Full Time RVing – Why are we nomads?

Why Are We Nomads?

Since we launched on this Full time RVing journey, I’ve been thinking a lot about WHY am I so pulled to be a nomad.

“They told me to grow roots. Instead, I grew wings”

 

I looked up the meaning of the word nomad. Its definition is a person who travels from place to place. There are a lot of other words that describe this lifestyle and, since I was indulging my curiosity, I just went with it.

Wanderlust – a strong desire to travel
Sojourner – to stay or reside temporarily.
Wayfarer – a person who goes on a journey.

I especially like the term Sojourner. For some unknown reason, I’ve been keenly aware most of my life just how temporary is our stay on the planet.  Now that I think about it, that’s one of the main reasons this lifestyle resonates so deeply with me. Everything about full time RVing reminds me that life is temporary. I consider this awareness a blessing. With each new person, town or view, the thought in the back of my mind is, “I probably will never have this experience again.” This state of mind makes my travel exquisite.  Every moment is elevated.  I am not just existing.

As I was preparing for this post, I read research that shed some light on my big WHY question. It was of some help. Here’s a brief excerpt and a link to more.

“Humans are amongst the most curious and exploratory species that has ever lived upon the earth. This drive to travel and break through to unknown places can be described through genetics.”  

He goes on to say that approximately 20% of the human population has a gene that causes them to seek out new and different experiences.

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere but to go. I travel for travel’s sake.

The great affair is to move.” Robert Louis Stevenson

Did you ever have an experience as a kid of going away to camp, and coming back feeling like an entirely different person? Multiply that by a thousand when you’re a nomad. The road reveals new lessons to those of us who are brave enough to keep moving forward. These experiences and challenges we’ve chosen to live are molding us into someone we may or may not have ever met before!  Full time RVing nomads become quite intimate with their intuition and, by necessity, able to make quick decisions. We’re exposed to various lifestyles and constantly changing situations. This constant process of change is our teacher if we’re ready for it.

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

 

Being a nomad arouses a desire to observe more as I travel. Constant change feeds my curiosity to see everything more clearly, including myself.  So the next big question I encounter in myself is “What does home mean to me?”

Have you heard the term “home is where the heart is?” As nomads, it’s up to us to define the meaning of “home.” Generally, we think it means the place you reside and represents the feeling of stability and comfort. How do we as full time rving nomads create that sense for ourselves? It can be as simple as our RV is home. Or, for some, constant change can be a felt sense of home.  For me, Stephen, my husband, is home. We can be anywhere on the planet, and I will always have the feeling I’m home if we’re together.

Here’s another thought.  Do some of you consider that you feel “at home” with yourself and therefore feel comfortable everywhere? My post on Impermanence explores the idea of home more deeply.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

Tomorrow we leave my first “home” in Anoka, Minnesota where we’ve been visiting family and friends. We head eastward now to our ultimate goal of the Canadian Maritimes.  Been here 6 days and eager to continue our journey. Going to change our course a little bit and traverse Wisconsin into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (heard it was beautiful) and enter Canada At Saulte Ste. Marie.

Creating a weekly post takes about 3 days and I am not getting enough time in between thinking about, writing about and editing the post to pursue other things that are important to me.  I want time to do artwork, shoot and edit more video, and launch a podcast about RV relationships as well.  So, starting now, I’ll be sending you a post every other Thursday.  Be looking for it!

A Couple of days in the RV Life

Living the Dream!

Nine days and it feels like nine months.  Why is it life slows down, waaaay down, when you are not going through everyday routines?  Weeks would whiz by when we were stationary.  I figure we’ve gained at least another ten years by living the RV life!

Grand Island Nebraska was a place to stay overnight for free at the Elks Club.  It was so accommodating that we stayed an extra night!  Stephen helped with an outreach program where they provide food to local veterans, and we took care of some errands.

 

Permanent Anyone?
Lost in the Past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The highlight though was visiting the Stuhr museum dedicated to the pioneer life for the area.  I wrote more here about my connection to the Pioneers.

Also, we shot a short video while learning some history.

Enjoying history in the RV Life

After a short day of travel, we woke up in Pender, Nebraska – quintessential small town USA and home of the Blue Ox Tow Bar.  This place is just what you want in a company whose product you bought.  They provided a beautiful free RV park with full hookups for their customers.  We were very pleased with their concern for our satisfaction, and they bent over backward to take care of our needs.

While in Pender, we tried to go to their little Heritage Museum.  It wasn’t open, so we did a little noodling around on google.  Pender, it turns out, is situated on the Omaha Indian Reservation and there has been a string of court cases over the years to solve the dispute.  And guess what?  The Native Americans won!  I don’t know why that makes me so happy.  Probably because it’s so rare.

Stephen and I wondered a lot about what life is like in such a small town.  These kinds of curiosities wouldn’t come up if we weren’t operating in the slow lane and staying off the interstates.  Made me think about finding the most interesting person in these little towns and doing an interview.  Wouldn’t that be fun!

Being that this is a blog about relationships a bout RV life, I would be remiss in not reporting another – what should I call these moments?  Fights?  Misunderstandings? Heated exchanges?  Probably many other terms would apply as well.

Driving down the highway, we’ve been listening to Brene Brown’s new book “Rising Strong.”  She gave us some new tools for getting through these moments.  Read more here about this insightful book.

This quote stuck with me and came in handy when we were in the thick of it.  

“What is the most generous assumption I can make about what we are

fighting about while still acknowledging my own needs and pain?” 

Over and over in her book, she says “get curious about what is going on.”  Until we were in the heat of the feelings, I didn’t know how hard this would be.  It’s so difficult to see and hear another person when your own emotions are inflamed.  So, of course, words flew back and forth for a few moments.

The very best piece of advice we got from her book was this:  “Ask yourself.  What story are you telling yourself about what is going on?”

The other illuminating piece of information was this.   “Men are most vulnerable when they think their competency is called into question.” That hit the nail on the head at this moment. 

Here’s what happened….

I bought a propane campfire for our trip, and the first time Stephen tried to light it at Clayton Lake in New Mexico, it wouldn’t work.  The next chance we had to see to it was in Grand Island, Nebraska.  He took it to a propane dealer, and they started it right up.  Yeah! 

So we go to try it out in Pender and, once again, he couldn’t get it lit.  My frustration at the situation is rising so, as it turned out, the way I went about voicing my frustration was, shall we say, inelegant or, a phrase I just learned and like a lot, it was suboptimal.  I think my words were like “Obviously, they did something and you weren’t paying attention to what they did.” 

Whoa, them was fighting words to Stephen.  He immediately started accusing me of calling him stupid in so many words.  Was I?  I still don’t know if that was in my voice quality or body communication.  Back and forth and back and forth we went, both feeling misunderstood and seeing as we are together 24/7 because we live the RV life, it wasn’t pretty.  Until the breakthrough. 

Because of Brene Brown’s suggestion to pay attention to what story we are telling ourselves, we both realized our stories about what was going on were more important to us than the words that were actually said!

Knowing that his sense of competency is a vulnerability for Stephen will hopefully make a difference in my approach in the future.  Because I see him as competent, and that very characteristic is what’s making these travels possible, I tend to forget that his family history, and some of our history together as well, make him sensitive to this issue.  Being the gentle, kind soul that he is, he hasn’t done much pushing back when I tread where I shouldn’t.  So, even though these times are painful, a part of me applauds the strides he is making in standing up to me and letting me know what is not okay.

So onwards we go.  We spent just one night on the mighty Missouri River in a very nice city campground in Sioux City, Iowa.  We intended to spend the night at another free Elks Club but they didn’t offer the right kind of electricity hookup.  It was hot hot hot and RV living in the summer requires air conditioning.  City campground was only $14.  Not bad. 

An oasis in the middle of Iowa cornfields – created by glaciers.

 

We’re now sitting on a lake out in the middle of Iowa cornfields in the shade of a huge maple tree.  The lake was created when the glaciers were moving through this area.  Twin Lakes is the first lake we’ve encountered that wasn’t man made.  Being from Minnesota, I never even knew about man made lakes till I moved west.  There is a difference in the way a “real” lake feels.  Can’t wait to experience the land of 10,000 lakes in a few days.  

Just arrived at the Grotto in West Bend, Iowa.  Haven’t been here since I was seven.  I’m beginning my walk down memory lane here as I get ready to enter Minnesota and the culture that informed my life. I hope to discover ways it still affects me unconsciously. Go to the source!

 

 

RV Living – Do something different. Be Flexible!

Be Flexible!

We’re launched! It’s been way too long for me getting back on the road. RV living is where I’m most at peace, and my world feels right. I love the challenge of creating harmony between Stephen and I and getting ready to leave is no different. I’m always learning so much about myself and how I choose to interact as we pursue our dream life.

Below is a video of Stephen packing up the underbellies of all the things we don’t need for every day but need to have along with us. The video is pretty straight forward, but as I was recording it I found out that Stephen was bringing along big rubber boots!

 

RV Living

Well, I’m the kind of person that thinks you should only bring along what you’ll use as you travel. Rubber boots? This could have led to quite a “conversation” meaning me wanting an explanation for including them in the must haves. Instead, I asked gently, why they were important to him. His answer was, “Secretly I have a fantasy that we get to stay in Canada, and I’m pretty sure I would need them then.” I loved this answer! Who wouldn’t want to buy into this secret dream? Especially when RVing is all about living a dream.  Anything can happen when you’ve thrown caution to the wind, and lead your life by synchronicity. This state of mind builds flexibility into one’s character!

“Marriage is the union of two ‘I’s to form a ‘V’. Both ‘I’s have to tilt equally to make a good ‘V’. ‘I’s standing tall can never make a ‘V’.” 
― Ashok Kallarakkal

And, it’s so nice to relax my hold on everything fitting into how I think it ought to be. RV living keeps making more and more demands on my character. Those boots have come to symbolize possibility and synchronicity. I referenced this state of mind even more in an earlier post called Letting Go.

You can read more here.

 

What is flexibility? One definition is: the quality of being able to change or be changed easily according to the situation – willingness to change or compromise

 

Here’s another reflection on doing something different.

“How do we become more flexible? 
Well, you could just nod sagely about what you have read. Vow to make some changes in your life. And then go on exactly as before.
Or you could do something different. You could identify one aspect of your behavior you seldom use. Perhaps the opposite of how you would normally behave in a certain situation, like listening more, or speaking up. Then you could actually see what happens as a result.
That, in a pretty short, crude and simplified nutshell, is what Do Something Different is all about.”

I got another opportunity to check my flexibility when last night we were sitting and enjoying the lake view at our campground. Stephen brought out his electric guitar to play some music. Electric guitar? He usually travels with his acoustic guitar. He brought 2 guitars?? He didn’t talk to me about it? Took a deep breath and laughed at myself. What a control freak.

Here’s a map of where we’ve been so far.  Taking all the back roads.  Think we had to do one stretch of interstate for about 5 miles.  Such a different experience in the slow lane.

Our first night was free at the Springer, New Mexico Gas Station where you can overnight park.  After that we headed out to Clayton Lake which was beautiful and enjoyed seeing Dinosaur tracks but winds prevented Kayaking.  The last picture is of Stephen kicking back and playing guitar at Wilson Lake in Kansas.  Today we do laundry and errands while at the Elks club (donation only) here in Grand Island, NE.  It rained all night and finally cool and pleasant.  You’ll hear a lot about free camping because next to fuel, it’s going to be our next biggest expense.  We’re going to try to do this on our Social Security income!

Full time RV Living – 4 Teamwork Tips

 

 

Build Your Teamwork Muscle

Teamwork makes the journey fun.  We all went through a phase of enjoying parallel play when we were very little.  I for one still enjoy doing a project side by side just like a child.

Full time RV living couples need to build teamwork muscles.   Big challenges (like a major problem with the rig) with high stress, WILL present themselves.  When this happens, it’s good to have a teamwork groove already in place for working together to solve the problem.

One of the ways we team it and develop our groove, is our pre-flight checklist.  Here’s a video of us doing our checklist together.  We go through this ritual every single day that we move our RV.

 

 

There is nothing I like better than watching couples work as a team.  You see it often in the RV lifestyle.  There are so many tasks that need a check and recheck of systems.  It may seem like you could do the task alone but there are other gains to be had by doing them with your partner.  Like I said at the beginning, you are creating a structure for how to work together in harmony.  In a previous post, I speak at length about creating harmony.  Visit here

At first, it might seem jarring when you try and cooperate at something like backing up the RV or attaching a toad.  Slowly, you begin to understand and rely on each others “how to” signals.  Pretty soon you are feeling like a well-oiled machine!

Teamwork is really at the core of any relationship.  We select a partner and begin to build a life of mutual interdependence.  Full time RV living is a perfect way to develop the skills needed to experience the joys of partnership and teamwork.

Earlier in our life together Stephen and I collaborated on creating sculptures.  We would both have input into what best expressed what a particular piece needed.  It was interesting to me because it wasn’t just my expression or his expression but that of an invisible entity.  Us.  We start a relationship hoping to create an “us” and life on the road is a great way to explore your “us-ness”!

Here’s a link to a website with tips for enhancing your Full time RV living experience with your partner. 

1. The importance of sacrifice: The best way to get the most from a relationship is to take pleasure in giving. Although people are naturally selfish, they also get enjoyment when they cause joy in another human being. Giving isn’t always about physical gifts, it’s also about giving in sometimes to the wishes of your partner. This requires sacrifice on your part.

2. Work with your strengths: This is very important if you’re living together or are married. When deciding how to split up the tasks, let the person who is best at the job do it. It only makes sense since that person will do the work more quickly and effortlessly. No two people are exactly the same and will have their own strengths and weaknesses. These strengths and weaknesses should be put to use for the benefit of the relationship.

3. Maintain a positive outlook: You must have optimism if you are going to take on the challenges of life. Pessimism only makes problems seem even harder and sucks the motivation right out of you. It’s also contagious and weakens your partner as well.

4. Don’t compete with you partner: Always remember that you’re a team. What’s good for the relationship is also good for you. If you’re naturally competitive, remind yourself that it isn’t just you against the world, it’s you and your partner against the rest of the world. Your strengths should complete each others.

Teamwork is necessary for relationship where the members have a common goal. When it comes to the romantic relationship, it also involves the interpersonal facts, which sometimes involves more collaboration. Being a couple means partnership. Partnership means Teamwork!

Do you and your husband work well as a team or do you tend to do your own thing independently? How has this affected your RVing relationship?  I’d also love to hear how you’ve developed as a team because of RVing.

By the time you read this, we will be launched finally on our Canadian adventure.  Stay tuned for all our travel experiences and relationship challenges along the way!