We are now in countdown mode as our launch date approaches this coming week. The last _____ occur frequently. Today the kids swam in the pool for what might be the last time. Yesterday Hunter went to the river with a friend for perhaps the last time. Last week we floated the river for the last time. While there is sadness at the thinning time, there is also a thick sense of urgency pushing us forward in the direction that has been pulling on our heartstrings since we first began heading down this unusual path.
I watch online (via a private Facebook group called Fulltime Families) as others who have ventured out into the similar unknown sell their home and virtually jump directly into their RV while it is pulling out of the driveway. The speed at which they move from “sold” to “road” is often breakneck. In contract, it feels as though our process of leaving has been teasingly slow. Our home has now been sold for over a year and a half. We have been living in our RV for 4 months within walking distance of our storage unit allowing us to frequently make changes to what we wish to bring with. We’ve been essentially playing house and flirting with the idea of grown-up traveling.
Now as the days-to-departure dip below 4, we are getting the excited jitters of impending adventure. Ironically, the preparation that would typically accompany a large-scale travel itinerary is unnecessary. We are already packed. It’s so weird. I honestly keep getting confused by this simple reality.
This does not mean we haven’t had things to do. We have. Mail is now being forwarded to my sweet in-laws who have agreed to send it on to us as needed. Our travel plans for the next few months are being mapped out. Dental appointments are being squeezed into the last remaining hours. Our truck is in the shop getting a necessary repair before it can pull the RV (praying it is ready by our launch date). Our library loan number is quickly dropping as we push to finish the last few books we are borrowing (Number the Stars is almost complete). And just today the “check engine” light began flashing in our van. Clearly we have some remaining loose ends to tie up.
It’s unfortunate, but often we reserve sharing the feelings hidden in the deep recesses of our hearts for times of departure. Sometimes we are better at living out intentional goodbyes than we are at living out our in-between days. …It reminded me that having a life isn’t nearly as significant as impacting one. Making an impact often requires making each moment count. After all, the moment, is the only place we really have impact anyway.
These last moments are precious and fleeting. We will cling to them so they do not slip needlessly away. I had the fun opportunity to write an article in our local paper this week about our upcoming adventure and the blessing we have received by living here for the past year and a half. Friends that we have made here have impacted us. Lessons we have learned here have changed us. We are better because of the in-between time that we had between our “sold” and “road”. It was indeed a beautiful, unexpected intermission. As we soon pull forward, we will do so with wonderful memories staring back at us in the rearview mirror.
This weekend our KOA campground hosts its annual bluegrass festival. This event will bring the place to peak population and unofficially kicks off the camping season. The previously peaceful park will begin to ebb and flow with the flux of campers coming in on Friday and slipping out on Sunday.
This is an interesting culture to live in and observe. It’s like residing in a college town where the population wax and wanes with the school year, only on a micro-weekly level. During the week, the kids can roam and play among the open campsites hitting their stick-swords against the tree trunks and riding their bikes with abandon among the open lanes. When the weekend rolls around and the camp swells to capacity, the environment shifts and our country life becomes a micro-city. The best part is that both are uniquely fun and we enjoy the changing landscape that surrounds us.
Allow me to welcome you to our new home. The cultural irony does not escape me, but the fact remains that we could not be more excited or content with our new tiny home on wheels. In a country where the majority believe that bigger is bound to be better, swimming upstream with a lighter load feels exactly right to us.
If our possessions were milk, I could say that we have now skimmed off the most precious and useful cream to take with us. The rest of our belongings which were deemed worth keeping but not essential have been packed and stored away for an undetermined amount of time. As I’ve quoted before from the children’s book The Trumpet of the Swan, “Flying is a lot harder than it was before I acquired all these possessions. The best way to travel, really, is to travel light.” Freedom can be found in many forms, but for us, minimizing our possessions and limiting the space we need to manage and maintain, is truly freeing.
10 blog posts ago we moved from our little 5 acre piece of stability into an unknown adventure on the Clearwater River. We downsized our stuff and took on the role of mom and pop KOA living in the manager’s suite of a newly converted KOA campground.
For a year our front window has daily displayed a continuous caravan of campers coming and going from one adventure to another. We have been treated to many unexpected opportunities and a handful of humorous oddities like coming home and finding that your front porch has become a hangout for people you’ve never met or the preferred parking spot for Dads Dogs.
We’ve met some fun people too like the little old lady that visited each morning for a week to check her email via a dinosaur dialup internet connection and cheerfully encouraged me to keep up the good work homeschooling my children before she left.
Clearly I have no blogger etiquette. The last time I wrote an update, we were in the middle of a fire evacuation. In the last two months of silence, you have been left to assume that I’m either dead or have run out of things to say. Thankfully, neither is true. The fires have moved from our area and the air is as clean and crisp as fall apple should be. Despite the nearby hills of charred land, the RV park where we are living has rows of healthy mature Cottonwood trees that have given up the chlorophyll craze and are surrendering to themselves to bright hues of yellow. They release their leaves in a carefully choreographed pattern that mimics gently falling snow and because I am not responsible for leaf maintenance, I simply breathe in the active beauty that surrounds me.