As many of you know and have sent so many well wishes, I last wrote that my father was dying. My family mourns his passing and yet we know that he no longer wanted the broken life his 98-year-old body had left him. Dying is hard work. I never knew how hard, but there is a lot of difference between dying and being gone.
We have inherited his house but we are full-time RVers. It has been six years since we sold our five-bedroom too-much-stuff house and I have found great joy in not-so-much-stuff and the freedom to travel and call all of this amazing country our home. Twenty minutes to clean the RV front to back is not too bad either.
My husband, however, wants a house, a home base, somewhere for friends and family to gather. This full-time RVing was never his dream, it was mine and it was mine from the age of 15. I won’t even go into how many decades ago that was. Suffice it to say… a lot. We have reached a compromise. We will still RV. We will keep our home on wheels and we may even keep our winter work camping stint a mere 20 miles from the house.
I will admit I have not been Nanci-nice about the whole thing. As a matter of fact, and in true confession, I have been rather sulky, rude, negative and basically a royal pain. I am sure he could add some other rather descriptive words to that depiction.
What does it mean to have a house again?
But still… what does it mean to have a house again? Can we still full-time RV and just visit the house? I get so many comments from people that are giving up full-time RVing and even RVing altogether in my Campground Crowding column every week. It tears at my heart every time I read about people needing or wanting to hang up the keys.
And though we aren’t hanging up the keys, it will be different. I expect we won’t be traveling as much and we won’t need to travel as much. Try as I might, we will accumulate stuff again.
Can I still find that sense of adventure?
There has been a sense of adventure and self-reliance these last few years. You see, I love RVing. I love being so close to nature: forests, deserts, mountains and lakes. I even like the cattle tramping through our campsite along with the coyotes and the occasional rattlesnake. I like being tied to the weather, the storms and the winds. I’ve been hooked on the lifestyle ever since I built my first camper van at age 16. What 16-year-old gets a library book on building campers and buys a circular saw? My friends were all getting their first car or stereo system.
I love going from place to place. I love the adventure of seeing new things, meeting new people, walking new trails. I am honored to be stepping in the thousand-year-old footprints of native peoples. I even like that first moment when I wake in the morning and try to remember where we are!
RVing is just not the same
RVing has changed, though. It is with a sense of dread that I start planning our season’s traveling. There is a lot of planning, researching and reserving involved now. It was not so hard six years ago. I have even more dread when I realize that I may be way behind the others that have planned and reserved for a year or more.
The other day, though, I did discover that living in a sticks-and-bricks house is way easier than living in the RV. It is easier to cook in a full kitchen. It is easier to wash clothes, run the dishwasher, get to the grocery store and to even open the garage with a remote. I am writing this with reliable internet for the first time in six years. But it is also a lot more work to clean, paint, and groom. The house has not been updated for more than 40 years and is flush with once-trendy wallpaper.
So, perhaps when the painting is done, the tile laid, lighting fixtures changed out, a wall or two removed and our friends, sons and grandchildren are sitting around the little-used formal dining table, I will realize that I have the best of both worlds.
Until then I may just continue to be a little bit pouty…