Thursday, June 17, 2010

Of Life Off the Road

After so many months and miles, life off the road is, well, different. For myself, I'm remaining open to new experiences, exploring life in the city, looking for work, and settling into our sweet abode here at The Commons on the Alameda, even as I admittedly struggle with the sudden life change that we've clearly needed---and chosen.

In terms of our living situation, there's a lot of good to report. As I remarked a few days ago, cohousing is indeed designed to promote social interaction with neighbors, and there are so many scenarios in which we chat with passersby and engage in conversation on a very regular basis. On Mondays and Thursdays, there is a community dinner which is a convenient and affordable way to break bread with neighbors and share conversation over food prepared by a different community "chef" each time. A menu is posted on the bulletin board in the common house several days prior, and you simply check off your name and, voila, you come to dinner and eat to your heart's content for $4, with containers of yummy leftovers for $1. 

Children are a major force here at The Commons, and these lucky kids have incredible freedom and safety amidst this pedestrian haven. There are toys and scooters and bikes everywhere, and kids climb trees, swing in hammocks, play in the playground, and generally have the run of the community from early morning until sunset. Parents here at The Commons have a childcare co-op, taking turns doing childcare for one another as a way to save money and provide the kids with consistent and beloved caregivers rather than outside baby-sitters. It's a brilliant arrangement that seems to keep everyone happy, especially the kids.

Tina is slowly adjusting to casita life, although she still gets incredibly anxious when we leave her home alone. Kind neighbors and several young girls from the community are helping us when we need to leave her for longer stretches, and we hope and pray that Tina will be happier, calmer and more content as time goes on.

In the park just across from us, coyotes prowl the dry Santa Fe River at night, so kitty cats must indeed be kept indoors after dark. Someone also saw a rattlesnake there a few weeks ago, so even here in the city, there is wildlife to consider. And just next door, there's a small horse farm from which I am delighted to hear an occasional whinny floating on  the breeze, a sound that always brings me great pleasure.

Despite its diminutive adobe buildings and relatively small size, Santa Fe still feels like a city to me, and actually living in a city still takes some getting used to for this sensitive middle-aged guy who often felt overstimulated in Amherst, Massachusetts, a town of 25,000! Santa Fe is working hard at various aspects of sustainability, but it still seems to be lacking in the areas of  "smart growth", bicycle and pedestrian friendliness, and control of overwhelming traffic and automobile-related congestion. The city has a long way to go, in my humble opinion, but also has a lot going for it in terms of it's relatively small size, excellent galleries and shops, and easy access to nature (if, of course, you have a car!).

When it comes to work, over the next few days I will be interviewing for several local nursing jobs and examining ways to bring in some money beyond my various online writing gigs. Meanwhile, Mary has several exciting things cooking which I'll let her write about when she's ready to do so.

In terms of visitors, we've already entertained our son and daughter-in-law for an overnight pajama party, and look forward to them returning so that we can all go see Modest Mouse in concert on July 9th in celebration of our son's 27th birthday. And prior to that birthday extravaganza, Mary's Texan parents will pass through the city at the end of the month, and some dear friends from Washington, DC will be here to celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary with us on July 2nd.

While I miss some aspects of traveling and RV'ing (time in nature, so many beautiful places, the novelty of the road, new intentional communities to explore), I don't miss the rigors of maintaining the rig, emptying the waste tanks, and otherwise dealing with a 12,000 pound rolling beast. I still can't quite accept that we're not packing up and leaving some time soon, but also feel grateful for the respite and peace of mind that having a "landed" life brings.

This blog is admittedly an important way for me to remain connected with our trip, to continue the journey and examine my traveler's navel, so to speak. Whether we're rolling down the road to nowhere or are ensconced here in Santa Fe with a busy social calendar and new people to connect with everywhere we turn, it's still a wonderful life, and we are simply embracing a more solid and grounded milieu in which to thrive, for however long it lasts.

Signing off for the evening as darkness falls on our little corner of "The City Different"-----



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  2. I tried commenting, but my computer 'jumped the track' and didn't wait for me to complete my profile name.

    So, again...

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  3. My husband and I started our big RV journey in September 2009. We are now camp hosts in Morro Bay, CA. Life on the road - I can tell you've experienced the great and not so great. We too are thinking of ways to make some money. Come visit if you have a few minutes. The Camp Host Housewife

  4. Santa Fe sounds like a wonderful place to take a break for awhile. I passed through there once (on the way to Oja Caliente for a writing workshop with Martin Prectel) and truly loved it