As I sit here cuddled up in my bed, my husband is trying to give our dog (Jack) a bath in our RV shower. I can see and hear their frustration, so I’m giving very helpful comments from the comfort of the bed. Ha-ha. Jack hasn’t had a bath in a very long time and has a vet appointment in a few days. We can’t have the vet thinking we don’t bathe our dog. But seriously, why would we bathe him when we are out in the dirt 95% of our time? Pointless. Dirt is everywhere in our RV and brown is my new favorite color. I’m supposed to be wiping everything down and cleaning today, but who really wants to do that? I’d rather write instead.
As of today, we are back in California with another lockdown. We are currently in the Palm Springs area at a RV resort. Our original plan was to boondock (dry camp) in areas for free 85% of the time and stay in campgrounds or resorts the other 15%. Having hook-ups and laundry facilities are really nice to have every few weeks to get caught up on stuff and have some luxury. Our reality has been campgrounds and resorts 75% with boondocking 25%. Which ends up costing a lot more money. The pandemic has changed the RV world dramatically. With most travel (especially international) not happening and a lot of people working virtually, the RV life has increased exponentially. The RV rental market saw an increase this year of 650%!!! I can tell you that percentage is very accurate. We have seen them everywhere we have been. Van life has really taken off as well. Lot’s of 20’s and 30’s are out in converted vans, UPS trucks, school buses, shuttle buses and class b’s. They either can work virtually or are of the many who have lost their jobs. They mainly boondock and that has definitely made it more difficult for us to find places to camp. Campgrounds and RV resorts are full of families working virtually and homeschooling. Just a couple of years ago, traveling in Fall-Spring were ideal times. That is just not the case anymore. Planning, researching, and reserving are the keys to making it out here. Good thing those are exactly what us type A’s thrive on.
Traveling from state to state has been interesting. Each state/city/county having different mandates and guidelines, or for some, none at all. We are always unsure of what is required, etc. I can say that RVing is definitely a great way to social distance. We are self-contained and really only go to grocery stores, gas stations, hike, and drive the jeep off-road. We can see and experience things, but be socially distanced at the same time. Hence why RV travel has skyrocketed. Social media mainly only shows how much fun everyone is having, but none of the hard work that goes along with it. Myself included. I usually only post all the happy pictures and cool places we have gone to, but not the crappy days (literally and figuratively), things breaking, pipes freezing, water leaks, crazy wind that rips your door trim off driving down the highway, frustrating days when you can’t find a campsite and you’re both hangry, no cell service to help find a campsite, disrespectful neighbors, continuous nights of little sleep, taking 1 shower a week, living in a very small space with your significant other, your dog peeing on floor/rugs in the middle of the night with no access to a washer and dryer, and trying to find laundromats in each new area you arrive so you don’t have to handwash underwear and socks again. I have had days of sadness and frustration over what has become of our country and world. I still have days where I cry over how this whole journey for us got started on the wrong foot because of it all. I am now seeing in several RV groups people who bought an RV in June are now selling, because it is not what they thought it would be. That no one told them the hard things about it. I knew the hard things about it, but I think they are even harder during a pandemic with lockdowns, mandates, and a whole lot more people trying to do the same thing!
With the new lockdown in California, our reservations at a campground close to family were cancelled. We were able to find a resort that would take us for a 3-4-week commitment. We are very thankful for that, so that we can be “home” for Christmas. We are unclear about our plans for the new year. We know that they will not be in California. We were planning on heading southeast toward the east coast, but don’t want to go to far too fast. With all the uncertainty, we are not sure if we will need to hunker down for a few months again like this year. I don’t want to be half-way across the country when that happens. I keep trying to figure out why God had us start this journey at the same time as a pandemic, but I am sure in the future the answer will be clear. I just pray and trust Him. I do miss my family and friends, but also feel that God is using this time to heal me and Gannon, and prepare us for what is to come.
Even with all the hardships & heartbreak this year and new lifestyle have brought, we are still very grateful that we are able to do this. To live this nomadic life, have adventures, and live a different kind of American dream is such a privilege to us. My husband is happier than he has been in many years and that makes me truly happy. We started this journey/dream with certain expectations in mind of how things would be and go. Throwing them out the window and just going with the flow on the daily has become our new way to live. Flexibility is key. This is not how we thought things would look for us, but it’s not how anyone thought 2020 was going to look for them. I don’t think 2021 is going to look a whole lot different, so we will adjust our budget and expectations, look at the bigger picture, and find the joy and adventure that each day holds.