It’s wild to think that Traveler and I have been together for 10 months already! It seems like just yesterday when I felt completely overwhelmed by the orientation information and everything I was trying to learn about my new home. Since my last life-on-the-road adventures update, I’ve made some serious progress in a few areas of making this a sustainable lifestyle.
The most important area is that of creating community for myself. This was kind of the make or break aspect of making this a sustainable lifestyle. Having community and feeling a sense of belonging is such a critical aspect to building a healthy life. If you look at all the centenarian studies and blue zone studies, they all merit community as a key aspect to the healthy longevity of these individuals.
I finally feel like I’m making lasting friendships out here on the road with other full-timers. This is such a relief and such a source of joy for me. I knew that if I didn’t make friends on the road that I would eventually tire of forcing my travels to revolve around visiting stationary friends. That might have led to me becoming stationary as well, not something I’m ready for by any means.
The impetus to creating my on-the-road community was joining a group called Xscapers. This is a group of full-timers geared towards those who are still working-age (a loosely used term). I attended my first Xscapers event for New Year’s Eve and what a perfect way to kick off 2019! I met a number of truly lovely people and was able to join in on their trip to Baja California at the end of January.
During the Baja California trip I was able to spend time getting to know a number of individuals that I now am grateful to call friends. It feels so incredibly comforting to belong to such a knowledgeable and adventurous group full of just awesome people.
The best part was having the dream fulfilled of being able to meet up with some of my new friends outside of the Xscapers events for just an every day adventure! Being able to randomly meet up along the road with friends without it having to be some organized event was seriously a dream of mine. For me it symbolizes that this is truly my life now.
As I mentioned above, Traveler and I ventured down to Baja California with the Xscapers group at the end of January. This was an experience in pushing boundaries and expanding my comfort zone. It was our first real international trip, I mean technically I drove through part of Canada between NY and MI last September, but we didn’t overnight.
Now I have had a few international adventures in my time, but never with my home on my back! It was interesting to cross the border in an RV. The border patrol officers actually come inside your home, which kind of gave me a funny feeling. Fortunately, traveling with a group made it a much less stressful experience for me. Safety in numbers!
The only real monumental thing about driving into Mexico was having to purchase Mexican liability insurance, which was not cheap! But then again, Baja is not the kind of place where you want to break down and not have proper coverage. I guess you can’t put a price tag on peace of mind.
For all the logistics and extra expenses, this trip was worth every penny and hassle! I was lucky enough to land a spot literally on the sand overlooking the sea. This is what I dreamed about when I started looking at #vanlife. Another dream realized.
Boo-Boos & Band-Aids
It’s not a matter of if, but when. This is what a fellow full-timer told me when I was buying my RV about the prospect of collision damage. It turns out that it’s a pretty accurate sentiment. Well, “when” ended up being about 9 months for me. And as luck would have it, I managed to make up for lost time by getting two “boo-boos” in one day.
Traveling to Baja wasn’t completely uneventful. I started and ended the drive by allowing myself to feel rushed and in doing so, not paying close enough attention to my surroundings. This resulted in two nice “souvenirs” of Mexico in the form of a paint scuff and a tiny gash in Traveler.
I learned a very important lesson after assessing the minimal damage: life can’t be rushed. It is always tough when we choose to learn lessons the hard way. Now I know that I have total control over allowing myself to feel rushed when navigating my home. And what is more important, feeling like I’m annoying someone else because I’m taking too long or taking my time and treating the things I value with the care they deserve?
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
– Benjamin Franklin
The good news is that duct tape is a magical band-aid and an RV’ers best friend. I was able to patch Traveler up to get us back to the USA where we could get all fixed up and looking good as new. The funny thing is that after all was said and done, I was just more annoyed to have to spend a day taking my rig to the shop to get repaired than I was bummed that I had scarred it’s perfect exterior.
Life In The Slow Lane
Mother Nature is a powerful force and it is best to let her have her way! Naturally with the winter season comes winter weather and not always ideal driving conditions. I ventured into some real snow in Santa Fe for the Christmas holiday and then some wretched winds and flooding in southern California during February.
It always seems that the day I plan on driving somewhere is the day that the weather takes a turn, go figure. It actually took me 6 hours to make a 2 hour drive in southern California due to so many flooded and washed out roads. Phew!
In reflection, I can see significant progress towards one of my biggest full-time travel life goals: slow down and go with the flow. I realized that I am really learning to live life in the slow lane and even enjoy it! Learning to slow down and be able to go with the flow was a key reason behind choosing this lifestyle.
On days when I know there is weather to reckon with, I take a deep breath, put on some good tunes, and tell myself there is no need to hurry, I’ll get there when I get there… wherever there is! It is remarkable how much more peaceful I feel with this mindset, in all aspects of my life. It is about the journey, after all 😉
Adventures On The Horizon
Big travel plans and no travel plans! I’m really learning to embrace the many paradoxes of life. With summer just around the corner, I actually have no real solid plans for what Traveler and I are going to get up to. The general plan is to stay west of the Rockies because last summer’s mileage was a tad exhausting. Other than that, I’m leaving it up to the Universe to guide me to where I need to be.
In the meantime, Traveler and I are going to part ways for several weeks as I head to Europe! It is going to feel a little strange to be away from my cozy home for such a significant amount of time. I just can’t help but scratch that international travel itch!
One of my intentions and core desired feelings for 2019 is to feel generous. It is uncanny how good it feels to give, especially when giving my time and service. After such a magical experience in Peru volunteering with IVHQ (broken bones aside), I’ve decided to spend 2 weeks volunteering in Brussels! I will be serving on a Food Rescue project, which given my passion for food, is something I’m especially looking forward to.
Another shift is happening here on the “homefront” as my parents are finally selling my childhood home and moving away from where I grew up. It’s been in the cards for a few years now, so it’s nothing I haven’t adapted to. However, it does mean that I will be losing my free parking in my hometown! It will take some creativity to be able to return to visit friends, but I won’t let that deter me. I will admit though, something about it makes being a full-time traveler feel much more real. Kind of like losing the security blanket or something.
In parting, I will leave you with a quote that struck my core a little while back. I find that it really encompasses the feeling behind living solo on the road.
“What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.”
– Ellen Burstyn
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Disclaimer: The information in this post is not intended as medical advice, or to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. Marcelle encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research, and in partnership with your doctor, licensed dietitian, or nutritionist. The information provided in this post and the entire contents of www.marcellephene.com are based upon the opinions of Marcelle Phene and are for general educational purposes, and have not been reviewed nor approved by the FDA. You are solely responsible for your health care and activity choices.