The View From Here

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This is the George Rogers Clark Memorial in Vincennes, Indiana. I sat on those steps early one fall morning in 2018 and watched the sunrise. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and the town was quiet.

I sat here for a long time just enjoying the peace and lost in my own thoughts. That was a rebuilding year for me personally and one of the best things that came out of that time was that I managed a good bit of travel and embraced my status as a single person. Sitting here that morning I realized that I was ok with who I was and the fact it’s just me.

The sunrise view from these steps wasn’t the best but the view of my life from these steps was darn good.

At the end of the day, you’re all you have and no amount of money, no stuff, no job, no relationship and no promises will change that. Embrace who you are, learn to take care of yourself, take the solo trip, eat alone in the restaurant, go live your life.

The sun will rise and set every day. In between the two, there are adventures to be had. Don’t waste a single minute. Get out there and enjoy life.

The Perfect Long Weekend (And Some Free Advice)

Nothing says freedom like a solo road trip. I hit the road Friday afternoon for a trek down to Winchester, Virginia where I made my home until starting the leisurely trip north Monday.

When planning this trip, more than a dozen scenarios were on the table but nothing really excited me. I was studying a map of Virginia when Winchester caught my eye and a vague recollection that Patsy Cline was from here made me pause.

A visit to her museum was one of the highlights of my trip to Nashville this spring and I had to wonder if there were other things to do around Winchester. Turns out this was a silly question. The area is rich in history and natural beauty and there is no shortage of things to do.

In fact, I packed a lot into my long weekend but needed far more time to do everything that looked interesting. I did hit the highlights and saw a lot in places along the way as well.

Sometimes I wish that I had a specific interest- a certain period of time or a field like aviation or rock collecting. It would be nice to be an expert in something.

But that’s not how I’m wired and trips like this make that especially clear.

My activities ranged from Civil War era attractions like Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters and the battlefield at Mannasess to a flying circus, an awesome cavern and the childhood home of Patsy Cline.

The good news about having such a broad range of interests is that there’s always something to learn and a lot of surprises to enjoy.

The highways were useful when I just needed to make time but secondary routes were more fun when the goal was to sit back and enjoy the view. It was about 50/50, a ratio that worked well given the mountainous terrain of West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia.

This trip was memorable despite the fact I’ve been battling a sinus infection for weeks and still wasn’t feeling my best. For this reason, I took it easier and rested more than normal but still finished each day satisfied with all I had done.

This also helped some with the mental fatigue that’s been dogging me for a few months. I didn’t know what time it was most of the weekend and did not care.

Regardless of how fast or slow I move, I have a knack for attracting people who want to talk.

At the flying circus, I was befriended by a 74 year old gent with a soft Virginia drawl and a curiosity about the sign he saw me taking a picture with. He listened with interest as I told him why solo travel is fun. I also explained that it’s a necessity as I’m not prepared to stop going places simply because I don’t have a mate or someone to go along for the ride.

He gave me two pieces of advice:

1. If you want to retire early, live well below your means and lower your expectations. He should know – he retired at age 54.

2. To never lose my sense of adventure and bravery.

I liked him and appreciated the advice.

On the other hand, a younger man in the same conversation said that no wife of his would be out running around by herself like I do.

I smiled and told him it’s a good thing I’m no one’s wife. Jerk.

I’ll stick with the wisdom of the older man, thank you.

Sunday Mannassess and the road there (95)

After leaving Winchester Monday morning, I followed the recommendation of a friend and took a detour to Lurray Caverns about an hour south of Winchester. Then it was a meandering journey to Clarksburg, West Virginia by way of Oakland, Maryland. My use of Hotels.com finally paid off and I cashed in a free night’s stay at Clarksburg before heading home the next day.

This was a perfect long weekend. With no real schedule and no one to please but myself, it was easy to just enjoy the adventure without pressure or worry. There are several stories to share including some unexpected things from along the way. Those usually make for the  best stories, those things you don’t plan.

We’ll get started tomorrow with a visit to the Patsy Cline House!

One of those days

Ever have a day when nothing goes right and you’re not sure if mishaps are caused by your bad attitude or the other way around? It’s been one of those days.

I’m trying hard to stay upbeat, but man, I could use a break today!

Something happened at my house a few days ago that caused wiring in the furnace to melt and rendered the heat pump unusable. The furnace door was blackened on the inside.  I should be thankful to still have a house.

So the house is unbearably hot and my poor little cat is suffering while I eat lunch here in my air conditioned workplace. The repairman has to work me in and I shudder to think what this will cost.

I have all that running in the back of my mind while I struggle to do my job. Would love to go home for a nap but I have no one to run my office today and it would be way too hot to sleep. Meanwhile I’m just crabby and ill tempered. Nothing is going right. Someone needs a timeout!

The thing about being single that no one ever mentions is how expensive it can be, how difficult it can be to operate a house on one income. Owning the house – insuring, paying the mortgage and all that jazz is already a challenge. The real problem though is in maintenance. Last summer it was $3,500 for a heat pump. I’ve needed a new front porch for a while and countless other little projects have been begging for attention for months or longer.

It makes me question the sense in hanging on to a house that I can hardly afford to maintain.

I guess for today I will focus on gratitude that the house didn’t burn to the ground and hope that tomorrow will be better.