Wednesday, November 29, 2023


My dream of joining the circus

By Chuck Woodbury
I came across a book recently about “Running Away With the Circus.” But what it was really about was running away from one’s present life and to a new one. Quitting an executive job to take up pottery-making would be an example. Retiring early to go full-time RVing would be another.

When you were young did you ever dream of joining the circus? I did. Oh, I was never serious about it, but I did ponder the idea of drifting from place to place gypsy-style. I have never understood my need to be a drifter. Some people need to plant roots firmly and then stay planted. I never desired deep roots, but shallow ones that could be easily replanted elsewhere.

I know people who love one place. They may try living in different towns, but never feel quite at home until they arrive in a special town where, for the first time, they feel complete. “This is it,” they say, and that is where they remain forever.

I have never found such a place. My place has always been somewhere different from the place before. And my house — my very favorite house — has always been a motorhome that allows me to live as a gypsy without being so conspicuous that people think me odd. I like waking up often in a different place, but I especially like it when I awake in such a place in my very own RV’s bed. I believe this is like having your cake and eating it, too.

Right now, writing this at my new home, where I have been now for about eight months, I’m feeling a bit of what I felt as a young man when I dreamed of joining the circus — of seeing new places and having new experiences. Have you ever stood at the airport and watched a friend’s plane take off to a place far away? Did you want to go? Did you feel envy? Did you feel left behind?

I’m not at the airport, but that’s sort of what I’m feeling right now.

Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.



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tom (@guest_45766)
4 years ago

One of the unremarked benefits of the dreaded draft was you were “invited by your draft board” to “join” the circus. Sent to places you may never heard of, forced into living conditions with people of different backgrounds and beliefs, asked to do difficult jobs. Very experience and life expanding.
I am surprised that this aspect has never been seriously studied.

Tom (@guest_45754)
4 years ago

Your article reminded me of a few things. First was a book “ Water for elephant” and the man who joined the circus. Next was people I meet after moving from PA to N CA. They tell me they love it here and wouldn’t live anyplace else. When I ask where they have been they say no place else, just here. At times I think I did join the circus when I signed up for Navy. 🙂

Goldie (@guest_45710)
4 years ago

When I was younger – lots younger – I did run away to join the circus…well, to be accurate, I ran away to join a carnival. I was in my late teens (could have been 20) and my world had gotten overwhelming. It was a great summer and I returned home after a season of traveling – and endlessly riding every ride traveling with us – with a new outlook on life. But I’ve never lost the love of traveling – or of the carny rides. We just do it now in a 45′ motorhome. We keep our S&B because I do need room to store my “stuff” but I’m always ready for the next trip.

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