Thursday, July 4, 2013

Life Lessons Learned in an RV

For the last week, I have had no clue what day it is. I mean, not even a vague notion as to whether it was…say…Monday or Thursday. I didn’t even realize when June turned to July.
Do you know how absolutely and completely freeing that can be?

Eight days ago, we packed up our 22-year-old RV with our 2 kids, lots of anticipation, and a few prayers, and headed out for our longest road trip yet. The itinerary included 6 stops along the way, putting us in four states in a little less than 3 weeks.
Being on the road and going from place to place,  worrying only about spending time with your family, playing on the beach, and finding a good local place to eat have a way of making you lose your bearings a bit. I was amazed by the realization that I had, literally, lost all sense of time.  I was completely and totally disconnected.

For someone who usually adheres to an extremely tight, self-imposed schedule, it is liberating to not know what day it is-- and most importantly, not care.
I think I have decided that this is my favorite part of owning our old little beat-up RV.

The longest I have ever been away from home is 11 days. This trip is scheduled to last 19. I say “scheduled,” because when you are traveling this many miles in a motor home that is this old, you just never know for sure. Take the first day, for example: we left Miami mid-morning in order to make it to Cocoa Beach, Florida so we could spend the day with our friend who lives there. Instead, we spent about 4 hours dealing with a suddenly-not-working-in-spite-of-being-serviced-generator. We made it to our friend’s house barely in time for dinner.  And, take the second day, too, for example: we left our friend’s house at 6 a.m. in order to make it to Savannah, Georgia by lunchtime. Instead, we spent 9 hours in a parking lot with a busted water pump and shredded something-or-other belts. We skipped Savannah and made it to Charleston, South Carolina with barely enough time to check in to our campground and go to sleep.
For someone as superstitious as myself, I would think that maybe the darned little guardian angel thingy that Hubby brought along might not be as guardian-like as he’d hoped. And for someone as mathematically-inclined as himself, he would think that, statistically, we should be good for the rest of the trip. (Just in case, we have now taken to saying a prayer out loud when we turn on the generator. It started out as a simple “Please, God, let the generator start” in unison, but then the boys turned it into “Please, God, let the generator fart,” and that seems to be working, so we’re going with it. And just in case, I have now taken to saying a prayer--silently as to not further stress Hubby--whenever he starts the engine. We are very religious these days, apparently.)
And, I have to say, as much as I have hated (I can’t italicize and bold and underline that enough) the calling-the-RV-version-of-AAA moments, I think they may have contributed (albeit painfully) to my sense of freedom.

When you are this controlling in your own head, it is almost a relief to realize that you really have very little control over situations. And, at the risk of sounding corny and cliché, it is a little empowering to realize that you can, however, control your reactions to situations.
When the generator broke down not an hour into our trip, I couldn’t will it to work again. I could, however, make jokes, play with the kids, paint my nails, and declare that surely this mishap would guarantee that The Thing That Could Go Wrong With The RV has already happened. And when the engine suddenly started to make ominous noises and we were sitting on the side of the expressway only 30 minutes away from our destination, I had no other choice but to admit that crying wasn’t going to replace the damned water pump or any of the belts its spontaneous combustion shredded. In fact, it would have only made the situation worse (obvious but poignant!)

For a few hours there, we had no idea how bad it was going to be: was this even repairable (one guy told us they didn’t even make those replacement parts anymore)? Would we be able to find a hotel if we needed one (the twelve we called in Savannah were booked solid)? Would we have to explain to our boys that, after a year of planning this trip, we might have to go home after the first day (and how the hell were we going to get home if we did)?  I had absolutely no other choice but to go with the flow, and worry only about the moment at hand—two things at which I am notoriously bad.
I’m realizing these little trips are not only giving us, as a family, an opportunity to bond and play and laugh and be away from everything, but it’s also giving me an opportunity to practice some of the things I really want to be better at in life. And if it just so happens that I can learn these lessons as I watch my little ones squeal with glee while they chase down crabs, or while I’m  enjoying  an ice cold beer on a beach in the Outer Banks, then all the better.

Here’s to not knowing what day of the week it is…Cheers.



  1. Nice Post. Who knew there was such a thing as OBX Beer. And leave it to you guys to Blog about it! Enjoy!

  2. I love it! Sounds like you got the hang of the "enjoying the moment " thing. Cheers to that! :)
    Miss you!

  3. I will definitely have to remember this - let go and live in the moment because tears and sheer "will" won't change it. And welcome to NC! Believe it or not, I've not yet made it to the Outer Banks, but one day.

  4. Glad to hear u guys r living it up! We r also on our trip and am sending this from Gloucester, MA (not initially a stop on our revised trip, but so happy we included it.)

    Enjoy :)


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