This post is not about roaming. 

It’s about racism.  Writing these words I wonder whether I have anything of value to say, and whether I have any right to speak on this topic. 

I’m a privileged white straight woman.  I have a good job, a wonderful family, financial stability, and safety.  I have long considered myself an “ally” but now realize I had no idea what that even meant.

Confronting the poison of racism in myself is scary, painful, and hard.  That doesn’t matter one bit.  It’s necessary, and my pain is absolutely nothing compared to the pain lived daily by BIPOC.

I’ve been reading a lot of comments on Next Door about a racist note left on the door of a vacationing Black family in my small Texas town.  The comments range from horrified and shamed to defensive and belligerent.  I think all the comments have been by white people, who comprise most of our town’s population.  Some of them deny that such a thing as systemic racism even exists. 

I’ve also been reading Glennon Doyle’s treasure of a book, Untamed, and yesterday read the chapter titled Racist.  Doyle, a white woman, has the courage to confront her own racism and acknowledge the way racism contaminates the very air we breathe.  We’ve all been contaminated, and it’s our job to find the poison in ourselves and get rid of it.  Her words are helping me work through this process.  I wish everyone in the U.S. would read her book; if that happened, I believe our country would begin to heal.  She urges us to not perform, as I’ve done for many years, but to transform.  That’s what I’m trying to do now.  Only then will I be a true ally.

I’m working to improve.

Community. serendipity.


Late in the afternoon, just as I’d finished my last conference call of the day, I saw someone walk up onto our front porch and ring the doorbell.  It was a neighbor I’d never formally met, one who sat on the homeowners’ association board with my husband.  And she was bringing a gift:  three giant zucchinis.


Her boss, she explained, decided to get into gardening—and REALLY got into it.  Not understanding that these are gourds that multiply, she planted ten of these beauties, and now the entire office was at risk of burial by zucchini.  I invited her in, and as it happened, on the kitchen counter was Vivian Howard’s cookbook, open to the squash section.  I’d been reading it and looking forward to later in the summer when zucchini would be plentiful and cheap.


My neighbor glanced with interest at the squash glamor shots, and out came her phone to capture several of the recipes.  She left with a promise of more zucchini and possibly tomatoes:  her boss had planted 50 tomato plants in her “garden.”


That evening we feasted on squash and onions (I pan-fried almond-crusted tilapia fillets to go on top).  Was it just my imagination, or did the meal taste especially good because it was a gift?  Was I more a part of the community for having accepted the gift, and given something in return?  Perhaps being part of a community where people look out for each other, something our grandparents took for granted, is a balm.


When Phil and I are Roamers, we look forward to making connections, even (or especially?) brief ones, wherever we go.  And we hope to spread and receive kindness, and to be good neighbors.







Zucchini!  Summer!



The recipe I made with the gift


Our approach to spending money has already changed since we made the big decision to roam in retirement.  For example, recently I saw a nice silk forsythia wreath on sale.  My love for forsythia as the first harbinger of spring in Oklahoma, where I grew up, was handed down by my mother, who never met a flower she didn’t like.  I have some of her silk forsythia branches in my house.  And I’ve always wanted a wreath like that.  But nope!  I saw it, wanted it, and then said, “I’d just have to get rid of it in two years, so why buy it?”

My mother’s silk forsythia.  The vase was also hers!

That got me thinking about all the things we won’t buy as roamers:  household goods, home décor, tools, lawn equipment, plants, fertilizer, light bulbs—you get the idea.  So I decided to make a list and see what our potential savings might be. 

Shopping at Target: “I’d just have to get rid of it in two years, so why buy it?”

For that, I turned to Personal Capital, which is where I track all of our financial information.  It’s free and secure, and it keeps me precisely informed of our financial situation —especially during tax season, when I simply download all our tax-related expenses.  I decided to look at the past two years and find expenses we won’t have as roamers.  Here’s what we spent in 2018-19 that we won’t spend as roamers:

  • Home improvement. We invested a lot of money in our home, including furnishings, landscaping, and renovations

A section of our garden

  • Automotive. We bought a used car in 2018, plus regular expenses for two cars.
  • Property tax. (We plan to sell our house before we start roaming).
  • Home maintenance. Every-other-week house cleaning, replacements for things that wear out, toilet paper, etc. Well, we’ll probably still need to buy toilet paper.
  • Electric, water, propane, pool chemicals for the swim spa we never use (Nope, I’m not bitter about THAT purchase).
  • Gasoline/fuel. We’ll still have some of this for times when we’re using a rental car.
  • Homeowners and appliance insurance.
  • Cable/internet.
  • Work clothes.  I won’t need two wardrobes!
  • Pet care. This one breaks our hearts, because since we can’t turn Baxter into a roamer, we’ll have to find him a new staff. More on that later; I don’t want to think about it right now.

Baxter-not a fan of roaming

So that comes to quite a bit that we won’t spend as roamers!  Granted, even without roaming we wouldn’t continue to pour money into home improvement, and we wouldn’t buy a car often.  But even without those items we still would save enough to buy a lot of travel!