By Tammy Williams
How do you like my attention-grabbing title? As Ricky Ricardo said, “Let me ‘splain.”
Two and a half years ago, I completely dismantled my perfectly good life. I exited the Rat Race, downsized drastically, and embarked on a journey of travel and discovery. In the months leading up to the metamorphosis, I imagined my new life; there would be no need for cable, as I would spend my time reading books, meeting people, and writing. As I carry 100 gallons of fresh water on board, I would drink only water and drinks made with water, like unsweetened iced tea. I would shed the shackles of negative thoughts and depression. I would cease being a rampant consumer and choose experiences over junk. I would keep a limited cocktail bar of five key liquors to conserve space.
As I write to you today, liquor is squirreled away all over the rig. The refrigerator is stocked with Diet Coke. I have DirecTV on satellite, and Amazon prime, Netflix, and Hulu online. I still buy stuff I don’t need. While I have been off anti-depression medications for a couple of years now, a victory to be sure, I sometimes go through periods of low motivation, self-doubt and cocooning from the world.
I am not despairing about the liquor or the television; I utilize both to my advantage. I am working on the shopping, and I really do need to jettison the Diet Coke – so unhealthy! The point is, when I imagined life in an RV, my expectations were unrealistic. Now, when I read blogs of those preparing to embark on their RV journeys, I immediately recognize their magical thinking, and empathize.
The title of this entry is accurate, but an incomplete thought. Here’s the whole thing: If you are not a happy person, RVing will not make you happy.
Your circumstances will not change you; only you can do that.
I was a generally very happy person in my prior life, and I am now, but life has its ups and downs, no matter how idyllic the scenery.
I Still Worry.
When I traded the sticks and bricks for a motorhome, I exchanged one basket of shelter worries for another. There is less worry in my life since I stopped working, but there is plenty of other stuff to fret about. I worry about money, my health, and the ability to get medical treatment, for starters.
I Still Plan.
You can take the Type A girl out of the office, but she’ll still be a planner. Many RVers are proud of the fact that they fly by the seats of their pants, not making advanced reservations or planning more than a few hours ahead on where they will spend the night. That’s just not me, and living this lifestyle didn’t change that. I sketch plans based on the seasons, chase good weather, and make reservations far in advance to get the best spots. I would rather camp on the edge of the lake than by the dumpsters or the showers. I have no desire to change that aspect of me.
I Still Get Bored.
When writing a travel blog and living the kind of life that many can only dream about, it is practically verboten to say this, but it’s true. While I am invigorated by discovering new places, immersing myself in history, meeting new people, and writing about it all, traveling in an RV is my new normal. I’ve been doing it for over two years now. Without the intense mental stimulation of practicing law, I sometimes struggle with bouts of boredom, which I counteract with reading, watching documentaries, or learning new skills like playing the ukulele. I’m thinking of tackling a foreign language, listening while I drive.
In the words of Buckaroo Bonzai, “Wherever you go, there you are.” A change in latitude will affect only so much attitude. Of course you can make positive changes in your life, with hard work and determination. Even in new surroundings, you will still have work to do.
Tammy Williams is a former trial lawyer in Seattle. In 2015, after 20 years, she ceased practicing law at age 46, sold her home and everything in it and jumped into Nellie, her 2008 Newmar Ventana “bug-out mobile.” You can up follow her adventures in her delightful blog The Lady is a Tramp.