Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Making of a Full-Time RV'er... My Own

I find that, sometimes to gain perspective as objectively as possible, it helps to read old journal entries. It is particularly helpful when one is contemplating such a drastic change in one's life as taking to the road for a years to come, if not forever. For instance, when I read all my old entries while living in a stationary home, (my own house) I certainly do not appear overly distraught with my circumstances (except for Social Services, perhaps...)

Then I turned sixty-five and had a choice to make. The three children under my care for years were being moved to other foster homes (not my choice). There was no way I could afford, or keep for that matter, a five bedroom house, particularly in a small community in which I would not be able to find employment, but would need to, just to keep paying for the mortgage, taxes, and upkeep. Frankly, that last option held very little appeal for obvious reasons.

A few months earlier, I had signed up for the RV, thinking I'd take the children places during the summer. I simply used the equity on the house to pay for it. I was running TOWARD a new life so had no qualms about letting go of all that was associated with my soon-to-be former life. I put almost everything up for sale and managed in liquidating it all. Re-reading my journal entries, I'm waxing almost lyrical about my life to come on the road. Was I running AWAY from something? Not that I can recall. I knew the certainties and security of the world that I was leaving behind. I think that I was fairly realistic about that. I foresaw no propensity to miss any of it, just as long as I could make up for certain necessities afforded by having a stationery home, such as communications by phone and internet.

What I was running toward was a new life that I was ready and keen to embrace. I had lived it with VW Shermie in my mid-fifties for a year and a half. It meant the lure of unknown and (to me) exciting adventures, looking forward to new, ever widening horizons, people to meet, challenges to overcome. An almost inconceivable FREEDOM! Admittedly, I was the envy of many people who would confide that they too had often thought of running away from the rat race and do what I was doing...

What I realize with utter clarity, if somewhat belatedly, was that I had been running at once from and toward. I was running away from a world that offered stability and comfort yet often felt confining, stifling. A world in which there was almost an obligation to conform to society's expectations or else be somewhat of a loner, an eccentric or even an outcast. My sanity had sometimes been questioned for caring in my sixties for three young children. That fact alone set me apart from most people my age. And, from most younger people who were also caring for "their" children and were in their thirties and forties. Clearly, I failed to fit in either bracket. It was obvious then, as it is now, that conforming had not been an overwhelming need...

Had I idealized life as a full-time RV'er? UNDENIABLY. Did I ever question my decision in the worst trying circumstances on the road? CERTAINLY. Did I have any regrets? NOT ON YOUR LIFE! As stated earlier, although I realize that I had been running away from my previous life and all its contradictions and restrictions and (this one is probably the biggest!) constant judging by others' standards, the life toward which I had been running brought both a relief from all this together with a set of previously unknown challenges, restrictions, and compensations. I met them all, aching loneliness at odd times, the stark realization of being (technically... and obviously) homeless, the innumerable and inescapable chores, (I had little suspected how many of them and how overtaxing at times), a definite lack of privacy (perforce it must be when you overnight park on the street or a large parking lot), and too many more to list... Was it worth it? UNQUESTIONABLY!

It finally excised from me the last remains of the "obligation" to conform or else having to explain and justify myself. It is MY life, and I owe explanations or justifications only to MYSELF just as long as my choices do not negatively affect others. Conversely, it brought me an awareness that no one can be an island upon oneself; that regardless of one's lifestyle, self-sufficiency is possible, but rarely without other people's help at certain times. A lesson in humility, this. Together with the necessity to reciprocate, as well. Was I ready to keep RV'ing boondocking for years to come? NO LONGER at 70.

The time had come for a change and my options were still open. Although I'm still boondocking, now it's in Mexico, on my lot, where I DO NOT feel like a round peg attempting to fit in a square hole. The challenges are different, but manageable. I had never foreseen that I'd be designing and building a house in another country, but life on the road has prepared me for change and made me aware of what I can face up to.  And what I appreciate most both in the country and from its people? The non-judgemental attitude. So, I finally met what I had been running toward.

The freedom to simply BE ME.


Barb said...

Interesting introspection. Makes me think. Good post.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for yours foster kid service.
In life , starting new stuff keeps the moss from growing between your toes :b
keep on rolling :)


Stargazer said...

Could it be that I have the cleanest toes in town...? Hmmmm.... I wonder.
Thanks so much for the comment. My life was enriched with the many children I welcomed in my home. Nineteen, to be precise. Their problems did not end with their next move. But I, on the other hand, moved on. No choice but, since Social Services acted as the holders of the power, yet seldom from the heart. I often worry about many of them and wonder how they are doing. They, as I, are forbidden to keep in touch... Sad, don't you think?

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