Friday, May 11, 2018

DC on a minimalist lifestyle

The White House

I dipped my toe in the water. It was cold.  I took one step further so the water was up to my knees, it wasn't getting any more tolerable.  I decided against a swim after all. On my way out of the pool area I passed a sign pointing to a doorway under the cafe, it read "hot tub".  Now, that's the ticket. This place really does have everything.

Upon entering I saw one old man in the hot tub, hesitated for a moment, decided to proceed, and settled in across from him.  Like all RV park conversations do, it quickly turned to "what have you seen? have you done this yet"...

As he ticked off the list of significant sites in the area I shook my head no again and again, and he tsk tsked at me, clearly disappointed that I hadn't been running crazy to see everything there is to see in DC.

The Eisenhower Executive Office Building, right next door to the White House, might be my favorite building in DC.

The truth is, Lance and I had talked about this at length before arriving here.  We boiled it down to three things we really wanted to do, and we did them.

This is the minimalist way.  Pick the things that are important to US, not anyone else, and let the rest go. It's my nature to rush around and stuff everything I can into every moment so this is a regular struggle for me, in fact it was nearly impossible at first but it's getting easier with regular practice.

We started our minimalist journey over a year ago by letting go of duplicate kitchen utensils before moving on to letting go of nearly everything else we own, it seems so long ago now. Approaching our "must do" list using the same attitude took some adjusting but we're getting the hang of it.

For example, we are still reaching for Maine in early June. Between here and there: Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Boston, Salem... the list goes on and on.  I was building a hopskotch list to touch briefly on all of it, and feeling dissatisfied with it.  Lance was able to assign a name to my unhappiness "we're moving around too much, pick what you really want to do and let's do it properly". Again, minimalism in life.

He's right. So we'll be settling in for almost a month in a Boston suburb, within day-trip reach of Salem, Gloucester, and Plymouth Rock.  I had to let go of New York, New Jersey pizza (yes we've met folks that brag about it) and the rest of the list for now. Maybe we'll circle back around to them another time (happily, I think to myself, almost everything I want to see is on the coast so maybe someday will be aboard our future boat).

Anyways, coming back to the old man in the hot tub, he finally asked with exasperation "well what DID you do?"  I smiled:

I accomplished some important work for a client that saved them a lot of money.  I still work as hard as I always have, so the fun gets scheduled after the work is done. Somehow, in my little RV office instead of my former dedicated office 10x12 room at the house, I am able to focus better and enjoy the work.

We spent a whole day and a half in the Air & Space Museum, read every plaque and were totally present for all of it.

Sculpture in front of the Air & Space Museum

We rode around the Circulator bus and saw all the monuments (from the bus - it was 95 degrees and muggy that day) and hopped off for a few carefully selected close-ups. We chatted with folks we met there, including a band of young musicians from Norway who were so pale they were nearly translucent, I worried that they had enough sunblock, wondered if enough sunblock existed in the world to keep them safe.

We ate a meal at Old Ebbitt's Grill, the oldest saloon in Washington, and watched the politicians and tourists hob-nobbing. We were fully present for all of it, even noticing when the neighboring table skipped out on their tab in such a casual way nobody else noticed. The wait staff was so slow it took them 40 minutes or so to figure it out.

We photographed DC at night and it was stunning. The vibe of the city really changes at night and we lounged on the National Mall lawn while the camera snapped away time-lapse mode.

Capitol building and Reflecting Pool

We spent an afternoon drinking rum on the marina patio at Pusser's in Annapolis, and Lance made some connections that will help him pursue one of his photography ideas.

A park in a residential area of Annapolis. Many of the homes here have their own docks in their backyards.
Now that's livin'!

We played a round of mini golf at the RV park, the course was surprisingly tricky and Lance ended up beating me by one stroke, but it was back-and-forth the whole way.

The old man rolled his eyes at me and announced he was going to see Gettysburg the next day. Well, afternoon really because they had things to do in the morning, well, really they were going to just get an hour or so there.

I heard that Gettysburg is nearly a religious experience, and to allow some time.  I'm going to go when I can properly enjoy it.

I wished him well on his tour, and returned to the bus to find Lance lounging and reading a book, his photos uploaded successfully to Shutterstock.

Our journey, our way, just perfect for us.


  1. I admire your minimalist outlook. It is something that I have tried to achieve most my life. “Live simply.” Sadly I’ve fallen short, I get caught up. As a young woman I lived in New Hampshire & loved my life. I lived the New England mantra, “Use it up, wear it out. Make it do do or do without.” But living the fast life in the great northeast, you get caught up. You folks have the secret.

    1. I like your mantra! We keep trying, it's a process.

  2. Love the elaboration. Enjoyable read, gear photos. Excellent mantra. Do it your way. I concur. Cheers!

  3. “But the AAA guidebook says...!” ;-) it sounds like you’re doing it right. I can’t wait to catch up with you guys again.

    1. Oh yes, you're familiar with this process, aren't you :)

    2. I see cheap flights in my inbox daily nowadays. Let us know when you can find some time somewhere.