I am not sure if it was who I grew up with or where I grew up but the barter system was alive and well during my formative years making a huge impact on me! I learn from my father if you could make a deal without using actual cash it was not only a ton more fun but you usual got a lot more out of the deal. For him that always meant he would have, the advantage but what we get out of the trade and barter system runs a lot deeper than surface level, it’s not about having the upper-hand it’s about sharing experiences and stories of what you’ve made, where it came from, who gave it to you, why you do what you do, it is sharing your life with another person. It’s why we started this thing, it just makes sense to us and it seems to be an RV thing too. It has been our experience that RVers are always giving stuff away, I am not sure if, like us, they are constantly binging because of the space issues or because they, like us, also realize that stuff is just stuff and it really doesn’t matter.
When we started RVing we had no idea this was something RVers do, we arrived at our first job and met some amazing friends from Alaska whom we worked closely with. Before we left Montana we had traded some canned vegetables, that my dad gave us before we left on our trip that he had made from his fall harvest, with some smoked salmon they had brought down from Alaska. Our friendship with our Alaskan friends continues, we actually were able to visit them in Alaska when we traveled to Valdez in the summer of 2015 and see where they call home.
This type of interaction continued throughout our travels. We have met and continue to meet amazing people on this adventure and learning about them, their story is what makes them so interesting. We arrived in California and traded canned carrots and eggplant for about 10 pounds of raw almonds from a new friend Roger who’s conversation by the fire was most memorable. Roger built and flew gliders. He was a wealth of knowledge about gliders and planes, how they are built and flown and he was actually a wealth of knowledge about a lot of things aliens, mediation, nutrition, allergies. He worked at a small company that made gliders for private citizens. He was able to bring us into work, Justin a couple times, and show us how the gliders were built, teach us how they flew, and short of bringing us on a flight it was a really cool experience. Something we never would have done or seen. He was one of those people who stick with you when they are gone and your not sure why. It’s not what they said or what they did exactly but just who they were, how they were, everything about them. He was that guy and I am better for knowing him.
Then with our friend Jerry we traded feathers from Justin’s hunting experience in Montana for some leather so I could use it to make Christmas gifts. Jerry was a collector. He actually preferred to be called a recycler. He would go around to different areas in the city and organize the recycling for events collecting items that he could recycle or use again in some way. So he had everything, if you needed it, he had it! He was also a wealth of knowledge when it came to vehicles. Once our Jeep was not starting and literally like Jerry could hear our cries he called and asked us what we were up to. We of course explained to him our vehicle problem and he told us exactly what was wrong and pulled up about 15 minutes later to help us.
Oh and Yvonne who gave us eggs from her free range chickens in return we let her fill up her water jugs at the park. She was a homesteader who lived in a shed with no electricity or water on a large piece of property near the park we worked at in California. What a character! This woman invited us over to mine for crystals on her property, start fires to help her get rid of her brush…where Justin’s eyebrows learned the wind in California changes quickly…but that’s another story, we collected chickens from her trees at dusk. She insisted we try cow tongue before we left California, said it was a delicacy. She also now calls us randomly to give us news on government conspiracies and secret takeovers she is sure we should relocate to another country just isn’t positive which one yet. She was always up to something and we were always up for a new experience.
If we have learned nothing in these passed three years except have something to trade because you never know when you will have the opportunity to meet someone and trade for something you never knew you needed. Making connections and sharing stories is a huge part of our journey. Meeting wonderful people and sharing what makes them who they are, what drives them, how they work, is what life is all about. We crave those experiences they help us grow into who we had always desired to be sitting at that desk for years, screaming to get out but being training to keep quiet, smile pretty, sit up straight.
Just for today we get to laugh with the wind in our hair, and ask all the questions we want to whomever we meet, while wearing our seat belt, of course. Life is good today!