There was no shortage of opinions on our plan to sell our belongings and hit the road fulltime back three years ago. A fair number of our friends thought we were crazy. Most of my family held the opinion that we would come to our senses and settle down after a few months, but inquiries about when that will happen haven’t been as frequent lately – maybe they’ve given up hope of us ever returning to normal.
It’s a different existence, to be sure, and there are challenges – you only have maybe 10% of the “stuff” people keep with them in a regular house. You’re constantly checking local ordinances to be sure it’s OK for you to stay where you are – people with houses don’t have to do that. And you’re never in the same place long – there’s no such thing as becoming familiar with the neighborhood and getting to know the locals, and getting something mailed to you is a complex procedure.
So the question we get now that it’s apparent we have no intention of returning to normal life anytime soon is: Don’t you ever get bored? I mean, driving around all the time, sitting cooped up in a tiny Class B RV staring at each other night and day, nowhere to relax and hang your hat – surely it’s getting to be a drag, they say hopefully.
Well, no, it’s not. We spent much time and effort planning our equipment so that our day-to-day existence on the road would be as close as possible to our life in a sticks and bricks house. Sharon had already been retired for 15 years when I hung it up, and her daily pastimes were reading, watching TV, and surfing the web. My leisure activities when not at that cursed place of employment were fiddling with my vehicles and house, surfing the web, and reading. Unless we wanted to develop a complete new set of pastimes, we needed TV and internet access and a constant supply of fresh reading material.
TV and internet was easier than it would appear at first glance. TV was simply a matter of getting a DirecTV satellite account and purchasing a tripod rig to mount the dish on. Internet was slightly more complicated – we have a data card that works off the cellphone network, and an internet satellite dish and tripod for when we’re out in the boonies. Since we spend at least half our time out in the boonies, the dish has done a wonderful job of providing uninterrupted internet access no matter where we go, and the card is great for in-motion use as we drive, and to check for gas, groceries, and camping spots as we move across the landscape.
Ironically, maintaining a fresh supply of low-tech reading material was much more difficult. We started out with a book bag, and would take advantage of paperback exchanges we ran into along the highway. Since the supply was somewhat limited and neither one of us was in the market for romance novels and Tom Clancy stuff, which seemed to compose the bulk of the offerings, our reading for the first year or so was spotty. We would buy new or used books occasionally, but the volume of reading material we went through made this a budgetary problem. I finally hit upon the solution of signing up for a library card at the city library where our nominal mailing address is (we DO have a mailing address – its my sister’s/parents’ house) and using their online e-book checkout. It’s great – a wide selection, new books within a reasonable interval of their publication, and best of all they don’t weigh anything or take up space! We download these to our his-and-hers laptops, and read away to our heart’s content.
So what do we do to keep from getting bored? The same stuff as we always did – plus, we go for many more walks than we used to. Fiona’s always up for a long stroll, so she gets some of the credit for this, but it’s just more appealing than when we lived in a sticks and bricks house. We went for walks when we moved to the new neighborhood, but after a while it got boring – same old stuff, walking around the neighborhood to see if anyone had gotten new lawn furniture or a new car, that’s about it. Now we have a new neighborhood to explore every week. So no, we’re not bored – far from it. We have all the old comforts of home, plus some exciting new opportunities. And the weather’s always perfect, which helps to get one outdoors 😉
Do we miss our friends? Well, no, not really. We’re not the most sociable of people to start with, and we spend a couple of months a year with family over the holidays and find that’s enough to keep in touch without getting on each others’ nerves. Same with old friends – we do a long slow circuit around the country, and drop in once a year for a few days. What’s new and exciting for us, however, is the people we meet on the road. We met a nice couple who live where we are now – Chris and Carol – and stay in touch with them.
We have also formed fast friendships with fellow nomads – Victor from Three Forks, Caroline, and Mick the Brit- and keep bumping into them all over the country. We just finished a rousing reunion with Mick the Brit up on the Beartooth Plateau, and hope he’ll be out to the coast while we’re still out here. And Ginny Evans our fellow Roadtreker has hit the road fulltime – we saw her in Montana and we’ll see her again soon where we are now, on the Oregon coast. So no, we don’t get bored. Life’s more of an adventure than ever. Sometimes not knowing what’s going to happen next is good for you 😉