It is hard to believe that I have owned my Roadtrek SS Agile campervan for close to six years. It is even harder to believe that I have been full timing it with Elsie the Cat for over two years.
Where does the time go? What do I do next? How long do I want to live this lifestyle? Have you seen how much it cost to rent an apartment or townhouse or house and do I want to pay that much after being semi-nomadic for the last few years? Ah the unanswerable questions.
I usually travel with the seasons. Unlike some of you, I do not want to do cold and snow. Nope not me. I have only winterized my rig once and that was due to extraordinary circumstances.
Currently I am in San Diego, CA. I have been in the Southern California area for the past four months. I would have been long gone from here by now, but a pending surgery is keeping me close by.
Yesterday as I was driving on an almost deserted interstate, Super Bowl Sunday was in progress, I began to think about what I have learned over the past years about driving in a big vehicle.
Before I bought my rig, I had driven a pickup truck a handful of times and otherwise drove and loved my Subaru. It is different getting behind the wheel of this bigger vehicle.
- I have learned to be a kind driver. I let people in front of me. I drive to the right. I realize more and more that I have no idea what is going on in the minds of all those people in all those vehicles out on the road and it is OK to be kind.
- I am a more attentive driver. I now drive like I ride my road bicycle and my scooter, Defensively.
- I use my mirrors frequently – all of my mirrors.
- It is OK to get out of the rig, before I park, to look around for obstacles. It takes a very few minutes of my time and it means one less nudge of my vehicle into a solid object.
- I park further away from stores. It protects the rig from people who feel a bit overwhelmed when a big rig is parked next to their Smart Car. It gives me a chance to get a bit of exercise. Often the shady parts of the parking lot are out in the back forty.
- It is OK to slow down on the curves. In general it is OK to slow down.
- I remind myself that I don't have to be in a hurry. Taking my time is part of this lifestyle.
- When I change lanes I give the cars in that lane time to allow me to pull over. I notice most drivers need a moment for it to register that the big van wants to pull over and for them to adjust their speed so I can slip in. If they don’t want to give me room I remind myself to be kind and wait for another car to let me in.
- Remember to breathe while I am driving.
- On a dirt road I take my time and drive slow and cautiously. I do love those dirt roads.
Kindness and caution have become a normal way to drive. I love sitting high in my rig. I am 5 foot 2 inches. I am vertically challenged so sitting up high has never ceased to be a delight for me. I love being able to pull safely off the highway, sit in my rig and watch animals in the National and State parks that I love to visit. My camera's and binoculars are close at hand. I often find unique places to spend my time.
I have come to love driving my rig. When I get behind the wheel I find I slow down, relax and become aware. And, mostly I remember to be kind.