Many have wondered how we can go “on the road” in a tiny camper for weeks on end. The answer is that my wife and I share a good marriage. She is a good person (however, I will not self-proclaim my own character). A good marriage is not dependent upon whether or not the partners are good people, but rather upon the people being good partners. In this I am doubly blessed to have married a good person who is a good partner. Each year on our anniversary (June 19th) we take our marriage off of the shelf, admire and polish it for the next year. It really doesn’t tarnish since we continually work on keeping it polished throughout the year.

We do not cast responsibility upon each other for our individual happiness, but we do find our relationship is a source of happiness. It is also a safe place where we find support in the other’s strengths and talents, refuge from our own weaknesses and shortcomings. Like I said, ours is a good marriage. Many people find that that they need solitude in order to examine their thoughts without distraction. With a good partner one can also better know one’s thoughts by dialogue, but only when there is absolute trust that the exchanges are free from criticism and judgment.

In our marital life, the depth of sharing can be challenged by the daily distractions of work, finances, current events, and all of those things that comprise the background noise of “real” life. I find that most days we are able to shrug off the burdens of such distractions.

After over 40 years we still find strength and support in our partnership. We love our life at home, and we love our life on the road. The commonality is that we love our life together. Have I said that I have a good Marriage?

Peace Everyone. Pete

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“”Second Star to the Right, and Straight on till Morning.” That, Peter had told Wendy, was the way to Neverland.” (From “Peter Pan”, by J. M. Barrie)

We have sought Neverland at the tiller of a sailboat. We have searched from the handlebars of a bicycle. Our feet tread the 1,000 year old path of Pilgrims in Spain. Beginning in May, 2015 we have sought it along the roads of North America. Our choices are to either travel the Interstate system or choose the “Blue Star Highways” of America.

The Interstates are beasts of concrete and steel, creature of post World War 2 prosperity and expansion in America. They are a monument to the ability of mankind to wrestle nature’s boundaries and obstructions into submission. They are byways without passion or soul, roads known only by a number and a direction. The Interstate is blunt force that catapults the traveler from one place to another as a bow shoots an arrow.
The Blue Star highways are highways in name only. Now less traveled, they were born in the distant past and were later dedicated to the memory of US soldiers fallen in World War 2. Their courses are typically determined by nature, some portions by the pre-Columbian residents, and other sections by early European explorers. They make a path in compromise with the natural lay of the land. There are only gentle modifications to grade and course. Unlike the Interstate, which blasts through a hill in order to maintain direction and grade, The Blue Stars meander on and around the rise and fall of the land, like a ribbon uncoiling from its spool.

The Blue Stars are living roads that have a personality, they have a soul. I grew to know these roads well during my bicycle ride across America in 2010. Then I was captive to their course, and emotions. As I peddled, a road would smile seductively with her long slow descending curves. At times I was embraced by the safety of a wide flat shoulder but with caprice her mood would change. The shoulder would become a sliver of pavement, the road forcing me uncomfortably close to the onslaught of the wheels of thundering lumber trucks. Her gentle slope would suddenly turn skyward to challenge my legs and my lungs. She could be calm with the smoothness of new laid asphalt or she would thunder anger through my thin tires, shaking me bodily as I rolled over broken and rough damaged pavement. A change in the wind speed, direction, or temperature would either brush my cheek as a kiss, or smack me in the face with force.

The Interstate is a wasteland. In some parts of the country a place which is available to serve travelers with food and fuel is appropriately named an Oasis. People are only permitted within its boundaries if encased in or astride upon a motor vehicle. The Interstate separates us from the environment and creates its own. There are no sounds, no smells, and the sights are relegated to the distance in favor of declarations of speed, distance, and destination.

As one meanders through town and village following upon a “Blue Star” there are dogs to chase you, and children to waive at. Schools, churches, and stores extend their parking lots to you. Cemeteries present the memories of those who have passed before us. The roadsides are picketed as far as the eye can see with the mailboxes of the homes which bordered her lanes… one can not only read the names of the residents, but actually exchange greetings. Bridges nearly touch the water. Slowing, one can peer over the low railings to see the wildlife that the rivers sustain. These roads serve up sights, smells, and sounds as a banquet for the senses.

“Neverland” is not found on the Interstate. For us the “second star on the right” is a Blue Star.
Peace! Pete Schloss
Originally posted May 25, 2015

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Everyone should have a “Next Thing”. That is not to say that one should not fully enjoy the “Current Thing”, but while the “Current Thing” engages the person, the “Next Thing” engages the imagination.

As Christine and I approached retirement I became aware of the insecurity of not knowing what we would do, what our purposes would be. We began an active dialogue about what our lives would look like. It struck me that the discussions felt a lot like other times when we engaged our imaginations to visualize an upcoming event, plan, or possibility… a “Next Thing”. “Next Things” are not the “Ordinary Things” of job, bills, household. They are the larger things that excite the mind and engage the spirit. They are the things that one feels compelled to think about, talk about, even doodle about. In order to have a “Next Thing”, one must have the mindset of “how can I make that happen!”. Folks who reflexively address a new possibility with all of the reasons why it cannot or will not be, rarely have a “Next Thing”. That mindset serves only to extinguish the spark of imagination.

Individuals may have “Next Things”, but like fine dining they are best shared with someone else. Dining alone is rarely more than feeding the body while a fine meal savored with someone special nourishes the spirit. I am blessed to be married to a very good woman who is open to the possibilities of “Next Things”. At times Christine has tempered my enthusiasm for a “Next Thing”, but never smothered it. She is one who listens and brings her own perspective into play which usually adds extra dimension to mine. At times, she has opened the process with her own “What if we…”.

In 2012 we went to see a movie, “The Way”, which is about a man’s 500 mile walking journey across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. As we left the theater Christine suddenly stopped and turning to me declared, “I am going to do that!”. My reply of the moment was “Can I go too?”. Thus was born one of the larger “Next Things” in our relationship. Scarcely a day went by that we did not share our thoughts and engage our energies in planning to walk the Camino. Neither of us ever cast doubt upon the sanity of our musings and thus in 2013 the improbable became the actual. Such can be the way with “Next Things”.  (Originally Posted May 24, 2015)

This coming March, 2018 we embark upon our “Next Thing”. For those of you who enjoy following our travels, this “Next Thing” is truly exceptional. More on that in the future.

Peace Everyone! Pete

 

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Recently, I have been largely silent on social media, but not idle. For many weeks I have been designing and implementing a new website. This is the third time that I have undertaken this foreign task. My first effort, over 15 years ago, was little better than a few pages of “stick figures”. My second served me well for the last 10 years, but it was time to make a change that more accurately reflects the shift in our focus, post retirement. This new site will be my venue and “voice” both on and off the road, while Facebook will remain my primary outlet for displaying pictures to my FB friends.

The site is not yet in perfect harmony with my expectations, however it is better than 90% the way there. I have purchased a “real camera” that I hope to make extensive use of. I have not yet worked on posting images with my “Thoughts” site, but there will be time to work out those bugs so that a few select images may occasionally appear with my “Thoughts”.

Your encouragements have provided me with the motivation to dedicate hundreds (literally!) of hours into working on this. I hope that it serves Christine and me, and thus all of you as well. I invite you to use the tool that I have included on the site to sign up for email notices of future posts.

-Peace! Pete

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