Why do I do this?
I haven’t done much to write about lately so I’ll share some photos here of the birds and squirrels who have come to visit me recently on my back patio.
A few folks have written comments on this blog that make me think more in depth about what it is that attracts me to RV-ing. Let me share some of my thoughts about that with you in between the photos below. I’ll try not to be tedious. Skip on to the end of this post if you get bored, but don’t miss the pretty pictures. 🙂
So, why do I go camping/RV-ing, especially since I’m alone? Why don’t I just stay home where it’s comfortable and I have my routines, where it’s easy to spend time with family and friends, where I can go for day-drives, or go for longer trips by car and stay in a B&B or motel? I could have kept my Prius and not purchased this big white truck that burns quite a bit more gasoline, and could have saved myself some money by not purchasing the trailer. I could have driven around the country in the Prius seeing the sights while staying in motels or B&Bs. What’s this RV-ing thing all about?
Well, first off … there definitely are routines in RV-ing, no matter the mode (tent, trailer, motorhome, etc.). Hitching up, unhitching, setting up your camp site, inspecting systems, filling water and propane tanks, emptying other tanks, cooking, cleaning, sleeping, fueling the truck, communication with folks back home. Much of this becomes routine after awhile, although everyone should still keep a checklist handy especially if there’s a need to hitch up and move in a hurry, or you are tired and arriving at a new campsite late at night in the dark. Even though some of the RV-ing routines are different than routines in a “sticks-n-bricks” home, many of the activities and chores while RV-ing do become routine and familiar and comfortable.
And yet admittedly, even though there are routines when RV-ing, there is a great deal of room for variables. Hopefully, most of the variables will be regular sorts of stuff to deal with, and hopefully the rest of those variables will be wonderful and amazing and remarkable. It’s the wonderful ones that I’m looking for out here with my truck and travel trailer. It’s the surprises and the wonder and the curiosity that call me. It’s the miracles that come to me that wouldn’t come to me if I stayed home or even if I was out here but staying in a motel or B&B.
Regarding family and friends, I have no intention of full-timing in the trailer. I still want a home base so I can easily see family and friends when I’m at home. So far the longest camping trip I’ve had is for 6 days. My hope is to take off a few times a year for 2-3 weeks at a time, but I think I will always be home at least one week every month of the year to deal with bills, restock the trailer, do my laundry, and visit with family and friends. And I suspect I won’t use the trailer at all in the winter.
Actually, I want it all! I want my home and it’s stability and I want the “unknown” of traveling in my own home. I want to wake up in comfort in my own bed at home and then enjoy seeing and using the things I’ve collected over the years. But I also want to wake up in comfort in my own bed in my trailer, and know that right outside my door is another collection of amazing things and beings and experiences that I didn’t gather but that have been presented to me as a gift … right outside my door, not outside-my-motel-room-door-and-down-the-hall-and-past-the-check-in-desk-and-then-past-the-restaurant-and-the-bar-and-across-the-parking-lot-and-down-the-street … I want them right outside my door.
To go to sleep listening to a river that never stops chattering on its way to the ocean, and then wake up to that same welcoming chatter, listening to coyotes howl at night so close they seem right outside your door, watching a Pileated Woodpecker having lunch on an old rotted stump within a stone’s throw of you knowing that she knows you are there and yet she stays anyway. I want to be IN that … not staying in a motel where I certainly can drive to it, but actually IN it. Does this make sense?
There’s also an element of self-sufficiency intrinsic in RV-ing. Your rig had better be able to take care of you, so you had better take care of it. I’m retired from three different professions, one of which was a diesel/gas truck mechanic, so I have a store of knowledge and tools for most of the systems in my trailer and in my truck. “Things” in this world wear out, break, plug up, fall off, and just do stuff that makes you scratch your head. I like that. I’ve been trained to find what’s wrong and to fix it. I wouldn’t have had a job if things did NOT go wrong or break or wear out.
So to me, needing to fix something usually means I’m going to get a lot of satisfaction out of doing that. It isn’t a question of “this darn trailer!” or “why me” or “why now?” It’s just a question of “ok, now how do I fix that or who can I call to help me” or “hmmm, how do I create a tool to fix/adjust/remove that?” And then I learn stuff, and I do love to learn.
I guess if I didn’t want to deal with things breaking or wearing out and maybe even the possibility of being stranded somewhere, then I’d best stay home. Have no fear, I do have my store of swear words as well, picked up from my buddy mechanics where I’ve worked over the years, and can use those words with enthusiasm and wild abandon when appropriate.
In truth, dealing with the mechanical world is fun for me and it intrigues me. To me, it’s part and parcel the same as being so curious about the world of animals and birds and plants and mountains and rivers around me.
When I owned a boat (I have owned two boats, each for many years), I loved exploring Puget Sound and Canadian waters. I have some of the most extraordinary tales to tell because of it. There’s a lot of the same sort of adventure in RV-ing. Except that, after 28 years of boating on Puget Sound, I started getting bored. There weren’t many (if any) bays or coves or islands or marinas where I hadn’t been, most of them several times.
And, when I arrived at a destination with the boat, there I was, with no transportation to go anywhere on land. Yes, there were a few towns that had vehicles or scooters to rent, but mostly … well, there I was, either anchored out, or at a dock in a marina with no way to explore the area. I could explore the area close-by on foot, but that was about it. It might have been exceptionally beautiful where I was, and friends were almost always with me, but I couldn’t go exploring and so I felt stuck. I want the freedom and ability to come and go wherever and whenever I want. The trailer allows me to set up home base anywhere I want … and the truck allows me to go exploring to my heart’s content.
So, land based adventuring was/is just the ticket at this point in my life. Fills the bill perfectly. Ah me, tho I do miss being on the water. Hmmm, maybe I should add a kayak to my rig … hmmm.
Another reason for traveling in an RV rather than staying in a motel has to do with comfort and convenience. I want my own bathroom, my own bed, my own food, a place to keep my books and camera, my socks and my laptop, and any other toys or tools. I want a very comfortable folding chair and a sturdy folding table and other amenities so I can have a living space outdoors. I don’t want to have to unpack my suitcase every time I reach a new destination. I want to stop along the road somewhere and simply get in my trailer and have lunch or take a nap. And then hit the road again in the afternoon.
And yet, I think MOST of this comes back to wonder and curiosity for me. One of my favorite RV bloggers, Al on The Bayfield Bunch, recently shared this YouTube video on his blog: https://www.youtube.com/embed/FiZqn6fV-4Y. The video is not about RV-ing, but it is about curiosity and the wonders of this world in which we find ourselves.
Where did I read recently, “life is an experiment.” It seems to be part of the human condition to try new things, to change parts of our lives, even parts of who we are. In so doing, we leave something behind each time, and move on to something new. It seems to be a constant. You know the saying … the only thing that’s constant is change. When this is done purposefully, with curiosity, it can be dazzling. 🙂 Like the little person in the photo below, I want to take some big bites out of life.
And yet, there is a downside to RV-ing for me, and that is … being alone. There is an element of loneliness in not sharing my days with someone, although that’s not huge for me and I don’t feel it often. And there is an element of fear in traveling alone, whether fear of breakdowns or getting lost or bad weather or unwanted human intrusion. But that is an entirely different subject that I might write about later … those fears and how to deal with them in constructive ways. There are LOTS of constructive things to do that help reduce those fears.
Finally, one of the things I love most about this RV thing is people. Who doesn’t like people? Ok, for those of you who might be thinking “well, maybe I don’t so much”, please keep in mind that YOU are people. 😉 And you are likeable, honest.
I live alone. After a few days with myself at home, I can get so bored! Being out in my trailer, I have no lack of people to interact with if I wish. Whether it’s walking in the woods and meeting other hikers, shopping in a small local grocery store, picking the local Park Ranger’s brain about the local flora and fauna (and river water levels and the snowpack), talking with the fellow about flying model airplanes and the local beaver pond, chatting with a guy you meet by the river about his love of the river, or visiting with a woman watering her flowers outside her home in the deep forest … the most wonderful interactions happen. There really isn’t anything more wonderful and amazing than being right out there in this beautiful world.
There are countless reasons why people buy an RV or camping gear and head out. If you are interested in more information, check out other RV owner’s blogs and camping blogs. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of them online. Don’t be shy; ask questions. The downside of searching online and chatting with people online is always that you may end up there for hours and days at a time. But you may also meet fascinating people and make some good friends and learn some interesting bits about the world.
This blog’s next post will be my first day of camping at a brand new destination: Coho Campground on Lake Wynoochee in the Olympic National Forest. Get your maps out and get ready to follow along!