We had the good fortune of connecting with Alison Miller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alison, what role has risk played in your life or career?
The most solid quote I’ve read, and that I live by since my beloved husband’s death, as I went out on the road on my Odyssey of Love, is the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt…”every day you must do that one thing that you fear the most”. What those words do is get me up each morning and keep me going. I’ve full timed on the road for 7 years, driving all over this country, towing my pink trailer behind me. New places, new people, every day. Risk taking gave me the drive to buy a trailer after he died and head out on the road. Being willing to take a risk led me to apply for a job as a groundskeeper at an opera camp, even though I’d never done such a job, rather than accepting the “safe” admin job in an office. Being willing to take a risk led me to devoting my last penny to finally filming a documentary about my Odyssey of Love. I’ve long since stopped accepting the status quo of life, and forging ahead in new directions~
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I never considered myself an artist. I’d narrowed my definition to someone who paints or draws beautifully, or designs clothes. And then my beloved husband died and I bought a tiny trailer to travel in full time. It was plain and ugly inside, and the exterior colors featured bright yellow trim. I needed to make it mine, a cocoon for myself. Somewhere familiar to lay my head every night. I’d already had a shade of pink customized for my car…and named “Chuck’s Watchin’ Over Me” pink. I had the trim on my tiny trailer painted the same color. My life was blown apart when Chuck died. I knew nobody out on the road. I was terrified. I thought that if I painted my car/trailer in this color, in addition to fulfilling my promise to him before he died, it would draw people to me. I painted one interior wall and covered the others in fabric, using liquid starch to adhere it to the walls. I used masking tape, that I painted over, to frame the cabinets that I used as frames for pictures of me and Chuck through our years. I learned that I’m very creative, and my rig became my canvas. I learned to forgo any expectation of the outcome and to love the process. I learned to love when fabrics bubbled and paint cracked, for the textured effect it left. I learned to let the end result speak for itself and appreciate any and all “mistakes”. The interior of my rig shifts and changes as I learn and expand, adding color, mixing and matching. The exterior, other than the trim, was white and I wanted to add more to it, and thought about a wrap, but instead realized that my Odyssey of Love wasn’t about me and Chuck so much as it was about Love, so I invited people to send me the names of their loved ones and I wrote their names on my rig in red ink so that their names could be seen by the world. It’s covered in thousands of names now, with more added daily. What I want the world to know? That Love is the most powerful force in the Universe, and if you keep your heart open, Love will lead the way, personally and otherwise~
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take my friend hiking, locally and around Arizona. Sedona, of course, for the trails and the main street where nothing is more fascinating to me than to sit with a cold drink and people watch. I’d take them to Tonto National Forest to hike. To Tombstone to soak up some history in a fun way. To the AZ RenFaire to listen to amazing performers and shop the quirky shops run by crafters and artisans~ The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My first shout out is to Soaring Spirits Int’l, a non-profit devoted to supporting the widowed community. They’ve been my saving grace, offering encouragement to me along the way. Christina Rasmussen, author of Second Firsts and Where Did You Go? She’s been one of my rock solid people since I was widowed~
Youtube: An Odyssey of Love
Blake Hemmel Emily Thomas