Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sting of the road


I am thrilled by the fever of wanderlust.

I am dazzled and excited every morning I awaken someplace new.

Like most RV vacationers, Carolann and I think about full-timing when we're able to retire. Wandering at will, from here to there and then someplace else; it seems like the perfect reward for two lives well-lived.

We've punched our workday time clocks for forty years. We've each loved, lived and lost a first marriage. We've raised our kids, separately at first and then together. And now, still in our fifties, we've been together for 22 years -- nearly half of our lives.

We've done right, well and honorably. We're in love, we deserve each other and we're not letting go. Not ever.

So, what's next?

Do we have what it takes to live a life of vacation?

Carolann and I agree that even if we were able to whittle the stuff of our lives down to what we could carry in about four cargo bins and a closet we'd still like to have a sticks and bricks house of some sort just to feel the security of being tethered to normal life, the only life we've known. And who knows, maybe we'd get over that after a couple of years of wandering hither and yon.

I'd love to hear from some of you who have done it. And here's the big question:

Don't you ever want a vacation from your lifelong vacation?

I once read a story about a well-to-do, elderly widow who lived aboard a cruise ship. She had the finest and most expensive stateroom on board. She had daily maid service, room service and every fabulous meal of her life was prepaid with no preparation or cleanup required. She was constantly and lavishly entertained, sailed from one beautiful port of call to another and made new friends every week. From time to time she had family members join her and occasionally she would disembark and spend a week or two with some of them.

But she eventually grew lonely.

She was literally and figuratively adrift. While living a life of complete luxury and freedom she came to miss the one thing she had given up: purpose.

This is what scares me away from a fulltime RV life.

I worry that after six months, or a year or two, we'd start to run low on anticipation. The thrill of the unknown would be tempered by repeated experience of life on the road. We'd learn to expect the curves, the climbs, the static-though-changing views; everything good, bad and indifferent. We would start thinking there's no need to go rushing down the highway every week or two because when you've seen one RV park you've seen them all. I worry that I would come to hate RV park offices, maps, rules, TV guides and WiFi instructions that nearly always require assistance.

Eventually, we'd hook up and chill out. With nowhere in particular to go and no reason to keep moving we'd just move when necessary because the parks have rules about staying in one place too long. That, in fact, would become the metaphor of our lives.

We'd want to go home but would have none.

(Cue music: Peggy Lee, Is That All There Is?)

Melodramatic? Probably. I'm just imagining, after all.

I've heard the lectures, read the blogs and seen the books about all the wonders of living as a full-timer.

But there has to be another side of it.

Those of you who have tried it or are still living the good life on wheels, please help me out here. I'm really curious.

© 2010 by David L. Williams, all rights reserved

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