Dancing Alone

Dec 29, Friday

Saddle Mountain BLM near Tonopah, AZ continues to treat me well. Despite the crowds that flock to southern AZ during the winter to escape the cold, this boondocking area remains relatively empty.

See Cas?

It helps that it’s a large area, with multiple spur roads. The one I’m on is just west of mile marker 13.

I come here to enjoy the peace and quiet of the mountain…

Because I know I’ll have no such respite at Quartzsite.

Christmas is a quiet affair. I spend the evening online with several friends playing a cooperative game. We’re spread all over the US from Wisconsin to South Carolina to Texas to Arizona. I know a lot of people poo-poo how technology has changed the way we interact with each other, but while I absolutely love living closer to nature out here on the road, I simply wouldn’t be able to do it without the internet. How great it is that we live in a time where it’s possible to have both: a more deliberate and simple life, with the ability to communicate with multiple friends across the country simultaneously.

The evening walk routine continues, although the fullness of the moon means it’s also possible to take moonlit walks after the sun sets. If you’ve never taken a walk at night under a full moon before, I highly recommend it. It’s a very different experience from walking during the day.

One evening I walk the 4-wheeler track out past the main mountain, to where an old barbed fire fence runs in a broken line as far as the eye can see in either direction. The sun has set behind the mountains to the west, and they look like a rusty fringe on the horizon.

I sit down in the middle of the path, instantly coating the seat of my pants in a fine tan dust that won’t completely go away until I next wash them.

But that doesn’t matter.

Taken on a different evening than the one mentioned, it was already too dark for a mountain photo by then

The faintest stirrings of a breeze alternates between warm and cool. Heat is still radiating from the ground but now that the sun is gone, cooler air is moving in. Headlights from distant traffic on I10 aren’t visible on this side of the mountains. The birds have all quieted for the evening. It’s very still. I’m completely alone.

This is the start of one of countless magical moments I’ve had since becoming a full-time RVer. I sit in the middle of the road for no other reason than that it feels like the right thing to do. Were I not alone, I wouldn’t be sitting here because people would find it odd and wonder what I was up to. But not having any witnesses, I’m free to indulge in this whim without fear of judgement. I sit cross-legged in the sand and dust, facing the slowly fading colors in the west, and start humming. No song in particular, just enjoying the sound of it.

Above me, the first few stars become visible in the deepening dusk. Soon, the nearly full moon will clear the mountains to the east and illuminate the way home to the RV. I stand up and untie my poi from my belt loop. I dance for an audience of one, just for my own enjoyment. I am happy.

Some people have a hard time being alone. I don’t bring that up much here on IO because being content with my own company comes so easily to me that I forget this isn’t the case for a lot of people. It’s during the holidays mostly, when people’s statuses on Facebook really drive home that for many, traveling solo is not what they’d prefer.

Typing this up at the computer now, I wonder if there’s any advice I can give to help people be more comfortable being alone (my previous article on this subject was about how to connect with others on the road). I know for a fact some people will see the title of this blog post and automatically associate the word ‘alone’ with ‘lonely’ and feel sorry for me, when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. As a solo traveler I treasure evenings like this one, and I wish others similar experiences. It’s something I’ll have to think about.

After about five minutes of pretty intense poi dancing, I brush off my pants, tie up my poi, and head back to the Casita under the light of the moon.

* * *

Thanks everyone who attended my work-camping seminar at the RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous) on the 13th. Turnout was great and everyone seemed to enjoy it! I’m now at the Xscapers Annual Bash and will be giving the same work-camping seminar here on the 18th at 4 pm so if you’re attending the Bash, come on out! You’re also welcome to drop by my rig (during normal hours, haha). I’m at 33.7640940, -114.1794060 southwest of the main gathering area. Note: you do need to be an Escapees/Xscapers member to attend the bash.

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38 Responses to Dancing Alone

  1. Elisa January 15, 2018 at 5:27 pm #

    Some people equate being alone to being lonely. I think this is a result of many of the pop culture images and situations with which we’re raised. I envy your solitude and nature filled life along with the courage and spirit you have to live the way you choose.

    Beautiful scenery. You look content.

    • Becky January 17, 2018 at 1:23 pm #

      Personality makes a difference too. Some people are just more community oriented than others.

      Thanks!

  2. Elisa January 15, 2018 at 5:29 pm #

    That’s what I call getting back to nature. There is nothing quite like it. Continue to post the beautiful pictures.

  3. Barney Ward January 15, 2018 at 7:00 pm #

    I am definitely a happy solo RVer. It is my preferred way of life for sure.
    Barney Ward recently posted..What Is It?My Profile

  4. Ray January 15, 2018 at 8:44 pm #

    You conveyed it well! Truly being alone can be when everything comes to life all around and you can hear the song of your soul. That’s when the subtle magic happens. I truly cherish and embrace being solitary.

    I’ve had some say I was too solitary and I understand that. Some are just wired that way and some not. As you’ve pointed out, it doesn’t mean we don’t have our lonely moments. In a weird way, those can be cherished as well, a reminder of how alive we are to have this yearning for connection.

    Ray
    Ray recently posted..A year (or two) of letting goMy Profile

  5. Pamelab January 16, 2018 at 2:37 am #

    Hi, Becky – I’m still at the RTR and learning a lot. I really enjoyed meeting you and hearing you speak. You did a great job and gave so much good information. Thank you!
    Tuesday I’ll head in to Q to have my Casita battery equalized, since my neighbor charged it for a couple of hours with his solar set up. My 7 prong plug was corroded at the port that charges the battery while I drive, so when I got to the RTR, my battery was almost dead. We’ll see if it is ok after the solar place checks it.
    Also, my solar suitcase, that is brand new, doesn’t work. I couldn’t be in a better place to deal with all this, because everyone I have met is eager to help.
    Love the poi, too. It looks complicated and beautiful. I might hit myself!
    Take care and Happy Travels!
    Pamelab

    • Becky January 17, 2018 at 1:25 pm #

      Thanks Pamela, it was great finally meeting you in person!

      As you might recall the trailer light port on my 7-pin connector corroded a couple months ago. At least it’s a pretty easy fix! Glad you’re finding the help you need and I hope your battery is okay. Have fun!

  6. Kent January 16, 2018 at 3:35 am #

    Max Ehrmann

    Desiderata

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible without surrender
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even the dull and the ignorant;
    they too have their story.
    Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain and bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.
    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass.
    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
    Beyond a wholesome discipline,
    be gentle with yourself.
    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy.
    Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

    • Marsha January 16, 2018 at 2:17 pm #

      I’ve always loved this.

    • Pat January 16, 2018 at 7:19 pm #

      Kent, thanks for posting that. It really hits home right now as I travel solo. When I was 20 and that piece was up on posters in half the dorm rooms, it seemed pretty sanctimonious. Now, it seems pretty wise.

      • Jimmy January 17, 2018 at 7:03 pm #

        Pat – It can be BOTH wise AND sanctimonious. (Though probably not at the same time, any more than I can be both sober and drunk at the same time.)

        And fun as hell to goof on. Hence the spoofy Deteriorata…=) (I hate the visuals, but this version has all the words….=)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey6ugTmCYMk

        —-If you weren’t reading and listening to National Lampoon in the 70s…….you had no sense of humor…=)….LOL

    • Tina Labellarte January 17, 2018 at 10:14 am #

      Thank you for posting. I did have this on the wall when I was in college in the mid-70s…the meaning has deepened with time and another 40 years of life. I so appreciate seeing it again.

    • Becky January 17, 2018 at 1:27 pm #

      Nice Kent!

    • Rhonda January 19, 2018 at 6:31 pm #

      Thanks for posting, Kent…as with others from the wonderful decade of the 70’s, I never tire of rereading and (re)digesting the Desiderata. I have a copy of it hanging in my sweet little camper. I always appreciate the reference.

  7. MnDreamer January 16, 2018 at 5:46 am #

    Beautiful writing and beautiful photos— thank you, Becky!

  8. Jerry Minchey January 16, 2018 at 6:08 am #

    Becky, I love this article and the pictures. It’s one of my favorites.

  9. deb January 16, 2018 at 7:17 am #

    The sixth pic is frame worthy.

    • Mr Wheat January 16, 2018 at 8:54 am #

      Agree, sixth pic is striking. Saddle mountain is now on my boondocking list.

    • Becky January 17, 2018 at 1:30 pm #

      Thanks! I really beautiful lighting that morning.

  10. Kit January 16, 2018 at 9:14 am #

    Nice…I love camping alone, traveling at my own pace, and connecting with others online too. I agree that solo travel would be so much different, perhaps even lonely at times, without the internet to connect (and send photos).
    Kit recently posted..GalleriesMy Profile

  11. Anne S January 16, 2018 at 9:17 am #

    Just lovely Becky.

  12. Darin January 16, 2018 at 11:21 am #

    Hi Becky,
    Where are you at the RTR? I’d like to stop by for a short chat

    Darin

    • Becky January 17, 2018 at 1:30 pm #

      Left the RTR on Monday, now camping with the Xscapers. Have a good time!

  13. Alan Belisle January 16, 2018 at 11:26 am #

    For most of our travels, we have remained city folks, my wife and I. So there remains that surprisingly hard item on our bucket list: seeing the Milky Way. It can be a long, hard drive to a view without street lights and, at our age and with our deteriorating eyesight, we avoid nighttime drives like that. You are fortunate enough to be able to set up camp and stay the night in areas untouched by electric light. When you are sitting there in the dust, feeling the Earth turn beneath you, don’t forget to look up at the universe wheeling overhead.
    Alan Belisle recently posted..Living in Oceanside, CA – December 2017My Profile

    • Becky January 17, 2018 at 1:32 pm #

      Oh, the night skies I’ve witnessed since hitting the road… 🙂

  14. Sandy January 16, 2018 at 4:41 pm #

    Your post reminded me of a conversation years ago with a co-worker. I had just returned from lunch -by myself – and the co worker asked me if I felt self conscious eating by myself at a restaurant. I had never even considered this as I always enjoyed a peaceful meal and a good book. I wonder how many feel lonely because they are judging themselves by the perspective of others, something that rarely results in a positve feeling. Enjoy your peaceful life!

  15. Christina January 16, 2018 at 5:32 pm #

    I have always enjoyed being alone, or with my dogs sans other humans with their boisterous manipulations; a salubrious commune with nature – a love of the small often overlooked things – that bring me a quiet happiness. I value that over the hustle bustle and noise of the holidays. Thank you for your ability to give voice to how so many feel. Maybe this should not be strange, but rather encouraged to nurture the soul.

  16. diane southwick January 16, 2018 at 10:45 pm #

    Becky, I just love the second to the last photo. What did you shoot that with?
    Keep singing and dancing! Diane

    • Becky January 17, 2018 at 1:34 pm #

      All my photos and videos are taken with an iPhone. Thanks!

  17. Jodee Gravel January 17, 2018 at 10:33 am #

    Enjoying one’s own company is a gift. Few understand it, most want to “fix it” for you. Lucky you to have found a lifestyle that lets you determine your level of social interaction.

    Great post, thanks for sharing.
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Finding Fun in BetweenMy Profile

  18. Becky January 17, 2018 at 1:37 pm #

    Thanks for the comments everyone! I’m not surprised to see that a lot of you share the same thoughts as I do on alone time and being in nature.

  19. S Kaeseman January 17, 2018 at 2:48 pm #

    Hi Becky, all I can say Is Serenity is one of the most Beautiful states of mind, body and soul one can be in. Seems you know exactly how to find and it and when.
    May your travels continue to be safe and fun.
    Respectfully,
    S. Kaeseman

  20. Trevor January 19, 2018 at 9:46 am #

    We really liked the talk you gave at the RTR, and just wanted to let you know we were glad to hear people can get jobs while living Nomadically. We both like to stay active and think working is a big part of that. We went to the RTR without any expectations and left with a stronger vibe for what we’d like to do.
    Thanks for being apart of that.
    BTW When we got home your book, “Solo Full-time RVing On A Budget” was waiting for us.

    • Becky January 20, 2018 at 3:48 pm #

      You’re welcome and I’m glad you found that seminar helpful! I hope you get just as much use from my book. Take care!

  21. Seana January 19, 2018 at 9:48 am #

    Ahh, to dance alone…
    I’ve never lived any other way.
    Happening upon moments where silence reigns and the unverse exhales alongside you is a treasure in itself.
    Listen to the “jittery” feeling, you are very aware and adaptable, worry will get you no where. Then again, you already know that! Even written about it!
    I hope you never stop finding reasons to dust up your pants.

  22. Rhonda January 19, 2018 at 7:03 pm #

    Becky, I hit the Submit button before mentioning how much I enjoyed this post. As a wife, mother and grandmother deeply attached to my family I sometimes dream of setting out alone but have yet to carve out time or effort to overcome the fear of feeling loneliness out on the Blue Highways. Your words above bring me closer to planning a walkabout…

  23. Becky January 20, 2018 at 3:50 pm #

    I’m glad you all enjoyed this post, thanks for commenting!

  24. Mary January 23, 2018 at 9:05 am #

    That sounds magical. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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