I have been staying for the past couple of days in a town called Palominas, a last stop town before Mexico. By town, I mean that it had a church — I suppose a church is the indicator of a place that warrants a name in the American Southwest.
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Though I cannot say that Palominas could brag of having much besides a church and a splattering of magnificently cubistic new adobe homes and nothing else besides beautiful mountains on all sides, a grass land prarie landscape, and a big blue sky over head. The sun lives here all year round — it does not just come to visit — and the weather is always warm.
The region that Palominas sits in is a 100 mile wide temperate corridor between the Sonoran Desert to the west and the Chihuahuan Desert to the east. The area is sort of a geographical oddity in that it maintains a comfortable climate for human occupation all year round, successfully side stepping the heat of the desert and the cold of the mountains.
Chaya, Petra, and I were invited to stay with a friend of Chaya’s family that we knew from our summer in Maine. She was an established medical doctor who gave up the stethescope to travel around the US and Central America by RV for five years. We met her as we helped unpack her new home in Bangor, as she thought of giving “settling down” a chance again.
But, apparantly, she could not stay put for too long, as we again met her across the country, down on the Mexican border in Palominas. She was staying with her friend, Al, who traveled through the US in an RV for 15 years.
They met on the Road, and they manage to stay on the road, too, even though they both own homes. In the driveway of Al’s adobe home was a Trek RV motor home. They had just finished up another cross country haul: from Maine to the Arizona border.
There are thousands of travelers in the USA who often do not make it onto the “perpetual traveler’s” registries. In my travels in the West of the USA, I have met and heard of many older travelers who have been going non stop for decades. Some of them travel with cash — lots of it — and I cannot show them too much regard as travelers, but many of them travel cheap. They use their RVs as a tactic for traveling cheap, camping on the sly — “boondocking” — their motor homes, cooking their own food, and making their own electricity with solar panels.
There are different ways of traveling the world, different strategies, different perspectives. Before this journey out to Arizona I could not have fathomed the tens of thousands of migratory Americans moving perpetually about the country, combining their transportation, with their accommodation, with their kitchen into one moving home — and thus answering all the questions of travel in one single roll of the dice.
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