On October 1, 2019, I will be taking off for another horizon and #Adventure. I will be #GoingWest from Orlando to Oakland and will take 90 days to get there.
As I make my way slowly west, I will be seeing some beautiful sites, making great friends along the way and seeing family and old friends.
By the time I make it to California, it should be time for the yearly “Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR),” a large gathering of RVers, Van and Car Dwellers in January 2020. This is a great chance to embrace the #NomadLife. So show up in a car with a tent if you have too.
Texas (Houston) will be my #NewHome state and I will be going back there once or twice a year (more like every 9 months) for doctor’s visits and other personal business. However, as a Veteran, I can go to the doctor’s office in any state.
I lived in Houston, TX over 30 years ago when I was still married as a young mother with two small kids. I did not want to return to Texas – not quite yet — after spending 1 year in Dallas and 3 years in Austin, but I guess we all need to revisit our past and move one.
I love this time of year around my birthday, October 6, (63) and other holidays, especially when all the leaves start changing colors. You got all the holidays back to back – my birthday (Oct. 6), Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. I absolutely love it!!!
I go into some type of #HappyTrance during this time of year. The weather cools off and it’s also time for #BootSeason. I love wearing boots in cool weather. It’s also cool enough where you can wear a wig with comfort.
Despite being born in and living in the state of Georgia for 40 years, Florida will always be my #GoTo state. As most of you know I have been living in the Orlando, Florida area for one year after living in Austin, TX for 3 years and Dallas for 1 year.
This is my 4th time living in the state of Florida. I lived in Tallahassee for 2 months before, Tampa for 6 months and Miami for 5 years and now one year in Orlando and all of it has been a #Beautiful experience for me.
Despite going through 11 years of workplace abuse in Atlanta, GA (TheCathyHarrisStory.com), I was the most happiest in my #WorkLife in Miami for 5 years with Customs more than any other location (Houston, TX, El Paso, TX, Miami, FL, Atlanta, GA) in my 27-year federal career.
Because I love to travel, I always wanted to call at least 3 to 4 states #MyHome. After driving around the country for a year in 2013, I had decided on Florida (Orlando), North Carolina (Charlotte) and Pennsylvania (Philly) – to be my #HomeStates.
I always wanted to see California so I am on my way out there now (#GoingWest) — so I can very well add it to the states I would like to call home. I can’t wait to see the water and scenery (#TeamBeach).
I have only lived in Charlotte for 2 weeks but other relatives and friends live in the North Carolina area so I have been there many times and always wanted to live in the Charlotte area.
North Carolina has the cleanest restrooms and rest areas out of all the states that I have traveled. I just thought I would put that in there.
For some reason, Florida has always been GOOD TO ME. I think the reason Florida is one of those states and areas that can get my #CreativeJuices flowing is because of its beauty.
From the way the breezes rise off the water, to the way the sun comes up through the trees in early morning — what a beautiful, beautiful site.
When I left Florida in 2014 after taking a 6 months break after being on the road for an entire year, I was really productive at that time also.
My goal back then was to travel to a new state every 6 months. I was going to sign a 6-month apartment lease or just move in with a roommate and just travel to a different state every 6 months and meet the locals, however, plans changed and I ended up getting off the road temporarily and moved to Austin and Dallas.
Back then I wasn’t thinking about RVing. I never explored the possibility of moving into a Van or RV until now. Sometimes in life, we have to stop and ‘smell the roses’ or just look at all our options.
I have been retired since 2005. Had I known this #NomadLifestyle existed back then — I know I would have acted sooner and embraced the #Nomad and #GypsyLifestyle.
I have always been a #Nomad and #Wanderer at heart, especially since the military. However, sometimes we are put in positions and sent to places to fully allow ourselves to heal and come up with #ActionPlans for our lives.
Had I never went to Austin, TX and lived with a guy who was a Sergeant Major, E-9 in the military, I don’t know if I could have faced my demons from the military or even have had the courage to finish my military book “Military Dirty Little Secrets: My Tour of Duty.” The book was so painful to write that it took me 40 years to write it and I am hoping it will be my #LastPainful book.
Keeping a Strong Body as You Age
Florida like most states has its issues. Eventually, I would like to move my doctor’s visits and personal business back to Florida. However, Florida has the worst VA.gov medical system that I have seen so far on my travels.
They call me a #TravelingVeteran because I had been seen at other VA.gov systems (Tampa, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Detroit, New Jersey, etc.). But the Orlando VA.gov level of care is something that needs to be investigated.
Despite having plenty of people around me, I pretty much went into isolation some days in Florida over the last year. This is because I still felt I had one more thing to do with my life (SimpleLifeRVing.com) and sometimes your elevation may require your isolation. Sometimes you need to turn your home into a #LearningCenter to feed your inner soul and spirit.
One thing I learned for sure in Atlanta in 2008, three years after retiring from my job, when I ended up housebound and bedridden at the age of 50 years old, which started my natural #HealthJourney, is that you have to take steps everyday to make sure your body, mind, and soul have what it needs not just to survive, but to function properly. This is a daily task and unless you pay attention — your body, mind, and soul will give out on you.
Getting healthy and staying healthy is a struggle for everyone — including me. Because I was exposed to ‘second-hand’ cigarette smoke in my Senior apartments for one year, I had to struggle to stay healthy.
Benzene — the contaminant that comes from smoking can do a job on the human body especially the kidneys.
I had two injuries while living in Florida during the past year and I am grateful and thankful that I had these injuries at this time in my life.
These injuries were nothing but lessons and a #WakeUp call for me to do what I needed to do, #StayOnTrack and pay even more attention when it came to how I treated my body.
I had a groin injury from lifting too much weight at the gym and when I took off to run one day because I had not stretched probably or enough, I pulled a butt muscle. It took 6 to 8 weeks each to heal both of these injuries.
The good part about it is that despite the fact that the VA.gov in Orlando, Florida had a bad medical system, it did have an adequate physical therapy department — where I was able to learn exercises that would strengthen my body for many years to come.
I was in the right place at the right time to get these lessons. And that is what life is. It is a lesson and unless you pay attention, your life could be over with — in an instance.
Last Ride for Seniors – #FinalDestinations
We all must do our part and force politicians to do the right thing by Seniors. Remember we all will get old one day. We must do our part to make sure that as Seniors age, they can live out their lives with #Dignity.
If we don’t make these changes now or if we are not raising our kids, grandchildren and other relatives to be #Kind and #Compassionate — then who will make the changes?
Many of you might not know it but when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, many found a new home in Florida so the state is extremely FULL OF PEOPLE — especially Seniors. I guess the same will happen with #HurricaneDorian and the people from the Bahamas.
As soon as a new Senior apartment building is constructed in my area and they open their doors for business, they already have a 6-months to 1-year waiting list for Seniors desperate to find a home.
Even my Senior Apartments were once a hotel so they have had to turn buildings and other establishments into homes for Seniors in the state of Florida.
I have a one-bedroom studio/efficiency, however, they originally catered to prisoners and homeless people — 55 and older — then they started allowing other Seniors to move in.
I worked with men for over 30 years in the military and with U.S. Customs (TheCathyHarrisStory.com), but when I moved in these Senior apartments, I wondered why men here looked at me the way they did — like they wanted to jump me.
It was more than the usual looks and stares. Many seemed to have something sinister about them. One guy especially would talk loud outside my door as if he wanted me to hear him and come out outside.
I ended up in an argument with him for disrespecting my privacy and reported him to the office. Later I found out he had spent 17 years in prison.
Then I found out many of the men here had been in prison for up to 15 and even 20 years. When I found this out, I started carrying myself much differently – started being more safer, especially at night.
After my one year lease in Orlando, Florida living in Senior apartments, I realized that I needed more than ever to keep having ‘meaning in my life’ and living in an apartment or another dwelling was hindering me from ‘living my dreams’ of being on the #OpenedRoad.
As soon as I signed the lease, it was like I just gave up my #Freedom — never again. I always wanted to live in Senior apartments to see if I could assist them in any way, but living here did nothing but made me want to go on more #Adventures and see even more beauty in my life while seeking out more fun, happiness and to be totally stimulated fully – mind, body, and soul.
It’s one thing to embrace your age and it’s another to completely give up on life. What I saw over the last year in my Senior apartments are people who had totally given up on life.
Not only where their fond memories of life behind them, they indeed had come to the end of their roads — many at the age of 55. I did not want that to be my story.
I heard them rejoice when the first of the month rolled around because they were paid. But by the 10th of the month, I heard them trying to borrow cigarettes from others because by then — they were #Broke. That’s no kind of life to live.
There was a beautiful park and a trail for walking or running next to our apartments, but many did not even bother to try to get on the elevator and come out and walk around the park to get some exercise.
Many would come out at least twice a day to walk their dogs so sometimes the dogs got more exercise than them.
I watched these Seniors go from walking with a cane to using a walker to having to use a wheelchair. Many arrived in good shape — walking everyday, but once they saw everyone else with canes and walkers, they went and got one. So the type of people you hang out with does make a big, big difference — especially as you age.
Many did not even bother to get dressed everyday. They would just sit outside their doors in their nightclothes or be on breathing machines. So for many Seniors in my apartment complex, it was their #LastRide.
Ambulances were here every week taking many Seniors away to hospitals or to their #FinalDestinations. So again, at 62, all of this urged me to seek out even more adventures in my life and to continue to live my life to the fullest.
It’s time for all of us to come together and come up with a #BrainBank full of options to live our best lives ever. #Joy, #Peace, #Happiness.
I hope you join me on my new journey as I ‘Teach From the Road’ with youtube.com. Make sure you tell your family members, friends, neighbors, and colleagues about my NEW JOURNEY. I hope my videos are educational as well as entertaining.
Again, Thanks Florida and I will definitely be back. Follow me as I travel around the country and ‘Live the Good Life’ in a car, van and RV.
Cathy Harris is a #VanDweller living ‘The Good Life.’ Her blog website is SimpleLifeRVing.com. She is also an Empowerment and Motivational Speaker, Advice Columnist at DearCathy.com, Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Business and Love Coach and Self-Publishing Expert and the author of 26 non-fiction books at www.AngelsPress.com. Her books cover topics such as family and community empowerment, health, youth and adult entrepreneurship, writing/publishing, workplace discrimination, whistleblowing, government, law enforcement, domestic and international traveling, politics, media, beauty, car buying and selling for women, aging/retirement – just to name a few. She offers seminars, workshops, and consultations at www.CathyHarrisInternational.com.