For the past few months we have been deep in decision mode. Talking and talking about life and what our next steps should be after a very successful Fulltime adventure. Ultimately the road is the place we want to be but our 17 year old son who is passionate about theatre needed a place to settle for a while and pursue his art. While it is possible to plant some place in an RV and get plugged into a theatre his real dream was to attend a certain performing arts school in Boston. So we headed there for his audition and we fell in love with the school. He was accepted and we enrolled and moved him in. And for the the three of us, we decided toreturn to the Middle East and our family of friends there. So, This Paisey Life is now headed back overseas for more international traveling adventures. When we are stateside we do plan to live our road life and our tiny home will wait here for us. I am happy to finally know what’s next. It’s been a long limbo.
Posting from Alaska turned out to be a bit of a challenge. I had thoughts of long drive days and up to the minute posts of all the wonderful sights along the way. The idea of what the trip would look like and the reality ended up having no real relationship to each other. The trip was beautiful but there were not many days that internet or sitting in front of a computer screen were possible. We were busy moving almost every day often with no service at all. The view was incredible but most often seen from the passenger seat with the occasional stop at a pullout for a quick shot of “I was here”.
I hope to rewind and post back all the wonderful things we did and saw while we were there, but for now I will just say that it was all worth it. The long driving days, the less than perfect roads, the super high prices and the days and days with no “real” electricity or showers. We enjoyed driving through Canada and being in Alaska and especially traveling with friends. We also had the joy of seeing our oldest son and his girlfriend for nine glorious days of the trip. It was all amazing and a time I will never forget. For today it feels great to be parked in a site for more than 24 hours and to have city water, electricity and all the comforts of home.
Out shopping in our abayas in Saudi Arabia.
For the last six years I have thought of myself as a green person. Shortly after leaving the states for our first move overseas a friend of mine told me a story about life as an “expat” and how the experience changes people. The way she explained this change was unique and visual. It went like this, when a person leaves their home country that place is a yellow country. The new resident country is a blue country. Over a period of time the culture and traditions of the new country become a part of this person changing their once yellow color to a mixture of yellow and blue. This expatriate is now a green person. There are many green people in the world and my friend assured me that they are an interesting and supportive group. Green has been my favorite color since that day. I spent six years in my blue country. I loved it. It is an experience I highly recommend. Then came the day when this green person moved back home. I thought for sure that it would take me a while to acclimate to the yellow color of my home. Surely I was forever changed. It’s amazing how quickly being yellow came back to me. I am surprised how fast I have adjusted to life back here. The only part that hangs on for me is the constant comparisons. I try not to talk about them all the time. There are many times I can’t help it and I have to share how this country is different from the one I spent the last six years of my life in. Mostly I just miss the green people. The ones who were a part of my daily life and the ones that I knew only briefly but that touched my heart and life in special ways changing me forever and directing my path to who I am today. The girl who told me the Green People story was my neighbor in Houston before I ever knew I would move to Saudi Arabia. She lived just a few houses down from me. After I moved away we grew closer. Greenness does that to people. The reason I bring all this up here on my blog about a very different journey of becoming a full-time RV family is because I am noticing so many similarities between expats and full-time RV families. The first one is how quickly friendships form. It’s like we know we have limited time here and there is this clearing away of the small stuff because there just isn’t time for it. This happens in a foreign country as well, expats are moved away from family, friends and all things familiar in addition to the fact that they are strangers in a strange land. When one expat meets another expat, they may be from completely different countries, but there are so many experiences that are the same. This makes for quick and easy relationship. It is a need for community amongst the outsiders. Foreigners equals comrades. The people I met overseas proved to be the most satisfying deep relationships I have ever known. I miss that the most. Strangely when we started on this journey I knew there were other people out there that had chosen this path. A less traveled path. What I didn’t count on was just how much this commonality brings people closer together faster and stronger too. I have met some people on this journey so far and I can honestly say I count them as close friends. We don’t have history, but we do have something special, we are kindred spirits. I think that fulltime RV families have a color all their own. A beautiful rainbow of colors, all different, yet linked together.
Today I feel three weeks old. We have been on the road as a full-time RV family for three weeks now and life feels so different. It isn’t the big stuff, like living in 200 square feet, or moving around all the time, or even the “no day looks the same” syndrome. It is all the teeny tiniest details that make me feel like my life is so very, very different than it was just three short weeks ago. When we moved to the middle east we made huge changes, we left the USA, we lived in a culture very different from the only one we’d known. Our neighbors did not have English as their first language. We made huge changes, everything felt different in big ways. But me, us, our family, our routines, how we acted toward each other, when we went to sleep, how we ate and what we said, that all stayed the same. We had routines of work, and school and life and social time. So we felt like us still. It was good. An experience I wouldn’t change for anything. We learned so much. Now we are back in the USA, we are living in familiar surroundings, we know the language, the shopping, the street signs. Life is easy. But in all the small ways life has shifted. We live simply, we have no schedule and no plan. We can do anything today, or tomorrow, or next month. We are flying free and floating with the weather and our whims. Life is so very, very different now. I feel like a new person. The boys are different. Scott is different. We act and talk and respond differently. It feels like we are all tuned in at a higher frequency. Like walking out of the theatre after a matinee movie and realizing that it is still daylight when I expected night. Everything is so bright and the whole world seems to open up. The possibilities seem endless. I’m not sure how long this feeling lasts but I hope I always remember it. Life is beautiful especially in the smallest tiniest details of feeling truly free.
Our traveling home, parked at Walmart.
We got a late start leaving the ranch yesterday. Not a big surprise with all that is still such a huge learning curve for newbie Fulltime RVers. Scott realized our spare had the wrong lug nut pattern which needs to be changed or we have no tire for the trailer should we get a flat. And our battery, the house battery, is bad, having no water then water that boiled hot. So, we hit the road with two things that needed replacing as soon as we found a way. Discount Tire in Houston had the wheel we needed and Walmart carries the deep cycle battery to run the house when dry docked. We arrived in Baton Rouge at 12:41 am. Tired and ready to sleep, but 40 degrees here and a freezing cold trailer made for some not so sleepy people waiting to warm up. We had decided to just overnight park at Walmart and although the convenience is great, the parking lot noise, street sweeper and IHOP in the parking lot made for a restless night. The new battery worked all night to keep the trailer at a toasty 56 degrees and we all slept in our clothes piled on top with blankets. Today Tampa is just under 11 hours away. It is 7:32 am and we need some provisions from Walmart, then we should be on our way. I’m praying, if nothing else, warmer temperatures tonight and maybe a safe and level campground spot.
We did it. We actually left Fort Worth and headed south pulling our home behind us. We are now officially a full-time RV family. I am pinching myself to see if it’s really true. The fact is that I am so tired from all the final preparations I think I could sleep through a pinch. We are driving down the road and everything feels strange. It could be the fact that the trailer is not hooked up properly, or it could be that we are realizing what we have done, the good, the bad and all the rest. My son said it this way, “I keep thinking after a while we will go home, then I remember, our home is behind us. Actually right behind us”.
So, here are some initial thoughts and things I’ve learned on our full-time adventure so far. Never rush to get out without making sure the trailer is hooked up properly and balanced. This causes white knuckles on a steering wheel driving down the highway. It also makes it difficult to stop. There aren’t plentiful places where it is tall and wide and level enough to land for anything that is not an emergency. When we finally found an acceptable place to stop, we were all desperate for fuel, food and a restroom. If the map says you will arrive in three hours, eighteen minutes, add at least an hour. When life changes this drastically, there are smiles and tears sometimes at the same time. The happiest moments are the ones we realize we are free. Really, really free. There are laws of course, but we have no boss, no hours, no schedule and no commitments. We are together and happy and healthy. Today actually feels like the first day of the rest of my life. I realize tomorrow may feel different, but today it is an amazing feeling to be starting a brand new adventure one we have dreamed and talked about for nearly seven years. When we decided a few hours into the trip to change the plans, we just did it, found a cool place to land and in just a few minutes we were sleeping in our own beds everything we needed already unpacked and with us. Today is a great day. It is cold and wet and not ideal weather for an RVer… but we did it. We are actually out here living our dream.