August 8th, 2020

First, I want to add a few thoughts about my last post.

I try to stay as apolitical (and secular) as possible on this blog and it is extremely difficult to do that in these effed-up times. There is more than enough negativity going on in certain parts of the world that I will not call out…but you know where I am talking about. Those who know me know I am pretty outspoken about the bullshit that is going on right now. I try not to let it bleed over into my blog these days but I have in the past, and a few years ago I went back and deleted any previous ramblings about anything political.

That being said, the song I posted was written by John Kay of Steppenwolf. You can look up his biography on your own, but I will give you a little info.

If you listen closely to the powerful words of that song those are words written by a man who knows oppression well. He was born in 1944 in East Prussia. His dad died in WWII when he only a year or so old. When the Allied powers took it upon themselves to divide up Europe after the war (to the victor go the spoils), the area where he was living as a very young child with his mom was taken over by the Soviet Union. It later became East Germany and was ruled with an iron fist.

When he was the ripe old age of five his mother smuggled her son out of the country to a better place (this was before the Berlin Wall). If you listen to interviews with him his story is actually quite fascinating. He listened to the radio often and he constantly heard political propaganda and news about uprisings. As he got a bit older he started understanding what was going on, determining what was right and wrong. All of this happening during those early years in his life made him politicized at a very young age and he has carried that throughout his career and life. He said that something like 1 in every 17 people in East Germany were spies for the government and turned people in to the Stasi (the secret police, much like the SS or DHS) if they were deemed “subversive”. If you want more info on his story do a search. There are some great documentaries and interviews with him on the internet.

So, you see this wasn’t some “goddamned dope-smoking hippie waving peace signs and shoving flowers in gun barrels” (not like that was ever a bad thing) talking shit about the government (that either). This is a guy who lived through it firsthand and understood it. He saw it not only as a young boy but later as an adult in the 60s and 70s and he wrote about it. He spoke up about it. For someone to write such a timeless song like that in his mid-20s, taken from his real-world experiences at such a young age, is amazing and it is still relevant today.

I will still keep this blog apolitical going forward, but that is a real conundrum for me as I am a person of principle. By NOT speaking up you are a huge part of the problem, but I do not want to alienate the people who DO look at my blog or future visitors who might – so, therein lies the rub. I also do not want someone stalking me to harass me since I have my own opinion and it may not be what certain others think it should be (and that doesn’t seem to be very popular these days). It has gotten so ridiculously bad (and dangerous) in this country that you get ridiculed/condemned/harassed/shot at/beat up for wearing a certain t-shirt (or even a mask), having a certain bumper sticker on your vehicle or even expressing an opinion that you are entitled to express. And, quite honestly, I resent any son of a bitch taking away my freedom to do any of those things and I am goddamned sick of the hatred and the negativity.

I don’t have a lot of people following or reading my blog but I do try to make it fun and interesting. This went a bit away from thatI realize but it is very important to speak up as much as you can. I am not apologetic for it and I will not apologize for it. I do sincerely hope you keep stopping by and reading my blog even if you disagree. If you don’t continue reading you have the freedom to do just that as well and I wish you peace.

Getting back on the point…I just wanted to post an interesting song with a timeless message to get people to think a little for themselves instead of being sheeple. In addition, I also thought it would help for my readers to understand how the writer’s past inspired him to write it and understand how your life can be directly affected by traumatic and powerful events, especially when they are horrific and inhumane.

Think about it.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana

…and now back to our regular programming

I had to go to Urgent Care and get The Swab in my brain again last week. I got a combination of a cold, allergies, and horrible air quality that started out with a runny nose and ended up getting into my lungs – pretty typical for me. Since I am in a couple of high risk groups for the ‘rona I had to do it out of caution. I have to have an outpatient procedure done in two weeks so I’ll be getting another one next week. Yay! I caught this in the nick of time as I am prone to respiratory problems and pneumonia. It has been a few years since I had this but it was a yearly thing for a while. I’d walk in to the doctor’s office, tell them this is what is going on, this is what will happen and they listen and then give me something to get rid of it.

Being sick has set me back on any more current travel plans. I had to quarantine until my swab came back negative, but luckily it was not as long as the first one. Since I had respiratory issues already going on, and I have COPD, it got expedited. I quarantine until I get the results because that is what you should do until you know for sure. If it happened to come back positive (which I was fairly certain it would be negative) I didn’t want anyone else to get it.

I had to postpone my hand surgery for now. I will probably go back to WA to get it done since all my doctors are there and they are familiar with my concerns. I was really wanting to get it done now but with the timing it will be best to wait so this will possibly affect any travel I was wanting to do in the Fall. It won’t be as bad as recovering from my shoulder surgery, but it’s definitely more recovery than cutting yourself shaving.

Speaking of travel, I read an article about travel bloggers getting grief from people about traveling and posting about it. Since I write a blog that pertains to travel I want to say a few things about that.

First, this goes back to what I was talking about earlier as far as people harassing others. If you don’t like what they post then quit looking, shut up and move along. Change the damn channel.

Second, I will not stay in a hotel, ride public transit, fly in a plane…no way, no how, not yet. I have talked before about how my trailer is my sanctuary from being in public places; I have a place with my own bathroom, I’m cooking my own food, staying away from people, avoiding overcrowded places. I also go in no more places than I absolutely need to…just like every day when I am not traveling – I get groceries (which I now am doing curbside pick-up for) and I wear gloves and pay at the pump for my fuel. I avoid public places almost to a fault, and some may think I am overboard about it, but I am not taking any chances on getting sick.

To me, traveling in an RV/trailer/truck camper or even a tent is pretty acceptable as long as you can do these things and stay away from people. Don’t go see the Grand Canyon or Yo-semite, but spend a week in the forest by a stream. It is probably more relaxing and you are away from strangers. Take any necessary precautions still, but you are much safer than being in a hotel after a taxi-ride from the airport.

Travel is an escape for people. It’s a way to get your head clear, see some amazing things, and get away from the everyday struggles of life. Road trips are a good way to do this and I find the highway very therapeutic. It can be affordable and is a lot of fun. The way I travel is really no different than being home since I limit all interactions with others and take the necessary precautions I need to.

Third, I am not an “influencer”. This is not my job; sure, I wish I could make a lot of money doing this but it is more for friends, family and whomever else stops by my blog to keep up with what’s going on (but if someone wants to send me bags of real money or checks that will clear the bank please do so!). Yeah, I could possibly get more people following if I were on Instantgram, YubaTuba or Fecesbook, but in my various jobs the last eight years I have seen firsthand what social networks do to beautiful places in the outdoors (social network graffiti in the backcountry on buildings and natural objects, places overwhelmed with people, nature being trampled and destroyed) and I will not stoop that low to make money or so I can feel accepted by others.

Finally, I think that if people are careful, WEARING A DAMN MASK, social distancing, and being conscious of their actions then travel and blog away. It may help someone else get some enjoyment while quarantined (or even sick), or it can even help people you know find out what you are up to. I will say, though, that doing something “just to get it on social media” is pretty ridiculous and egotistical. A while back I saw an article about people buying toilet seats, putting a picture behind it, and taking a selfie to make it look like they were in an airplane looking out the window. Really?!?! Just how pathetic is your life that you need to do that?

Travel just to travel and not because you “need” to plan a trip just to post your life. Slow down and enjoy where you are for what it is and not as a photo op. If you do that then the haters might just back off a bit – otherwise it comes off as boasting, especially in this pandemic. I think that people are too consumed about trying to impress others. It’s really a shame because you miss so much if you travel like that. For me, I take a trip that I want to take because it is someplace I want to go, and I always have a lot of fun (even on trips when there are problems that arise). I take some pictures (because I want to take them not because I “need” to post them), and I may eventually write a few blog entries and add a few interesting pictures to share with others for no reason other than to share with the people I mentioned above. I am not under any pressure from anyone to outdo myself or anyone else and it is not to boast or one-up anyone. I travel because I love to travel; the blog is secondary.

The other part of the equation is a question: Just why can’t everyone leave others the hell alone? Is it jealousy? If you are traveling responsibly and not flaunting the health recommendations (like WEAR A DAMN MASK or quarantining after arriving) then you should have nothing to worry about. It is why I don’t post my trips in real time, why I don’t post where I am when I am there, and why comments on my post do not publish unless I say so (and just maybe someone simply wants to send me a personal message – no need for those to go live – so feel free to contact me if you want).

I bring this lengthy post to a close now. I know this has been a bit out of the norm for my blog, but mainly I wanted to make a point about the song posted a few days ago.

Hope to see you next time.

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