Larissa K. Used with Permission

On the road again…I never thought I’d get on the road again. Yes, I am typing to the tune of the Willie Nelson song. I always liked that song and Willie Nelson. In the past, I always said I lived a gypsy life. I was never in one place longer than four years. I’ve lived in Sylva for ten years and that seems a short time for such a wonderful place. It’s not that I want to leave Sylva, because I consider it home. I do have to be thinking about something other than living in a lodge for the rest of my life.

Don’t get me wrong. If they would allow me to be the resident hermit, I would be glad to live here for the rest of my life. I mean, it’s a gorgeous place and I love the people who own and run the place. In a short time, the people at Spirit of the Mountains Lodge have become my family. The setting is glorious and feels like a peace of heaven. Why would I want to leave? The only thing I miss is a real kitchen. Not that I cook or bake anymore. There’s something comforting about a kitchen. But still, that’s not reason enough to leave this place. Once you’ve breathed in the crisp mountain air, listened to the sounds of the birds, rejoiced over the song of the tree frogs, enjoyed the freedom to hike, pray, or write, why would anyone want to leave?

Porch view at the lodge
Photo by JRobin Whitley

When I am overwhelmed with the emotion of change, I go on the porch or walk the dog and the view is so gorgeous I know I can handle anything. The peace is so perfect that I want to stay here for the rest of my days. If only I could purchase the lodge and assure that.

However, like all beautiful things, I can only enjoy this place for a time. The owners don’t have a resident hermit even though I have volunteered. This is merely a wonderful place of respite for the weary.

After the recent separation from my wife, I find that I want my own place. I want a place where I can control the air conditioner most of all. With asthma, I have to have a breathing space that is cool and clean at all times. The lodge is cool and clean, but it becomes clear that I need more control over the temperature in my private space.

This was a problem as I travelled to visit my mom and sister over Mother’s Day Weekend. They are cold natured and keep their houses cool, but not cool enough for me when I am having problems with my asthma. Wanting a place that I can always breathe how I need to breathe is going to be the challenge. I’ve been looking at houses in the Sylva area, but second homes of vacationers have put the market so high I may not be able to afford what they call a “stick house”. That would also be a house with foundations and one that keeps you rooted. I already feel rooted in Sylva. Must I have a stick house in order to remain rooted here?

My friend, Lama Khandro*, travels in an RV. I’ve enjoyed seeing her trips on the road. I have friends and family scattered throughout the US and Canada. My thought is that if I buy an RV, I can have my own space AND travel. Why not? I’ve always loved adventure and travel. People want me to come visit, but I hesitate because I need specific conditions in order to stay well. If I had an RV, I could travel to see everyone and stay well. Just because I’m disabled doesn’t mean I am dead, just that I have specific needs I must attend to in order to stay well. Lama told me about a group of women on Facebook who talk about women in RVs. Do you RV? The Women who RV on Facebook have been great to answer my questions about choosing the right RV. They are honest about their challenges and joys as they travel. Best of all, they are kind. I don’t feel like an idiot because I don’t know the right questions to ask.

Even if I don’t begin to live in an RV, the truth is I am on the road again. Perhaps the universe thought I got too comfy and settled. One of Cat Stevens songs (now Yusuf Islam) that continues to show up in my life is titled “On the Road to Find Out.” Throughout my life, this song has been a constant companion. Because whether we are settled into a stick house or a brick house, we are still on a path. Just because our bodies are stagnant doesn’t mean that our souls have to be stagnant too. “The answer lies within…” I’m back on the road again. Another mystery to enjoy.


*Lama Tsultrim Khandro is only one of a handful of American women Buddhist Lamas teaching in North America.  Lama is qualified to perform weddings, partnership unions, funerals, home blessings, animal blessings, and other pastoral rituals for the Buddhist community.  She is known for her realistic approach, down-to-earth teaching style, and compassion for all living beings.