I love being a Snowbird! You get to travel and see new country as your heart leads you, and then you can come home to your winter base and get the feeling that you are “Home” and have a base. That’s just what I feel like here in Quartzsite. After a summer in Flagstaff and then a fall road trip to Utah and Colorado my itchy feet are pretty well satisfied and I’m glad to be someplace familiar and comfortable; a place I call Home; a place where all my needs are met.
In this post I want to talk about your most basic human needs and how you can meet them.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” John Muir
As much as we like to think we are independent and free as vandwellers, we still have certain very basic needs that we will never be free from. Some of those needs are obvious like food, air and water. If we don’t have air, we are instantly uncomfortable and will be dead in just moments. If we don’t have water, we have a few days at most to find some or we die. We are equally dependent on food but it takes much longer before we are drastically affected. Fairly soon we will feel hunger and that will grow increasingly uncomfortable but it isn’t unbearable. Eventually you get used to being hungry it and hunger actually starts to decrease. Slowly physical and mental changes happen and we lose strength and vitality. With time the affects get worse and worse and finally we die.
But those aren’t all the needs we have; they’re just the most obvious. I believe we all have have a genetic need for:
- Connection to Nature
- Tribal Connection
- Adventure (Some Combination of Travel, Danger, Risk and Discomfort)
They are a left-over remnant from our millions of years of evolution in our pre-human, hominid and hunter-gatherer past. For the last 10,000 years we have switched over to agriculture and civilization and to some degree the needs have diminished, but they are not gone! Millions of years of evolution can’t be undone that quickly. We still have those needs, but they aren’t as strong. For example, in some people the drive for travel is still very strong, and with others it is greatly diminished and travel is more of a hassle than its worth. Some people have such a strong need for Adventure that we have a name for them, we call them “adrenaline junkies.” But the truth is they are much more normal than the rest of us. We all have a genetic need for adventure it is simply stronger in them than most of us.
When we fail to meet our need for air, water or food the negative effects are obvious and happen very quickly. But being starved of our other genetic needs is just as bad except the effects happen much slower and are much less noticeable—but they are just as real! Most of us are slowly starving to death from a lack of nature, tribal connection and adventure but we have no awareness of it. There are several reasons we don’t notice them:
- We get a small amount of it so we don’t actually starve to death but are chronically undernourished.
- The symptoms are mostly subtle they’re mental and not physical. Anxiety and depression are the main result and we get used to them and aren’t even aware we have them.Eventually they effect our body and we get sick from them, but we still aren’t aware what is actually making us sick.
- The symptoms develop slowly. It’s like the old saying, “How do you boil a frog—you throw it in the pot and slowly turn up the heat.” The frog doesn’t know it’s dying until it’s too late. In the same way we are unaware of the misery a lack of nature is causing us until we are very uncomfortable; and even then we blame the discomfort on everything else and don’t know the real cause.
Feast and Famine
Traveling through the summer satisfies my need for adventure but it starves my need for tribal connection. Coming home to Quartzsite and spending time with the tribe meets those needs. For me, it is the perfect combination! By the end of the summer I start to feel like I’m starved for connection to the land and to the tribe so I look forward to the change the desert brings and the many old friends I will see again and all the new friends I will make. And then in the spring I feel like I need more alone time and feel starved for Adventure and Travel.
Feast and Famine is nature’s way. We fight against it and hate it but it is inherit in all of nature. It’s a form of Yin and Yang (the principle that complimentary opposites evolve and cooperate together to co-create reality as we know it). Only by accepting and embracing both times of feast and famine can we ever hope to be happy by living in harmony with underlying fabric of the Universe.
The Need for Tribal Connection
Like most vandwellers, I have a lot of the loner in me and an almost pathological need for alone time. But, also like most vandwellers I know, I have a corresponding need to make connections with like-minded people. Quartzsite is THE place to do that!!
Judy and I had just driven into Quartzsite and stopped at the Burger King for lunch; as soon as we stepped out of our vans and started to walk toward the restaurant we heard a voice from another van that said “Hey, you look familiar!” It was Mark and Donna in their Conversion van! They had camped with us in Goosnecks State park and then again for a few days in Cottonwood. They were camping near Quartzsite and just happened to be driving by and see us! What a coincidence! So they had lunch with us and then we followed them out to their camp. When we found a spot we all liked and started to settle in, another white van pulled in that looked very familiar; it was Al who we had traveled with to Utah and had camped with us in Cottonwood. He just happened to be out there looking for a camp as well. So we hadn’t been in Quartzsite for more than two hours and had already met two friends! That’s mainly what Quartzsite is to me, a place to connect with people I care about.
Since then I posted my location and many others friends have joined us. Right now there are 13 of us, 6 men and 7 women. Some are old friends, some are new, but they all contribute in my life in some way. I’ve heard from others that they are coming as well, and that’s great! The more the merrier as far as I am concerned.
Join Us for Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday and because I consider all vandwellers to be part of my extended tribal family, I want us to celebrate it together as family. So we are going to put together a Thanksgiving dinner for everybody who wants to join us. We did this last year and it turned out great: a great meal with great friends. So, just let me know you are coming and join us. If money is tight or you don’t have the facilities to cook and bring anything, don’t worry about it, we will have plenty. I want to be sure we have enough food so please I need you to let me know you are coming. Last year several people showed up without telling me they were coming. While we had enough food it was still disappointing to me. If you think you might come, please, just as an act of courtesy, email me and tell me. Even if you’re not sure you can make it, but think you can, write me and tell me that you might be here. [email protected]
A Need for the Beauty of Nature
But it wouldn’t be enough to meet my need for Tribal Connection if I had to lose my Connection to Nature. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen here in Quartzsite! The desert has its own distinctive beauty including some of the most amazing sunrise and sunsets and it always makes me happy! This trip is no different and within a few days of arriving back in Quartzsite we had a stunning moonrise and one of the deepest red sunsets I can remember. They literally feed my soul every bit as much as air, food and water feed my body!!
Come Join Us!!
If you are able come join us and have all your needs met!