Wanderlust Part 2

A Serro Scotty Highlander. Up until just recently you could buy these brand new from the dealer just across the border in PA. It's a 16' trailer, and one of the wife's personal favorites. Photo from the www.scottytrailers.com website

A Serro Scotty Highlander. Up until just recently you could buy these brand new from the dealer just across the border in PA. It’s a 16′ trailer, and one of the wife’s personal favorites. Photo from the http://www.scottytrailers.com website

In yesterday’s post we talked about our investigation into getting a travel trailer. In this post we’ll start to look at what our options are and how they affect our budget.

New Trailer

We went to the RV show to get a feel for what’s available new and to see how much they cost. The show featured many of the “mainstream” boxy looking trailers in various configurations. We actually found a few floor plans we felt would work well for our little family. Features such as a toilet, shower, range, microwave, A/C, propane, etc. are all standard and ubiquitous for the most part, regardless of brand and floor plan. These are all the things we need for our base camp.

 

Viking was one of the brands we liked for new trailers. Here are some typical layouts we felt worked well for our family of four. You could definitely spend long periods of time on the road with this as base camp.

Viking was one of the brands we liked for new trailers. Here are some typical layouts we felt worked well for our family of four. You could definitely spend long periods of time on the road with this as base camp.

As for price I didn’t know what to expect. Fortunately the dealers all had pricing on the trailers, and the RV show featured huge discounts, bringing the typical cost of a trailer in our size range (16′-21′) down into the $9,000 – $15,000 range (from around $13K-$20K). Cool retro looking Scamps, T@bs and Scotty’s like the one up top can be had brand spanking new, but the cost is even higher. For example a retro re-issue 2015 Shasta Airflyte runs $17,000 or more. Ouch.

A typical modern day travel trailer within our budget. This Viking is from the www.coachmenrv.com website

A typical modern day travel trailer within our budget. This Viking is from the http://www.coachmenrv.com website

 

It's 1959 all over again. You can buy one of these brand new today.

It’s 1959 all over again. You can buy one of these Shasta Airflytes brand new today.

So from a budget standpoint, a new trailer would be do-able in theory. We could squirrel away a few hundred dollars away each month and then the next time the show comes around we could take advantage of show pricing. Or maybe find a used late model trailer between now and next year.

If you people would buy some of our art it would make things much easier. We take commissions. We’ll barter…I will exchange design for a trailer….

Ok, seriously though, those prices are good, but not great. In reality we’re still broke and a trailer isn’t a necessity by normal people standards. We may not be able to squirrel away an acorn, let alone ten large.

Vintage Trailer

In just a short week I’ve become a virtual travel trailer expert. Or at least I know a LOT more now than I did before. Actually my wife and I both have.

She’s become an expert in what what she likes. She also keeps me laser focused. Because if it was up to me we’d be shopping $45,000 Airstream Sport’s. (I will own one someday, mark my words).

We just need a simple trailer that has a bathroom and can sleep four of us. In fact as the boys get older, they, or I, can sleep in a tent outside if need be.

Stay focused.

What if we bought used? Like really used. Like old.

As an industrial designer I’m intrigued by the self indulgence of designing my own trailer interior. Maybe god does help those who help themselves. What if we found a used trailer and gutted the inside. Outfitting it with all the modern amenities we need. Styling the inside just the way the designer in me would love to do. We’d need something that was structurally sound and hopefully leak proof.

Other than the unfinished basement project, I kinda have run out of self imposed windmills to chase.

I’m really good with a saw and nail gun. I have people who can fabricate anything I can imagine. My brother’s a carpenter. The inside of a trailer is just like a tiny house. We could definitely do this. And the wife really likes the look of old those old Scotty Highlanders (blue and white trailer at the top of the post).

I started looking around and while there aren’t a ton of trailers out there, but there are enough to get my blood and imagination moving. And there are a bunch of vintage trailer restoration forums and websites. There’s even a couple who restore old trailers as their business and have a TV show. Who would’ve thought people did this sort of thing.

I want a TV show.

Ok, stay focused.

You can buy a brand new Scamp trailer with the same body style they've been making for decades. The inside is up to date. Image from the Scamp website.

You can buy a brand new Scamp trailer with the same body style they’ve been making for decades. The inside is up to date. When you look at used ones from the 80’s, they look virtually identical. Image from the Scamp website.

Like I said, Christine really likes the look of some of these vintage trailers, as do I. While it’s convenient that many of them are still for sale brand spanking new, that is not an option for us. Luckily there are Scamps and other vintage trailers within reach of our meager means. Tentatively I would set a budget of $1,000-$5,000 for a used trailer that I could gut the interior on.

I do not want to do a full frame off restoration or renovation. Also, I’m not interested in restoring a trailer to it’s 1960’s glory either. The interior will be 100% contemporary. In line with our aesthetic and taste.

I looked at photos of redone Airstreams and other trailers. The interior construction is simple to do.  I would lay down wood laminate floors, and hopefully line the interior in polished aluminum or wood. Then build all the cabinets and beds out of 3/4″ birch plywood. Not cheap but I’d contribute all the labor.

And most importantly we could build it as funds were available.

Maybe even use it before it’s completed.

In just a few days of looking I’m starting to learn about all the various brands and styles of campers that were made in the last 70 years. Obviously an Airstream would be my first choice because of the style and solid construction. But they are impossible to find in the 16′ range, at a reasonable price. I can buy 20’+ Airstreams all day for under $15K but 16′ models are impossible. In fact 16′ vintage trailers are in such high demand apparently that they fetch top dollar, are hard to find, or are already restored; often to look like 50’s diners unfortunately.

There are options though. We just have to keep our eyes open.

Something like this though is right in my wheelhouse:

This two door 1953 canned ham style trailer would be perfect. I love the port hole window in the door. Asking price is right in our budget at $1,600

This two door 1953 canned ham style trailer would be perfect. I love the port-hole window in the door. Asking price is right in our budget at $1,600

 

 

We’re on the lookout. Browsing forums and classifieds; under no time crunch. When the stars align we’ll make it happen one way or another if we want to.

No matter what happens, it’s great to learn about a new topic. I’ll have more useless knowledge than anyone I know I suppose.

Stay tuned.

-Chris

Here are some interiors to get you excited:

An office inside a trailer. Maybe I could just live in the trailer and rent out the house.

An office inside a trailer. Maybe I could just live in the trailer and rent out the house.

A special edition Airstream Bambi interior for sale on Ebay for $25,000

A special edition Airstream Bambi interior for sale on Ebay for $25,000

The awesome interior of a renovated Royale. Yes please.

The awesome interior of a renovated Royale. Yes please.

The interior of a modern Viking trailer. It's like being at home. And if I wanted to I could redo it completely down the road, really jazz it up.

The interior of a modern Viking trailer. It’s like being at home. And if I wanted to I could redo it completely down the road, really jazz it up.

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Wanderlust – Our Travel Trailer Adventure?

I like the simplicity of this restored 1956 Santa Fe, especially the satin aluminum exterior - image via flytecamp.com

I like the simplicity of this restored 1956 Santa Fe, especially the satin aluminum exterior – image via flytecamp.com

Wanderlust

One of the things we’ve always enjoyed is traveling. Before the kids came along, the wife and I would make a point of visiting America’s national parks. Seeing nature, learning a little history, and simply being on the road. One of our first dates was spent adrift in Biscayne National Park on a broken snorkeling boat for four hours with thirty other people and no bathroom.

You don’t get that at Disney World.

And I for one have always enjoyed driving and the experience of the open road. It is an experience that is a treasured, integral part of living in North America I believe and fully support.

As we all know though, things change. We get busy. We make families or change lifestyles. Work, that necessary evil, gets in the way of the living part of life.

In our case, we’re busy as ever, but our children are starting to get old enough where we can, should, start thinking about taking real vacations with them. Actually, from my perspective, it’s not even really about “vacation” as I want them to experience the world beyond our little home as much and as early as possible. I simply think it will make them more well adjusted kids, and eventually, well adjusted adults.

The plus side of our current lifestyle is that we both work from home. So as long as we have an internet connection we can basically work from anywhere. The other harsh reality though is that we’re basically broke. With a focus on keeping a roof over our heads, food on the table and a good education for our children, there is zero money left over for vacations.

The question becomes, can we see the world, or at least our little part of it, on an essentially nonexistent budget? I think so. So like any good project we’re working on a plan. I don’t know when or even if we’ll execute our plan, but a plan doesn’t really cost much to put together.

Road-trip

Our thought is to get a travel trailer and use that as our base camp for our travels. The wife and I have been discussing our vacation options for quite some time now. Nearly every possible scenario was considered, and we decided that a small trailer that we could tow with our current little SUV would be the best choice. It would provide basically a roaming hotel room, and allow us the freedom to explore the countryside and mountain vistas with our vehicle, while the trailer stayed at a campground.

We would need a trailer that could sleep the four of us. More importantly, it must have a toilet and shower. And to keep meal costs low, the trailer would have a small refrigerator, range, sink and microwave. Before you think we’re “glamping”, all of these amenities are very common, even on small inexpensive travel trailers.

Lengthwise we’d go as small as possible; somewhere between 13′ and 21′ long; with 16′ as our benchmark to shoot for.

But Chris, you guys are broke, how can you afford this? We can’t but that’s never been a deterrent before. And as we prioritize things, at least I believe it’s important to get the kids out there to start seeing the world. Doing this when they are in their 20’s is useless. We will all hate each other by then. It’s now or never.

Having a little trailer hopping from campsite to campsite seemingly would be fun as well – little twinkle lights on the awning, turkey burgers on the grill. Meeting strange people that we can hide from in the safety of our hard trailer walls at night.

Anything is possible if you put your mind to it, right?

Travel Trailer Game Plan

We do not have a set schedule, but preferably by spring of next year we’ll be well on our way to achieving our goal of having a trailer and hitting the road.

As stated, our intent would be to use the trailer as a base camp. A place to sleep, hang out at night, eat breakfast and dinner in, occasionally lunch. Aside from trailer cost, we’re assuming food costs would be neutral compared to being at home. Campsite costs run around $20-$30 a night according to USAtourist.com, which is about $100 less per night than a hotel room. We figure we’ll eat out less if we can cook our own meals, so maybe save $20-$30 on food per day compared to a regular hotel based “vacation”. Fuel costs will be higher due to reduced gas mileage (+$300/year?). Plus additional insurance (+$300/year?) so that will offset some of the cost savings of our mobile hotel room.

We’re thinking about twenty nights on the road a year – two vacations at a week apiece, plus a few long weekends. And this doesn’t include any out of state art shows we might use the trailer for. One other awesome thought we had too, was, in theory we could pack up the cats, kids and gear, and park our trailer in a campground on the Gulf coast for two weeks to escape the seasonally depressing NEOhio winter.

It sure beats putting a bullet in my head.

Without doing any hard math, I’m guessing if we had a $10,000 budget the endeavor would pay for itself via cost avoidance in 3-5 years. At which time we could trade it in and get ourselves even further into debt with some other hair brained idea of mine.

Before we talk more about budget though, let’s start looking at trailers. Because up until a few days ago I didn’t even know what to expect they would cost…

Click here to see Part 2 of this post

 

Ideas For A Healthier World in 2015

Three christmas trees marking the three years we've been in our home. From front to back: 2012, 2014, 2013.

Three christmas trees marking the three years we’ve been in our home. From front to back: 2012, 2014, 2013.

It’s that time of year again, when we create a bunch of lists to recap this year and wax poetic about the coming year. We plan all these great things we’ll do, and how we’ll act a lot better than we did last year. I’ll leave it up to you as to whether you can accomplish these things in 2015, or not. But what I’d like to give you are some ideas of how you can help make the world, planet, a better place in the coming year. I like to think I’m not being to preachy here; rather my intent is to give you ideas of things you can do that don’t affect your lifestyle that much, and collectively make a huge difference if we all did these.

Here are some simple ideas to make 2015 a healthier year for you and your planet.

Plant Pollinator Friendly Gardens

Despite the cold, spring will be upon us in no time. As you plan your garden for the coming year, consider planting plants, trees and flowers that pollinators such as bees and butterflies like. These insects are critical for a healthy environment and a robust food chain. We don’t think about them in our busy lives, but these insects are essential for our survival, and they are dying off at an alarming rate due to our use of chemicals and habit loss.

Regardless of where you live, you most likely will plant some flowers this year, or freshen up your landscape. The easiest thing to do is select native plants and flowers – native animals and insects will love them, and the plants will require virtually no watering once established because they are accustomed to your local precipitation. Click here for a list, of Ohio native nurseries and plants.

Also, recent studies have shown that plants (and seeds) from big box stores and large garden centers may contain neonicotinoids. These toxic chemicals are found in the seeds of the plants, and linger long after the plants have grown up. Make an effort to buy certified organic seeds and ask your nursery if their plants are free of neonicotinoids.

Reduce Your Energy Consumption

High on my list for 2015 is switching more of our light bulbs to energy-efficient LED bulbs. I’ve been monitoring their costs and selection closely at Lowe’s and Home Depot, and you can now get a simple LED light bulb for under $10, that will last for 20 years (I may not even last that long). Remember to keep your receipts because most bulbs will carry a warranty.

Smart thermostats are ubiquitous at home centers now as well. Consider installing one. You’ll feel more comfortable, and it will lower your energy usage, putting money in your pocket along the way.

Lastly, on a cold morning walk around the house and look for drafts. Check exterior door weather stripping, window leaks, and feel around pipes that exit your house. We have a spigot in the basement that I can physically feel and see air coming through that I have to seal up with some spray foam. Use spray foam yourself or hire an insulation company like RTEK insulation to spray add’l insulation in your attic or basement. Additionally maybe it’s time for new windows, or replace old dried out weather stripping.

Energy savings equal more money for you. Well worth the investment.

Eliminate Beef From Your Diet

Ugh, this is the worst idea ever. I love steak. And hamburgers. But livestock emissions (from animals and transportation associated with them) creates more greenhouse gasses than all other transportation combined. Beef is 41% of those emissions.

Here are a few things we’re doing to go zero beef. I believe the ecological footprint for poultry is less than that of cows. Turkey is a great alternative to ground beef. We use it for tacos and sloppy-joes, even burgers as well. I’ve been buying chicken sliders instead of hamburgers as well at the grocery store. In general we eat more chicken than beef, if for no other reason than it’s a lot less expensive.

When we buy red meat, we almost always purchase antibiotic free, natural beef. Beyond greenhouse gas emissions, beef is a major source for antibiotic pollution that is degrading our health and resistance to disease.

Other options for red meat that we haven’t experimented with, but should include buying local beef – like directly from the farmer at a farmers market. That way you know it’s natural and there isn’t as much transportation involved. Also look into bison meat, which may be a good occasional alternative. Lastly, take up hunting or become friends with a hunter. Venison is as good or better than beef and has no ecological footprint if harvested responsibly.

Think, Don’t Take Anything For Granted

This is the most important thing I can encourage you to do in the new year. Think for yourself. Think about where everything you consume comes from.

  • What materials did it require?
  • Where did it come from?
  • How far away? How’d it get here?
  • Who made it? Where are they from? How much income do they make?
  • Where will it go when I’m done with it?
  • Am I paying the real cost for this item?

For example we pay our electric bill, but do you think about where the energy comes from? In Ohio most of our energy comes from coal. Coal is a great material but we’re using too much, too fast and it’s killing our atmosphere. It causes countless deaths due to asthma, air-borne chemical exposure and the harvesting of coal destroys mountains and watersheds. We’re also using up a finite material. Every ton we use is a ton future generations will not have access to. None of those costs or lost value are paid by you, the user, when you pay your bill.

If you are going to be a consumer then be a fair consumer. Understand the ramifications of your actions, and be willing to pay the true costs for those actions.

Think about where your clean water, air and food come from. And take none of them for granted. You can make a difference, you just need to wake up to that realization.

From our family to yours, we wish you all the best for a happy and healthy new year. Please be kind and helpful to each other. Learn to love again and spread that love.

-Chris

 

A note on the blog, and new year: You may have noticed this has been only my second post this month (420th post overall…wow). Fortunately for our family I have been busy the last month with paying work. The end of the day finds me worn out, with little interest in many of the endeavors I took for granted just a couple years ago. Life is constantly changing, and not always by our own hand or plan; but change comes none the less. Recognize and appreciate the freedoms you enjoy. Interests and goals turn into luxuries in a heart beat.

The stresses of being self employed are very unique. Right now my focus is on providing for my family, their health, education and happiness. Anything else is a self-indulgance. I’m essentially a work-aholic right now so to speak. Which goes against my grain in so many ways, but that’s how it goes some times. I’ve grown a lot in the last two years. I’m learning to focus on what adds value to the one life I have, and cast off that which does not. I’ve realized that goals come in so many forms and timelines. And they change.

As such writing, art, random endeavors and home projects have fallen by the wayside. For example, the basement project is on indefinite hold until I get some free time. Though I do have a peachy-keen shelf write up I need to draft and share with you. Hopefully the new year will find greater balance and I will be able to build of off 2014’s successes, and mitigate that year’s failings.

I have “written” my first book, a single copy volume on bees that was a Christmas present for the wife. I really enjoyed the experience. So writing more in the new year is definitely on my wish list, but maybe in a new form. (I would like to translate this blog to book form, as well as a book of poetry with my illustrations for example. Alas, these endeavors are also the pinnacle of self-indulgence so we shall see.)

I can’t say for sure how much I will be writing on the blog though. I’m trying to decide now whether to even retain the nineappletrees.com address for instance; reverting back to the free address would save me a few dollars for example. Maybe it’s time for a change as life changes. I don’t know. But regardless I thank those of you who have made this experience of writing a fun one. If I encouraged one person to do something to make our world a better place than the effort was well worth it. That is the least we can ask of this life.

May you be blessed in the new year.

 

5 Green Holiday Tips

Today we went out and got our Christmas tree. It was a beautiful day and the tree farm just opened up yesterday. I hooked up the trailer and we piled into the RAV4 and headed on down to the farm. They were busy at Shawnee Trail Tree Farm. I asked the helpful gentleman working there if the had any live trees and he said they had live trees all over the place…I clarified asking “do you have any live trees, like, you’d plant in the ground?

Oh, yeah over here. You’re the first person to ask.” He walked over with us revealing three long rows of trees with their roots in “ball” form, wrapped in burlap. I was a bit disappointed we were the first ones to ask. With so many people I had hoped more would be interested in this earth-friendly alternative to cut live trees. The family and I spent about 15 minutes examining our options, there were plenty to choose from and after a few moments of deliberation we picked out a nice pine tree, not sure what kind, but it looks to be a spruce of some sort.  It looks just like the one we got last year, though a little taller and larger.

Our real live Christmas tree waiting in the "holding area" by the swing set, just outside the back window where we can see it. I'll put lights on it soon and we can enjoy it outside until the week before Christmas when we'll bring it into the Family Room.

Our real live Christmas tree waiting in the “holding area” by the swing set, just outside the back window where we can see it. I’ll put lights on it soon and we can enjoy it outside until the week before Christmas when we’ll bring it into the Family Room.

As you may recall, I pre-dug a hole not far from where last year’s tree is, just off the driveway. Since the new tree is alive, it’s important to have somewhere to plant it after the egg-nog wears off the week after Christmas. The ground could be frozen so digging the hole ahead of time is paramount. Also I dug a temp hole, or rather a shallow depression with a mound of dirt around it, to stage the tree in before Christmas so we can enjoy it, lights and all, until we bring it inside. The live tree comes inside about a week before the big day. We place it in a bucket and that’s about it. We don’t even water it because it’s only inside for about 1-2 weeks. Then the tree is transferred to the pre-dug hole where it will live and grow.

So this got me thinking, what are some ideas for living a “greener” holiday, that anyone can try?  Here are five tips I’d like to share with you. They aren’t that difficult and don’t cost anymore than their not-so-green alternatives.

1) Buy a living tree that you can plant after the holiday

You have three options when it comes to holiday trees: 1) artificial, 2) cut, previously alive and 3) live. This is our second year getting a live tree with bur lapped root ball for our “main” tree and we’re hooked. Our 6’+ tree cost $45 this year which is a bargain compared to live trees you’d buy in the Spring or Fall at a garden center. Our local tree farm offers three varieties including Norway and blue spruce, so we don’t have to get the same type of tree every year if we don’t want to. Then when the holiday is over, we have a new tree to add to our landscape that we can treasure for decades to come. We even celebrate previous year’s trees by decorating them with lights…so if you spot an evergreen tree in the yard with lights, you’ll know it’s one of our past Christmas trees.

If you’re still stuck on the other two types of holiday trees, we have a few artificial trees we put up elsewhere in the house in fact, there are ways to be more sustainable with those too. For artificial trees, look for ones that are well made and made in America if possible. Look for trees that are not pre-lit. While it’s more work, you won’t feel compelled to throw out the tree if the lights don’t operate anymore. As for cut trees, don’t feel like they aren’t sustainable either, they are typically grown on local family farms and visiting with the whole family to cut a tree down, builds strong family memories. Look for farms that grow their trees organically. This will keep chemicals out of your Living Room and the environment. Don’t be afraid to ask the farmer, and shop elsewhere if they use pesticides. When the holidays are over chip the tree up and compost it, or cut it up to create ground cover for small animals on the perimeter of your property. One other option is to tie it to a cinder block and submerge the tree to create a small reef for pan fish in your lake or pond. Do not burn your tree in the fireplace as this is bad for your chimney (you’ll burn your house down kid!).

2) Buy LED holiday lights

LED lights are easy to find the store these days, and you’re no longer limited to cool white (bluish) colored lights. Pick what you like: warm white, cool white, or color lights and go wild inside and outside. You can even purchase solar-powered lights that don’t require a cord. For us, these are perfect for our previous year Christmas trees planted in the woods, far from an outlet. The cost is coming down on LED’s. Some of that added cost is offset with lower electricity bills because they use a lot less power than traditional incandescent bulbs. For me though, the biggest selling point is that LED’s don’t burn out as quickly which means I’m not chasing burnt out bulbs. If you have multiple strands of lights, regardless of type, try to buy all the same kind so you can interchange the bulbs when they do burn out, ultimately putting all the burnt bulbs on one strand and salvaging the others. Home Depot recycles holiday lights and even has a coupon program good towards the purchase of new lights at their stores.  Don’t throw old light strings in the trash, recycle them.

3) Give “consumable” gifts

Most of us have enough “stuff” as it is, and if we don’t, we typically just go out and buy it for ourselves anyway.  We just bought a new coffee maker on Black Friday, for ourselves, for example. Also, as we get older, the physical things that would make our wish list typically cost more than anyone would be willing to spend on us, (yes a new Lexus hybrid would look incredible in my driveway by the way). So, why not focus on what I call “consumable” gifts. Items that don’t end up sitting in a cupboard with dust on them after 6 months, such as food, wine, or gift cards. Also tickets to events or even the movies are great because they get people out of the house, and typically result in experiences that they’ll remember throughout the year. Many of these items help support the local economy, or can support enterprises that are environmentally sustainable – e.g. wine from a local green winery, tickets to the theater downtown or join your recipient for a day at the spa. Typically these are things that people wouldn’t buy for themselves anyway. The possibilities are endless and most likely are more thoughtful or personal than a random item off of a list….(of course if you want to buy me a lease on that hybrid, I’m fine with that too). Another option is to donate money to a charity in the recipient’s name, but we’d include something special for the recipient too. Don’t just give to charity and call it a gift. For example donate to the zoo, but the also treat them to a fun day at the zoo. Or maybe treat them to a round of golf, and make a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of all the time they spend looking for their golf balls in the woods.

4) Give personal gifts

If you must give a physical thing, why not make it personal. Make something. Even if you’re not “artsy“, we all have a pile of photos sitting in our phones and digital cameras. Put together a photo album (or DVD, flash drive or something in the “cloud”) with pictures the person would love, and appreciate finally being accessible outside some camera in a drawer. Find an eco-friendly frame and print out a quirky photo from your last vacation together or a picture of a treasured loved one. If you really want to go nuts, learn a new hobby or skill and share the fruits of your labor with others this holiday season….make them a four course meal, give them some home-made brew or sew them organic fabric hand warmers. We’re all creative in our own way, and I guarantee they’ll love your gift. Another option is to give the gift of your time. Catch up with an old friend, or go fishing with a relative, or take your parents out to dinner. Put the phone down and play with your kids or take your spouse out on a date. All of these cost virtually nothing and are more valuable than anything you’ll find in a store.

5) Take a deep breath

This is more of a social and mental gift, but this time of year is crazy. It’s a natural time of resetting; an end and new beginning. Help yourself, and the world around you, by taking a deep breath. Find time to be alone and think of all you have to be thankful for. Think of everything that you would miss if it weren’t in your life, or in the world….kids, family, friends, pets, big cats, starfish, people who look different from you…fresh air, clean water, and food….a diverse and colorful world out there…the list is essentially infinite. Resolve to see what you can do in the coming year to make sure future generations have just as much bounty, and freedom, as you and I have been blessed with. Then go out there and share your love with others. Tell them, show them, how much you appreciate them; friends and strangers, alike. Take the high road when you can….let that guy have that parking spot, or find a mental diversion while that lady in line ahead of you tries to make using coupons look like quantum physics. And be aware, life with you isn’t always roses and rainbows. Take a deep breath. Admit that life isn’t perfect. Know that you are not perfect. Make life easier and more enjoyable for others. We only get one shot at this, and we’re only here temporarily. We don’t truly own anything, eventually it all turns back into dust. Don’t spend precious time tricking yourself to think otherwise. You can basically count on one hand that which is eternal and truly matters. Be kind and gentle. Be giving. Be open. Love. Live.

Stop waiting.