A year ago last week, I packed up my motorhome and headed east on Interstate 10 in search of stories and adventure. I stayed on the road until Feb 13 of this year. Yes, I was traveling full-time in my 2003 Winnebago Adventurer motorhome, but I still wasn’t a “full-time RVer.”
I continued to rent my home and pay for utilities for the 10 months I was on the road. This time, it’s a bit different. It’s more permanent.
After my roommate (my mother) decided she wanted to move from Arizona back to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, I decided to give real full-time living a chance. The house we rented has been re-rented and everything in it had to be sold, stored, given way or packed into the motorhome. This type of all-in trip planning has been a challenge and it’s been a bit unnerving as well.
As of today, I have just six nights left in this house until it become a do or die situation on the road. There’s no home to come home to, should something go wrong or I run out of money, which, for RV owners, is always a distinct possibility. That is six more days of consistent high-speed Internet use. It’s so very easy to take high-speed Internet connections for granted until you are at the mercy of an RV park or a cellular signal to do your job and stay connected with the rest of the world.
Today, I made a first pass at “downsizing” in the motorhome. I went through every cupboard and drawer to identify what should stay in the RV and what should stay behind. I rationalized that if I didn’t open it or use it during my initial 10-month tour, it probably doesn’t need to remain. Thursday, I pick up Nelson, my motorhome who is named after its original owners, octogenarians Bob and Georgia Nelson, from the storage lot where he’s been resting for the past few weeks after getting out of the repair shop.
On Thursday, I’ll do the process all over again as I try to cram the last remaining things from the house into the motorhome. My entire DVD collection of 400-plus movies has been taken out of their cases and put into two large DVD binders. But, what about the books? I love books, even more when I have time to read them. There are probably 80 books tucked away in various cabinets in the motorhome that include great business books, tips for being a better writer, help for becoming a better Christian, and a few that I just enjoy reading over and over again.
Books and motorhomes don’t go well together because of all the weight, and I can’t force myself to give up my carefully underlined and highlighted passages in favor of digital copies just yet.
I have already had to ship a few items back to Wisconsin that I just can’t seem to part with — two very large plastic storage buckets filled with mementos of my youth and my time with my three daughters as they grew up into the incredible women they are today.
Still, I was surprised at the space I opened up in just 30 minutes of cursory exploration. No, I don’t need a full package of napkins and several boxes of tissue when a roll of paper towel works just as well. I acquired a set of SpaceSmart stackable pots and pans, which allowed me to get rid of 2.5 drawers worth of stuff. But, should I keep the large casserole dish when I haven’t baked anything in a year? I do think I’ll stop acquiring water in 48-bottle cases and pick up a six pack from time to time.
This trip will be different, and I’m excited for that. I do plan to slow down and play, to get to know my neighbors in the RV parks and to explore the areas I am visiting. I’m planning a full-day for rest and exploration each week, and it will require dedicated effort and discipline to ensure I take that time off.
Last year, I just had the pressure of producing a daily newsletter for RV Daily Report. Now, I have added one for Let’s RV as well. So, there is more work to do, but I have more helpers to get it done. I’m planning to do more blogging and more creative writing on this trip — something I have woefully neglected for more than two years. Now, to think up a creative name for a blog. At least I’ll soon have plenty of windshield time to noodle some options.
Back to packing….