind through the leaves. I’ve sat outside and watched the setting sun light up the sky in pinks and purples and orange. I’ve watched nesting Ospry cry and hunt then travel south for the winter. Just like the changing of the seasons I’ve taken my time and moved slow.
Living a completely freelance lifestyle, you never know where your next paycheck is going to come from. It truly is feast or famine. Andrew and I are currently living on quinoa and veggies and pinching every penny. At the beginning of our great adventure the stress of money used to occupy my every waking thought. It would keep me up at night and stress me during the day. Over the course of these four months the Lord has slowly changed me from a control freak worry wart to someone who is desperately dependent on Him.
I’ve seen the Lord provide just what we need out of the blue. Andrew and I think we won’t last another day with the stress and worry then the night closes in, a new sun rises and we’re still alive. The days can tend to go really slow when you’re stressed and we’ve ridden the storm and made it on the other side. Just when we think we can’t go another day, the Lord provides a job out of nowhere with no doubt or excuse that it came from Him and only Him.
So we live to fight one more day, to breathe and watch the clouds move, to find one more backroad to explore.
“I always looked ahead
I was so afraid that I’d be caught behind
Followed a crooked stream
To places I’d never seen and one more highway sign”
We finished the workshops with great success and drove the nine hours back to our beloved Pinedale. We have some great friends here that we want to spend time with before we make our way home for the holidays. They’ve been like second parents to us, providing a sense of home.
We plan to take our time on our way back to Dallas, stopping at a couple of State and National Parks along the way. I love the road but I do miss my family and friends back in Big D. I wonder how I’ll cope living in the city again. Since we hit the road we’ve only stayed in small towns or camped at the base of a mountain out in the middle of nowhere. The city makes me restless and stirred up and a little frenzied. I know that I’ll be happy to see everyone, for I really do miss people, but soon that lonesome wind will start calling my name and I’ll be ready for my home sweet road.
“Made up my mind to go
Some place so far away, I headed west
Without a sad goodbye
No hugs or tears that way, it’s probably for the best
Sent cards along the way
Said I was looking for a brand new life
I never settled down”
That phrase, “settle down”… When I was a kid I used to try to picture my life as an adult. I tried to imagine my house, my family, my job, my children. But nothing ever stuck in my mind. Nothing ever seemed to fit. I would climb trees and watch the neighborhood kids play in the cul de sac. I would carry my books and a blanket and set up a fort underneath a bush. I felt most at home and alive surrounded by nature. It seems that nothing has changed, except now I have a partner in my adventures.
I knew that the road would change me. I had a feeling it would bring to the surface my deepest desires, my greatest longings. Sometimes I feel like I had to ask permission to be completely fulfilled. I had no idea the road would teach me to find supreme joy in the midst of struggle. To feel a sense of calm as I watch a storm move toward me over the mountains. To have so little but feel but like I’m overflowing with plenty.
I’ve learned that it is possible to survive on barely anything. It’s possible to change your desires and shape them to necessities. Living an abundant life does not mean having abundance. I can be truly satisfied just watching the birds, the trees, the clouds. I can find complete peace and fulfillment in a simple drive with Andrew, in cooking him dinner, in cleaning my house. I do not need much to feel like I have plenty.
“Cause he knows me, my brother wind
He’s lonely too and he takes me away”
Lyrics by Tim O’Brien