I have a very distinct memory of being nine years old and sitting on my parents couch, reading the brand new World Book Encyclopedia (with black & white pictures) they had recently purchased. The Taj Mahal brought to me a huge revelation. I realized at that moment, that the world was enormous and that I would never get to see it all! That knowledge brought me extreme frustration and it made me angry. In my innocent youth, I could not see any way that my life's circumstances would ever change so that I could even see some of it! I believe that is when God gave me a hunger to travel and that He is going to use it for His Glory one day!
As you age, you start to see patterns and stages of life that when you're younger you're so anxious to move on into the next phase that you sometimes forget to enjoy your current life events. When you're 9 you can't wait to be 10 and in the double digits. Then when you're 15 you can't wait to turn 16 and be driving a car, then it's turning 21 and becoming a legal adult, old enough to do the stupid things in life, like drink. Then comes "Who am I going to marry?" and Mr./Miss Right comes along, then you want those babies and that's all as it should be. Then the raising of those babies come with schooling, brushing of teeth, piano lessons, run here, run there, supper, work, homework, yard work, grocery shopping, do it all over again and again, work, work, work. Then it's "I can't wait till I can retire!"
Well folks, been there, done that and enjoyed most of it immensely. It wasn't all a bed of roses, but it was my hearts desire to be a housewife and mother. Not a homemaker and mother. Homemaker is the 70's terminology from all the feminists. I have never had, nor do I now have a problem with the words house or wife. It was called "Keeping House" in my day. Someone had to keep it and the word wife is a badge of honor for me.
I have a wonderful husband who has been wonderful to me. Oh, he has his faults, never fear, but I feel that he is God's gift to me and I love him dearly; and as we age, even more so. He's fun to be with, he actually enjoys shopping with me (are you jealous yet?), and best of all he lets me be me. He loves and trusts God so much that he knows that what he can't deal with in me, God can and will...and has and is...
Bill has an adventuresome spirit. He loves to travel and has taught me to enjoy it as well. When I grew up, we were very poor and we only took 1 vacation in my young life and that was to my aunt's home in Alabama for a week. Bill on the other hand took many vacations during his growing up years. His dad had 6 wks. vacation from Gulf Oil Co. as a chemist and they went everywhere.
Even though I wanted to travel as a young child, as I "grew up", I came to understand the statement, "We can't have everything we want in life." And that's true...but dreams die hard, don't they? Well along came Bill...with the same dreams as mine, but he showed me that sometimes you just have to stop doing the norm, grab the kids and say, "To heck with this!Let's Hit the Road, Jack!" (That's been a favorite term of his since we married, so this blog is named for that even more than Jack, our puppy.)
Bill and I married when I was 19 (to be fair, 6 wks. shy of 20) and he was 27 1/2. He always said he got me young and raised me right... :) My first taste of traveling with Bill was a plane ride from Houston to El Paso, Tx., then a 2 hr. drive to Alamogordo, NM, the day after we married where he was working on the Apollo Lunar Landing Radar. He worked 6 days a week, 10 hrs. a day and on his day off we'd drive to some location in NM to "see the sights." The poor guy was probably so exhausted he could barely stand, but he wanted to show his new bride a fun time and he wanted to travel as much as I did. Then, after 4 months of marriage, before driving back to Houston we took a delayed honeymoon west to Tombstone, AZ, the Royal Gorge and Disneyland in California with all points in between. Wow! I was seeing America! The training had begun!
To those of my generation: Do you remember the old Chevy commercial from the 50's? "See the U-S-A, in your CHEV-RO-LET! That song made my feet itch everytime I heard it! (And how many times was that?) Watching Walt Disney's shows about Yellowstone National Park and seeing those mountains stopped me in my tracks every Saturday night, no matter how old I was. Now finally, my dreams were coming true! In a brand new, 2 door, red and white,1968 Pontiac Tempest with GTO chrome and a new husband by my side!
So here we are today after many vacations out west to Colorado, etc. and campouts in Texas with the kids. Our first camping was in a tent (that lasted one time), then we progressed to a pop-up camper and then time-shares in our later years. The kids went on campouts with the Royal Rangers and Pioneer Girls at church and learned a lot of neat things and made lots of happy memories. We took their friends, pitched tents beside the pop up camper and went for days at a time. I can't count on my fingers and toes how many times Bill and I would say to each other, "It's a shame this has to end." So we come to the now...moving on...
After 16 plus years in a large 5 bedroom, 3 bath, home with 2 kitchens, 2 screened porches, 2 decks and 2 patios on 3 acres, we felt we had supersized our lives and it was time to go on a diet! Our materialistic society teaches us that we should want and have the dream home, the dream jobs, the dream stuff. Well, we had the stuff. And it was fun; I'm not saying it's not fun, but it doesn't satisfy the soul and it's a phase, and a stage of life. Stuff is not where it's at for Bill and I. It's not our dream.
Because we both had been raised by parents who went through the Depression, it brought a different perspective to us and those of our generation - the Baby Boomers. Yes, our parents wanted that stuff for us that they didn't have. But stuff for one is necessity for another. Being raised poor has it's advantages. Especially if you don't realize you're poor. For myself I learned the importance of little things and how to enjoy them. Which brings me to our RV.
Our RV is nicer than anything I had as a child growing up. I've had a nice big home with lots of nice things and I enjoyed them. But I Praise God that my perspective has never changed. It's all going to perish one day anyway, so don't get too attached to it!
Our fifth wheel trailer is an RV that is pulled behind a pickup that is attached to a hitch in the bed of the truck. The bedroom in almost all 5th wheels is up a couple of steps. They are roomier than the typical motorhome and that's the reason we chose it. I have decorated ours with pictures of the family, a fireplace (which actually heats the trailer very well in the winter) and the little things that make a home a home. When people step inside they are amazed that it looks like a small apartment, not a weekend camper. And that's what it is - our home.
Our dream is very simple. We grew up in a simpler time and we want a taste of that simplicity again. The simplicity of sitting on the porch and visiting with your neighbors while the kids run back and forth through unfenced yards, catching fireflies. We know that we cannot have everything back, but there are some things that are available to us and we're reaching out and grabbing it while we can. While we're still young and healthy enough to go and do, we're making new memories.
In a campground your neighbors are on vacation and have a different mindset than your neighbors at home. At home everyone's trying to figure out when they're going to have time to cut the grass, buy groceries, run the kids to meet their friends, etc. But here they've put that life on hold and are wanting to relax. They have time to talk and visit with total strangers and what's even more important, they're willing to talk to strangers.
People actually speak to one another in campgrounds. They wave to each other and they help each other out. RV'ers are renowned for seeing someone working on their RV and stepping over to say "Need some help there?" And age disappears with campers and RV'ers. Young families with children, college kids, Baby Boomers and anyone in between have one thing in common - camping and having fun, just relaxing.
Bill and I see our lifestyle choice as a mission field. Being Christians, the Lord is uppermost in our minds at all times of course. When people are relaxed, they are more open to chat and share about their lives and God has given us many opportunities to speak into peoples lives with encouragement.
Everyday I pray The Prayer of Jabez and God is answering that prayer. If you've never read the book or even if you have, I encourage you to read it again! I just recently re-read it and was overwhelmed. The author suggests rereading it every week. Being very small it doesn't take long.
I know many will find it awkward and strange that we chose to leave a beautiful home to move into a trailer. Again, it's simple - to clean, to cook, use and to move. If we decide we want to move to another campground or beside a house when we buy, we'll have a mover do so for a minimal price. A lot cheaper than owning a truck we never use.
Bill loves piddling around our campsite, and dressing it up. He finds it fun and it defines his little area. I just have to hide the pink flamingos and gawdy lights from him! It sure beats weedeating 3 acres twice like he did last summer. Besides, it keeps him off the streets, right?
We're not out to impress anyone except God and each other. If we do that, we'll be happy and so far, it seems that God, Bill and I are all on the same page! God has been gracious to us and allowed us to have time alone together after raising the 4 kids. We're close enough to visit and yet far enough away to do our thing.
We are currently establishing the trailer as home and getting everything set up just the way we want it. Our youngest will marry next year, so we'll be involved with wedding plans and that's going to be a fun and happy time for us all! Hopefully sooner, rather than later we will be able to purchase the Camp Inn 560 Ultra Raindrop camper to travel with. (http://tinycamper.com/raindrop560ultra.htm, we can Hit the Road (with) Jack and See the U-S-A in our Mini-van. Uh...I didn't say the dream was perfect! But it's perfect for us! See ya down the road!