Wow, did that go by fast! That Aerosmith song comes to mind, “… a month on the road and I’ll be eatin’ from your hand”. It does not feel like a month, but then again, I do not know what that would feel like. The biggest challenge so far as been this unstructured time. No visits or work or volunteering lined up. That has been a challenge to entertain myself, find a purpose, yet stay fairly close to home for these first few weeks.
I am often asked how it is going or what have I learned about myself. Gee, it is fine and nothing really. Honestly, it is pretty anticlimactic. I mean, I learned how to live in my tent, at camp sites, in new and different towns. I learned that I do not do cold very well and the tent does not and cannot stay warm or protect me against the outside temperature. I do stay dry and enjoy the sounds of rain. I have learned about the best breakfast for me, and am getting better about dinner. Basically, I just learned how to live. Where each thing is packed, where to hang my jackets or clothes I want to use again. I am getting the hang of the laundry mat. Pretty boring, I would think. Just the various aspects of my new life. Snore.
I spent a lot of time asking others about how they do this, hungry for tips and tricks and insights. Teach me, Obi Wan! That, too, was a let down. I said this before, and I stand by it now, nobody else can prepare you. Nobody! You have to learn for yourself what works for you and how best to care for you and what makes you happy or anxious or what you want to see and how you want to see it. How much money you do or do not spend, what activities you participate in or take advantage of, where you camp… all of that is so subjective and unique and individual. My daughter harps on me because I am paying to camp when there is probably free camping on Forest Service or BLM land fairly close by. Yup, I know. I like having a picnic table and some sort of toilet and water. I like being closer to town so I can have stuff to do. There is a group of women who live in RV’s and vans and are always looking for free camping. I get it now, when you have paid thousands of dollars for your rig and will pay twice what I pay because you need electricity and hook ups and pull through sites. If you are self-contained, you can just pull over and park and sleep and have all you need. That makes a lot of sense. I paid just under $300 for my tent and am probably $1000 into all the other gear, if you throw in modifications to the Jeep, more like $2500 as a generous estimate for the entire shooting match. I get about 20 miles per gallon when driving – yeah, I know it sucks. But, if something breaks down I just return it. My major purchases were from REI and that was on purpose. I know I have one year from the time of purchase to take it back and that is great insurance. The other things, well, they are not as expensive and what does not work, gets donated. I may pay $14 to $25 per night to camp, but overall I think I am saving a ton of money on this experiment.
Longer term, I think about some sort of vehicle to camp in or with as a way to mitigate my vulnerability to the elements and give me more flexibility. I would really not want to pull anything at this point. If I did buy, that means the Jeep goes into storage and I will add a motorcycle. That makes me smile, as I miss riding already. But, then, I think of the extra expenses of sewage and water and propane, camp sites and gas and all the things that can break down or go wrong, then my entire house goes in for repairs. It changes the game and increases my expenses and I would have to be ready for that. Anything I did buy would be paid in cash, so no payments. But, that would come out of my future house down payment. If there will be a future house, that is. But, all the rest would be more than I pay now. Way more. Then again, I may be able to work more given my new ability to hit Amazon centers or be an actual camp host and live in the RV. I consider these options for longer term and will keep my eyes and ears open to learn from others and research vehicles. There is a trade, but that scale can quickly tip if I am not mindful. More things to consider.
Anyway, this post is just about status. I am fine, all is well, no great insights or words of wisdom or leaps of personal growth. Just me, living outside, riding my bike, hiking around, reading and writing. I am happy to report that I still have not shit in the woods. I am prepared to. But, not so far. That is just one of the things I can live my entire life without doing.
I suppose in this new life even an outhouse is an amenity.
Thanks to anyone who reads this, and those who do not but are still in my corner cheering me on and asking about me and sending me messages. That means the world to me and helps me stay confident and positive and supported and loved. I am looking forward to hitting town soon, seeing friends, and having some company. To be honest, I am looking forward to being only steps away from a toilet in the middle of the night. Ahh, the little things.