Slowing Way Down

Florida to Mexico

Mitchell Kanashkevich, ( ) one of my favorite travel/adventure photographers, says that for every action there is a “Window of Time.” He has been living his dream for the past 20 years. That got me thinking. There are indeed things that I have done in my twenties and thirties and even forties that I could not accomplish, without great difficulty, today.

Traveling fast

This travel thing has taught me many things. First and foremost, it has taught me to “slow way the fuck down!” and enjoy the process. “It’s happening now – so take the time to enjoy it”. Take, for example, the couple pictured on the motorcycle racing across the sand in Padre Island National Seashore just outside of Corpus Christi TX.  To us at first glance, they appeared to have it all. A motorcycle – We only had bicycles.  A motorhome – We only had our older VW Van. But we had one thing that they didn’t – time.  Oh, they could have had it. They certainly had a lot more money than we did, but they had chosen to take a one-week vacation, and in that one week they planned to see the whole US of A. She even had a simple embroidery of the map of the US, upon which, she was trying, with bright red yarn, to stitch their route, and she couldn’t even keep up. That’s how fast they were traveling. From them we learned what we didn’t want to do on our trip. The one month in the Florida Keys had already taught us to savor our time and go slow.

This next couple we met was from Washington State. John and Mary, when we met them, were traveling in an old Boy Scout school bus. It had a large wooden patio on the roof, an even larger wrought iron porch bolted to the back of the bus, and a big black stovepipe sticking out one of the side windows. It was December, and it was a little chilly, but still we were amazed to see as they drove along,  black smoke pouring out of the top of it.

John trying to bury something before we went to Mexico

When they pulled into their camping spot in Padre Island, all eyes were fixed on them and their aged blue rig with the still visible but fading lettering on the side. “Boy Scouts of America.”  Mary, who looked like a typical kindergarten teacher was driving.  John, long dark hair blowing in the beach wind, was hanging out the opened front bi-fold door with his big black Labrador right at his side. He was grinning like he just won the lottery. They were the most unusual couple we had ever seen. Everyone crowded around for a closer look.

They were so popular that we only got to talk to them briefly. It wasn’t until we drove south, down to the town of Brownsville TX, which was right on the Mexican border, that we saw them again. We were planning to spend Christmas in Mexico. As we drove though the town, we noticed that there was a very long green garden hose that snaked its way across a four-lane highway to a big blue bus parked in an abandoned gas station. There was water pouring out from under the bus, running down the drive and out onto the street.

A Christmas tree in the School bus

“It’s John and Mary,” we shouted simultaneously to each other. We pulled our bright and shiny VW next to them and knocked on the door. Well we camped next to them in that abandoned gas station for the next week before we all happily made our way to Mexico to celebrate Christmas. We spent many many happy months with John and Mary who taught us that we were indeed still moving way too fast.

4 responses to “Slowing Way Down

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