So there we were, Sash and I, spending the night in our RV, at a rest area off Interstate 5 in Central California, with semi-trucks next to us, and the sound of cars speeding by along the super-slab.
For most RVers, this isn’t camping. And that would be correct, it’s not camping. It’s just overnighting. It’s just a stop along the way between Point A and Point B.
But yet, there we were, together in bed, with our beagle laying at our feet, streaming a movie on Netflix. We devoured pints of ice cream, and snuggled ourselves in amid the cycle of truckers and passenger vehicles pulling in and pulling out. And there was also, the sound of someone coughing outside, the sound of truck wheels whizzing by in the distance, and the sound of a car struggling to start. That is, after all, what you hear at an Interstate rest area at night.
And that’s just it.
That’s being right there, right now, taking in the scene and the sounds, and realizing we have each other in a warm cozy bed.
After all, we could have been thinking about other stuff, stuff like what’s going on at Facebook, whether or not we will land that new website development contract, if we will have time to meet relatives in Sacramento, or if we’ll be able to make that credit card payment. I mean, there’s always so much going on, and so much to think about.
However, who in the Hell travels in an RV to worry about that stuff?
Well, as it turns out, most RVers do.
Most people who choose to jump into an RV, whether for just a weekend, or permanently as fulltimers, totally forget about enjoying the road, and listening to all the sounds around them. They don’t take the time to realize they are a thousand miles from where they started, and yet they still have each other. You wonder why they even bothered to buy an RV. If you’re just going to continue worrying and thinking about stuff you can’t control, you may as well just stay grounded in a house or apartment.
A lot of RVers worry about getting that perfect campsite, the one with the awesome view, or the one totally secluded from the other campers. They worry they’ll be late to their destination and that the RV space they booked was given to someone else. They worry if they failed to bring enough warm clothes, or if they failed to bring enough tools in case something goes wrong with the rig.
I mean, I can understand worrying about stuff if you’re flying across the country, because for the most part with flying, you don’t really enjoy the journey. In fact, airplane travel these days suck. But RVing is different. It’s all about the journey. It’s all about the stops along the way, and where you overnight in between points. It’s about feeling how the climate changes as you move from the west to the east, how you have AM/PM stores in California and Kum & Go’s in Colorado. There’s so much to see, hear, smell, and feel, how else can you spend so much time worrying about anything?
Why even care if you have to spend the night at a WalMart instead of some secret campsite in the woods? Instead, stop to look at what’s around you in that parking lot, and take the time to hear the sounds blending together, and the smells whether they are pleasant or foul. Take some joy in knowing that you can just walk into that WalMart, get yourself some fried chicken, and leave tomorrow morning. Amaze yourself that you’re a thousand miles from home experiencing what life is like in another part of the country.
Why even care if someone else beat you to that campsite with the glorious view of the Badlands and instead had to settle for the other spot with the sucky view? I mean, no one cares to see your awesome photo on Instagram as it is, so let’s just get that out of the way. The fact is, you’re at the Badlands. Just relish that instead.
RVing is about enjoying each new destination, while still taking comfort with your own bed, your own refrigerator, and your own toilet. It doesn’t matter if where you’re staying the night, or staying the week, and it doesn’t matter if you’re staying in a dumpy parking lot, or a beautiful spot inside the Redwoods. It’s the freedom of travel, the thrill of the unknown, and knowing there are no boundaries of time and space, that matter.
Be in the now, not in your head.
Start seeing, hearing, touching, and smelling.
Take a deep breath, and let go.
It’s all so trivial the stuff we worry about.