Having been on the road a little over five months and living in a motor home for a few weeks now, I'm strengthening some positive qualities within myself: patience, surrender, acceptance, tolerance, etc. But mostly, I'm learning how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Specifically, this includes:
- Sleeping in strange places. Boondocking (free camping) in my motor home in strange neighborhoods and parking lots has taken some getting used to. Sometimes there are bright lights and strange loud noises throughout the night. Plus, initially, I felt really exposed and vulnerable. Each time I do it, it gets easier. Learning to sleep with earplugs to block out all different kinds of noise has really helped. I'm a light sleeper and without earplugs, I would be awakened many times throughout the night. Now I simply dull the intensity of those sounds and enter into a peaceful dream world
- Using public bathrooms. I used to be self-conscious and super uncomfortable with using public bathrooms for anything but urinating. Well, I had to get over that immediately. Now, I have learned how to strategically pick certain bathrooms so that I have the ultimate amount of privacy. Plus, I always bring an essential oil spray with me to make everything feels fresh for me and for the person after me.
- Hot showers. Since I've been on the road, I've managed to shower every day except one. One week of those showers were barely lukewarm (at a state campground). I must admit, I really like hot showers. It can make some of the other discomforts of traveling on the road easier to handle. I just don't feel the same if I don't shower at least sometime during the day. This issue was one of the biggest factors in my decision to join a health club so I could insure that I'd almost aways have access to a daily hot shower. Unfortunately, this health club doesn't have locations in some states I'll be traveling through, so we'll see how this fleshes out.
- Clean clothes and bedding. Doing laundry in laundromats has been an adjustment after living with my own washer and dryer for decades, however, I LOVE clean clothes, towels, sheets, blankets, etc. so I make regular trips to the laundromat. Yes, it's time consuming, but if there is wi-fi, I use the time to catch up on work and correspondence. Because I don't have much space to store dirty laundry, I wash things more often than I used to when I wasn't traveling AND I also wear my clothes a little longer than before instead of tossing them in the hamper after a day's use.
- Strange food. I have my Vitamix blender with me so no matter where I am, I can always keep myself healthy with fresh organic fruits. Where I stay is sometimes based on how close I am to a Whole Foods or local organic co-op. However, sometimes I find myself hungry and I end up settling for what I can find. This is tough since I eat a vegan, gluten-free diet, so depending on how hungry I am, I might break my diet and eat some dairy and/or something with gluten in it. I make sure I have plenty of healthy snacks around and do my best to eat healthy.
- Exercise. It's essential for my physical AND emotional health to exercise regularly. For me this includes walking, yoga and weigh machines in a health club. Because I work on a computer for hours every day, I pay a terrible price if I don't make daily exercise a priority, which is why I joined a gym that has 400 clubs around the country.
- Entertainment. This has essentially been a working trip meaning I'm not sightseeing or engaging in tourist activities in the places I'm staying. I have spent some good time in nature, but I'm not spending the money or time to see the local sights. I prefer living more like a local anyway. I do what I can to attend open mics, Meetup groups, yoga classes in each community I visit. As my business gets stronger, I will engage more with local communities offering groups and retreats.
With each day I travel, things that used to make me really uncomfortable bother me much less or not at all. I have had my share of panicky feelings over not having a home base, but that too, is becoming easier. I feel the whole experience is building strength and character and toughening me up quite a bit. Not being in control is quite humbling and freeing at the same time. That is not to say that I sometimes don't miss the luxury of a hot shower in a private bathroom or a comfortable bed with soft cotton sheets and a cozy warm comforter or cooking in my own kitchen with my own dishes. But right now, my life about something else and something else is opening up new ways of being in the world.
Who knows what this may be preparing me for? Backpacking with a tent? Traveling by bicycle? Volunteering at a natural disaster or in a third world country? Then the discomforts I've listed above will seem more like comforts.
Funny, it's all a matter of perspective isn't it?