So Thankful for Everyone Who Reads My Posts!!!!

I have been so blessed with many many wonderful, interesting, exciting adventures and experiences in the last four and a half years. But, some of the biggest blessings have come from the words of excitement and encouragement I get from those that are truly interested in what I am doing and how I am doing it.

I was extremely lucky to have a writer from the NY Times contact me to include me in an article he wrote. It was fun to do and the response has been so great. I am really  so humbled by the encouraging words and by the donations to help me to keep doing this wonderful adventure. Several of you gave me donations for a cup of coffee/tea. I included a few photos I took doing just that. Others wrote how proud and happy they are for me! I hope you can see the smiles in my face!

I am updating and writing several posts. Hope you all keep reading and enjoying. Please feel free to give comblloogments and ask any questions. HUGS and SMILES to all!!

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Hassles of Luggage…..

After a few weeks being back in Knoxville I left TN again the first of June 2011. I was so glad to be back on the road again. It seems its in my blood to travel. Even more so than I had originally thought. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to just be “going”, but didn’t have any idea how deep that ran within me. I have traveled with my kids their entire lives, but this is so different. The ability to change plans and go where I am drawn is just incredible.

One of the BIGGEST mistakes I made in the beginning was too much luggage. I’ve learned this lesson and am benefiting from learning it BEFORE leaving the USA.

When I Started the Journey 2011

Luggage I left Knoxville with June 2011. Colors don't match, but still a lot better...

Current Luggage!! Now I Match and Can Move About At Will....

SO…..

There are many lessons I am learning. One of the main ones has been how little material things I need. This is beginning to sound like such a cliché in our society (and so few people really do it), but life is a lot more enjoyable the more we simplify.

I took several months before I began my current journey getting rid of almost everything I owned. I have roughly 15 boxes in a friend’s attic back in Tennessee, but the rest of my things are gone.

The first time I took a cruise with my family in 1996 we over packed even though I thought we had done so well. I heard from many seasoned cruisers on that trip that the trick most adhere to is to pack everything you “think” you might need about a week before the cruise. Two days later take out half of the stuff you packed. Two days after that reduce the remaining stuff by half and then the day before you leave do it once more. Still one will certainly still have too much stuff after all the reducing. The wisdom of that rule proved itself to me on later cruises.

Well I made the same mistake (even though I would have sworn I had mastered packing for trips) in April 2010. I took along so much more than I ever needed. And it caused a lot of issues. From the aches of pulling, dragging and hauling all this stuff to not being able to enjoy several last-minute opportunities because of luggage…

I rely on public transportation and ride shares to travel everywhere. I am a solo traveler without any help so this is the one area I have to be sensible and I sure wasn’t in the beginning. The thing is I THOUGHT I had really done so well. I was wrong.

After I was burglarized I got a new lesson in doing without for a bit. But since I lived with South Beach models for a few weeks I soon had more than enough clothes again. I’d made a decision that when I stopped back in Tennessee to see Marley and friends I would pack only a very small carry on and a day backpack. Ideally I would love to be able to travel with only a day pack. I doubt it will ever happen, but this is good too.

So when I flew out of Knoxville on my way to Denver I had no luggage that had to be checked in! It was wonderful to fly without that hassle included. Although when I went through security at the airport I was not happy that I they took my new toothpaste, lotion and conditioner I had bought but forgot that they would be carried on with me so I hadn’t thought to look into the size allowances. It was a small price to pay for all the advantages.

The backpack I left Knoxville with this year was the same one that has been with me since the beginning. My dear and special friend, Jessica Young, gave me hers. It is a UT-K college backpack. It has been through a lot with me. I got the pink carry on from my other great friend, Callie Spears.

For convenience and ease I was set. Aesthetically I was not. I do not like purple and red together nor do I like orange and pink together. Those that know me know if something is bugging me I get a bit obsessive about it. So having two of the things that have to be with me all the time such an awful mixture of colors drove me crazy.

It worked out that once in Denver a week apart both my backpack and then my carry-on broke from all the wear and tear. I replaced both in black. All was right with the luggage.

Lesson learned and action taken…

What a difference it makes having just two really small and light pieces of external stuff to take with me everywhere. I can get up and go when I have an opportunity I want to take. I can walk, get on buses and move around with no problems!

I pull behind me the carry-on (or lift when needed by the Velcro handle) with most of my clothes, the electrical plugs and toiletries inside. Then in the backpack I have a set of clothes, a spare pair of shoes, my netbook, camera, iPod, phone and beach reading. Plus it has a place for wallet and ID in the front pouch. When I am on the go I usually put the backpack on top of the carry on and secure it to the pull bar and just use the wheels.

It has been such better way to travel. I don’t think that I will ever get down to just the backpack as I would have liked, but this is definitely the next best thing.