Mastering the Art of Living

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.

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6 thoughts on “Mastering the Art of Living

  1. Oh my stars, Rhonda. Why is it that some people always have something to say about your life? Because that is what it is, “your” life and if you choose to follow a path that they can’t understand, it’s on them. You’re defining your path and paying attention to the universe, it’s all good and if they don’t or won’t understand that, tell them to Bugger Off! 🙂

    • Oh Patti.. you know how it is! Luckily, there are enough others just living their own lives to not bother themselves with ours. Merry Christmas to you and Abi! Enjoy a trip home to see family. XX

  2. I am with you Rhonda, as from my experience, people wondered why I wanted to live abroad, what is wrong with the US. Or why don’t I get a ‘real job’ or go to grad school? Well I was following my heart. I was able to find work to keep living and traveling outside of the US, to fulfill my longing to experience living in different cultures, speak other languages and meet so many interesting people. I loved learning new ways of life, was able to live simply. I am so glad I did what I did and will never regret a minute of it. Keep on following your hearts and enjoy the journey.

    • Thanks Barb.. I’m sure that you faced, even more, people wondering about your decisions since those occurred before it was as “normal” as it is now. Living the life you have led is all part of what makes you YOU. Thanks for your support as always! Merry Christmas to you and Steve. We really hope to see you in Idaho next summer. XXX

  3. Rhonda and Jim,

    All we can say is right on. And carry on.

    That said, and since I am rebounding from some particularly judgmental comments posted in response to a question I raised on a formerly favorite social media group, I can also observe that some of the criticisms may be attributable to clutziness in communication styles . . . Perhaps I am unusually preoccupied with ensuring that my writing is clear and nonjudgmental but I do wish others were more careful with their words.
    Regardless, we believe you are pursuing exactly the right path for YOU at this moment and we will cheer you when and if you shift gears again!

    • Thanks, Sharon. Yes, certainly some can be contributed to joking sarcasm not coming across well, etc. If you click on the hyperlink on the grumpy old men and read that guys comments you will see that was certainly not the case there.. lol. However, to thine own self-be true. Hope you and Roque are enjoying the mainland.. I think you’re going to go NUTS over the colonial cities and their culture and history and art. Happy travels and Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and keep in touch.

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