Tag Archives: nomadism

Ode to the Road

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Life on the road cannot be overrated
Where the scene is ever being updated
One day mountain, next day sea
What a wonderful way to be

Fresh from a world within the grid
It’s all there whatever we did
Amazon, Asda, and of course Ebay Earplugs to trucks just a click away

We need to find the next place to Park
That won’t be so easy after dark
Somewhere quiet would be good
Better if it has water and wood

No more rhymes seem to be coming so I will carry on in prose. It can still be an ‘ode’ can’t it’?
Anyway it is very refreshing to change the whole reality once in a while and adapt to a new way of living. I had forgotten the magic of this way, where everything becomes more precious and one appreciates the little things more.
Somehow living in a house with mod cons, it’s very easy to get lazy and take things for granted, like getting clothes dirty because you can just throw them in the washing machine.

And one needs to be much more conscious of water use, with a limited amount of water on board. You put a bucket of water on the stove to heat up then use it to wash your body, then wash clothes then the truck floor. When it rains we put buckets out to collect rain water dripping from the truck.
God made a song when the world was new. Water’s laughter sings it through. Wizard of changes, teach me the lesson of flowing. “
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Food is more interesting with changing availability and local delicacies. You can’t always get those avocados so it is especially nice when you do and there is ediblr, wild food everywhere, although not so much at this time of year. Making juice is a more involved process as the juicer needs to be got out and packed away, the generator started and stopped and this somehow makes the juice more delicious.
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As you may have read in earlier entries, we continue to run the sewing side of the business when on the road, meaning we have to adapt to the terrain and work with the weather.

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We also have a fully functioning mobile office, thanks to mobile Internet and the Smartphone.

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I do sometimes miss the days before the phones and the Internet when we would hear gossip along the grapevine and receive rare letters at Poste Restante addresses, the news of which would last us for weeks. For meeting up we would have to rely more on the Inner-net and guidance, and if we needed to get a part for the vehicle or directions to somewhere, we would actually have to ask the locals.

We used to rate Park-ups on a sliding scale from one to ten according to facilities. A ‘ten’ would be in a beautiful place miles from nowhere with water, wood and one could stay there as long as you want. We have since discovered the magic of a ‘minus seventeen’ Park-up, which can be something like overnight at a motorway truckers stop or a yard at the edge of an industrial area, and sometimes these sort of spots are the quietest because there is no attention from people and you don’t have to defend anything.

There is a lot of room for personal growth in sharing such a small space with others. One learns tolerance and an awareness of other’s personal space in the constant dance of who is cooking, who’s on the bed, who’s doing yoga on the floor, whose coat is hanging by the door, where you put your shoes when you come in etc etc. And the refreshing feeling of having only a few personal possessions.

All too soon we will land again in the next place for the next adventure, but for now the road is shining us on.

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The junk yard of infinity

It’s been a busy few weeks on the road looking up places in the wilds of Italy, speaking with owners,
And the authorities, looking at excavators for making roads to inaccessible isolated places, to create places that are very isolated.

Sometimes on the road there is a little un expected gem, you turn a corner and viola it’s there, a little spot of magic.
This time we stopped to get something from one of the road side stalls, and because things were a little hectic after town I took one of the girls for a walk, we turned a corner under a bridge and found a little spring.

It had a real nice touch, all decorated from rubbish thrown before, it was a work I art! we found out it was a church initiative, they made nice little art out of all the rubbish that has been thrown.
Although under a busy bridge, it felt so tranquil.
Having worked at the alternative edge of the leisure industry, helping campsites make retreats and sites for people to enjoy being away from it all, I was overwhelmed how simple it has been to create magic here, a place that felt so gentle and magical, with old statues an discarded posters, with little plants and of course the old spring.

How much better it felt to some attempts we have been part of by campsite owners to create the same magical atmosphere.

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There is this tendency when you travel to give good spots names, this one was christened “the junk yard of infinity”.

There is a story about a Mexican shaman who led his group of sorcerers in journeys to other worlds.
But his greatest love was to travel to the outmost corners of infinity, he would go to unvisited corners and would experience wonders.
The story states that not only he seen wonders in his other worldly travels to the junk yards of infinity, he would come back and re-create some of the wonders he saw.

At other times he would wonder into the other attention unseen and would bring the things he viewed there back with him, he had a collection of those “inventions” and this is what this little place reminded us of.

It was a refreshing contrast to speaking with the authorities about campsites, and dealing with buying land and surveyors, reminding me that actually it takes so little to make us “feel that magic”, in fact it’s probably the less there is, the more the magic.

Nomadic 102 – Women empower

We have been cruising through the Apennines for a few weeks now, settling to a rhythm. Travelling in convoy is an art, and so too is learning how long to hold a park up and when to move on.

The Italian landscape is quite helpful, although the lay-bys are smaller, than their French counterparts.
One can be cruising amongst the snow peaks one minute and on the next park up be by the sea, where it is still just about warm enough to jump in.
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The best thing is that we have managed to work some of the winter sewing load into it, so the push to find a place to work is not so strong. That is the advantage of the sunnier climate: we can sew outside in the winter.

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I love Italy. It flows in much more open ways: in the mountains it’s slower and old, by the coast it’s pulsing and constant, and the food is great. We have been getting into making pesto again, the most crucial ingredient-Pecorino is sold direct from the cheese
Makers. Of course it gets even better with locally gathered truffles put into the cheese, but we like to keep our foods simple, making our own pesto for example, although looking at a piece of land for sale next to the “Città del Tartufo” (truffle town) was tempting.

It’s a nice way to get to know an area, to park in it’s various lay-bys and to talk to the locals, interaction by interaction. All too soon one settles down, and we tend to be very private.
So although we love to chat to the munchkins wherever we go, we don’t always get too many opportunities.

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I love cruising the land and feeling it’s power like that, learning the old stories, and creating power ones for ourselves. We do group conscious work on the road, and it feels very right, at times it is explosive and hard to contain, at others it’s sheer elation. my heart goes out to all those that travel in trucks, but more so to the few that travel like that, the few that really integrate, that really feel through it.

It’s hard to explain, but certain spots bring certain truths out in us. it’s a greater challenge to travel with women, because they are so fluid, and they ebb with the energy itself.
I guess my greatest love is for those
Wild women that dare travel the real way, that dare feel and go through it,
Those that rise out of the crowd.

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Europe’s best mountains

I have been travelling for almost 20 years, mostly in Europe, but elsewhere too, I have a love for the mountains because people tend to be more open and hospitable, and much simpler, so I have traveled through quite a few ranges over the years.

Driving through the Apennines was a real voyage of wonder for me, here was a long range of mountains going through my favourite country in Europe and they are….. amazing, and I never new about it, thinking them to be a little range of hills.
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We drove into the mountains just after Assisi, famous for St. Francis,
Instead of going up to chiusi della verna (where he got his stigmata wounds), like we did last time we came here.
We chose to continue down the road a little and enter into the mountain there.

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Reaching the mountain top I was amazed by some of the scenes, like the grand plane (piano grande) in the south of the monte sibilini national park. The scenery looked as if it could be in Mongolia, with horses roaming free and open grassy planes with Shepards walking their flocks, although the distinctive hill top village was looking like something out of the Middle Ages and very European.

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We left Umbria at Forca di presta, another amazing mountain overlooking the hills, covered with hardwoods.

We entered Abruzzo by Lago di campotosto, back in the UK this would be a tourist hot spot, here it is quiet and on it’s own, the snowy cap of the gran Sasso mountains can be seen and one starts to appreciate the diversity of Abruzzo, with it’s high mountains and national parks it is becoming one of my favourites, very slow and very spectacular.

All in all the mountains here are such a wealth, it’s Northern Europe nestled inside the meditarenian, so one can walk through beech forests one minute and be next to cane and fennel the other, from broad oaks to fig trees, it’s got it all, with wild goats, and deer, and even a few bears, and of course plenty of wild boar.

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Nomadism 101

It’s packing time.
like I said before nomadism gets glorified sometimes, those that practice it know there is a deeper truth.
That truth is that one needs to learn to be more pliable, to accept more.

We have been living in a little Valley in the hills of Powys, Wales for two years now.
It is called Cwmbach because it is that- a small Valley.
We can’t see any other houses and it is very quiet here which sits well with us because we need loads of open space for our type of lifestyle.

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But finally it is time to go, the process of leaving a place I feel is important, the last little while is one long Jewish goodbye.
I like leaving the place as if I was never here.
Its an amazing process I feel, in fact my favourite time travelling is that moment you pack the reality, that last day, there is a serenity in the air, ones heart is blown open is letting go time, time to shed the skin of a stagnant life.

You light a big fire early in the morning to help transform all the stagnant energy, and then as we go along everything gets burnt, the cupboards, the chairs, everything that is not coming along, it’s the fire day, without it I believe the processes is much harder.

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When I used to live in a Tipi it was all about leaving the pitch totally clear, the process has been now transferred to leaving any reality, there are boxes and boxes and this amazing processes of letting it all go takes place, because we travel by trucks only what we can take comes along, so every year or so the reality gets renewed, I love that!

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Everything goes into the truck or rather everything does not go into the truck, it gets left beind some people like to take everything I like leaving it behind, like the words of the song-wondering star-…..”I know where hell is, hell is in hello, heaven is goodbye forever, it’s time for me to go”

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The Move

We are great believers in omens, and believe those can come in any form.

King Solomon was reputed to be able to speak the language of animals and everything that lives. I find the flight of birds, or the appearance of certain animals on my path to speak to me directly, one can learn to read the interplay of energy as a map.

It’s the way the world speaks directly: it could be what a certain tee-shirt says just after I think of certain thing, or a flyer, even traffic signs speak! anything talks: one just need to be tuned into the inner process and the world does not just seem to be talking back, it does.

The other day we started our southerly immigration.  we always have been nomadic and don’t usually stay longer in a place than a year.
So two years in the same spot here in Wales was a first for us, I felt those itchy feet a time or two, but it was a good training towards getting our own place one day.

This time we are on the move to the south, to a warmer climate, to set up the zodiac tent as a centre for conscious group work. its the culmination of 18 years of group process work, we have spoke about it before here and here.

The first leg of the journey started by taking our biggest truck, full to the brim with zodiac struts and connectors with canvas and the rest of the heavy things we own.

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Mercedes 1823

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The carriage of baggage

We drove it to Italy, where we intend to buy land and create a unique centre for group work, the sort of campsite we always tried to create with our customers. One that has real nomadism at it’s centre and real interactions. not just “glamping”, but where there is a real experience which is not about just getting away. 

at times Nomadism gets over glorified I guess, so it is hard to find out that really living on the road has a high level of fear attached. One is always dealing with the facf that main society is settled and has everything laid out for it, it is getting harder and harder in certain places to simply be, even to fill your water butts, but for those that still do travel that way I feel it is worth it, in fact living with the fear, is worth it.

Dealing with the fact one has not got everything laid out is great. I love the moment of having to deal with things in a way that has never been done before without the routines: waking up at 6 o’clock to drive through the alps to discover your water from yesterday is bad, and filling it up again in some mountain stream, using the hot kettle to do your laundry in a pot, the fact is, we really need very little to get by with, and that something in us loves that simplicity, we are all nomads in our roots, at least I am.

Because the first place I went to when I started travelling 18 years ago was Bologna I decided we will use that as way point, and store the truck there while we drive the rest of the vehicles down (we have quite a few live-in vehicles).

Crossing over back to the continent was nice, those never ending horizons again, and the alpine villages of France made me remember living in the road here before a few years ago.

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Alps on the way to mount Blanc

We aimed to cross into italy through Switzerland because the mountain pass of st. Bernard’ held a certain meaning, like napoleon’s army, but with difference.

I believe that the first sequence that one goes through in any given sequence in life acts as a map, a blue print for what will happen in it.
So entering italy was the same, I looked for the opening sequence, part of what I do and art the of how I “converse” with the forces at large, maybe some would find it strange, I find it strange others don’t.

Because the pass is in the south of Switzerland, we would have had to drive the truck through the country.
At the French border we were assured (by the French) that there is no problem, so we drove on. the truck in front seem to move and the gate was wide open. we thought …… sure here we go too.

We drove through, but just as we got to the barrier (at speed) the barrier went down, but because we were driving quite quickly it opened up again. I guess the security camera told the operator to lift it quickly or it be broken, the swiss guard woman did not like that, no no no.

Long story short was that we needed to pay tax for the contents to pass through Switzerland, and there being no customs officers at weekends would have meant we had to wait ’til monday.
There seemed to be no one at all at the smaller second border crossing we attempted, so we drove through, feeling victorious but after a mile or so got stopped and turned around. Apparently the swiss don’t guard the border crossing they guard a mile into the country. The reason for this is that they can then fine you for driving without customs clearance!

Sometimes guidance comes from the police!
The border man said “cross at mt blanc”.
The problem was that my co-driver felt like we have to pass through the St. Bernard pass, to open up the door in a certain way.
And we could not wait until Monday, it was night and we were tired and no answer seems to be at hand until….. I realised she could cross over into Switzerland and pass through the at Bernard pass, and I can drive through mt blanc.

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passed the pass with lines of power

This way both doors are open.
Both roads go down into Aosta in italy, they are two ways through the same mountain chain through the mt. blanc (French) and at St. Bernard pass (switzerland).
We ended up crossing same time, and met in Aosta, problem solved and guidance looked after, the double door to the south.

It was an amazing crossing, once we figured it out everything seems to be In place.

The flight of birds seem to echo that too. as I was on the phone telling someone I’m crossing at mt Blanc and just as I uttered the words, a massive buzzard jumped out of the rock near the road and almost left its talons on the windscreen.

The other side of the mountain there was another world…… a warmer world.  I could see why for some of us in the group crossing into it would be hard, having lived in the UK for a while. once you enter the Italian psyche it’s different, some northern european find it intimidating, because its alive.

Italy is very open and calls one to surrender into being at ease with the people around, something which is hard for Northern Europeans, coming out of UK it can even induce a culture shock.

However for me it felt like coming home, back to the warmth of the Mediterranean and the good food, open people and more than all the sun, which seemed to forget it was Mid October.

We drove to Bologna, which is one of my favourite cities in the world, full of young life because of the amount of students that frequent its universities, and it was nice to sit back in Piazza verde 18 years after being there first, when I first started travelling, and it seemed a new world has re-opened. it was nice to know I’m taking our work south beyond that point of origin to the warmth, because we have endured quite a lot of coldness in the last years.

Bologna seems to echo this In the omens it fed back to me.

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The best of which was  in the  form of what we call “the map” we have discussed it earlier In connection to the black madonna of le-puy en valley.
This time it was a flyer, that read:m
(In Italian) a new world is possible, the wind blows where it wants.
The “map” seem to have a bird flying south emanating from it, and like I said we are great believers In omens, and that one of the “map” is even more special, it is a symbol for the group body, showing all the positions in it, or the ultimate number of individuals that comprises it.

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