Tag Archives: blog

Blogiversary

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On February 5, 2015 I started a blog. It had a different name then. I called it Throwing Stories into the Ether because I felt as if I were releasing my writing into the air, never knowing if it was being read or appreciated.  It was a fine name, but difficult for people to remember, and it didn’t say anything about who I am or what I do. Some months into the endeavor, the blog–and I–became the Rubber Tramp Artist.

When I stared the blog, I thought maybe my sibling and a few of my friends would read it. Now the blog has over 600 subscribers. While having 600 subscribers is small potatoes compared to what many bloggers (and now vloggers!) have going on, my numbers continue to grow.

Stalagtites and stalagmites grow in a dark cave.


In the last four years I’ve written a lot, made some new friends, and seen amazing works of people and nature. From Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico to Arches National Park in Utah, I’ve shared my adventures. I’ve shared locations of beautiful free camping spots and told readers where to find fantastic public art. I’ve told stories of my family, both the one I was born into and the one I’ve created for myself.

In the beginning I shared a blog post every day. I kept that up until I got a boyfriend with a dog and my life was more full than it had been in years. I changed my posting schedule to every other day, but even that timetable became too much. Now I share a blog post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with occasional blog extras on days when I want to share a second part of a long story or I’m writing about a holiday that is outside my normal posting schedule.

A saguaro cactus with six arms stands against a light blue sky with whispy clouds.
This saguaro is not just surviving, but also thriving in the desert.

The change I’m most proud of is what I do on Wednesday. At the suggestion of my dear friend and computer guy, every Wednesday I share a post of particular interest to vandwellers, rubber tramps, RVers, vagabonds, drifters, nomads, and travelers of all kinds. From how to get a job as a work camper at a campground to surviving and thriving in the forest, desert, and mountains, I tell readers what I know in hopes of making their lives easier.

While these posts are hopefully helpful to my community, they also take a long time to write. I don’t want to share just my knowledge, bu the knowledge of other folks who have experience with the topic at hand. I do a lot of research for each Wednesday post and include links when possible so readers can easily find the articles I reference and expand their research if they like. A 2,000 word Wednesday post can easily take hours to research and write.

An old blue Dodge van is parked. In the background is a Catholic church.
This was my van home for a time.

A subset of the Wednesday posts are interviews I’ve conducted and published. Each month I share an interview with a current or former vandweller, traveler, nomad, rubber tramp, or RVer. (Sometimes I interview couples too.) I don’t know everything, so I tap into the knowledge of the larger community. It’s fun for me to learn more about people and how they live. From ideas about the superiority of mini vans to lessons learned from being in an accident, I broaden the scope of my blog by sharing the life experiences with others.

Brightly colored handmade hats and copies of the book Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods sit on a table.
At the 2017 RTR, I sold copies of the book I wrote, Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods, as well as hats I made with my own hands.

In the midst of keeping up with my blog, in the fall of 2016 I wrote and self-published my first book. Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods is a collection of short personal essays about my two seasons as a camp host and attendant at the parking lot of a very busy trailhead. During the time covered in the book, I lived in my van on top of a mountain with no running water, no electricity, no internet access, and no phone service. You can say I got comfortable being with myself.

Writing and self-publishing a book is a huge accomplishment. I have ideas for four more books; the trick is finding the time to make them happen while still publishing blog posts three times a week, being in a relationship with my guy, playing ball with a demanding dog, maintaining friendships, creating art (and crafts!), occasionally making money, carrying out the tasks of daily life (cooking, eating, cleaning, doing laundry), and wasting too much time on social media and playing solitaire on my phone. Maybe I’ll need to delete the solitaire app and ban myself from social media for a while.

Stickers are fanned out on a white table. The stickers say Rubber Tramp Artist on the top. The image shows a smiling sun wearing sunglasses sitting behind the wheel of a light blue conversion van. The sun has its head out of the window. The sun has one hand on the steering wheel and the other is waving.
You can get your very own Rubber Tramp Artist sticker.

In the summer of 2018, I commissioned an artist friend of mine, Samantha Adelle, to create a logo for me. I told her what I wanted, and she made my vision a reality. I love that the artist used photos of my actual van to draw the van in the logo. I love that as Blaize Sun, I’m the actual sun, and I’m driving, smiling, and waving. I love that it’s a happy, happy logo. (As you can see from the photo, I had stickers made with my logo on them. By the summer, I hope to have apparel and other merchandise with the logo available for purchase.)

It’s been a busy four years. I’ve grown tremendously as a writer and (hopefully) as a person. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Thank you for reading my words. As long as I have readers, I hope to continue to write.


Changes for 2018

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New years tend to bring change, and 2018 has been no exception for me. We’re one month in, but things have been happening while posts I scheduled in late December continued to pop up while I’m busy with life.

I helped run the RTArt Camp within the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous from January 10th through the 19th (updates on both the RTR and the art camp are coming up soon), but decided not to stay in Scaddan Wash for the women’s RTR. I was tired of the wind and the dust and the crowds and sitting in the sun for hours a day. Maybe I would have enjoyed meeting new women in a more intimate setting, but honestly, I was worn out from talking to strangers.

I left Quartzsite to move towards one of the biggest changes my life has seen in the last five years. After more than half a decade on the road, I now have a home base in the desert.

At the end of November I was offered a great deal on a 40+ year old fifth wheel. It’s in good shape for its age, and the price was right. Solar panels provide enough electricity to run a radio and lights and to charge my laptop and phone. A hose connects my little home to a water spigot, so I have running water, and a nearby bath house provides flush toilets and hot showers.

Because I’m way out in the desert, staying in the fifth wheel year round is impractical. That’s not a problem though, because my job on the mountain takes me away during the five hottest months of the year. I have the best of both worlds because I can winter in the desert and summer in the mountains.

I wasn’t seeking  this kind of change, but I’m grateful the opportunity fell in my lap. Being a full-time van dweller was fine, and I had a good life, but I’m looking forward to having a home base. Simply being able to store things and not having to travel with every possession I own is going to vastly improve my life (not to mention my gas mileage).

This new year is bringing changes to this blog too. I’ve decided to go to a three-day-a-week publishing schedule. Publishing every day or even every other day makes it really difficult for me to find time to create collages and do other art projects. I’m also hoping that publishing thrice a week will open up time for me to get to work on the next book I’m going to write. The new schedule will have posts appearing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with the possibility of extra posts on special occasions or when I have a particular lot to say.

Wednesday’s posts, while I hope of interest to everyone, will be geared specifically to nomads, boondockers, rubber tramps, work campers, and van dwellers. On Wednesdays I’ll share my tips for getting work, finding places to camp, having fun, staying safe, and generally holding it all together.

I hope long-time readers will continue to join me as my adventures unfold. I hope folks who enjoy this blog will invite their friends to share in the fun. I hope more readers will leave comments here and on the Rubber Tramp Artist Facebook page. (You can also follow me on my Blaize Sun author’s page on Facebook.)

Thanks for reading and being a part of my world. Here’s hoping 2018 treats all of us well.

New Year, New Look

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Dear Readers,

Welcome to the new Rubber Tramp Artist site. It’s still me, Blaize Sun, sharing my stories, rants, and observations.

Rubber Tramp Artist used to be Throwing Stories Into the Ether. Although almost a year ago when I started writing, I really did feel as if I was sending my words out into the clouds, I now know I have readers (followers, even). The new name, Rubber Tramp Artist, says more about me and my life (and is shorter and–hopefully–easier to remember).

If you are a subscriber, thank you. I’ve transferred my subscribers to this new site. However, if you don’t get a notification of a post from me tomorrow, you can scroll down this page and subscribe again

I’ve transferred all the previous posts here, so you should be able to find your old favorites (or click around and see what I’ve been up to, if you are a new reader).

I wouldn’t be on this beautiful new page right now if it hadn’t been for the help of a dear computer-savvy friend. (Thank you.)

Thanks also to all of my readers, especially the folks who took time to write comments.

I hope 2016 is great for us all.

 

In appreciation,

Blaize Sun

Review of a Book You’ve Maybe Never Heard Of: I’m Not the New Me

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I thought that today I would share a review of a book I got through BookMooch several years ago. I think the book was already kind of old when I wrote this review in February of 2012. However, I like the review, so there you go.

The book in question is I’m Not the New Me, by Wendy McClure.

 

This is a book about writing a blog. It doesn’t contain the writing that makes up the blog. It’s just about the process of writing the blog. Well, that’s not quite right. It’s about more than just the process of writing a blog.

It’s about body image and self esteem and what it means if a woman’s fat and she decides she wants to lose some weight. It’s about deciding how much weight to lose. How much weight is enough?

It’s about dating. It’s about meeting a guy and getting dumped before you can dump him and being sad because he dumped you first, even though, really, it’s for the best. It’s about going on dates with loser loser loser, then meeting the best guy ever only to end up heartbroken again.

It’s about friendship and being an inspiration to people never met in person.

It’s about being funny and charming and smart, but having people just see fat. And it’s about saying “Fuck You!” to people who only see fat.

Wendy McClure is funny. Think Sarah Vowell, but with more cursing and less patriotism. There were times I had to quit reading because I was eating and was about to laugh and snarf my breakfast all over the table.

The book ends without any big revelation, so don’t come here looking for the Answers. Wendy doesn’t have your Answers. Maybe she has a couple of her own, but she leaves you fully in charge of figuring your life out for yourself.

In Which I Start a Blog

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It’s not my first blog. Some of you may remember that I started a blog in February 2013, fueled by anxiety and too much coffee. (Yes, I know, the coffee enhanced the anxiety.) That blog was through Google, and I never could get it to work right. Actually, I don’t think I ever tried to post again, after that first time. I hope to do better with this one.

Starting a blog was part of my two year plan. Not much else is going according to the plan, but at least I have control over this part of my life.

(Writing about a plan makes me think of my dear friend Mr. Carolina, with whom I traveled for two months in 2013. Whenever I asked him about his plans, he’s laugh uproariously. He wouldn’t even say a word, just laugh.)

I’ve got lots of ideas for things I want to write about. The problem is in the sitting down and actually writing. Maybe having an audience will help.