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Since I rarely diary, this is a strange feeling. I want to ask for the help of the Daily Kos folks. I’m not even sure this is appropriate, so if it isn’t let me know and I’ll delete it.

Rest is below the orange doomaflagee

For the past 35 years, I have wanted to get a truck and trailer and travel. Work at ski resorts during the winter, national parks during the summer and travel spring and fall. Finally, I am able to do so. It took the death of my father at age 96 to finally get enough cash to do so. I’m not sure I should be so happy that he died and I am finally free to do what I want (and have some money with which to do it), but there it is.

I’m on SS, so careful spending should allow me to travel for a year or two (or maybe longer if my old, fat, tired, only slightly hurting body will allow). This brings me to why I need help from Kossacks.

Am I watching too much TV? Am I reading too much Daily Kos?

Strange questions, but to the point: I sometimes feel paralyzed by fear of the loony tunes out there in ‘Murka’. Mass shootings, evil, hatred, the horrible response to Bargdahl’s trade, etc. I get so afraid sometimes I feel like curling up into a ball and just waiting to die. I watched my mother do that for 30 years (from the date she retired at 65 until she died at 95) and swore I would NOT sit around waiting to die.

However, I admit I am a coward. I’m afraid – I’ve lived my whole life of 66 years in a holding pattern, hearing my parents voices (in my head): You’re going to hurt yourself. Stop and sit down. Don’t make a scene. Be quiet. Money is more important than having fun (from parents who lived through the Great Depression). Work is more important. Why are you taking a vacation? Are you going to lose your job if you take a week off? Men only want one thing. Pleasure is against the rules (our church – very conservative). No dancing, no movies, no circus (?), etc.

I’m afraid to live, but I’m afraid to die without experiencing as much as I can. I force myself to do things, to meet people, to interact, but I don’t reveal who or what I am or my experiences. I let others talk and I listen. It is difficult to connect with people when you are afraid of them. It also takes a great deal of will to force myself out into the world (a lot like dieting, I guess).

So what can Kossacks help me with? With all the crapola happening around the country, where can I go and remain relatively loony-tune free? Kossacks are all over the country and know their own areas. I’m planning on traveling/working in the West (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and California – my home state). I want to find a safe, quiet, inexpensive place to settle down and live out my life (without sitting around waiting to die).

Any and all suggestions will be gratefully received. My three cats and I will be starting this adventure in September. I’ve already got the trailer, an outdoor run for the cats, a truck and I’ve given notice where I currently live for the end of the month. From June until I leave I will be living in my trailer at a lovely resort on the river.

Then, I am undecided where to go, what to do and in what order. I want to see everything, do everything, go everywhere. I guess what I’m trying to say is “I want to live … finally.”

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Comment Preferences

  •  I know I'm always boosterizing, (15+ / 0-)

    but, if you haven't already, do visit New Orleans and South Lousisiana. It is an environment and culture(s) unlike any other.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 05:14:09 AM PDT

  •  Puget Sound / Seattle Area In July and August. (8+ / 0-)

    when there's a lot of sun and it's modestly warm, sometime sweater weather. It's coming up soon enough to be worth just making that trip right now, and you can figure out the rest of your traveling plans later.

    If you have to travel a long way for this, consider flying out, and renting a camper or a small RV out there so you're only paying for touring miles and not for getting to & fro, and by flying out & back you have maximum time where you want to enjoy yourself.

    There's fine culture at all levels in Seattle, and Vancouver & Victoria BC Canada, and the land & seascapes are drop dead gorgeous. Just taking the public ferry ride west through the San Juan Islands on out to Victoria BC will take your breath away. There's a lot of non-looney in that part of the world, and you can eat the seafood right out of the water.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 05:21:50 AM PDT

  •  congratulations on finally being able to travel (8+ / 0-)

    this month I will travel to Atlanta for the first time since Nixon was there.  The death of my wife last year relieved me of my duty to her.  While I would literally give anything to have that obligation back, I also recognize my life may be entering  yet another phase.  I am interested in seeing the responses you receive.

    I know the in laws like the American Virgin Islands as a place to visit and I personally am considering Crystal Springs, FL.  Years ago, I visited Homer Alaska and found the landscape breathtaking.  Finally, many years ago I went to a resort outside of Toronto which was also an amazing trip.
    For foreign travel, I always wanted to see NZ after daughter worked there and would consider Viet Nam as a tour site.  I hope travel to Cuba will be resumed in my lifetime.

    Just a few suggestions from my peregrinations during a somewhat sketchy life

  •  I was thinking; (10+ / 0-)

    at the beginning of your diary: " Buy a vintage 16' Airstream Bambi trailer", (which is what I want to do). But then I saw you already have a trailer. You are on the right track; as you are already trusting your instincts. Every mile on the road is a minute gained in life. On the river, your scared thoughts will turn to dreams, which turn into journeys. You will be fine with the animal spirits by your side. I can tell already. Keep a journal, too. Oh, and bring a bicycle too; it will fit. Time to live now, because you deserve it...SSK

    "Hey Clinton, I'm bushed" - Keith Richards UID 194838

    by Santa Susanna Kid on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 05:27:29 AM PDT

  •  I doubt you'll get where I am, (8+ / 0-)

    but it's a lovely spot. Redneck, sure. Virginia is for ?????
    While there are a lot of deep red areas, folks are not so rabid as other places. Mostly the worst that happens is I get asked to go to church.

    So. Don't be afraid. In these days and times, I  stay out of big box stores as much as possible, keep my shopping in mom and pop places. No fear though, just caution. If your number is up, it's up. Still, being a bit careful never hurts. Me, every day, multiple times, I thank Creator for my wellbeing, and ask that my "bubble of protection" stay strong. The bubble works both ways, it protects me, and it protects other creatures from me.

    Smile. It confuses the haters.

    Just get a map and plot your route loosely. Take the back roads and have a great time! I envy you. I've not spent much time in the West, aside from a year in Montana and a short trip to High Desert California. 2 weeks in Wyo, and a few days in S.Dakota. Oh, and an interesting weekend in Fargo. lol.

    Go forth and have a ball!

    Only thing more infuriating than an ignorant man is one who tries to make others ignorant for his own gain. Crashing Vor

    by emmasnacker on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 05:32:18 AM PDT

  •  It would be a tragedy (12+ / 0-)

    if you didn't follow through.

    Yes, there's a lot of nutcases out there.  That doesn't mean travel isn't safer than it's ever been, or that there are gremlins hiding at every street corner waiting to 'get' you.  My greatest fear is being on my deathbed, looking back at my life and saying to myself: "What a waste!"

    190 milliseconds....

    by Kingsmeg on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 05:52:13 AM PDT

  •  woolibaar, some employment tips from old (11+ / 0-)

    AARP article:

    •Get started early. The Park Service and concessions companies typically hire six months in advance. You can find listings at and

    •Old hands advise applicants not to apply for just one season, since jobs are posted throughout the year.

    •Don't limit your search to openings posted by the parks themselves. Check out the private websites of concessionaires, which also may include jobs at resorts and camps.

    Many concessionaire companies are listed by park on this National Park Service website. Concession company Xanterra starts looking as early as mid-January for summer workers at Yellowstone National Park Lodges, Grand Canyon South Rim, Zion Lodge, Crater Lake Lodge, Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va. At the Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley, the company hires for the winter season in the summer.

    •Consider whether living in your own camper and traveling job-to-job might work for you. Job prospects in parks and elsewhere for camper owners are listed at

    Although I've never worked parks nor lived long term at any, we researched alt living styles many years ago & found a plethora of websites dedicated to living/working at campgrounds.  A search might find discussion boards that may help you :)

    I've camped short term all over the map but my personal favorites out west are Tetons, Idaho, Montana & Colorado.

    I've enjoyed & appreciated the National parks as well & one KOA in Livingston Montana during a cross country motorcycle adventure.  

    For at least 40 years- I have NEVER had any human related problems wilderness or park camping-whether pre-planned or spur of the moment.  This includes my hippie looking days.

    I've always been more into primitive wilderness camping & hiking; as a senior I would not hesitate to do so despite looney tunes news.  The type of camping you are interested in provides for a greater measure of personal security, I imagine.

    If you do any camping out west. I hope you venture further & camp in Banff BC.  Lovely campgrounds & wondrous sights.  

    One nice thing to know is that you will meet some very nice people from all over the world.  I've met people from countries such as Australia, Japan, Europe camping their way across the USA.  Some will extend an invite to visit them in their country :)

    I am so excited for you.  Best wishes for the grandest life adventure ever!

  •  Good for you! (8+ / 0-)

    It takes a lot of courage to shake up your life as you already have.

    Yes, there's a lot of crazy out there, but people are, for the most part, better than that.  If you look for the people who break the stereotypes for their locale you can delight yourself.  For instance, I have found New Yorkers and New Jersyites who are more friendly and helpful than any southerner or Californian.  The fact that you are a listener will be a big help in making friendly acquaintances, if not best friends, wherever you go.

    One thing I might suggest is to follow Gooserock's suggestion: go up to Seattle/ Puget Sound this summer.  Inertia is always a problem, at least for me.  If you get one trip under your belt early it will keep you from getting stuck at that beautiful river site.

    Oh yeah, and where to go?  Five years ago I drove all my son's belongings across country in a truck, and my favorite section was from Salt Lake City through Wyoming.  The landscape may be the most dramatic in the country.  Our trip was unplanned, but if I had had the time I would have done a little research about the terrain.  that's another thing: do a little research about where you are going.  It will help you enjoy your trips more.  Oh yeah, plan but don't over-plan your trips.  Leave room for spur of the moment changes.

    And have a blast!

    The past 50 years we: -Ended Jim Crow. -Enacted the Voting Rights Act. -Attained reproductive rights (contraceptive & abortion). -Moved toward pay equity. Republicans want to take our country back. I WON'T GO BACK!

    by petesmom on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:05:08 AM PDT

  •  interesting diary. (7+ / 0-)

    I am also in mid-60's retired.  Living very happily in  NY's Hudson Valley, where the population is a mix of crackers, slackers,  geniuses, dodos, saints and boors.  Plus, easy 2 hour trip to NYC, the best city on earth and my hometown.

    However--if you really need the high country, our 4,000 ft mountains won't do it for you.

    I have a  brother who lives very happily near Las Cruces, NM.   The Organ Mountains have recently been designated National Monuments--you might find work there.   The climate is less volatile than what you find in northern NM, Colorado, Utah, etc.   And living is cheap.

    Here's an interesting thing my brother did:  he went to school to become an RV mechanic. (he's a retired science professor--retired very early at 50) and set out with his wife to in an RV to find the perfect spot.

    Oklahoma, N.Carolina and Texas were tried out but they finally fell in love with southern NM.

    I look forward to your decision.

    ecstatically baffled

    by el vasco on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:08:47 AM PDT

  •  Two places with low gun-nut quotients, low crime, (8+ / 0-)

    and sane liberal politics:

    The Pacific Northwest and New England.

    I tend to favor the latter because it's closer to where I live and has a lower cost of living, but whatever floats your boat.

    Vermont is lovely, low-key, has sane politics and wonderful small city amenities around Burlington, not to mention beautiful scenery and endless outdoor activities. Health care is also excellent.
    The only downside is the brutal winters.

    I can't recommend anything south of the Mason-Dixon line, despite the fact that all my kids live in the Southeast, because the politics are bat-shit insane. Right wing lunatics and gun nuts are in charge of the asylum. State legislatures from Virginia to the Carolinas seem to be in a competition to see who can be more vicious to the poor while handing out subsidies to corporate billionaires, encouraging open-carry in bars and churches, and gutting environmental regulations.

  •  You are 66... What you are doing (8+ / 0-)

    is great....  Life is to be enjoyed not endured.   Everything should not be fearful..  I know this is how you have been raised.   Think of things this way no mattter where you go.
    Go while you can because if you let fear curb you, you have embraced a life you resent and besides a plane could fall into your safe place and kill you so don't worry about those kind of things.  Just do it.. Go... Travel... Dance....sing... check out
    There is no such thing as a SAFE place anywhere...  Don't ever think there is for the reason I mentioned above...Don't walk into a gang fight somewhere in a rough neighborhood but just be free to see different things.   Exploration of different cultures and volunteer for electing sanity or drop by a VA or woman's shelter .. That too is enlighting and makes it all seem worth it..  None of us belong in a bubble.. You have the freedom to spread those wings... Now Fly !!!!

    Just how much Koch do Right Wingers want in their life? . United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:32:57 AM PDT

  •  Try to include Iowa - it's such a lovely state and (7+ / 0-)

    you'll enjoy the people. Lots to see and do all over - but if you're traveling alone you may want to avoid it in deep winter.

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:06:31 AM PDT

  •  Yuma (4+ / 0-)

    AZ is a hotspot for winter visitors.  Our winters are wonderful and if you want to roast try the summer, it is only supposed to get to 109 today.  There are a lot of RV parks and they many have Rec programs that need workers.  The city parks dept also hires PT craft/exercise skilled folks to run classes.

    "In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism" Marine Corp Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler

    by Kevskos on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:51:31 AM PDT

  •  The best way (4+ / 0-)

    I have found to get past fear is just to do it. At first it will be hard and scary but it will dissipate.  

    If you need an intermediate step I would suggest you look around for a singles RV club. 10+ years ago I knew a couple of retired ladies who belonged to such an organization. Try google for that, if not Triple A or AARP may have some info on groups in your area.

    The Pacific Northwest is beautiful this time of year. The Northwest coast has much to offer in the way of RV friendly parks that inexpensive for camping.

    In the Pacific Northwest you can also become a camp ground host where you can live for free in exchange for watching over the camp ground for a week or a whole summer.

    In the winter many retirees from here head for Arizona. There are whole towns down there that exist only in the winter and have maybe 10 residents in the summer. They also have many places where RVs are able to be parked inexpensively and some more upper crust expensive places as well.


    It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

    by PSWaterspirit on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:53:10 AM PDT

  •  New Mexico (4+ / 0-)

    cat friendly here on the high desert.  Room for that trailer in our oasis on the river; got some good gardens started this year, too.

    We (me and 2 other Kossaks)  would welcome the right addition to the community.  Been here more than 20 years,  and we feel right at home,  part of a long-establlished rural farming and ranching village on one of the old Spanish Land Grants, in sight of the Sangre de Cristo high country peaks.

    Not for everyone,  but you might find it works for you.  You are welcome to come by and check us out.  Check your KosMessages.

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:55:54 AM PDT

  •  We've had a couple of sets (4+ / 0-)

    of retirees recently sell everything and just do the RV thing. There's even companies who'll pay your bills, keep your itinerary updated, forward the mail and phone calls, which I did not know. Maybe the traveling would be a good way to see some places before you have to (if ever) choose just one spot.

    I hope you have a safe journey to wherever it turns out to be.

    Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

    by postmodernista on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 08:09:19 AM PDT

  •  Wyoming is relatively loon free. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, LunarEclipse

    now that Dick Cheney has left.  It's great in the summer, but can be a bit harsh in the winter.

    Western Colorado is a nice place to winter, and Northern Idaho is lovely, but full of crazy people.  

    My dogs think I'm smart and pretty.

    by martydd on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 08:13:52 AM PDT

  •  I think you'll find... (4+ / 0-)

    ...that most Westerners are kind, generous and thoughtful as individuals, as opposed to political groups.

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:16:53 AM PDT

  •  Don't let fear stop you! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, LunarEclipse, worldlotus

    I feel very fortunate in the fact I have had the chance to take some risks, go somewhere I always wanted to go, and only be responsible for myself. If I were to get hit by a bus today I would be glad that I did all the crazy things (according to others around me) I did in my life.

    You are now responsible for only yourself, so take advantage and let yourself live differently.

    I am up in San Francisco, so as a fellow Californian I assume you don't need info on this city and doubt it is on your list.....but I can suggest you look at a map, pick out a few places, and just GO!

  •  If you can't overcome having the political views (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, LunarEclipse

    of others 'trigger' you, you may as well get a dog or two and stay put.

  •  Woolibaar, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LunarEclipse, worldlotus, kimoconnor

    No one can control their fate in anything. Even tho the world is a dangerous place we somehow manage to live long lives and avoid the poison mushrooms anyway. Your dad made it to 96 and your mom to 95!

    If you were to come to Utah I believe that you would find that people here are some of the nicest on the earth. I have spent most of my life camping and fishing and traveling around on the back roads and found nothing but goodness with few exceptions.

    Yes, you are reading too much into the stories of mass murders and crazy people. ghonsit had a diary up yesterday about the fact that violent crime rates are dropping, not growing. It is easy to focus on that sensational story and forget that daily there are random acts of human kindness everywhere.

    You must conquer your fears. Life is short and it's for living. There is joy and awe and wonder just waiting out there in Mother Nature, she has a lot to show you. And there are great, kind and open people who want to do the right thing around every corner.

    Don't let fear rule ♥ hu

    Some humans ain't human some people ain't kind. They lie through their teeth with their head up their behind. You open up their hearts and here's what you'll find - Some humans ain't human some people ain't kind. John Prine

    by high uintas on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:39:32 AM PDT

  •  When it gets too cold up north (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LunarEclipse, worldlotus

    come to the Florida Keys. Lots of places to park the trailer and lots of parks to work in.

    When the F**K are we going to wake up and do something about this mess?

    by keyscritter on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:48:00 AM PDT

  •  If you can volunteer in exchange for trailerspace (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    try looking into various state parks.

    Arizona State Parks are usually looking for camp hosts and so on.

    Check out for info.

    (disclaimer: I work for the parks system here. AZ does take an enormous grain of salt on occasion, but the desert can be a fabulous place. Even in summer!)

  •  Why don't you look at the schedule (0+ / 0-)

    of Kossack meetups and travel so that you can attend a lot of them.

    Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

    by JamieG from Md on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:39:58 PM PDT

  •  I would go everywhere! (0+ / 0-)

    You'll figure out what kinds of places are nice places to stop and hang for a while, but truly, there are so many options. I would try to visit all the national parks, maybe hit a bunch of state parks too.

    I could spend my whole life road-tripping in California alone.

    There is beautiful land all over this country. Have fun seeing it.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 10:43:34 PM PDT

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