As I am writing this blog, my sweetheart and I are on day four of our RV trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is a test drive for my real dream - a months-long RV journey exploring national parks, seeing friends, and checking out local Atlas Obscura.
So far so good. We have figured out what we didn’t bring that we needed like toothpaste, prescription, a washcloth, a second dish towel and a water jug. Also we have discovered what we didn’t know about our RV, like whoops, why don’t we have hot water? Also, the outlets don’t work if the rig isn’t plugged in, so I actually should have brought my portable phone battery. Rats.
In the Berkshires, we overnighted in my sister-in-law's driveway during a rain storm of biblical proportions. In New York, we parked at a truck stop on the Seneca Nation. Last night we stayed at an actual campground where I learned that you’d better be social if you travel by RV because RV’ers are a friendly bunch.” Do you want a beer? Need wood? How about some macaroni?” If you’re lucky like we were, you park next to a handy guy that helps you cure your no-hot-water blues.
While we’re concentrating on getting to Santa Fe in time for our son’s week off, we’re making time to follow our noses a little while we’re enroute. Yesterday we visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland where we soaked up the history, costumes, and the passion of Rock. Last night, we biked to a sweet little diner where they served the best hard ice cream I’ve had outside of Ben & Jerry’s. Today, we took the Columbus exit to take in the statue of Arnold Schwartzenegger and the world’s largest gavel outside the Ohio Supreme Court.
One of the things I’ve come to realize is that because I spend most of my time close to home, like you, I go to places I’ve been before or will likely visit again. As we said farewell to our fleeting campground friends, we were encouraged to come back again. But, we know we won’t.
When I’ve been on destination vacations, there’s always the possibility that I will return. In fact, the more I enjoy myself, the more likely a return engagement. I’ve been to Cape Cod many times, I will likely return to Amsterdam and also Thailand. But I’ll probably never be back to the River Crossing Campground again. Today, I missed my chance to visit the Ohio statehouse and who knows if I’ll ever be back?
Obviously, this kind of trip is about the journey, which by definition is a fleeting kind of experience. My sweetheart thinks this calls for a different level of mindfulness and I concur wholeheartedly. Those folks we met last night, I probably gave them more of my complete attention than I normally would, just because this is my only shot with them.
As I write these words, it comes to me that this type of trip requires a steady supply of mindfulness. We are spending A LOT of time together, so figuring out how and where to give each other space is an actual task to be taken seriously. Finding patience for each other's deafness and driving skills and peccadillos is what will make this a memorable trip - in a good way!
At the end of Oprah’s magazine was always the piece entitled “What I know for sure”. If I had a magazine, my end pages would probably be “What I've learned so far”.
So far, I’ve learned that:
1. Ohio is really pretty.
2. It’s weird to look out at a horizon with no mountains in the near or far distance.
3. You can parallel park a 24’ rig.
4. That Prince really is the bomb diggity. (skip to 3.24 to witness the best guitar solo jam sesh ever at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony)
5. Hubspots are truly the best thing since sliced bread.
6. How cool it is to go on a road trip and not ever have to use a public toilet.
7. Most importantly, how beautiful and loving our family and friends are. We had a send off dinner with family, and many well wishers stopped by with cards, wine, and other travel essentials. I already know the truth of Dorothy’s words...there’s no place like home.