the traveling nomad

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I am a nomad. A traveler. My life is like a rolling stone, it gathers no moss.  I’m a tumbleweed that rolls and blows through places and spaces.  Until recently, I lived in 3 places Boston, the coast of South Carolina, and the mountains of Colorado,  dividing my life, my toothpaste, makeup, pots, pans, friends, culture, accents, activities, everything, amongst the three. A tiny apartment in Boston, no car, the city life, subways, commuter rail, shopping daily for most meals.  A home in SC, laid back fishing village and the LowCountry life.  A place in the mountains of Colorado, my hippie bretheren, cowboys, snowboarding, hiking, cyclying, fly fishing, a veritable outdoors paradise.  While that can sound somewhat glamorous…it ain’t what it’s cut out to be.

Now, if you’re a Trump with private airplanes, an entourage of assistants who do everything for you including carrying you luggage, cleaning your bathrooms, having your meals cooked, ensuring that you have your snail mail delivered from one location to another, airing out the musty smelling house you’re coming to, doing your grocery shopping, even removing the layers of dust that accumulate on furniture when you’re gone from one of the houses for 3+ months and when you leave, just walking out with your purse and ‘Paris Hilton’ Fido in your arms, then, yeah, it’s ‘glam.’  But, if you’re a ‘grunt,’ and look more like a Bosnian refugee carrying your life in bags, and  you have to do all this and more, then it’s only semi-glam.  I mean I don’t want to sound sour grapes or ungrateful, reeealllly,  Ally, spare me!

Growing up in the hollers of southern West Virginia, life was not easy—there was no spin washing machine, there was a wringer washer.  There was no dryer.  You hung the clothes out on the clothes lines.  There was no central air.  You opened windows in the summer, and you had box fans in the windows. There was no central heat.  There were radiators, and the heat came from shoveling coal into the firepit in the basement.  Little did I know that my childhood training was preparing me for my semi-glam adult life.  And, I am grateful and blessed.  It gives me the roots and firm grounding that I need to not ‘get above my raisin’!

Back story information important to understanding why this was a disastrous travel day—trust me, it’s pertinent to appreciating the challenges!

Traveling between our South Carolina and Colorado homes means I fly, and I fly a lot.  I have a creek cat named, Callie.  She’s not a glam kitty like Paris Hilton’s muffin face.  Callie’s a 12 year-old ‘tortie’ who for 10 years was semi-feral and lived in our AC units with her roommate, an opossum. Her tail’s probably been broken several times, it’s skinny and slightly hairless, like her opossum roomie’s.  Her face and ears look surprisingly like a gremlin, and her swaying back because of her heretofore fractured pelvis (which prompted me to take her, help heal her, and domesticate her) gives rise to arthritis and trouble with leaping and jumping.  When she flies, I give her a small dose of medication that helps ‘relax’ her, takes the edge off the ear-popping elevation climbing, helps her sleep through the sometimes 10-hour+ traveling from point to point.  But, it gives her a funky look in her eyes as a film glazes about halfway over her pretty emerald-green peepers, and her body is limp and sloushy.

Because I blog, cook, photograph, and make video blogs, I have to have a considerable amount of equipment—an expensive Nikon with several lenses, tripod(s), a handheld video camera, a regular video camera, a laptop, cords, three external hard drives and a janitor’s ring of thumb drives, both replete with food photos, raw footage video clips, blog posts, my myriad of notebooks of recipes that I write as I’m cooking, cookbooks, etc.  All of this must be schlepped back and forth between houses, all of this goes into one carry-on piece of luggage.  So, between Callie in her carry-on bag and my piece of luggage weighing nearly 25-30 pounds, this is what I travel with.  Oh, yes, I do have a simple small purse that I crisscross, messenger style, over my shoulder trying desperately to disguise as I board knowing that you are allowed only two carry on pieces!

When we travel from/to our Colorado home, we fly out of Denver International Airport.  That’s about 2.5 hours from our home in the mountains, which means when the weather is good, it’s a glorious drive through the Rockies on I70 where your eyes feast on some of God’s finest creations and climbing to elevations of nearly 12 thousand feet as we leave the ‘Mile-High City.’   When the weather is bad, as in snow, the drive becomes a knuckle gripping, tense, stressful,  slow and laborious drive as you struggle through white outs and high winds.  You pray you’re not going off the snow and ice packed road cuz it’s all one massive glacier of ice.  Sometimes you don’t even know you’re getting near the edge of the road unless you hear the rumble and buzzing of the drunk bumps.

Finally, this travel day was punctuated by the fact that I was still fighting the flu, feeling really crummy, achy joints down to my shin bones, and Ben was recovering from eye surgery of a prior few days.  Plus, he awoke that morning (we had to get up at 4:30 a.m.) of our travel with gout, (yep, the ‘rich man’s disease’) in one foot, and it was so swollen, red and inflamed.  Nasty lookin’, and I only imagine how painful.  He couldn’t even get his regular shoes on, so it was slippers for travel.  Now, that’s ‘old’, huh?  Thank goodness we weren’t driving cuz we’d fit right in  with the gang at the next Cracker Barrel stop for food!   He was hobbling around the house like ‘Festus’ on the old TV show ‘Gunsmoke.’  I was downing ibuprophen and Theraflu. All I could think about was my mom’s words of ‘wisdom’ (like many of her sayings) as she grew older, ‘Gettin’ old’s hell..’  Dang, was she looking down right now on us chuckling!   I mean I couldn’t appreciate what she meant by those words during my prime energetic and young years of life.  Look who’s getting the last laugh.  Touche, Mom!  I shouldah been more patient and understanding with you.

After fumbling around early the morning of travel in that ‘sleep walk’ state, we finally were ready to pull out in the dark and head to Denver.  Thank goodness for the clear roads, the good weather, and the rising sunshine lighting our way over the mountain. Interestingly, we talked about deep topics like asking each other what our greatest fears were about growing old.  Conversations like that usually don’t happen unless you’re sequestered—like in a car for over 2 hours.  As we approached the front range coming into Denver, the sun was blaring glaring and rising—we were coming East, and Mr. Sunshine was letting us know that!  My lips were kinda dry, so I looked down to find my purse to get some lipstick.  I moved the big white towel that I’d put in my lap, over my all black outfit as Callie sheds like crazy.  I shuffled around the water bottles.  No purse.  With my seatbelt on, I twisted myself into a yoga posture to feel and look in the back seat and floor.  Swatting with one hand, I moved Callie’s carrier.  No purse.   My heart started racing, thumping so hard it was about to burst out of my chest.  My mouth was getting dry, my hands sweaty and clammy.  In a panting voice, I said, “OMG! Ben I can’t find my purse…how will I get on this flight…what will I do??”  Total panic had set in!  I wanted to stop the car, rip out all the luggage, throw things around, surely it was somewhere in this car!

Ben, in his typical calming manner and logical, sound thinking, “Now, let’s think this through before arriving at a conclusion…” and he began his ritual of questions—he was in full CEO mode, using big words like mayonnaise, as if he were in a board meeting with a company where the red ink was flooding, and the ship was about to go under, but—all aimed at helping me collect my thoughts and bring a semblance of sanity to my thinking.  All I could think was that I would miss the flight, have to drive back over the mountain alone, well, with my drugged and half-conscious Callie, and I’d have to rebook this flight, IF I could at any price, for the next day knowing that I had an important appointment in NC the following day.  And, I was ready for South Carolina!  He assured me that we’d stop soon, get gas before we headed to the off airport long-term parking, and let me tear apart the vehicle looking for the purse and praying that I’d been in a flu-induced semi-coma while leaving the house, but still had enough wits about me to remember my life, my identity, my credit cards, my cash—my purse.  If it wasn’t there Ben gently said, we’d cross the next bridge.  I wanted to rip out his vocal chords!!  A deep breath.  Thank goodness for yoga—pranayama, antara kumbhaka, recaka, and bahya kumbhaka.  No luck.  I went back to blubbering dog panting—it seemed like an eternity to the next exit gas stop! Read on~











  1. Darlin’ girl…loved reading this, knowing you’re “OK now” or back in the Low Country for the a while… LMAO reading this, and definitely commiserate with you on what you feel when something goes horribly wrong…I learned over the years to watch my sweetie’s eyes when I tried to be logical and rational…if the flames started to increase, I’d pull over immediately, and look for whatever of hers was lost, get that settled, then continue the journey…lookin’ forward to Part 2, and to the book when it comes out

    • You doll! I always smile from ear to ear reading your comments, my friend! Part 2 is posted…and there may even be a part 3…I mean the saga lives on!! Your advice is well taken!! 🙂 Ally

  2. Hey girl! Got a big kick out of your story! Funny and telling….Mr. David..:)

    • Mr. David…could use some pointers from my story-writing friend! Part 2 gives more insight…and the finale may come…life just gives us a blank canvas for writing! 🙂 Doc Ally!

  3. Oh my God Ally, I just laughed reading pranayama, antara kumbhaka, recaka, and bahya kumbhaka sounds more like food to me that Yoga , I would have gone on “Zumba” mode if it was me hahaha, I am laughing also about “using big words like mayonnaise” lol ,I loved reading everything but where can I find part 2? you are truly a wonderful and beautiful soul, I loved all the pics you added especially the last one, awesome can’t wait for the next blog Ally.

    Nanou (Naima)

    • Yep, that ‘mayonaisse’ is a beeeeeg ol’ complicated word! lol! Hey, if I’d known ‘Zumba’ I would have done that, too! Thank you for taking the time to read…maybe some entertainment as you ride the subway…just posted part 2!! xoxo 🙂 Luv my Nanou!!

  4. Awwww, Man….You had me all drawn in….now hurry up, I have to read the rest, LOL!!! Seriously, I want a house in Colorado too, so gorgeous!!! Glad you are heading back this way, now we can plan to meet soon:-) Hugs, Terra

    • Hey, babycakes! Yes, we meet soon…like virtual friends ‘Sleepless in Charlotte and M.I. and Colorado’!! I just finished Part 2, and it’s comin’ hot off the press…gawd, writing thuuurrrrapeeee is healing! xoxo 🙂 Ally

  5. Dear, dear AllyCat! First and foremost, let me say that I love you more than ever! And that, of course, is because I’m getting to know you 🙂 I can totally relate to what you’re saying… I’ve moved around a lot in my life, and never in Trump style, believe me. I’ve had several transatlantic moves, only one of which was courtesy of the USAF. Worked for PanAm in Frankfurt, Germany for a spell, and then Delta both in the USA and Frankfurt. Good grief. What I’m really getting at here is that due to a series of circumstances too lengthy for this comment, there was a time when I flew back and forth to work (standby) every day rather than quit my job with Delta! Had a family – a husband, two sons and a dog… it was cuhRAYzee! I love ya AllyCat! May you be well and get some rest, and PLEASE tell me you found your purse! Can hardly wait for Part 2! And BTW, my older son, Chef Keegan, lives in Denver 🙂 He and his wife Lisa are the proprietors of D Bar Desserts… if you ever want to drop in for some luscious food, please let me know, and you’ll be treated like the royalty you are! 🙂 xoxoxo

    • OMG OMG, Michele! The LUV of my life, too!! WE have kindred spirits that are intertwined, and just hearing your snippet of your ‘gypsy’ life pales in comparison to mine…you are my hero!! It IS crrrrrRAYzeeeeee! Takes a sense of humor. Takes a helluva lot of planning. Takes inordinate amounts of energy and fake energy even when you’re draggin’ arrrrrrrsssss and don’t think you can put one foot in front of the other…but you do!! D Bar Desserts!!! Get outta here, shut my mouth, you aren’t kiddin’ me, are you!! We will definitely hit D Bar next Denver visit and take pixs w/you precious darlin’ adorable son, Chef Keegan, and his beautiful, Lisa…I will feel like I”m in the midst of rock stars!! xoxo You are a gem in my life!! 🙂 Ally

  6. My nomad days living one month here one month there between Germany, LA, Vegas and Texas comes flooding back. My little heart racing as I’m glued to my screen reading every word of this saga. I anxiously await part two…

    • My Mia! Somehow I just knew w/your gentle soft spirit that you were part of my ‘tribe’!! Dang, German, LA, Vegas and TX…I think I woulda been alcoholic!! LOL!! I luv that you can identify and relate…those who haven’t lived these types of lives probably think we’re writing fiction! xoxo Love you bunches 🙂 Ally

  7. Oh my gosh! I freak when I can’t find my purse! Or, more often, my keys (I lose them several times a day, LOL)…hope you found yours! I totally get that panic feeling. I use to leave my purse in restaurants on a semi regular basis. Nobody ever stole it, thank goodness!

    Can’t wait for part 2!


    • YES! You have it, Melissa…it’sah sinking weak in the knees feeling…a flooding of not adrenalin but something else that leeches into your body and drains you…could it be blood suckers???? I just fininshed Part 2…will post before you pee in your panties…lol!! luv my Meeweeesahhhh! 🙂 Ally

  8. God luv ya !!! Hanging on in suspense and praying for the best ! God, you deserve a really good hamburger !!! My kitty is old too, so I will hope Callie plays into part t wo of the story xxoo

  9. Well I hope you found your purse, Ally! I’m always paranoid that I’m going to leave my purse behind, especially if I’m on my way to the airport!
    I totally get what you mean about the work involved in going from one house to another. We have a cabin “up north” (in Minnesota), which is about a 2.5 hour drive from our house. As wonderful as it is having that cabin, all of packing….unpacking…. packing again……and unpacking…..again get to be a pain in the be-hind. I can’t wait to read part two of your adventure!

    • Lisa…you know what I’m talking about…I mean I get confused as to what’s where and talk about ‘expired’ foods, which, btw, I don’t always throw out…thank you very much I’ll eat that dated yogurt! W/both Ben and me ‘lame’ this traveling day was one cluster chaos after another! Stay tuned! 🙂 xox Ally

  10. Oh, dear! Thanks for the cliff-hanger, Ally! 😉 Poor Callie. BTW, I have a soft spot for torties. I think yours is beautiful, skinny tail, sway back and all.

    I don’t know how you do it; I couldn’t schlep my life around like that. Too much for me, so hats off to you for being able to make it work (mostly;)

    • Jenni, Miss Callie will luv your compliment! She’s very expressive and will meow and purrrrr like crazy! It’s a life of much adventure that fuels my soul, but I admit it takes me several days to adjust and get back into the groove! Stay tuned! xox Ally 🙂