Sunday, July 1, 2012

Taking a risk

Sometimes in life you have to take chances to be happy. You have to work at creating the life you envision. And most of the time, the decisions that get you there and the steps you have to take--big or little--can be scary.

We had been behaving responsibly for a while now: no lavish trips, no more high-end martini bars, cheap take-out had become an occasional treat, and random no-reason shopping trips were a thing of the past. We'd willingly and solemnly swapped our kick-up-our-heels, paint-the-town-red, live-for-today, spontaneous life of the Olden Days for the cliche we shockingly and embarrasingly realized we (gasp!) wanted: corner lot life with the big mortgage and two shaggy-haired boys.

It's what we wanted.

But despite what we used to think when we were in our early twenties, you can't have it All. So something had to go. Hence, we became responsible.


And bored out of our minds.

Enter: The A-Team (R)Van.

Yep, we got an RV.
And yep, we gave it a name.
And yep, we named it after a bad 80's TV show.
And yep, it worked: we aren't bored anymore.

Hubby had grown up taking RV trips, and it was his dream to have one of his own. Although I loved camping and the outdoors in general, I never took him very seriously. I knew nothing about RVs. It seemed overwhelming and impractical and unnecessary. And certainly, financially irresponsible. How much did those things cost, anyways?

But Hubby kept at it. He scoured the internet for used RV deals, sure that "one day" he'd find the perfect, can't-beat-it deal. He shared blogs about families with young boys who were traveling the country each summer. He pointed out that with both of us not working every summer, we had the perfect set up to use an RV; with that much vacation time, we could take a few days to drive here or there and save tons on airfare. And with all of his biking races (especially now that the boys were racing in the kids' division too), we wouldn't have to drive hours before sunrise to get to a state race and then drive hours back when it was over. We could finally be one of those families we saw at these events: making it a weekend, camping out, turning it into an easy, fun activity instead of a chore to get there and back.

The more I started looking into it with him, the more it became my dream, too.

And this past December, two days after Christmas, we gave each other a special gift: a 20-year-old, Class C, 28 foot mobile home that sleeps at least 6 comfortably. (And the very next day, we went to the mall and returned all of the other "real" gifts we had opened on the 25th--more a symbolic gesture than one that actually made a financial difference.) It was an RV we had seen at a dealer, and we had liked it so much that it had become "The Measuring Stick" we used to compare all the other ones we went to see. After a few months of serious looking (and Hubby's aforementioned 2 years worth of casual scouring), I made the suggestion to go back and see it again and put in a low-ball offer. After some semi-serious haggling and a check-up by our mechanic, the dealer agreed to our offer and we brought home the latest addition to our family (affectionately called The A-Team around these parts).

Although it was in great working condition, it did, admittedly, look like the set of a bad 70's porn movie (or so I've been told, of course). After gutting and completely remodeling two houses with our sweat and muscle (really just Hubby's muscle and both of our sweat), we weren't afraid of tackling such a little space. So we gave it a major scrub-down, painted, tore out, replaced, and added our own special touches...

A few bumper stickers to give it some personality...

And, finally, never underestimate the power of a vintage hula girl...

We've gone out in it already 4 times: one time locally to try everything out (I will spare you the details of the first time poor Hubby tried to work the sewer system or, as I like to call it, the Poop Tube), once for a biking event, once just the four of us in the middle of nowhere, biking and hiking and barbecuing, and once with ALL of the grandparents AND the kids. Each time, I've been sad when it's time to pack it up and go home (yes, even the time with the grandparents). This coming Saturday we leave for our first "real" trip: 8 days all over Florida, exploring the old town of St. Augustine, 2 Florida beach campgrounds, Florida Caverns State Park, and possibly an elephant sanctuary and/or the famous little dolphin from the movie "Dolphin Tale." I have never felt as disconnected from the real world, stress, and the relentless noise in my own head as when I've been camping with the RV. Hubby says I'm a different person; he suggested making a tiny model of it and making me carry it around in my pocket. (I know, he's super funny, right?)

And yet, we almost didn't do this.

The night before we went to pay for it and bring it home, we almost chickened out. We had capped our adventurous tendencies so tightly, we almost forgot how to take a risk. It was like if we had been the responsible parents in the corner lot house for so long, we had forgotten how to be ourselves. It was when we realized that, that we knew we had to do this. Even if it didn't work out. Even if, in 6 months, we had to sell the thing. We needed this. We needed to remember what it felt like: to take a leap of faith, to look for adventure again, to be who we used to be, who we wanted to be again, now that things had "settled."

And so, we're not bored anymore. For now, anyways. I'm sure that in a few years, we'll find another adventure to jump that we've remembered what it feels like to be excited again.


  1. This is so fabulous. I can absolutely relate to NEEDING something, and I love what you chose. I think I need to do something risky and wonderful with my family too. Thanks for inspiring me! xox

  2. Oh, there's gonna be some good times ahead in that thing! Awesome!

  3. Love it! Wishing you safe travels and tons of fun!!


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