The other day I was in Green Valley as I drove through it on the way to Madera Canyon
It is a 20 minute drive down I19 from Tucson.
Here is a web description of Green Valley from http://www.topretirements.com/reviews/Arizona/Green_Valley.html
"Green Valley is one of the larger active adult communities in the world. It is actually a collection of developments and communities located in extreme southern Arizona. The population is over 21,000 and growing. Surrounded by copper mines, and near the hiking and birding areas of the Santa Rita Mountains, Green Valley is an unincorporated retirement community composed of 59 Homeowner Associations."
During my hike back from Elephant Head the other day I met a woman who gave me a lift to save my foot from further hurting from a blister. We exchanged cards and had indicated that if we had time we may get to meet up so I could ask her questions about her meditation experiences.
We arranged to meet up today at her house in Green Valley late this am.
I will call her "S". She is a couple years younger than me and is from Ottawa, Canada and for a few years has been spending 6 months here in a very pleasant one floor house she owns. 6 months is the limit allowed by Homeland Security allows Canadian's before problems can occur. She is meeting the limit of her stay this year.
S's house has a cozy kitchen/dinette and in the adjoining room is the formal dining table and living room in one. Off the living room in the rear is a full length porch that leads to an equal length outdoor patio.
There is a condo association fee that pays for access to a pool, club rooms, and a multitude of activities. S told me that they have a wonderful woodworking shop for residents. I like woodworking so that sounds interesting. She let me look over the brochure of what is available and a supplemental sheet with current activities.
I hadent intended on learning about life in Green Valley, but it was a pleasant way to understand why she chooses to winter here. It doesn't have the feel of many of the 55 and older communities that I have seen out here and I think it is because it isn't gated. S tells me that there are hundreds of Canadian's that winter here.
Our discussion eventually moved on to sharing our experiences. I had wanted to talk to S about her meditation experiences so we moved the conversation and I learned that she became first interested in Budism in College but didn't initially seek it out to sometime later. Fast forward to today she follows the DharmaNet's Learnings of Budism. It is one of the four types that there is.
Over the years she has visited Tibet and India to study and has met the Dali Lama.
This combined with her experience working in Canada gave her many chances to travel. Since Canada didn't have the same travel restrictions as we did in the USA during the Cold War she got to visit a number of the east blocked countries.
It is so interesting to meet someone with such diverse learnings and travels from what I had. When we met I gathered that she had some interesting stories to share and she did.
I took her through my travels the last two years and my goal to find, meet and talk to all kinds of people that had different experiences than what I had growing up and my work life.
My conversation went on to cover my philosophy of my travels beyond meeting people. I explained that after driving my Class B camper across the country and nearly spending $5,000 in fuel I needed a change this year and that was to migrate to a Prius where I expect to spend less than $1000 for more miles traveled. Thus significantly reducing my carbon footprint. This forced me to become a minimalist at the same time as the Prius does not offer much space. I have come to enjoy the simpler life it offers.
My philosophy to look for all the good there is, as I travel, makes for a simple life and the ability to learn about others like her through our discussion today. This way of life has similarities to Sufism that I learned about on my trip last year.
S was gracious to offer me a lunch of soup and salad before I was on my way. She served an Argentinian tea I believe called Yerba Mate.
She had asked me what I wanted to drink and I told her I would have what she was having. I told her after that I was glad I defaulted to what she was drinking as drinking the Yerba Mate was something totally different and opened me up to something totally new and I liked that.
As I expected my time talking to S was enlightening as she has had such interesting experiences to share and helps round out my experiences on my trip. I very much appreciated her taking her time to talk to me.
This afternoon I made the last trip into Tucson I expect for this year, as I plan on moving on tomorrow. I decided to walk the Congress Street downtown area under the bridge that the railroad goes above and that separates 4th Avenue's chic section of town.
Congress street is where the theaters are. It is also home to the Realto Theater that I went to see Uriah Heep the other might.
The downtown section is generally nondescript with some storefronts closed and only a handful of small shops. There are a number of places to eat that are worth checking out.
A couple of prominent buildings are banks.
Overall there is not very much shopping in downtown.
The tunnel under the railroad tracks brings you to 4th Avenue.
There are many small shops, restaurants, and placed to have a drink.
Businesses are gearing up for this weekend's street fair
Last year when I wrote about 4th Avenue they were just testing the light rail that connects downtown through 4th Avenue to the University of Arazona's Campus.
At the Book Festival yesterday I met a woman who Representive of the City of Tucson who told me that ridership on the light rail is higher than expected.
Tonight I said goodbye to one old and one new Vandwelling friend.
Dan who I wrote about last year was here again when I got here this year. Dan is older than me and is generally quite reserved. He is good for a conversation about his life growing up on a farm near Fetroit and he is just likable. He Vandwells by choice fulltime in his Class B motorhome, very siniliar to the one I had last year.
The other friend is a woman who I will call "A" is vandwelling because of circumstances that made her homeless. She has been living in her vehicle since last fall and met Dan through a aquantemce who has fallen ill and is no longer vandwelling himself. Dan checks on him regularly.
A is 40 something single and lost her job and without income lost her apartment and her remaining worldly items are in her vehicle. She refuses to try to modify her vehicle to make itore comfortable as she is afraid that she may laps into complancicy and loose motivation to look for a job on a daily basis.
She is running against the seasons as when May comes and Dan heads north to seek cooler weather, if A has not yet gotten a job by then she can't reasonably live in her car as it gets much to hot through September.
She is bright, educated, often shows a great deal of wittiness, and has a very nice laugh. I believe she will get another job and only hope it's sooner than later.
I will be tracking A through email and wish for good news to share with you soon.