The topic of travelling for long parts of the year comes up a lot. We aren’t yet retired, so this can be an academic sort of meandering at this point. I’m doing my research though. I’m a dreamer. I love to see a world of possibility and abundance. The Hub and I have been living on a couple of beautiful private acres in an old chicken-farm house for about 20 years. We took the property from desperately doudy to charming and cozy with a lot of elbow grease, imagination and thrift store shopping. We made it a haven in a crazy world–a home base for all our travels.
So, now, we think about moving on. Sometimes the idea of leaving all the murals, handmade built-in furniture my Dad made for us and all my gardens makes me wonder how much we will miss it.
(This is a picture of our front porch from a magazine article a couple years ago. Our home starts on page 111. http://www.studio3magazine.com/issues/5/pages/237)
My Hub, more the creature of habit than I, is particularly subject to this kind of melancholy. But this is where our Casita comes in. I’ve had so much fun decorating it and making it our tiny travelling home that when we go out for longer trips, we are completely at peace and our other home falls away–far from our thoughts. It comes down to the desire of wanting to see what can be created or experienced as new. It comes down to our little core family playing well together in the woods, too.
Being campers centered in the Midwest, there are less opportunities for boondocking than say out West with all the BLM land. We find ourselves camping on State Forest land as often as possible–without hookups and with lower costs. It’s here that I’ve had the most opportunity to meet full time travelers (all women for some reason) and talk about what their journey brings to them.
It would seem the lifestyle is great for the first 6-12 mos with periods of homesickness for the ease of running water, navigating the sites with and without reservations and not having to fight freezing temps and finding dump stations. The women I’ve spoken to get lonely– even with their dogs. Often boondocking means having to drive out to find a cell signal so even the Internet isn’t always one’s friend. They all tell me they begin to really look forward to spending a couple expensive nights in a RV park just to talk to people and get laundry done easily. It’s at the end of the first year that they seem to run out of friends who will let them driveway park and so they begin to feel the aloneness more.
On the other side of their stories, they tell amazing tales of being on their own with their dogs in the wilderness and days totally of their own making with yoga by a stream, painting, hiking, reading and the pursuing of ideas. Nearly all say they had one idea of what their days would look like before they left but soon found old plans didn’t work for them. Travelling became a fluid thing in all aspects; moving with the flow of weather, park dynamic, money flow and experience. They treasure all their experiences: good and bad.
Sometimes, I wonder if there is a gender bias on who can be happier as a solitary camper?? It depends on the individual I suppose. Some people seem to be running from their lives when they take to camper living and some people seem to be running to their lives. If happiness is found within, it can be found in a crowd or alone in the wood. There is no right or wrong way to live a life.
So, as I leisurely look at the possibilities for the last half of my life, I know I want a home base. I know I want a place where I can keep my hands in the warm Summer soil and watch the miracles of the garden grow. I know I want to travel and smell salt air a couple times a year and hear the sounds of waves crashing on shore. I want to tour quaint old towns and see the world’s largest wind chimes in what ever small town holds that claim to fame. I want to sit on top a mountain vortex and listen to what the universe might want to whisper in my ear. I want to find a way to still give back through acts of charity and sharing some of our skills while we are on the road. I want to create art and sell it so I will have space to create new. I want our home base to be a place where friends can come and hangout when we are travelling or not–I want it to be a retreat for anyone who needs a little extra quiet and zen–possibly in exchange for a little help weed pulling or help vegetable canning…
In my dream world, this would be a collection of odd buildings made from Cordwood, Strawbale and Cobb. That’s tough to do in America though, where there is so much standardization, codes, and fear a bank won’t give a future buyer loan. In reality, it will likely be a collection of small buildings on private acres with a spot or two for RV friend parking. Smaller homes suit us–smaller home but bigger open spaces.
So, I keep talking to the people we meet and have a small plan hatching on how we will to paint our nomadic life. The beauty is that anything is possible. We are only limited when we limit our imaginations. The trick will be to have a plan and follow it loosely with an ear to the ground for the natural signposts of happiness that are always springing up to keep us on our highest path.
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