Finding yourself isn’t a task to cross off a list but rather an ongoing journey of asking questions and seeking answers. I tend to use the pendulum method of swinging to the furthest reaches of one direction and often finding that I’ve gone too far and need to reverse course to swing in the other. My intention is to find that spot somewhere in the middle of two extremes that is where I fit best. I can’t say that I planned this as a strategy, I just see that it is how it seems to work out for me. I spent seven years in the house that I recently left to go live full time in my camper van and travel. I had been looking to the horizon for some time, feeling trapped and bored. My three dogs limited my choices of where I could go and still have them in my life. I didn’t want to own another house and I knew that renting was going to be difficult. RV or van living seemed like a great alternative that would give me the freedom I was longing for.
My goal was to spend 6 months in the van while renting my house to cover expenses. In September, I started out making my trips around Southern Indiana which kept me close to home in the event of mechanical problems. After each trip, I would return to stay with family where I could camp and have access to their home. Every trip taught me new lessons and I would come back ready to change my set up, leave behind things I didn’t need and load up or purchase things I did need. Initially, I found that after a week away I was getting a little homesick and overwhelmed so the time spent with family gave me an opportunity to fill up my emotional coffers and tend to business in a familiar setting.
In October, I began to branch out and headed to Kentucky. I spent time in Land Between the Lakes, Paducah and Central City where my father’s family is from. I learned more about Army Corp of Engineers Campgrounds and bought a lifetime senior pass that will save me half of the camping fees at these well maintained parks and also gives me free enty into most National Parks. There are some advantages to growing older. I also spent my first night in a Walmart parking lot which is a handy traveling tool to have when a decent park isn’t available or to save a little money en route to a destination.
I was glad to be home for Halloween with the family but as the cold moved in quickly, I had to skip the next two states south and drive straight through to Florida. I made a reservation for 11 days at a park that had openings. I learned was that if I was open to moving around from site to site or park to park, I don’t have to have reservations to go to Florida in the winter. This was a great discovery for me as I felt like that was a major sticking point for me to enjoy Florida as I wanted to. I would like to have the flexibility to move with the weather and setting reservations way ahead make that impossible. I also discovered that I don’t like to be in one place for too long.
Having researched a lot on You Tube, Facebook and blogs, I had a lot of ideas of how others enjoy this lifestyle but I found I had to get out there to figure out what kind of camper I am. I’m still learning and fine tuning but each trip out is a learning experience that increases my knowledge of the world around me and of how I fit into it. Most of all leaving reminds me of how much I love the family that I come back to and my hometown. That was how I knew that I wasn’t ready to do this full time so I am stepping back to part time. Hopefully, I can have the best of both worlds.