Introduction

I grew up on a small farm near Asheville, North Carolina. Adventure was the farthest thing from my mind. As a child, I preferred reading a book in the shade of an apple tree. The Bobbsey Twins and the Five Little Peppers enthralled me, followed by Louisa Mae Alcott’s various children. In adolescence, I turned to Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. These people were my friends and were as close as the bookmobile, which came monthly. Mom allowed us to borrow as many books as we could carry. Weight was never an issue when I cradled precious books in my arms on the mile-long trek, mostly uphill, on a gravel road.

As I grew older, my one ambition was to attend Blanton’s Business College in Asheville and then live and work there. I attended Blanton’s followed by four years in California with my brother and sister-in-law. You’ve probably experienced the same age-old problem of being unable to get a job without a reference, or getting a reference without a job. After obtaining two references, I returned to Asheville. Living and working in town with an occasional weekend with friends in Nashville, for the Grand Ole Opry, satisfied me.

Then I met Jim Ellis, forester and active-duty Navy reservist. Life changed dramatically. His professional organization met annually in a different region of the United States or Canada, and we vacationed in the area. The Navy sent us various places for two weeks’ active duty, so we traveled by car over most of the United States and Canada for 34 years. Travel for fun began in retirement.

My column, Natters of a Nomad, appeared in the ezine and print RPG Digest from August 2018 through December 2019. These stories, some serious, some silly bits of nonsense contain some of the travels Jim and I experienced during the first fifteen years of our retirement.