Three countries, thirty-four states, twenty thousand miles, eight people, fourteen months and one RV. It was the trip of a lifetime! It was a time of learning new things and letting go of old things, a time of adventure and a time of difficulty.
Not many people can boast of having friends in Monterey, lobster fishing in the Florida Keys, visiting the Biltmore Estate, experiencing a crawfish boil — yes, it is crawfish not crayfish — getting lost in Elephant rocks, seeing Bald eagles in Maine, eating benes in New Orleans and a Philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia. However, my family’s fourteen months of traveling were not all excitement and fun.
It wasn’t easy adapting to the life of a transient and there were many obstacles to overcome. When we started our trip, the RV seemed like it was only designed for two to four people. And even though it was actually designed for six, all eight of us somehow managed to live in it for fourteen months. Space remained a problem throughout our entire trip, but we learned how to deal with it.
I discovered that situations are not as important as your perspectives of them and your response to them. It took hard work and innovative ideas to make the RV liveable. The two captain chairs stayed a few days and then were replaced by large plastic drawers that served as a place to keep our cloths and belongings. The first time we drove the RV with our new set up, we were all excited and ready to start our adventure.
Then, it happened. Our first right-turn created shrieks, screams and shouts, with results, including frightened faces and a conglomeration of shirts, plates, underwear, and other miscellaneous scattered all over the place! Solution: Bungee chords. But the bungee chords didn’t always work, and so we developed a drill. Anytime we were approaching a sharp right turn someone would yell, ‘RIGHT TURN!’ And whoever happened to be sitting on the sofa in front of the drawers quickly stood up and threw their full weight against them.
It was soon a natural routine. At first I felt a little nervous walking in a vehicle moving 65 miles per hour down a highway, but I got my ‘road legs’ and by the end of our trip I was able to shower, shave and do my make-up, all while going down the highway! Life on the highway became like life at home. I studied, cooked, ate and did chores.
But some things weren’t like home at all. Privacy in a RV with eight people was non-existent. I had always been used to my quiet times and solitude, but with no where to get away, I realized that absence truly does make the heart grow fonder! But because of this inability to get away, my family had to deal with all the relationship problems we had always avoided.
I could no longer run to my room and slam the door shut when a conflict arose. Without a place to run to, there were only two choices: attack or resolve. Attacking was a choice, but not a solution — the only solution was to resolve our differences.
Through a lot of time, patience and practice, we did exactly that. We ended our trip being happier and closer than we had ever been before! During our trip I couldn’t see the changes that were happening in me and in my family. Looking back I can see how the experience changed me in many ways. I learned to be flexible and resourceful, became appreciative of the simple things in life like quiet and solitude and most importantly I learned how to work through relationship problems. I wouldn’t trade that trip for anything in the world!
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