It's the silver lining of my new freedom-based lifestyle. Reconnecting with friends and colleagues along my travels by taking my house to their house. Happy travels with lots of brimming conversations on the menu.
The world is my neighborhood
What I love about this new lifestyle are the stopovers. These wonderful unplanned visits along the way are now one of my favorite things about my nomad life. It happened by accident at first. When I realized I was going to be in the general area where friends or colleagues live, I sent them a note or made a phone call and suddenly plans to meet popped up even on short notice. A bit like dropping by when you live in the neighborhood. Only my neighborhood is bigger now.
These brief butterfly stopovers are a much needed respite to refuel and reflect, to laugh and enjoy each other's company ~ heartfelt conversations invented as we go, over a meal, a coffee or a glass of wine. Sometimes people drop by at my place and we make plans to be in nature, vigorously active by going on a hike, a bike ride or a kayak paddle on a waterway nearby. Living in the moment at its best.
Whether it's 30 minutes, two hours or two days, these jointly created times on the road are more precious than I ever could have imagined.
The best part is that conversations go everywhere and anywhere; sometimes deep, sometimes light, always energizing and enriching. Funny thing is we always pick up where we left off, wherever that is. In our busy everyday lives, we don't often have time to reconnect like this. I didn't before. Precious gifts of the road ~ collegiality and friendship.
Afterwards when I get behind the wheel, I have lots of time to reflect on these wondrous encounters. My faith in the human spirit is amplified and restored. I realize that conversations like these are at the heart of community, and community is what we need more of ~ at work and everywhere. They are the stuff of Open Space and Happiness at the deepest level. .
Big Talk instead of Small Talk
It's often been said that Home is where the Heart is, so it makes complete sense to me to bring my trailer for a visit.
In Open Space, there is a guiding principle that says: "Wherever it happens is the right place". I get to experience that all the time. And not just at my home or your home but in workplaces too. When we set the right intention, meaty discussions happen naturally. People are craving for more of that. It's what I love about Open Space Technology. The focus is on the big talk of things that matter instead of the small talk or negative talk that seems to dominate our world more than it should ~ at work and everywhere.
So as you glance at these photos of people you don't know and houses you've never seen, know that in each place, we created and experienced wonderful conversations that helped fuel and multiply whatever we were up to at the time. It the stuff that creates great action going in the right direction. Again we don't have to be living on the road to make this happen. All it takes is a short note or a phone call.
Special Destination Trips
Sometimes I get asked or I suggest that someone hitch a ride with me. This drive time with colleagues is super fun but can be quite exhausting. We talk non-stop, share perspectives, exchange ideas, learn and contribute to whatever we may be working on. Add to this the anticipatory joy of going on a visit that will be super special, well it often feels like we're little kids who don't want to go to bed...ever. We just want to pack it all in for the time we are together. We don't miss a beat. Same thing happens in Open Space ~ this strategic meeting methodology that is so much more. Actually all our life conversations are about opening space, opening lots of it because we need it.
Serious traffic enroute...happens all the time
When you're planning your trips, uppermost in your mind is: Will there be room for my trailer? Anything I should know about the roads I plan to take? What about traffic? While I rely on my trusted GPS ~ I have two one for the RV and another on my phone set up in a special cup holder in my Jeep, often I run into problems. People I ask who are not RV'rs may not appreciate the complexities of a tight squeeze or not enough room to back up.
I haven't quite figured out how to avoid the Atlanta GA traffic with its numerous "exit only" ramps that suddenly appear on short notice or the tunnels and heavy duty traffic like what I encountered in Boston on my way to Cape Cod. I've often said you need nerves of steel to travel with a big rig like mine that's more than a car. But what I've noticed is the genuine kindness everywhere. People often let you through when they see you're blinker or if you shoot them a smile with a hand signal of what you're trying to do. That said, a few hours in heavy traffic with your house in tow can make you pretty exhausted when all is said and done. You then appreciate even more those warm hugs that you get when you arrive at your friends' homes.
Boston and Ottawa traffic on a Friday night at rush hour (what was I thinking!!); Atlanta hopeless!
I appreciate the freedom of this new lifestyle. Full of chance encounters. And I've become quite comfortable not knowing where I'll be next week, next month or next year. Similar to not having a strategic plan or a tightly structured agenda, I am living in Open Space. Prioritizing what's most important, focusing on where I can contribute and make a difference, while spending quality time with people who are vibrantly engaged in amazing projects and initiatives, and where we have a shared interest. Personally or professionally, it doesn't matter what they are doing or not doing. In this fast-paced chaotic and complex world of ours, the value of slowing down, letting go, taking a break to reflect, engage and pause is mighty important.