toilet-paper

Like a kid at Christmas, I just can’t wait to hit the road again…with my beloved trailer. Nature calls and you might wonder with the picture of the toilet above what the heck I’m talking about. No it’s not what you think. Back to that later!

It’s the quiet and peacefulness of the forest that is calling me. After an unruly election campaign (my first as a US Citizen) and an unforgettable “rock my world” trip to the Philippines, I feel a yearning for quiet and calm, for some solitary moments to gaze at the sky, to feel the sun on my skin, to hear the birds and to experience the vastness of the great outdoors.

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I have lived an incredible three or four months, feeling so blessed to be on this life’s journey. So many new people I have met in the Philippines who have touched me to the core with their stories, their dreams and their warm welcome.

It's the stuff of Open Space and Agile beyond Software that fuels me which I lived with others in Manila at the World Open Space. Lots of stories about that wonderful trek on this blog site.

I’ve also been transported on the magic carpet with others here in Florida; ordinary people and dear colleagues, who have embarked on an extraordinary journey. Theirs is a disruptive path of the best kind and I feel so blessed to have joined them on their purposeful mission to open new spaces for people in packaging to vibrantly engage and learn. Together we are creating a new strategic networking association that is driven by a deep and shared commitment of adding value to an industry they love. This bold project embodies all that I believe in which is about giving voice to each and every person, so that together we can all live our potential at work and in life. Expect to hear more about UPA or “United Packaging Associates” in the future!

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Evolve or Perish was the Theme of this 1-day Open Space Packaging Event.

Gray Water, Black Water and Toilet Paper

Ok I won’t keep you waiting. What’s the story on toilets and toilet paper. Well with my quirky sense of humor, shortly after buying my trailer last March, I wrote to my siblings, two of whom have extensive trailer experience. I couldn’t believe how riveting was all this information I was learning about hitching, hauling and maintaining a trailer. A whole new world suddenly appeared in this grand trailer life style of mine — me the neophyte with not a drop of experience or even a clue of what I was getting into.  I just knew it felt right, to leave house and home, to dump, minimize and declutter so that I could embark on a grand adventure that would mix travel, family and work. Yes it would take a bit of planning and of course, I could not be reckless (or even seriously dangerous on the road) so I’ve been doing my due diligence with 7000 miles under my belt already. Now my house is on the market and I’m hoping that its new owner(s) will enjoy it as I have. Lots of happy spirit there with so many visitors, family and friends over the years. In the meantime,  I truly am like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. The future just can’t happen fast enough.

Rapidly dissolving toilet paper, often 1 ply with a sandpaper feel, is the stuff of trailer life. The photo above was of "my first dump" which means emptying your gray water (regular household water) and black water (poop water) following a careful procedure which I will not describe in detail. I think you can guess what would happen if I did it wrong. This is but one tiny example of the things you have to know when you own and drive a trailer. Would you believe I am enthralled about learning this "riveting" stuff!
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Oh the perils of going to the gas station. This one was too close for comfort.  Luckily no dents or scratches, just sweaty palms which is par for the course when you haul a 24-foot trailer. 

Lots of humorous tales to share, some of which are totally embarrassing like the time I locked myself out of my trailer at 5 a.m. in the morning, with a dead bolt lock no less!  In my jogging suit and slippers, there I was in the dark stranded with car and trailer keys, phone, computer, and just about everything else inside my new tiny house. With one side storage panel open to the outside I got the crazy idea to empty its contents thinking I could somehow squeeze myself like a slimy snake up the back of the couch.  Perhaps it would have worked if I was age 2. After 1/2 hour of mighty struggle, worried that I might be permanently wedged in this small space between the back wall and couch, I managed to extricate myself safely.  Fortunately other solutions magically emerged.  Needless to say, I know have 4 sets of extra keys.

 

Arriving in a new campsite is always stressful. I could write chapter and verse on backing up my trailer. This was one of my proudest moments. Pouring rain when I arrived, not a soul to help if I ran into trouble, my feet ankle deep in dirty water puddles and as luck would have it, I back this up in a snap hence the proud umbrella smile on my face!

Then there was the time when I did not put the hitch pin and clip in the proper place and my dear trailer hung on for dear life with a few simple safety chains.  Should I even admit that I was at the bottom of a very steep hill when I heard the massive thud of my trailer becoming unhitched though indeed at that moment I thought I was the one who was “unhitched”. Can’t even imagine what the two rugged big guys behind me thought, each driving a much bigger trailer rig than mine.  I was so thankful they came to my rescue, trying as best they could to reassure red-faced me that they had done similar things. It’s the only time in this whole trailer love affair that I ever had second thoughts.  Fortunately I just took a deep breath and even though my hands shook on the wheel for quite a while after, I realized I would never ever do anything like this again.

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Safety chains, hitch pins, sway bar, drill, electric jack, torsion bar — lots of stuff happening in this cramped space. It’s where I had my biggest near-miss. The equivalent of me landing on the Hudson River though indeed I’m no Captain Sully!

Now just to put your mind at ease, I have a set up and departure list with close to 50 steps each, that rivals that of an airline pilot. I am diligent in following it and mighty proud too. To admit this horrendous incident publicly should count for something.

Tires are serious business when you own a trailer. I had read so much about new tires on new trailers being ripped to shreds and doing extensive damage to the underside of their trailer. I was on the fence about it but decided to err on the side of caution. A wise decision as one of the tires was an accident waiting to happen with an evident bubble as you can see. In the process, I learned a heck of a lot about tires including how to regularly check and inflate my tires.

When we love something as passionately as I do, we will go to extreme lengths to learn and do what we love. And I’m the living proof that we’re never too old to try. The key is to “fail and fail fast” which is what happens in life when we learn something new. It’s how skills get built and how we develop experience and mastery.  It’s the stuff that makes life feel vibrantly alive until the day we die.

It may seem trite to hear people say: “Find your passion and go for it!”  I’d argue not. It doesn’t have to be a big thing like what I’m doing. It can be something quite small that brings you great joy. We only have one life and as dutiful as we may feel to be doing what’s reasonable and expected of us, in the whole scheme of things when we check out from this world, it will matter more if we were happy and sprinkled a bit of happiness and joy around us because we were doing what we love and what we are gifted for.

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No worry this is not how the inside of my Jeep looks when I’m driving. Just wanted to take a cool pic showing my happy state of mind every time I get behind the wheel.
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My lonely trailer, safely stored, was missing me but not more than I was missing it. Yesterday as I went to visit it getting ready for tomorrow, a wave of longing came over me. It is time to get back on the road!

So folks tomorrow after nearly a three-month absence, I’m hitching my trailer saddle again and getting behind the wheel to take my little house and me to a very special place for four days. I’ll be sure to keep you posted with a few pics and more stories along the way. I just don’t want to get rusty in my skills as I continue to prepare for the road trip of my life whenever that happens.

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