Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It All Starts Somewhere

I’ve always loved the literary term in medias res, or in the middle of things. So, in that spirit, I’m just going to jump in and launch this blog, right here and now in the middle of a rather ordinary Monday (or Tuesday, as the case may be, because this is posting after midnight). I’ve easily written a half dozen or more partial blog posts in the past couple of weeks, never getting far enough with any of them to feel comfortable about actually publishing one. But no more. I’m diving in — and, like novels that start in the middle of the action and fill in the informational gaps of each storyline over time, here goes.

For more than a year now, I’ve been fascinated by stories of the adventurous folks who travel in a recreational vehicle (RV), whether full time or part time. More than fascinated, really. Everything about that lifestyle has captivated me, and it has provided answers about some of the happenings in my life during the past 18 years. For example, hearing others’ nomadic and RV-related stories has helped me realize that the 14 moves I’ve made during nearly two decades have not necessarily been the result of a fundamental inability on my part to “settle down.” Instead, I’ve come to accept that I’m not meant to settle in one spot — at least not yet — and I am likely a natural nomad. With a purpose.

The desire to be a full-timer started in earnest when I saw a piece on Airstreams online, in April 2010, that originally aired on the Today Show. Immediately I felt a fire ignite deep within my soul, and it grew stronger each of the many times I watched the clip. Something powerful simply woke up and shouted “YES!”

Looking back, though, I’ve realized that seeing that video clip was not the very first glimpse I got of the full-timing dream. The earliest vision came in February 2009, shortly after I had made move No. 13 to Asheville, North Carolina. I was sitting on the floor, playing with my canine munchkin, and feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of unpacking 50 or so boxes and getting settled into a new home again. I leaned my head back against the couch, closed my eyes and had a vision that I had no context for at the time. I saw myself releasing just about everything I own (except for the most meaningful sentimental stuff that once belonged to a grandmother or a great aunt, which would go into storage), living lightly in an RV and being completely mobile. The feeling was absolutely amazing, and very real. What stuck with me the most was how free I felt.

Being me, though, I got a tad bit argumentative when I opened my eyes and came back to “reality.” I said, “Really, Spirit? You just led me to uproot and move to Asheville, and now you’re giving me a vision about something completely different?” Without further context for the vision, I did what I knew to do: put one foot in front of the other and start settling in where I was. Thoughts of the RVing vision came up once or twice after that, but then it got filed away somewhere in my mind and I pretty much forgot about it.

Forgot, that is, until I saw the Airstream piece online a little over a year later. Since then, I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time researching the full-timing lifestyle, reading blogs of folks who are doing it — from families to retired couples to working nomads to solo women — and thinking about what setup would work best for me. Motorhome? Motorhome with toad? Travel trailer? Fifth wheel? I’ve gone round and round with every scenario, repeatedly, and I keep coming back to the Airstream. With a really mighty-fine-looking tow vehicle.

That’s my thought, but how it will play out is a mystery. What I do know is that in this moment, the fulfillment of the dream feels closer than ever. The strong message I have been getting recently is prepare. Start releasing stuff, organizing and getting ready, because there will come a point sometime soon when it’s time — and it will all just come together.

The list of preparations is long, but I am proud of myself for just starting somewhere, like with this blog. Today, for instance, I opened a box that I packed before move No. 13 more than two years ago and have been looking at and thinking about unpacking as it sat in my living room in my current home for more than a year now. (That current home, in New England, is a result of move No. 14, and how I got here from Asheville is a story for another time. But don’t worry. Just like novelists fill in their plotlines when they begin in medias res, so shall I.)

Back to the box. I’ve dealt with its contents at least a thousand times in my mind. It’s full of paperwork that needed to be sorted and organized — a task that felt overwhelming until today, when it was clear it was simply time to tackle it and get ’er done. So I tackled and made significant headway.

Unto everything there is a season.

I’ll close with a night-sky picture of the outdoor stage at LL Bean’s flagship store in Freeport, Maine, where festive green globes light up the trees. Dunno what the globes are there for, exactly, but they sure do look purdy.

UPDATE: Upon reading this post, a friend quickly informed me that the artist who designs these cool-looking lighted globes is Pandora LaCasse. She is based in Portland, Maine. Thanks for the info, B!  

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