Today marks three weeks here in Los Barriles. Although we are all set up with our “shade compound” and, in between working on camp business, have been actively joining the local scene of art shows, pickleball, and yoga, it also feels as though we just arrived and is a perfect indication of how elusive the concept of time can be. As ever, one of our very favorite parts of our crazy life is the fact that we get to meet so many interesting people every day. And, also as ever, everyone is capable of being a critic. But for any negative vibes we encounter we just sit back confidently knowing we are mastering the art of living.
It is not news that before we left home now nearly TWO YEARS ago we had some close to us who were less than supportive. Once on the road, we had to actually block a couple of grumpy old men who felt the need to personally bash me as a woman and “faux” adventurer simply because I shared my feelings after some, particularly trying travel days.
These occurrences are neither surprising or rare. In fact, on day one of meeting some overland travelers here at camp they also shared stories of being criticized for taking too much gear, choosing a bad route, and had their decision to hit the road questioned. Every long-term traveler or overlander out there knows exactly what I’m talking about. For that matter, everyone who has ever spurned the conventional social norms understands that making your own path creates conflict.
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” Yvon Chouinard
What truly threw us for a loop in the last year, however, was a bit of reverse judgment. No one was more surprised than we were when we fell in town with Camp Coeur D’Alene and committed to a longer term relationship than originally planned. We found we loved the experience of managing a small campground, we were good at it, and with the county requiring it close each winter, we considered ourselves lottery winners! Work doing a job we loved half of the year while the other half of the year we could travel while still working on marketing and reservations. SCORE.
Imagine our surprise when some members of our travel tribe then questioned this decision. We learned long ago that we rarely walk a straight path and we know that we will drive the Pan-American through South America at some point. It’s not going anywhere and in our minds, this was simply a pause to explore a new opportunity that the universe put before us. Suddenly for becoming MORE like normal members of society we were once again peppered with what felt like judgemental questions about why we had turned north. Why we had returned to the US. Why we weren’t immediately heading back on the road full-time.
Throughout all of this, we have never questioned ourselves. This life ebbs and flows and the old adage about the importance being the journey, not the destination is endlessly accurate. Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia has always been one of my biggest inspirations. From driving the PanAm back when it was all dirt roads to living like a bum to support his climbing to his business practices, he has always put the quest above the end game.
“So, it’s kind of like the quest for the holy grail. Well, you know, who gives a shit what the holy grail is. It’s the quest is what’s important.” Yvon Chouinard
This is where our tribe of fellow travelers holds us strong. Between their powerful positive influence and the undying support of friends and family, we continue to embrace a life less ordinary that also strives forever towards the elusive art of living that Yvon Chouinard so eloquently describes. Finding work that is also your passion is an art, and we are beyond fortunate to live this life.
We don’t know exactly what the future holds and yet, we are positive that our current path is the right one in this moment. It is almost certainly guaranteed to morph and change for that is life. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.