There’s a lot of symbolism around the number “7” including:
- There are seven colors in the rainbow
- The phases of the Moon last approximately seven days
- In Christianity there are seven deadly sins
- There are seven letters in the Roman numeral system
- Kwanzaa is a 7-day festival
- Seven is a lucky number in gambling
- There are 7 continents on the planet
(Did you catch that I only listed 7 things? 😊)
For me, seven represents the number of months I’ve been on the road for travel writing, motivational speaking, workshop, and book signing engagements full-time - without a set home (and no, I’m not in living an RV). One of my friends calls it being “home-free.”
Yet despite that much time going by, I still have to pinch myself that this life-long dream actually came true!
The First 90 Days
The First 90 Days were an adrenaline rush.
I started out from my former home in Kansas City and drove to Manhattan, KS to drop my youngest son, William, off at Kansas State University to start his freshman year. As he walked away from me, I felt so much pride that he was about to begin this exciting new chapter in his life.
Next, I headed east, embarking upon one- to multi-day stays in Louisville, Lexington, Charleston, WV, Allentown, PA, New York, Baltimore, Annapolis, Staunton, VA, Southern Pines, NC, St. Augustine, Ft. Lauderdale, and St. Pete Beach, FL, Nashville—where my oldest child, Joseph, is a Junior at Vanderbilt University—back to Kansas City, Manhattan again (for family weekend at K-State), Albuquerque, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Sedona.
Mid-November (including my first Thanksgiving ever without family, which was very different but still joyous) through mid-December was spent visiting friends and housesitting in Tucson (the housesitting deets are below). Tucson is a very hip, laid-back and stunningly beautiful city, and being there for so long allowed me a wonderful opportunity to explore many places I didn’t get to see when I visited many years ago.
For the holidays I was back to Kansas City again for about 3 weeks to spend time with, as I call my sons, “my two hearts walking on the outside of my body.” And it was such a joy to listen to both of them talk about their college experiences.
Other than being with them, my favorite part was connecting with my spiritual family members at my beloved Center for Spiritual Living Kansas City. It is there that I truly feel “at home.”
Happy New Year!
On January 5, it was on to Texas!
I stayed with a friend who, coincidentally, had moved there from Kansas City a few years ago to escape the brutal winters, and it was simply marvelous – especially at that time of the year! I’m still amazed that after living in California for 30 years (starting in the ‘70s) that I never made it to Palm Springs. It’s one of those things where if it’s basically in your own backyard you might say you’ll “get there eventually.” I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to go back!
After a few more days back in the Dallas area I had a three-week housesitting gig in Arlington, before briefly returning again to Georgetown.
I know, I know…this probably sounds like a lot of bouncing around, but it really wasn’t as arduous as it sounds. Nevertheless, to keep some sense of equilibrium and flow I’ve learned that I prefer to stay in any one location for as long as possible.
In addition to asking about the work I do, everyone always wants to know about housesitting. So here’s the quick scoop.
Basically, it’s a no-money exchange between two entities: a homeowner and a housesitter(s). The benefits for the homeowner are that they don’t have to board their pets (which is very expensive) and they can stay in their own environment, their home is lived in, and someone is there to get the mail, water the plants, and sometimes a few other house duties.
The primary benefit for the housesitter(s) is not having to pay for travel accommodations. But they also get to enjoy staying in a residential neighborhood (in contrast to a commercial hotel zone), a home with the usual “fully-equipped” amenities, and the opportunity to love and care for everything from cats to dogs, birds, horses and other animals. My favorite benefit, however, is becoming friends with the homeowners and the trust built between us in a relatively short period of time.
It’s a wonderful exchange, people all over the world are doing it, and there are several, reputable housesitting websites out there. I use one called Mind My House, and have friends that also use Trusted Housesitters, Housesitters America, Luxury House Sitting and House Carers.
To learn more about the who, what, why and where’s of housesitting check out Housesitting Magazine, and a travel writer friend of mine wrote an excellent book about it called Break Free: The Ultimate Guide to Housesitting.
Deep in the Heart of Texas
My next housesitting gig was for a week in Austin, and on my way down there, just because it was right off the highway, I stopped for the day in Waco to see Magnolia Market at the Silos, created by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HDTV fame.
The highlight of that stop was the outstanding meal I had at one of the food trucks on the property called Club Sandwich (most of you know that I live to eat!). But don’t let the name fool you. Folks really line up there for their Rice Bowls and Trashcan Rice Bowls. Delish!
While in Austin—which I had always wanted to visit—I was a giddy tourist, checking out places like Rebel Cheese, this amazing vegan deli and wine shop, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, the Gallery at the University of Texas Arlington, and the Texas State Capitol. The latter raised my trifecta States, Capital City, and Capitol Building Bucket List visits to 45, 23, and 16, respectively.
On my last full day in town I gave the Sunday talk and facilitated a workshop at Unity of Austin, housed in a beautiful Spanish mission-style building with a beautiful sanctuary, contemplative meditation garden, and inviting bookstore.
On the Road Again
Although the winter weather in Texas was fairly mild, I was ready for a sunny beach fix! So I ambled east, stopping for a few hours to add two more drops (capitol city and building) into my trifecta bucket in Baton Rouge.
After that, I made a bee line to Gulf Shores, AL. This 4-day stop was part travel writing, part vacay, and it was so good to not only check out a few great attractions in the area, but also once again plunge my feet into those white sugar-sand beaches situated just steps away from some of the best cuisine in the state!
One of the things I really love about all of this nomadic travel is the opportunity to stop and see so many friends and family members along the way. So on my way further east toward Florida I was able to spend a few hours with one of my “sisters from another mister” whom I met and really bonded with on a travel writing trip about 8 years ago. During our short time together, she introduced me to Rosamond Johnson Beach in Perdido Key, one of numerous gorgeous places dotted along the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Another new capitol city and building were added during my day-and-a-half stay in Tallahassee (bringing my numbers to 45, 25, and 18, respectively).
In addition to the Capitol Complex, I visited the Museum of Florida History (one of the best history museums in the country), The Grove Museum, an awe-inspiring property encompassing the Call-Collins House, built by enslaved craftspeople and one of the best preserved antebellum residences in Florida, and walked and reflected on the state’s and our nation’s black history along the Tallahassee-Leon County Civil Rights Heritage Walk.
Last but certainly not least, I enjoyed one of the best vegan meals I’ve ever had at a place called Soul Veg Restaurant. Think barbecue sandwiches, gyro platters, baked spaghetti, spicy jerk tofu platters, lasagna, collard greens, mac and cheese and more – all vegan! It was so delicious I still have food porn dreams about it! After eating myself silly and as a result, having to forgo the vegan ice cream (my stomach just did not have any more room!), I headed toward LeCanto, FL for the night.
The next morning I gave the Sunday lesson at Unity of Citrus County and afterward wandered through their 10 acres of beautiful wooded grounds encompassing a picturesque walking trail dotted with 12 stations, each one representing one of Unity's 12 Powers of Man where you can stop and reflect on what these powers mean in your life, and a beautiful labyrinth.
A Global Detour
After bidding my new friends a fond farewell, it was a short hour or so drive to Groveland, FL to begin my 5th housesitting gig since hitting the road last August.
Then the huge Global Detour happened.
Within the next few days all of my engagements for the rest of the month, and, shortly thereafter, those for April as well, were canceled. Hmmmm. When this gig was up, where was I going to go and what was I going to do?
Fortunately, the homeowners here needed to, for a variety of reasons, extend their out of town responsibilities and asked me to “stay as long as you need to, even after we get back. We love having you there!” This was such a Divinely Guided gift and is another example of how things always work out if I just allow Spirit to drive the bus!
My days here are for the most part filled with the usual: morning prayer and meditation, working out, caring for the home and dogs, touching base with my freelance writing clients, planning more travel writing and other engagements for later this year, Zooming with my kids (both of whom have returned to Kansas City to stay with their dad since their universities are closed for the year), friends and family, and facilitating my workshops online.
On March 24—the anniversary of my 7th month on the road—I played with the dogs, enjoyed a long, leisurely walk around Lake Minneola in nearby Clermont (which by the way is known as “The Choice of Champions” and possesses an international reputation as a premier training destination for cyclists, triathletes and runners – who knew?), made myself a nice dinner, and watched the sun set; all the while bathing in gratitude for all that I am, all that I have, all that I give, and all that I receive.
Life is good. And so it is.