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gratitude in the desert

hey y’all, in celebration of father’s day, i asked my father to write some words for us about his time roaming around in the desert, his favorite winter activity. my dad has always been a deep thinker, a dream interpreter and a man who has a deep knowing that sitting still and listening is possibly the most important work we can do. he has a “BE HERE NOW” desk plaque in his home office and constantly asked my sister and i, “what headline would you give that dream?” as we recounted wild dreams of flying, swimming across the ocean or weaving rugs. 
you have taught me so much, daddy-O! thanks for sharing a little about your travels with our community here.
travel diary of Rich Hopkins:
It is difficult to appreciate the beauty of a gorgeous sunrise or sunset and not also be deeply grateful for the gift of sight. Especially when the view is painted upon a beautiful blue/aqua sky with wafting clouds reflecting the sun’s light, bent through the curved atmosphere of dawn or dusk.
In those moments I am also grateful for the wondrous gift of touch that allows us to feel the warmth of the sun, the bite of a brisk morning chill, and the brush of breezes as they wash across exposed skin.
It has been my pleasure to roam the desert southwest for a third winter drinking in the natural beauty, feeling the freedom to ‘JUST BE’ – living in ‘the NOW’.
I was also lucky enough to find many people of like-mind and kind spirit with whom I hiked the trails and shared many campfire evenings.
We have a small RV which makes our meandering approach to freedom of movement possible. It’s small enough to get to out of the way locations that are off limits to bigger rigs, yet large enough to provide amenities to soften the otherwise harsh desert environment.
When your closest neighbor is rarely closer than several hundred feet it is easy to find the freedom to be simply who you want to be in that moment.
Of course none of this freedom is enjoyed without some planning. There is the 2,000 mile trek to get there, route planning, visits with relatives and friends, meal planning, laundry, supplies, water, and etc.The amount of water we can carry (and properly dispose of) and storage of food, limit how long we can park in one spot. Electricity, however, is in abundant supply to our little RV because of a solar system I installed – and the sun is free and almost always shines brightly.
Although this required planning can also be enjoyed because when planning is well-done it facilitates the freedom to neglect daily agendas once we’ve arrived. By escaping from our self-imposed trappings and baggage, and choosing to roam free occasionally, we have found it possible to reflect inward upon our purpose in life – and to express gratitude for our abundance.