In true vagabond style, I hopped a train in Winslow Arizona the second week of January and headed back to SoCal after being there for more than a month—the longest I’ve been in one place in over a year. A ton has changed since my September vagabond life anniversary post, but even though I haven’t written about it, one thing remains the same:
We are still living vagabond.
This is how the year has gone so far:
The one big difference in our vagabond life is the location. For the first year, we mainly stayed in Orange County since–as the bureau photographer–I needed to stay in the area, but since quitting the news business we’ve been able to expand.
Claremont is one of our favorite spots.
My first exposure to Claremont came while shooting a documentary on artist Milford Zornes around 2003. He was in his mid-nineties then and every time I’d show up to shoot b-roll of him painting, we’d work for maybe ten minutes or so and he’d say:
“Let’s go get a beer.”
I could never refuse him even though I knew breaking early meant I’d have to come back for another shoot. We’d pack up our things and head to nearby Claremont Village where he’d tell me stories about his life and share bits of wisdom, like when he said a person should never give their work away for free because doing so devalues the product and the person.
Those times with him, sitting over slices of pizza at a Claremont sidewalk cafe while immersed in philosophical discussions about life made a lasting impact on me.
I’m grateful to have met him and gotten to know him well. I wish I could sit and have another conversation with him, but…
Milford died in 2008, one month after his 100th birthday.
Memories of Milford aren’t the only reason I love Claremont. Claremont is one of those rare California towns that have held onto their history. The Village is just flat out charming. The trees are large and old, as are the beautifully maintained houses.
Our favorite amongst the various places we’ve stayed in Claremont is a renovated apartment building just a couple of blocks from the village.
We’ve stayed in two different units in the building and both were fantastic. Last week, we stayed in Unit #8, a cutely decorated studio that still maintains some “old” features like the doors, knobs, and moldings. We especially like having a full kitchen.
Claremont: The City of Trees and PhDsTheVillageClaremont.com
Our favorite thing about this Claremont Airbnb is the proximity to so many interesting things. My job right now is to finish a rework of one of my novels for my agent. From this location, I can walk to the village and be like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemmingway, writing in a small cafe…
Or I can walk to one of the college campuses to use their gorgeous libraries, like the Ella Strong Denison Library on the Scripps campus.
There are seven
Makes me want to go back to school!
In other news…
February is going to be a busy month. After ten years in our city of Orange Motor Palace, we are moving to a new space in Ontario. We’ve been busy getting it ready and will likely start moving this week. More on that later…
We also need to get to Tucson to pick up an antique stained glass window for the Motor Palace, then on to Winslow to get the next phase of our preservation projects moving. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be making that trip in our swellegant van, the Daji-Bagn, the ultimate vagabond machine.
Until next time…