On February 26, 2015 Picasso and I did something totally crazy – we moved into an RV to live in full-time. It’s been a whole year since! Happy anniversary to us both!
So much has happened in the one year since I’ve been living on wheels. Notice I didn’t say “on the road” since that wouldn’t be exactly correct! Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to review some of the things I’ve learned this last year.
There is a huge difference between a Class C RV (what I started out with) and a fifth wheel (my current abode). Now that I’m in the fifth wheel I can hardly believe I was thinking I could live in the much smaller Class C and be happy. Let’s put it this way – I could NEVER go back! Of course that brings up another issue – I’m no longer mobile, at least not without someone’s help. That’s kind of a mixed blessing I suppose.
While I cannot pull a fifth wheel with my little, itty, bitty Fiat I realize that this is actually okay. Turns out I never realized just how little stress I can handle these days and driving a behemoth is more than just a little stressful as is moving every few weeks. Now for some of you that wouldn’t be an issue but I have learned that I’m much better not having that extra stress on me. Am I disappointed? Well, yes and no I suppose. The plan certainly was to move every month or so and find a new place to explore. I also expected to be able to travel easily across the country, seeing places I’ve never seen as well as visiting friends from places I’ve spent a whole lot of time in. While I wish sometimes that was still the case, for the most part I’m really good with it not happening since it really did take a huge toll on me. It wasn’t until I started to push myself that I started to more easily see my limits. That’s a good thing since it allows me to take better care of me!
On the other hand, how the hell did I end up in North Carolina? I have to admit to marveling at that! I was just on my way up to visit my family for a month when my car broke down and left me with way too much time to fall in love with these Appalachian mountains and the people who inhabit those mountains. I knew I wanted to consider living here over the summer but I honestly expected to be heading back to Florida for the winters. Living here full-time was not something I was even considering, especially in an RV. They aren’t exactly known for their insulation!
Winter is officially 2/3’s over and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to have wintered here. Has it gotten cold? Yep, but it has also been really beautiful, too. It’s also been far more expensive to winter here than I ever would’ve expected. Between the things I needed to winterize the RV, me and Picasso I spent a small fortune. Remember, I had NOTHING in the way of things of warmth and had to buy just about everything! My first month’s bill for propane alone was nearly $500! That included the tank rental, installation and propane as well as some other charges. Not in my budget, that’s for sure!
But living here for the winter gave me something far more unexpected. Mom had an exacerbation of her COPD just after this past Christmas and died not even a month after that. Living here has given me a place to cocoon as I heal and mend and just get my energy back. On nice days we go out and walk around the RV park. On real wintery days we just hang out inside the RV, safe and warm. I’ve felt extremely cared for in my humble abode. I’ve been alone in the park for the most part although there is someone here now but I’ve not even met him yet so I can remain as unsocial as I would like at this point. Jim the owner of the park either comes down to check on me every so often or emails me. My journey hasn’t been easy and this has given me a place to unwind it all in safety. I’m content and perhaps that’s one of my biggest surprises – being content while doing so little!
I’ve also learned that I’m not a friend of stink bugs. Those little buggers continue to make their way into my RV on a very routine basis but I’m happy to say that so far I’ve not had a run in with their stinky side!
In the short time I’ve already been here in NC I’ve come to realize just how very much I’ve come to miss having four distinct seasons. Tucson, Costa Rica and Florida are not known for their seasons. It’s been nearly 20 years since the last time I experienced them. Winter, my least favorite season while living in NJ, has come to be a good friend down here, particularly since this was not a terribly cold winter I suppose. When I lived in Tucson I remember going to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in Scottsdale. Of all the things I saw and learned there the one that has stuck with me the most was how he believed when you entered a home it should be more compressed (lower ceiling, smaller room). Then, as you enter the living area of the home it should suddenly open up (higher ceiling and more expansive overall). By doing so, one’s energy is compressed then allowed to sort of explode into the main living area, sort of like going through a tunnel into an exceptionally beautiful. open area. It is all about the contrast. This is what winter is like to me. It is a compressing season which then opens up into spring and the new life one experiences in that season. I remember how much I’ve loved spring and cannot wait to experience it again! I’m pretty sure I’ve picked a truly beautiful place to experience that explosion into life!
The timing of this is not lost on me either! Mom passed right in the middle of winter. I naturally have pulled inward as both the situation and season would dictate and I feel certain that when spring approaches I’ll be ready to expand into the beauty of the season and back into life.
I’ve been thrilled that you have been with me this year. It hasn’t been a easy one in so many ways and I don’t know how I would’ve made it through without all the support I’ve gotten. Thank you so much and now on to year two!
© 2016 deborah kauffeld