"I live in a a very small house, but my window looks out on a very large world."
~ Henry David Thoreau
~ Henry David Thoreau
For a year before Hana and I spontaneously decided to travel the country in an RV I had this longing for whatever is left of true americana. After living on a busy street for three years where the air always smelled like exhaust I just wanted to get away. We looked at rural properties, but none of it was working out. Not only had I the longing for fresh air and peace, but a complete lifestyle change. I didn't want to just get away and plant a garden. I wanted to break away from my own habits that were either out of boredom, or just making the best I could out of what I had available. I had this persistent longing that went beyond owning a piece of property. I wanted live bluegrass music and the traditional portrait of rolling hills, mountains, and rivers. The desire for freedom and openness is what drives a lot of people on the road, but I have been longing to embrace the ghost of the simplicity and culture this country has to offer before it slips away and gradually becomes something different while most of us were asleep.
Even though I am in disagreement with the corporate corruption and side show politics laced with Orwellian eyes watching at all times, I still think America has the most beautiful countryside that you will see in the world. I have traveled all over Italy and Sicily by train and car. I visited the cities big and small, and spent months living in a small village in the Abruzzo, but I never felt the true love for the land that I have felt traveling down highway 90 going west with a friend and having our car break down or fishing as a kid from small ponds near my home to clear lakes in Yellowstone park. I would even goes as far as to say I would take scrambled eggs and coffee in a small diner followed by a day of fishing than sitting along a canal in Venice in an overpriced fancy restaurants where the waiters will upturn their noses at you if you mispronounce something.
At a family event with the Murrays I had mentioned to Bob and Pete about wanting to talk Hana into getting an RV and traveling the country. I didn't think she would go for it because she hates driving more than a half hour, and I was torn about drifting too far away from my parents, even though my visions were also inspired by the sentimentality of my family vacations out west. A day later Hana shared a vivid dream she had about us driving cross country with the dogs seeing the rich beauty and colors this country has to offer. That is when I said to her "I'm ready for a change" without even thinking about it.
And so here we are a few weeks after the sale of the house in Northern Michigan and the fresh air has already changed me in ways that I never thought it would. For all of you that know me well as the self confirmed night owl who never went to bed before 4 am, I have to inform you now that I am finding myself out of bed hours before the sun comes up, if not to go fishing to get a head start on the day. God has truly blessed me with a wonderful opportunity. I prayed for change and the prayer was answered. I have seen some beautiful sunsets and sunrises up here on the water while fishing alone, or with the new friends I have made on the shores lined up on dams and piers chasing after the Salmon and Trout, even though the fishing has been slow all over. Half the fun has been following a map to every lake and river in the area and seeking out the good fishing spots by stopping and asking people because there are still some parts of this life that can't just be instantly found out or purchased by typing a few words into a search engine.
After hearing that a local orchard needed help for the apple season I showed up to ask for a job. I really didn't expect to cover much more than what I spent in gas and lost lures and sinkers on my fishing expeditions, I also wanted to further enhance my american dream adventure with the sweat of my own brow and aching of my own joints. After one minute of talking to a large man on a tractor I was given a job, even though I wouldn't be available for more than a week. I am not going to lie. The first day of sorting apples and moving around 50 to 60 pound bags and 30 pound half bushel baskets I was truly exhausted. The second day went easier because I found you could keep your energy up by eating the apples as you go. If we return to Michigan next fall I may even show up to work at the orchard again, although I did hear that there were no good barbers up here, and am semi-contemplating how to be the one good barber in town.
|Picked fresh from the farm|