So, here are Jim and I on our year long RV trip, having a wonderful time on Vancouver Island, when it hits me again. That’s right, I’m getting sick. I have on-the-road disease, more commonly known as homesickness. It gets me about once a month, there’s not much of a cure (except going home), and it’s quite devastating every time it happens. Poor Jim, who seems to be immune, is struck dumb each time this occurs and he watches in amazement as I transform from a reasonable, sensible, cheerful individual into a mumbling, sniffling idiot. It’s always the same and it’s always ridiculous.
But don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to go home. In fact, with the sale of the condo I intellectually know that the Airstream is my home for now. And that’s okay. But for some reason, emotionally, I just can’t seem to compute that every now and then. I need the familiar. I need my family. I need my friends and the streets of my home town and buildings that I know and my favourite shopping places. I even need the feeling that when I go out, I might run into somebody I know. Or, best of all, that I can go out for lunch or dinner with a girlfriend. Wow, this really is ridiculous.
However, it always goes away. Today, after my latest breakdown, we went for a walk. Here in Salmon Point campground, there’s a nature walk supreme. You can walk for miles through a preserve or, if you choose, leave the path and walk on a rocky, nearly deserted beach if the tide is out. There’s a ton of driftwood and gorgeous rocks and sealife in tidal pools and it’s all very interesting. Today, at the end of the beach, there were several people in the water throwing out fishing lines to catch pinks, the kind of salmon that are here now. Later, we sat at the harbour and watched the boats come in. As we sat there in the perfect weather, looking at mountains across the Strait of Georgia, a big group of bald eagles flew past. At the same time, the pinks were beginning their daily jumps, leaping out of the water all over the place with breathtaking flashes of silver. And to top it off, a giant blue heron flew slowly, slowly by, barely flapping his enormous wings at all. What’s the matter with me anyway? This is heaven.
And to make my metamorphosis from pathetic whiner to happy camper complete, tonight there was an Airstream party. The BC chapter of Airstream (yes, it’s a cult) has rolled into the Salmon Point RV park and they welcomed us with open arms. Before we knew it, we were bringing our chairs over for happy hour and had met a dozen new, very nice people. As we left, we had invitations to get together with our new Surrey friends, new California friends, to go to an Airstream rally in November in Santa Barbara and, of all things, for breakfast the next morning. That one I turned down, being as how I don’t see anyone before I do the morning transformation. But, it all had the desired effect. Now, like a true neurotic, I was really cheerful.
And so it goes. We continue our adventure tomorrow by moving to a town called Campbell River. We’re still moving north to hike and kayak in North Island but doing it slowly. No rush. Chill, Glenda. Relax. Enjoy.
More of our organizational tips. This time, the topic is “How to Live Together in 200 Square Feet Without Killing Each Other”.
- Do not try to be in the kitchen (which is two feet by two feet ) together. We both like to cook, and the first thing we learned was to take turns. If he’s at the sink, I chop at the table. If he moves to the table, I move to the sink. Never, ever together. After awhile, it becomes a ballet and we have become very good dancers.
- Separate whenever things become tense. Jim has developed, subconsciously I’m sure, a way of sliding outside at the first hint of trouble. He just kind of backs out the door, leaving me to rattle around in the whole trailer, which seems much bigger when I’m in it alone. Suddenly I can breathe normally and begin to do the kind of housewifey things that must be built into my genes and which are very comforting. In emergency situations, that is those that threaten to become a little more than just “tense”, he actually says, “I’m just going to town (not that we always know exactly where the town is, but it can always be found if necessary). And it’s amazing what a little separation will do. By the time he comes home, things are all better and we can once again co-exist in harmony. Most of the time.
- Use your phone a lot. Keeping in touch with friends and family grounds you, brings back reality, gives you lots of other things to think about and brings back the familiar. There’s nothing like a good long yak with a friend or a family member to make you feel warm and happy. We both do it a lot, together or separately and don’t begrudge the time at all.
- Live outside as much as possible. After all, isn’t that why we travel? Isn’t that why we have an RV? We have made additional outdoor areas (we are currently shopping for a really nice “screen house” which just means we will add a screened-in room to our outside living space. I will decorate it as much as possible and live in it whenever I can. Wow, a rec room. Hallelujah.
- Have hobbies. We read, have computers, do crafts, do a ton of exercise, plan our next steps, have a movie library, listen to lots of music and on and on. Very necessary.
- Keep the place neat. This might be a personal preference, but really, if you only have a few feet, isn’t it crazy to cover some of it with STUFF? RV’s have a ton of storage space if you’re smart about it and you don’t need much anyway.
- Really love each other; that being the most important thing of all. Revel in the closeness. Cherish.