“Be careful what you wish for,” is what they say. The sentiment would be better stated as, “Be thoughtful and fully conscious of what you wish for.”
When our house upriver went on the market we knew that our lease on that particular Paradise was up. We also felt that we were ready for another variation of Paradise. I wanted to downsize so that I could focus on fewer projects and feel less overwhelmed. (In retrospect, I also felt the need to make more money, doing something that gave me pleasure and fulfillment; and I needed to focus for that.)
I heard my husband’s daydreams/dreams about the gypsy lifestyle, about Airstream trailers, RVs, pop-up trailers and the like. We compromised on a teardrop trailer that we could pull behind our Volvo – as I felt that would leave a smaller carbon footprint, as well as save us money on hotels. There is just enough room inside for a queen-sized mattress – no standing room – and a small counter with a couple of cabinets in the hatchback. I liked the idea of using our larger camping tent with the teardrop, but gave in to Ray’s intent to use our market canopy instead.
Ray had bought a membership to an RV resort, Thousand Trails, (TT) which gave us the option of camping within their preserves throughout the western US. He talked of spending a year traveling throughout the US in the teardrop.
Our first outing was about 50 miles away from our home, still upriver. We had planed on staying for a week. The second day it began to rain. This might not normally deter campers, especially with an enclosed, off-ground bed, but there were some other considerations that became obvious. Ray tends to rise by 5am. The only thing to do at that time of morning is read, which was cold and uncomfortable under the canopy. The lodge, which had heat, shelter, and WI-fi computer access, didn’t open until 8:00. There were no coffee shops to drive to that were open that early. We went home after the third day.
Ray thought maybe we would limit our year-long adventure to…maybe three months. All the while, I’m thinking of saving a lot of money from not paying rent, having few distractions, and being able to do research and write at the various resort stops on this adventure. Focus, right?
We had a friend, Vick, who wanted to sell his trailer. The trailer was fairly large and a newer, upscale model, and the friend had a number of issues other than the desire to sell the trailer. We were both thinking it, but I stepped out on a limb and suggested we buy Vick’s trailer. Ray had investigated getting an annual site at the local TT. Vick found alternative digs, and we felt it was a win-win situation for all. TT had a hot tub and swimming pool, a fitness center, two clubhouses with TV and Wi-fi. We would save big-time by having our trailer on an annual lot.
While preparing to move, I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma -cancer – on my face. We decided to finish the move, and the attendant moving sale, before going back to the east coast to have the needed surgery. We moved into the trailer, put some things into a storage unit, bought a small storage shed and installed it at the trailer site. We were now calling the trailer the “cabin.” That just sounded more upscale and adventurous than “trailer.”
We spent a month in Pennsylvania, staying with family. I had the surgery, everything came out fine, no more cancer, no follow-up treatment needed. We go back home to the trailer. We spent a lot of energy downsizing even more, and decided we would eliminate the storage unit. Dear friends had room in their pole barn for the teardrop, and we stored a few things in their large basement.
We spent January teardrop/canopy camping in Palm Springs. We planned for six weeks, but for various reasons, were home in four. For a short time the “cabin” felt luxurious. Then the other shoe fell.
Without the capacity for a land-line, we had to buy a cell phone. We bought a hot-spot so we could get some internet access in the cabin. The data plan was limited to a number of gigabytes that didn’t allow us to stream audio or video without running out of gigs. That was OK, as we could go to either clubhouse and use our computers there. Internet is usually reliable there – at least in the off-season. Of course, it’s a pain to be in the middle of working on something, and realize that paperwork, information, or some other necessary component is back in the “home office.” In spite of attempting to put everything in digital format, it doesn’t seem to happen that way.
The “fitness center,” I put in quotation marks for a reason. Tiny and poorly thought out, it was obviously put together by someone ill-equipped to do so. So much for saving money on gym membership. And I had such a nice, individualized workout room upriver, as well as a kayak and a rowing shell, a dock, and clear Rollerblading streets as well. Boo Hoo Hoo!
There is a theme taking shape here. One morning Ray awoke at about 4:30, went to the bathroom, pulled the door separating the bedroom from the rest of the cabin mostly closed, leaving room for the cat to move through. The light goes on, the television flickers (sight). The microwave beeps to heat up tea, the parabolic heater cycles on, the cat cries to go out (sound). Every movement Ray makes shakes the trailer (feeling). And on most days there is at least coffee and, usually, breakfast cooking (smell).
This tends to make it difficult for me to get back to sleep. I regularly need eight hours of sleep.
So here’s the point. I thought I could make Ray happy by living out one of his dreams with him. Living in an RV (more or less) and traveling, all on our budget of his Social Security and my pension. And I could get started on my blog and ensuing business at the same time.
After being ruthlessly honest with myself, what I really want is enough money to make decisions based upon what we really need and desire, instead of on our meager budget. Yes, I actually said it – “meager!”
We all carry around so much baggage, full of judgments, attitudes and expectations that often aren’t our conscious choices. They come from our history, our environment, who-knows-where, but they are only ours because we have them – not because we choose them. It takes personal work, but we can choose to change and get rid of the unwanted baggage. We must do the work if we want to live our own lives.
That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!