And I Woke Up Here

| 5/6/2015 2:35:00 PM

Rima AustinI get a lot of questions from people wanting to know why I live the way I do, or how could I live the way that I do, and furthermore, why would I want to live the way that I do? I decided to share it with everyone so here is the “nutshell” version.

After graduating from Tennessee Technological University, I went on to pursue the brass ring. I volunteered at the local PBS television station until I was hired on as the membership coordinator. I was still thinking that journalism, no matter the medium, was where I wanted to go. However, my life was stressful and I was not content. It wasn’t until the summer of 2013 that my life changed dramatically. A friend of mine, Jason Mackrill, seeing how stressed I was all the time, suggested that I leave it all behind and hit the road. By this time my children were grown and happy in their own lives, and I really had nothing to hold me back, so I sold everything I owned, and my friend and I left town in a full-size 1987 GMC van and went on what I now call the “Hippie Trip.”

Traveling gypsy


For three months, we crisscrossed the West and camped everywhere we went. We meditated on cliffs looking over the Rockies in Colorado; we bathed in icy cold mountain streams in Montana; we sat in the drum circles formed by the wonderful free spirits at Rainbow Gatherings. Our meals were food we received at food banks throughout the West and cooked on a gas stove and our coffee made in a French press. When our cash ran low, we did what almost every other wayward traveler did making their way from east to west, we “flew a sign.” With nothing more than just a suggestion about giving, written on a piece of cardboard, I stood on corners from Casper, Wyoming, to Helena, Montana, and then back again. It was a wonderful experience.

Church on back road in New Mexico