My life is changing so fast even I can't keep up sometimes. Right when I get settled and used to one way of traveling and moving through the world, a new opportunity shows up and everything changes. This week, an adorable 1990 Toyota Winnebago Warrior became available through a series of circumstances that were so perfect that I knew the universe was officially nudging me to take the leap and change the way I've been traveling. I've been busy unpacking my beloved Toyota Camry, the reliable, gently used, twenty year-old car that came into my life last December. She's up for sale on craigslist and I will miss her. With over 200,000 miles, she will be better off with someone who can invest lots of time and money into restoring her to a higher level mechanical fitness than I can right now. With the right person, she'll probably last another 100,000 miles.
In the meantime, I'm stowing my belongings into cabinets of the motor home and adjusting to the cramped, but cozy quarters. At 21 feet, it is slightly bigger than a conversion van, but just small enough to drive like a small truck.
This is not a new experience for me.
In the early days of my marriage, while pregnant with my oldest child, my husband and I decided to buy a motor home and travel around the US with our baby. It was a wild and adventurous thing to do and we managed to travel and live that way for almost a year before selling it and moved into an apartment. I never forgot the excitement of modifying the center table area into a play and sleep area for our baby. We lived for several months in Big Sur on the edge of a junkyard on the Esalen Institute property, spending time with friends and enjoying the beauty there.
Those memories have come flooding back, along with memories of taking a trip with my mom, younger sisters and some friends on a four week trip out to Colorado in a rented Winnebago. I was fifteen at the time and really preferred hanging out with my friends more than I liked family vacations. But the idea of traveling in a motor home out to the Wild West was too crazy and outrageous to pass up. For part of the trip, we lived on an eighty-square mile ranch in eastern Colorado. I fell madly in love with Colorado on that trip and applied to go to college at the University of Colorado in Boulder just so I could return there. In fact, that trip introduced me to the idea of being mobile--the wanderlust has never really left me.
Now, here I am again venturing forth in yet another home on wheels. This one's much smaller than the other two, but the feeling of freedom is familiar. Living this way is entirely different from renting rooms or cottages. Staying at a state campground on the beach this week I've been taking lukewarm showers, washing my dishes in an outdoor sink (still haven't gotten all the battery and generator stuff figured out on the motor home yet), adjusting to sleeping in a different kind of bed, dealing with curtains that unraveled when I washed them, finding places to put everything, doing without access to wifi, etc. It's humbling and freeing in that it challenges my long-held assumptions that things need to be a certain way for me to feel comfortable. Can you tell I haven't roughed it in a long time? The next step is adjusting to boondocking (free camping).
More on that in the next blog post...