FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Feb 6, 2007
|Why are you on this trip?
Jim retired from SMUD in July 2005 and knew it was time to fulfill his dream to travel as much as possible of the U.S. He preferred Laura go with him, however, if her desire was to stay in Foresthill and occasionally fly to meet him, so be it. Laura thought it over and realized that, although it would be a huge life transition to travel full time with Jim for about 1.5 years, she would rather do that and continue her work on the road than remain in Foresthill. Besides, this is the time to do such an adventure while we are young and healthy. So that's it in a nutshell!
Why do you call your trip the "Magickal Mystical Tour"?
Well, first off, we ARE on a tour. Magick (spelled with a K) is defined as "the art & science of causing change to occur in conformity with one's Will" and has been described as the outer form of spiritual exploration. (It recently has been described very well in the film "The Secret".) Mysticism is better known and is considered the inner form of spiritual growth. It is associated with meditation and quiet and going deep to understand the Mystery of Life in all of its dimensions. We practice both forms of spirituality in our life and continue to do so on the road. Lastly, Laura being such a huge fan of the Beatles thought it would be fun to make a play on that famous song title (the Magical Mystery Tour).
Do you have an itinerary?
A very loose one. Our goal is to be in New England when the leaves change colors in the Fall, and along the way, stop and visit friends and family. Another primary goal is to be where the temperatures are between 60 and 80 degrees and as calm as possible. Jim decides what route we take, considering the places he and Laura want to see.
How does Laura run her business while you travel?
She schedules all of her calls for every 2 weeks and Jim plans the travel to fall in between those periods. She has her office/mediation trailer for privacy when the calls occur, and has access to the internet and emails with our Verizon broadband wireless card. Jim just needs to ensure that we are in Verizon areas when those business weeks occur.
What exactly IS Laura's business?
Laura is a certified Life Coach and the leader of a small and growing spiritual community called the Tree of Life Sanctuary. You can learn all about what she does by visiting her website at Mission Accomplished Academy.
What is your rig like?
We describe it as a caravan. Jim drives our 93 Chevy Damon Hornet RV which is a class C and 19 feet long. This RV tows a 7 x 14 Wells Cargo trailer that holds the Harley, the BBQ and all of our supplies. Laura drives our 2002 Ford Escape with the bicycles on top. The Escape tows a 5 x 10 Haulmark trailer that is Laura's office and meditation space. Jim leads in the driving and Laura follows, with both of us having walkie talkies that we use to communicate as we travel.
Do you have your pets with you?
Abbey, our dog, traveled with us until August. She had great fun with us until the month of July. She was over 14 years old and had Cushings Disease and got to the point where her quality of life was really low due to her aging and ill body. We sent her on to her next life on 8/3/07. We decided to leave our kitty, Penney, with some good friends of ours because they really love Penney. Besides, Penney did not like the RV, even when it wasn't moving! She is a very old cat (15) and used to being free to go outside when she wants. We felt it would not be kind to take her along. Her new caretakers, Kathy & Cynthia, thoroughly enjoy having her in their life.
How was it traveling with an old dog?
Abbey was a 14 year old border collie/Australian shepherd mix. Even though she had Cushings Disease, her quality of life was pretty good for her age until around July 2007. At that point we were having to carry her in and out of the RV to go to the bathroom because she couldn't maneuver the steps, and she was falling and wobbling a lot when she walked. Once we decided it was time to put her down, we started giving her pain medication for comfort in her final days. On 8/3/07 we took her to a recommended local vet and had her euthanized as she layed in Laura's arms. Our goal for her when we set out on this trip was to keep her happy and comfortable in her remaining days and we succeeded. She had a great time with us the first 6 months of the trip. We either took her with us in our explorations or left her in the air conditioned RV to sleep (no longer than 6 hours at a time). She was a tremendous joy every moment she was with us and we are so grateful for the honor of having been her caretaker.
How do you find places to camp?
Jim is the Wagon Master as he has magick when it comes to finding the perfect places.
What has it been like adapting to the new lifestyle?
Laura: It took me about two months to relax into it. When we first set out on the road, I had several projects I needed to complete that had deadlines, plus we were in the middle of the sale of our house in Foresthill. Once those were completed, I found it much easier. Being a fixed personality, I find it more difficult to adapt to just about anything than Jim. He is very mutable. However, I am finding that home is really more inside of me, rather than a particular location. Yet, I do love having the RV and trailers. They have become sort of a home, where our bed and basic needs and my temple are housed, and this is very comforting. Probably the hardest part of this lifestyle for me is when it is time to move to our next spot. I absolutely hate tearing down everything we have set up. Having to pack it all up to put back in the trailers and RV drives me nuts. Setting up a new place does not bother me at all, just the tearing down. I find the tear down very disorienting.
How do you two get along in such a small RV?
Laura: Wonderfully! We have been married 22 years and have done a lot of work on ourselves to be our Best Selves. We also have worked tenaciously to communicate clearly. I also like to think of our experience as "astronaut training" (someday I will fly to the moon). Jim also makes it easy to be his wife. He is very sensitive, romantic, interesting and adventurous. For example, while camped in Pennsylvania on this trip, Jim sat me down on one of my work days and gave me a foot spa! Warm water bath, olive oil massage and soak, followed by a towel dry! All while sipping on a cup of Constant Comment tea with honey that he made for me! That all being said, we also know we need to have some time to ourselves to expand who we are as individuals. Jim goes out for day rides on his Harley and I do whatever I feel I need to do on those days. Sometimes it is work, sometimes it is play. Plus I also have my trailer for meditation and alone time.
What do you do when things go wrong with your rigs?
Laura: I make a list! Unless the repair is urgent, we wait until a good day to get them all handled (like a rainy day). So far, Jim has done fabulously in fixing the problems that have come up. I assist when needed. Occasionally we've had to hire a repair person. We rely on the RV park manager at our park to advise us as to whom to hire.
How do you handle your finances and mail while on the road?
Laura: I do it from my office trailer with the internet and with the wonderful support of my assistant, Cynthia, back in Auburn, CA. Cynthia picks up our mail weekly in Auburn and forwards it to us when we are at an RV park for an extended period. Also, before we left CA, I arranged for all of our deposits and payments to be made via automatic deposit or deduction.
How do you communicate with people while traveling?
We both have cell phones with a Verizon service. We also have a Dell laptop/notebook pc with a Verizon Wireless broadband card. As long as we are in Verizon reception areas, we typically can receive our emails, use the internet and make and receive phone calls.
Which of you does what in your day to day routines?
Laura: Vitamin prep, dishes, cleaning, changing bed sheets (not an easy task in a class C motorhome), supply refills, finances, administration, runs coaching business part time
Jim: Cooking, trip research & planning, social director & connector (Jim is aka Commander Fun Boy), RV tank dumping, outdoor kitchen clean up.
Shared: Laundry, dog walking (when Abbey was alive), grocery shopping, repairs
You frequently talk about the religion or spirituality that exists in the areas you are visiting. What is your religion?
Laura: Generally, I would describe myself a pantheist, someone who honors all religions. I say this because I recognize that they all have a spark of the Divine in them. Specifically though, I would call myself a Thelemite. I believe that we are here to learn how to be a better Soul, ideally to do our Divine Will while under the guidance of our Holy Guardian Angel. As far as God is concerned, I believe God is within each of us, experiencing life as a Human Being.
I thought you two were environmentally conscious. Why are you going on a trip that requires so much oil based fuel?
Actually, our trip is consuming about 15K more miles than what we were consuming when Jim worked in Sacramento, and Laura operated her business out of Auburn/Foresthill. While traveling we do recycle to the best of our ability (depending upon the facilities that exist where we are staying). Also, we use the Harley as much as possible for our touring around the areas we visit. This uses way less fuel than the RV or the Escape, although the Escape gets about 20 MPG. It is Laura's plan to drive an even more fuel efficient vehicle when we settle in Washington State.
Who takes the photos?
Laura: Both of us. You can pretty much tell who took the picture by this guideline...Jim likes to take shots that have lots of stories going on in it; I like to take simple shots with one thing going on fully. There are a few exceptions though.
The photos on this site are so small! Is there a way I can make them larger?
Yes. The best way to view the photos is to click on the first one and then right underneath the photo you will see "Slide Show (5 sec) (10 sec)" Click on either the 5 second or 10 second option to start the pictures as a slideshow. The 5 or 10 second selection is how long the photo will stay up on the screen before it moves to the next photo. If you have any problems using this site, please email Laura for assistance: Help from Laura.