Full-Time Travel vs Vacation: Getting Acclimated

This doesn’t feel like vacation.  It likely won’t. And truly it shouldn’t.

This is full-time travel.

The Daily Grind

Wake around 6:30, roll over and go back to sleep/semi-consciousness until 7:30 or 8:00. Yeah, that’s yummy.

Then I write for 2-3 hours. For you fine folks, for myself, for future projects. What other projects, you ask? Tsk, Tsk, patience is a virtue. Just know that writing is one of the key reasons I took this trip.

Mid-morning I’m off to some activity. Unlike vacation, I may only do one thing a day. There’s no pressure to “see it all” in 10 days. So no more 8:00 am-to-8:00 pm days packed with destinations. Sigh.

Home to cook in my fully functional kitchen with extra sensitive smoke alarm (the first time it went off I didn’t know which of the many detectors to un-battery: gas, carbon monoxide, the speakers, a can light…).

Watch generally terrible tv while I edit photos, respond to emails, and find inventive ways to unintentionally break the blog site and then have to contact customer support. It’s not uncommon for me to end the request with, “Help me Obi Won, you’re my only hope.”

Trailer Sweet Trailer

I love it! I’m thrilled with the choice, with Dad’s uber research to find this option, and with my stance at the last minute not to cave and buy something bigger yet less polished. The nicer amenities are, um, nice.

First of all, bigger would just be more space to clutter. And with an already tidy personality, an Ikea-worthy space has me even more focused on picking up after myself.

Now that I decked out the bed with a down topper, high thread-count sheets, down comforter, and smushy pillows it’s a delight. Before that, there was much worry: high discomfort factor.

BTW, for reasons that escape me, I’m too tall for the pseudo-queen-size bed if I sleep on the right, but on the left: just right.

Trailer $*^#@ Trailer

I’m beginning to think that level is a state of mind, and not an actuality here on Earth. “Achieving level” could be a Zen practice.

What am I talking about? Getting the trailer to be air-bubble-in-the-middle-level both front-to-back and side-to-side. The ability to do this depends on where you’re staying and how attentive THEY are to leveling the “pads.” A lot of places have rocks. Yuck. Paved pads can cost double or triple a night. So given that cost-benefit analysis, you learn to use large lego-like pieces under the wheels to adjust here and there. I hate this part.

The guy who taught me about the trailer inch-by-inch scared the bejeezus out of me when it came to being level. It’s essential to refrigerator function. Naturally, I’ve been fretting about being two degrees off level. I don’t know – is that a lot or nothing? Finally asked a neighbor camper and he basically said don’t sweat the fret. As long as it’s physically comfortable for me, the fridge is comfy, too. Phew.

Another hassle: the, er, plumbing. When high school friend Regina and I took the trailer on a test trip we learned that we were doing things all wrong. Improper toilet paper and not draining the pipes in the right order. I’ll spare you the nitty gritty. We ended up with a constipated trailer and two strangers who willingly shoved their own belongings into the plumbing to clear the “blockage.” For an hour-and-a-half. I’ll spare you even more of the nitty gritty. Now I have a broom-handle-sans-broom (of course Dad had one in the basement) should such an event occur again. And woefully, it has. So more questions, more latex gloves, more Clorox wipes.

The Kindness of Strangers

  1. See the two paragraphs above.
  2. See the prior post where a dude at a gas station pointed out that my tires were low.
  3. The neighbor who saw me lowering the jack and stabilizers and pointed out ways to be safer. And apologized if he was overstepping his bounds. No kind sir, you weren’t.
  4. The neighbor who noticed that I hadn’t been outside all day (I take some days just to write), and she was worried, so checked to make sure I was A. alive; B. healthy.
  5. The man who, after helping me with some car thing, offered to say a prayer for me. Not out of worry, out of the desire for safe adventure.
  6. The neighbor who, unasked, proffered his generator to re-juice the trailer (we’re dry-camping: no power or water) for battery-charged ceiling lights and other sundry things.
  7. The countless people who have helped me align the SUV with the trailer when it’s time to hitch and hit the road.

And so many more. Asked and unasked. People look out for each other; and people seem to be looking out for me.

Social Butterfly…Not at the Moment

Sometimes I wonder if I’m shy (it’s true), but the other day I realized it’s that often I just don’t want to deal with small talk. Or worse, finding that I’m talking with folks I don’t want to be, and don’t know how to politely leave them and saunter over to the next campground to see if the new people are more fun. So I haven’t ventured into campfire settings and story swapping. Yet.

A friend from home asked if I’m talking to myself. Well, yes, but that’s nothing new. I lived alone for 10ish years – these things happen. But to be clear, I don’t have conversations with myself. I mutter about “where did I put that,” or exclaim glee about finding a fun destination, or talk at the tv when something stupid is on. You do that, too, right? Right?

Are We Having Fun Yet?

The first few days were so tiring that I was in bed by 5:00, no dinner, and slept until 8:00 the next morning. I had planned too many hours of driving-while-towing, and that’s very different from driving-while-not-towing.

Towing takes a lot of energy to keep things steady. I actually am building biceps just from driving; and am paranoid looking in the left mirror every few seconds to see if a truck is passing, because there’s wind pressure that can suck us together. And no one wants that to happen.

Then I spent the next weekish figuring out how to keep things from falling while I drive. I’m still working on the towel….

It took roughly two weeks for this to feel like home. Had to find a rhythm to the day; a place for everything that was logical to life vs ample storage; and to get comfortable with the utilities.

I’ve been on the road a bit over three weeks. So while I was certainly exploring from the start, my soul didn’t relax and explore, too, until just a week ago. Creating a home and acclimating to this life took some time (and probably a bit more to come).

And now, the fun begins!

***

What helps you make a place into your home? On a work trip, moving to a new abode, whatever the event may be.

6 Responses

06.28.12

Always glad for the kindness of strangers!

06.28.12

How about a photo of the Paulamobile? It can save you a 1,000 words…at least.

06.28.12

Am so glad there are people out there that are helping you along the way. It it so nice to hear of the kindness of strangers. Love your writing style and hearing about all the adventures! You are so funny! Safe travels dear and stay cool – I don’t know what the weather is like where you are but the high today is supposed to be 104! This southern girl is staying inside today!

06.28.12

Your Comments
Attention cable TV producers –
This blogger needs a reality show – love the writing, and the wit; I feel like I am on a cross country adventure, and it’s only just begun!

One question, tell us about trailer cooking!

06.28.12

Interesting about making a vacation a reality. So does this mean in years to come, you will work for a vacation?

Do you have pictures of your new home- inside and out?

06.28.12

Uh-oh! I “have conversations” with myself ALL the time, and I live with three other people.

So glad your trip is validating how good and kind many people are. You’ve found a community and they’re looking out for you.

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