COMING HOME: Traveling gypsies, RV myths, and calling the road home

It is hard to believe, but in the last month and a half, my husband and I have cumulatively traveled an amazing 6,600 miles. We don’t mind, but the realization that the length of our journey has been the same as driving from California to New York and back is indeed a bit mind boggling.

It all started back in September. I was giving a presentation in Kansas the same weekend my husband had an art show in Prescott. We were in Colorado at the time, so I took the Jeep while he took the motorhome. Upon our return, we immediately left for Texas to attend a wedding. When we returned from that, we headed towards Oregon on yet another journey.

Being on the road has its allure. We like knowing where we’re going but without a specific route in mind. Cruising down the highway, the road a mere strip of black ribbon beneath us, gives us lots of time to talk, stare out the window, read and nap, sans the guilt of not actively doing anything for several hours. If we do it right, the mystery of where we might end up is usually countered with finding some delightful place to spend the night.

I will say this: living in a motorhome does take practice. My mother-in-law once commented, “When you first get an RV, you’ll load it up with everything. Then over time you will end up taking half of it back out.” She was right. Remembering that you need half, or less, of things like sheet sets, towels, kitchenware and clothing is hard. But the limited space of your kitchen, bins and closets will help you get organized in a hurry. No woman, me included, wants their temporary home on wheels looking like a campsite exploded inside of it.

I will also say this: the RV “walk-around bed” is a myth! While it does beat straddling your corner mattress and turning yourself into a pretzel just to make the bed, the walk-around bed is a scoot-around bed at best. Unless you have the same body as Popeye’s Olive Oyl, there is no way you can walk around it without the mattress and the bedclothes trying to come with you. Add that to ducking so you won’t bonk your head on the t.v., stepping over the dog bed and moving so as not to wipe everything right off your nightstand, and just changing the sheets can drive you insane.

But is it worth it to do your dishes in a kitchen with six inches of counter space? Does living in 200 square feet with your loved one, a dog and two cats pay off? Even when the five of you are hopelessly trapped inside by a howling rainstorm? Can you maintain your inner harmony when your “space” consists solely of your side of the bed, your side of the dinette or the front seat when nobody else is in it?

Yes, yes you can. It comes when you find a camping spot that is so beautiful, serene and majestic that you don’t want to leave it. A place where wildlife, gorgeous trees and a carpet of green grass await. Where a river flows, or the ocean carelessly tosses waves onto a beach and lulls you to sleep. And when you are able to close the bathroom off, sip some merlot in a plastic wine glass, and get a hot shower and a moment alone. Now that is bliss.