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Maine Journaling
July 21 -
Sept. 4, 2001
These are the first part of journal entries written about my 3 months working in Portland, Maine during my first year of fulltiming. This was my first major stop to work a while for more gas money to get back on the road!


Journal Updates

INDEX

2007
Columbia, SC
Savannah
Blue Ridge Parkway
Computer Crash!

2005 - 2006
Happy New Year
Hawk's Message
I'm Published!
Sharing Spring
Ways of Writing
Goodbyes
Edmonds, WA
Degenerate Neck
Desert Depression
Post Quartzsite
Albuquerque
Grandma Malia

2003 - 2004
Oregon
Alaska Planning
Canada
Alaska 1
Alaska 2
Alaska 3
Alaska 4
Alaska 5
Alaska 6
Alaska 7
BC & Alberta
To Lower 48
2004 Recap
Giving Thanks

2001 - 2002
Inspiration's Off!
Maine
9-11-01
To Charleston
Charleston
N. Carolina
To Orlando
Florida Tour
Back in Austin
Albuq. to WA
Washington

 

 

August 1, 2001

We've finally landed in Portland and this will be our longest stay so far. We paid for a month's stay to get better rates and I will begin applying at temporary agencies on Monday. Lots of mixed emotions about this part... While if given a choice, I definitely would prefer not having to work and just continue this moving around and having plenty of time for sightseeing, there's another part of me that knows that besides the necessity of working since I've blown through most of my cash reserves now, that it will be a blessing in and of itself. I will enjoy meeting new people and keeping myself challenged in that way. It's always a little scary going into a new job and the first couple of days are generally the worst. Then you get a little more comfortable and get to talking with the other workers, telling them about your life and hearing about theirs. Doing nothing but temporary work will recreate that experience over and over and while there appears to be some bad and some good associated with that, I generally believe it better to be exposed to new experiences that may challenge you as opposed to getting and staying into a rut just because it is easy and more comfortable.

I am also of two minds when it comes to the matter of staying put here longer vs. continuing to hit the road every week. No matter how much I've enjoyed places we've visited, I've always gotten a bit excited when it was time to leave. Sometimes it's all I can do not to smile and break out into singing Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again." Since nobody can see or hear me, I'll confess here that sometimes I actually do. There's just this great feeling of anticipation as I go through the checklist to make sure Inspiration is totally road ready, dump her tanks and get a fresh start with the gray water (I've gotten a reputation already as the "Gray Water Queen." Hey, I like long showers, OK?

So now I have full hookups and feel that it will be nice to put down "roots" for a while. I'll get out all the outdoor chairs and indoor accessories. Sometimes when we're packing up every few days, I've not bothered to put out the decorative "homey" things I brought with me, my family pictures, etc. It's now nice to have everything out and not having to worry about packing everything up again so soon. Also we feel like we're more in civilization now because both our cell phones work better now and email is more readily available at this park.

This park is really quiet - in fact it is the only place we've stayed that is adult only - no kids are allowed except for brief visits by the seasonal campers. That was a draw for us because a bunch of kids running, riding and screaming through the park gets old real quick. And kids have a particularly peculiar way of looking at things sometimes - totally oblivious to how what they are doing is affecting others. Like when Don was passing the pool at the last park we were in - he heard one kid tell the other one on top of the slide to "pee down the slide first - it makes you go faster." That apparently made perfect sense to the other kid who proceeded to follow that sage advice - he whipped it out, peed on the slide and gleefully slid down it. Now, I know the chances are good in any public pool that not all of the liquid is pure water, but there was something particularly disquieting about hearing it from their mouths first. I passed on swimming from then on.

We bought a couple of bikes yesterday and hope that not only will they provide a fun and alternative way to explore where we are, but good exercise to help us shed some of the unwelcome pounds the RV lifestyle has visited upon us.

August 15, 2001

I admit I've been a bit discouraged lately because it hasn't been as easy getting a job as I hoped and anticipated. In the past, whenever I've wanted to work, all I had to do was show up at a temp agency and I was put to work almost immediately and then had to keep beating them off with a stick when I was ready for a break. But when I went to visit the top three employment agencies here in Portland, I was told they had very few strictly temp jobs - that most of their assignments came from firms looking for temps to try out for permanent hiring. They were all very impressed with my skills after testing, but weren't very encouraging about temp hire prospects. So I then decided to try some self-marketing. I made business cards with my picture, put together a short introductory letter, attached my resume and hit the streets visiting some of the largest law firms. So far that venture has been unproductive, but I just received a call from one of the agencies who has at least a two week assignment for me starting Monday. Although the pay is not what I'm used to in Austin, it is enough to keep Inspiration in gas when I'm ready to hit the road again at the end of September. Whew!

Lesson learned here: Stop for long stays in big cities where job opportunities are greater. I had even considered going back to waitress work, something I haven't done since the dark ages when I was a teenager. However, I don't think my 50 year old feet would handle that well. Also, when I did talk to a restaurant manager about what I was doing, he said I'd have to lie about how long I'd be in the area because they wouldn't want to train someone who was leaving soon. Since I believe that is bad kharma if nothing else and I just don't want to lie as a regular part of my inspirational trip, that is not an option for me right now.

But the other lesson learned is that I will do whatever is necessary to support this travel habit, because there is still nothing I would rather do and despite the periodic panic attacks, I still believe this is what I'm meant to be doing and still have faith that I will be given every opportunity to keep living this dream. And as my daughter's email signature keeps reminding me: "If you're not living close to the edge, you're taking up too much space." I love that.

Yesterday we went south to Kennebunk and Kennebunkport and really enjoyed these very quaint and lovely towns. Of course, "quaint" these days mostly means "quaint shopping districts" and since I'm still unemployed, I'm not partaking of that activity, but it was fun nonetheless. Again, driving through towns that were settled before Texas was even part of the United States and seeing buildings built in the 1700's is more interesting than I ever thought it would be.

August 17, 2001

It's really meant a lot to me to get the responses I have from my last update. I have been reminded from you, my home-town angels out there, that I have everything I need to accomplish anything I want to do, something I tend to forget sometimes. Then once I get proof again of that fact, I get ticked off at myself for having "lost faith" even for just a moment. A wonderful woman friend sent me the following quote that sincerely helped put my head back on straight:

"I spent a long time trying to find my center until I looked closely at it one night and found it had wheels and moved easily in the slightest breeze, so now I spend less time sitting and more time sailing."
- Brian Andreas

How appropriate is that to me?? My center (real home) really does have wheels and I intend to sail along with Inspiration and try to keep mindful of all the miracles I have experienced that made this journey possible, and recognize all the blessings and angels that keep popping up in the strangest of places just when I need them the most.

I got a call from a woman at one of the firms I had visited. I met with her today and I have a job there for 6 weeks making much more than I would have through the agency. Talk about good news! So I have plenty enough from that assignment to get me to Florida when I leave here at the end of September. The weather has finally stopped its resemblance to Texas and we now have daytime temperatures in the 70's, dropping into the low 60's at night. In talking to one of the locals, Don commented that he was glad it wasn't so hot anymore and the man said "Yea, that was our Maine summer - one week in the 90's and that's it."

Yesterday we packed a picnic lunch and took it to the beach, but left right after eating because it was too cold for us. We cracked up about how our Texas friends would laugh at us freezing our butts off at the beach in August!

August 25, 2001

Well, my first work week is over and it is just as I suspected - I would rather not be working! I know, I know, I have nothing to complain about, but sometimes I just have to do it anyway. I have to admit, though, the law firm is a nice one and the people are really terrific. They all get a kick out of my "cute accent" but it's all I can do to keep from cracking up at theirs. This one lawyer in particular is just hilarious. One of his clients is a Dunkin Donuts developer and I was telling him about how we noticed there is such a profusion of those stores here. When we were in Bar Harbor we almost died laughing when we were given the directions: "go down to the Dunkin Donuts traffic light and take a left..." We just looked at them and gasped "Dunkin Donuts has its own light???" This lawyer said a comedian on Saturday Night Live does a whole routine about Dunkin Donuts in Boston, which supposedly has more stores than here. Directions there are "it's only a couple of miles from here - you go past 4, no wait, 5, Dunkin Donuts, not counting the ones with drive-throughs, then past the big Wal Maaht (not Mart, notice, but Maaht)..." Anyway, there's never a lack of things to be amused at, so it can't be all that bad.

Getting a paycheck again is sure nice. I admit I was sure sweating it for a while. Even though my experiences have shown me better, I still can get into these little panic attacks every now and then, especially over money. I guess it's the Taurus in me - while my free spirit craves liberation and adventure, the bull in me expects it to be tempered with security and collateral - quite the conflict at times.

Although I am enjoying Portland, I also find myself counting the days until I hit the road again. The travel bug has sure infected me, no doubt about it! I've already started plotting the trip back down south and at this point plan to leave on October 6th, right after this job is over. They way I've planned for now is a total of about 2,800 miles to get us to Ft. Lauderdale by the third week in October. Places I want to visit along the way include Provincetown, Plymouth, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, then a lot of the civil war and historical sites in Virginia and North Carolina, and Myrtle Beach in S. Carolina.

September 4, 2001

We spent the holiday weekend in Boston and I just fell in love with it! There was so much to see and I just loved the whole feel of the place. I have always been attracted to those whole-block buildings built on a corner that come to kind of a point - for some reason I've dreamt of them quite often, so it was like heaven because there are a zillion of them there. It was a kick seeing the Brownstones, touring one of the old homes, visiting a park where a village was recreated of a 1630 settlement with people in costumes, etc.

I also truly enjoyed Salem - the witch museum was pretty much a rip-off, but I still really enjoyed walking around the town and touring the shops - really cool and unique things. I had no idea how much I was interested in historical stuff until I could see some of the sites with my own eyes - really a huge difference from just reading about or seeing pictures of them. We toured the USS Constitution and the guide really drew a graphic picture of what life was like on the ship back then - really fascinating.

Lessons learned there, also. The trip there from Portland should have only taken 2 hours - it took us about 5. Since all the campgrounds and reasonable hotels were full due to the holiday, we decided to take advantage of having a fully self-contained unit and dry camp at the Wal-Mart in Salem, where at least the price was right. Don led the way in his truck so we'd have transportation around town. Anyway, at some point while we were circling Salem for the zillionth time looking for Wal-Mart I got separated from him. Those little New England streets are not exactly conducive for a 36' motor home to maneuver in, especially when you're not sure where to turn, etc. It all turned out OK, and in fact it was kinda funny when it was all over. I wound up about 10 miles away before I could stop in a parking lot of a mall. I stopped a couple of nice ladies to ask where I was and called Don on the cell phone so we could find each other again. As she was giving directions, I had a hard time understanding her because of her accent. I was trying to repeat what she said to Don and started spelling some of the streets, joking that since they didn't pronounce their "r's" that I had to resort to that. The other lady laughed and said "if you want correct directions, you better not make fun of the way we talk." The lady talking to Don said "when you pull up in the Staples parking lot, you won't be able to miss the lady in the huge motor home who talks funny." So, it was great to meet those "angels" and add another "don't do again" to my list. From now on, I will have my own explicit directions to where we're going, no matter how seemingly short the trip. It was silly to just take off believing I could just follow him.

See "Don-isms" for more of his brand of fun!


Maine Pages

Maine Home

Bar Harbor

Prout's Neck

Wolf's Neck

Working
in Portland

Misc. Pictures

Leaf Peeping 1

Leaf Peeping 2

"Don-isms"

Journaling

 

 

Next Journal entry: 9-11-01 in Maine
 
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