When the Chocolate Runs Out

Hello Folks,

For many months, we have been debating about the perfect place to cut through it all.  After a whirlwind year of turning 65, retiring and getting married, we were feeling the call of the open road and the need of a  Great Adventure. We settled on spending some extended time camping in South West Virginia and Tennessee’s Smokey Mountains,  immersed in the beautiful natural landscape. Here, we could clear our minds from the clutter of so many years of daily grind. So, that’s the destination. Now we just have to remember to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. We are glad that you’re reading along, and hopefully you will enjoy the journey and its lessons right along with us.

This week, we’ve been talking about building a supply list and contingency plans for when the chocolate runs out. How will we pack the groceries, what will we take? What food efficiencies can we create so that we keep the weight down in the camper but maximize our cooking potential? Or maybe we won’t even plan this part? Okay, problem solved. We will not be planning food in advance, as we usually do when we camp. On this trip we will be plotting farmers markets and farms along the route so that we can eat locally sourced and whole foods. It will be fun to step outside of our comfort zone and wing it. After all, the ultimate point of any Seeker taking any trip is to determine how we can be happy even after the chocolate runs out, is it not?

This is a new phase of life in which we challenge ourselves to wing it more, be more spontaneous and not worry quite so much about the “what-ifs.” or the chocolate running out.  After years of working in jobs which demanded that we be planful, thoughtful and careful, we are deliberately emulating Mole as he emerges from his den. After he finishes work, he “scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself,   ” Up we go! Up we go! “Till at last, pop! His snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of the great Meadow. That’s kind of what retirement feels like. It is an emergence from one existence to another. It sort of leaves you blinking in the sunshine.

“This is fine! “, he said to himself.”This is better than whitewashing! “The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without his cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow until he reached the hedge on the further side.”  That’s Arnie and I right now! We are jumping with joy that the world has given us this opportunity to explore and grow together.

Did you pick up a copy of The Wind in the Willows yet? For those of you with children, it’s a captivating tale to read together. For those of you who are childlike (that would include many of our friends), I promise it will be equally captivating.

Step out of that comfort zone and do something captivating today!

Arnie and Barb


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