What’s She Doing Now?! (hint: NOT full-time RVing)

 

I feel as though I owe my readers an explanation.  After all the hullabaloo and rigmarole in preparation of living in my tiny trailer, it only lasted 5 months.  I spent two months living in the trailer here in Arizona to work out the kinks before spending three months on the road.  I travelled through California, Oregon, and Washington, and it was while I was in Washington that I decided to call the full-time life quits.

Why didn’t it last?  I wasn’t in a head space to travel solo.  I believe if I’d been traveling with my late-husband, I’d have stayed on the road indefinitely.

Here are the things I loved about the short time I spent as a full-time RVer:  The 17’ trailer was perfect for me.  I could drive Sarandipity easily, and was even gaining confidence in backing up.  Living a minimalist lifestyle reduced my stress.  I’ve always equated a lot of belongings to feeling weighted down.  There’s freedom in being able to leave a location at any time with all you need in tow.  Plus, there’s nothing quite like seeing the sunrise as you drive down the road, sipping on hot coffee, and dreaming about the next campsite.  Along the way, it made me smile every time I’d pull over on a whim to do my photography.  No one waiting in the wings.  No pressure to hurry up.

But there were things that I didn’t anticipate.  I’m an introvert at heart and I didn’t think spending a lot of time alone would bother me.  But, as I visited beautiful locations, I felt a sadness at not having someone to turn to and share these places and experiences with.  I found myself sitting in my trailer much of the time, lacking motivation.  Perhaps, if I hadn’t been through such an ordeal this past year, I wouldn’t feel this way.  But, I needed to mentally regroup after the cancer and I was still mourning the loss of my husband.  I didn’t have the energy to ‘make friends’ along the way, or play the tourist, or enjoy the sights by myself.

So I began to question if I was happy on the road.  It felt good to be away from the daily chemo, the scorching heat of an Arizona summer, and the stress of my old life… but what was my goal?  I reframed the travel and used the time to rest, and read, and visit with family members along the way.

By the time I arrived in Washington, I was told by my property management company that the renters in my old home were moving out.  I needed to return to Arizona for an oncology follow-up so I used this opportunity to check on the house.

“I’ll know what to do after a walk through”, I told myself.  “If it feels right, I’ll stay. I can move back in, and fix it up.  If it doesn’t feel right, I’ll put it on the market.”

Well, I did the walk through, and even though it had been years since I was last in the house, it still felt like home.  The home that I raised my children in.  The home that I struggled to hang on to for most of my adult life, living month to month, on a teachers salary.  The home my son died in and my daughter graduated in.  The home near my parents and precious friends, all waiting to welcome me and help me through my grief and healing.

untitled-11
The old house… ready to be fixed up and made ‘home’ again.

So, I moved my few belongings back in and have been fixing it up.  I’ve vowed that nothing will come through the doors that I don’t absolutely love and I’m keeping the minimalist life-style.  All of my walls will be decorated with my own art work and photographs.  Yiska has two comfy beds in prime spots in the living room and bedroom, and a huge backyard to run around in.

I’m also keeping the trailer, Sarandipity.  It’s parked a stones throw away at an RV storage facility.  I walk by it each day when I walk Yiska.  And when the weather grows too hot here in the summer, I know I can take Sarandipity down the road to cooler country because I’ve proven it!  I can navigate my way across country, hitching and unhitching at lightning speed (really, folks, I’m fast!) and back her up when needed, all while ignoring the honks.  Perhaps, some day, I’ll even find a partner that wants to travel with me.  But, if not, that’s okay too.  I’m happy with where I am in life.

I don’t regret my choices.  The excitement of planning my life as a full-time RVer is what got me through some tough treatment days at the cancer center.  The alone time on the road allowed me to evaluate what’s important to me at this stage of life and examine my needs.  It gave me confidence and reminded me I can do anything I set my mind to doing.

Now… to decide how to revamp the Sarandipity Travels blog.  It’s fun to share my life with you, so I don’t want to quit just because I’m a part-timer now.

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40 thoughts on “What’s She Doing Now?! (hint: NOT full-time RVing)

  1. Dawn Eshelman

    You are such an inspiration, Sara! Follow your heart 😉

    Dawn

    On Thu, Feb 2, 2017 at 10:48 AM, Sarandipity Travels wrote:

    > Sarandipity Travels posted: ” I feel as though I owe my readers an > explanation. After all the hullabaloo and rigmarole in preparation of > living in my tiny trailer, it only lasted 5 months. I spent two months > living in the trailer here in Arizona to work out the kinks before ” >

    Like

  2. Harvey Stanbrough

    A very nice, poignant post. I’m betting your initial travels served the purpose they were meant to serve, bringing you home richer and with more experiences, even if it wasn’t the purpose you foresaw. I’m happy for you, and I’ll be rooting for you as you continue the journey. Keep smiling. It never gets arduous, only different.

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  3. Judi wishman

    I’m glad you were able to make that decision. I’ve been widowed for 13 years and there are good and bad about it. I love to travel but understand what your saying about sharing thr time
    Judi

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  4. I was wondering how the travels where going…you’ve inspired me consider an RV lifestyle and have even been investigating the tiny home venture…maybe one day since I absolutely hate living in Ontario these days! LOL I also loved what you did with the RV! Amazing job!! keep up the great work.

    Huggs!!

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    1. You have the reverse problem of the cold. With me it’s the heat of summer. It’s been an amazing experience, and I feel more confident about taking the shorter trips now during the summers, so I don’t regret a thing. I hope you follow your heart! I found ‘tiny house/rv living’ quite easy as far as the space goes.

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  5. It sounds like you’ve made the right decision for this moment in your life. Who knows what will happen next. Whatever it is, I hope it’s lovely. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  6. Pam

    Thank you for sharing this, Sara. I just want you to know how inspiring and encouraging you and your story have been. I am a fellow APL patient/future-survivor (14 weeks left in my treatment plan.) I appreciate what you wrote awhile back about having needed time and space to quietly process all that you have gone through with the cancer. Spot on.

    I am so glad that you are now in a place where you have loved ones around you to be your community as you heal and adjust emotionally.

    You write beautifully, and I look forward to future news and posts. I wish you the very best!

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    1. Pam, your message made my day! I’m so sorry you’re also dealing with APL. I thought I’d never get through my treatments, but one day at a time and you get there. the 14 weeks of treatment you have left will come and go and then it’ll seem like a bump in the road. You’re a survivor! Sending big hugs!

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  7. Linda Artley

    Sara, it matters not where you hang you hat (so to speak) you always inspire us and we love hearing what you are up to. You get your home fixed up just like you want it and don’t forget to let us all know how that is gong. I love the minimalism idea and I also love that you will use your own artwork for the walls. Your photos are so beautiful, why wouldn’t you. Last, but never least, Yiska must be overjoyed to be able to run with the wind! We are happy for both of you. Love You…Denny and Linda ❤

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  8. Arnie Hobbs

    I have really enjoyed your blog and your photography inspires me. The main accomplishment I see was not being stuck in a rut. “The only difference between a rut and a grave is depth.” So the reality of full time solo travel didn’t match the vision. No worries! You paid attention and honored yourself, now there is a new chapter in the journey. Bravo!

    … and you still have your lovely little Escape egg. A suggestion: check out the Escape Owners forum under rally’s and gatherings. http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f17/
    There is a gathering of fiberglass egg owners in AZ next weekend. Perhaps getting to know others with traveling on their mind might spark friendships and traveling companions.

    Peace!
    Arnie

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    1. First of all, Arnie, the quote you posted cracked me up. Love it. No ruts allowed here. 🙂 I won’t be able to attend the rally next weekend, but that’s definitely a good idea for the future. I know that’d help me with the ‘solo’ aspect. Thank you!

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  9. raviolikid

    Sara, Rolling solo is kind of lonely sometimes. I am also getting ready to call it quits. I should have my lower 48 completed by September and then I will figure out what is next. Right now, I lean toward going back to the town I left and I am already cruising the real estate websites to see what might be out there. I hope you will continue to share your photography and your what is going on in your life. Enjoy your options and have a great time re-feathering your nest!

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    1. Congratulations on completing all the lower 48! I hope you pop back to my blog and let me know where you decide to hang your hat when you’re finished. I promise to continue sharing my photography and thoughts on life because it’s just too rewarding to give up. Thanks!

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  10. Edie Daley

    Thank you for your gutsy, reflective post. An earlier post about troubles backing up when getting off a highway for gas inspired and taught me a lot. I’m actually glad to read about your experience. So many of the blogs are tilted toward the full-time lifestyle as all good. Keep writing; you have talent, and you are making a difference.

    Like

    1. I’m happy to hear this, Edie! I always try to look at the positives, but there’s good in also telling it like it is… and I definitely have learned a lot with the many mistakes I’ve made. Thank you for your kind words.

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  11. Kathy

    The important thing is that you followed your heart and gave full-timing a try. Far better to try it for awhile and decide it isn’t for you than to never try and always wonder about what might have been. I’m glad you’re keeping your trailer though so that you can have shorter adventures. As Arnie suggested above, you might enjoy a FG trailer rally. There is a HUGE one every year in Oregon at Bullards Beach State Park near Bandon. People come from all over the country and there are always a lot of solo travelers at it too!

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    1. You’re right, Kathy, I’d much better give things a try then to wonder and regret not having taken a chance. Thanks for the info on the rally. Definitely something to consider! And thanks also for the positive thoughts/comment.

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  12. Sara, you are an amazing woman! I, too, had a 17B Escape with plans to travel for ten years. I had to give it up after 9 months because of a dog I rescued with severe separation anxiety. Could not even leave her to go to the grocery store. Sometimes things just happen and plans change. No failure–just change of plans.
    I very much enjoy reading your blogs. Your photography is absolutely amazing. Wishing you the very best!!!

    Like

    1. Wow, Ellen, reading you post I felt like we could have such fun talking over lunch. I’ve no doubt we’d have much in common. I also rescued a stray dog while on a road trip (a few years ago). He has tremendous separation anxiety because of his time as a stray. But, we do what we have to in order to give them comfort so good for you! xxx Thanks for the lovely comment.

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  13. Donna McFarland

    Ditto!! What everyone said so eloquently- You’re a- remarkable, super talented, one of a kind spirit dear Sara…who’s made many friends along the way! We all love and care about you & look forward to your future as it unrolls in it’s own unique and special way!

    Happy trails…where ever they lead!! Warm gentle hugs to you always.

    Like

  14. Dorothy Keller

    It sounds like you will have the best of both worlds, a home near loved ones with room to stretch out and also the trailer for when the itchy feet hit! Yiska is probably loving all the room to roam! Thanks for sharing your plans – all the best to you!

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  15. Diane Donaldson

    Sara, I didn’t have time to read this blog the day it arrived in my phone, and just discovered it again this morning after recording my gratitude and moment of grace from yesterday and reading my daily devotion and two Bible chapters. I am also an introvyat heart and have to be careful not to isolate myself especially in the winter. I’ve just finished an extremely hectic, exhausting week with the world imposing on my solitude. The good part of this is I’m leaving for Arizona Tuesday! (Hopefully with clothes in a suitcase by then.) I will be spending s week in Phoenix area with a close friend and then coming down to Tucson. I can’t wait to see you and catch up. Your new life decisions seem to be agreeing with you. Your photos are stunning, and you look beautiful and so full of life and grace. See you soon. On Thu, Feb 2, 2017 at 3:48 PM Sarandipity Travels wrote:

    > Sarandipity Travels posted: ” I feel as though I owe my readers an > explanation. After all the hullabaloo and rigmarole in preparation of > living in my tiny trailer, it only lasted 5 months. I spent two months > living in the trailer here in Arizona to work out the kinks before ” >

    Like

  16. Micki Kremer

    One of my favorite sayings over the years is “Life is a journey that begins with one step”. Each of those “one steps” takes us in a direction that forms our lives. YOU are an inspiring Step taker to me! I love following your steps and where they take you. May they continue to lead you to where you are supposed to be.

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  17. Patandlinda

    Good for you Sara ! Most people wouldn’t even try . At least you have your trailer and you not a apprentice any more . Looking forward to your future posts .
    Pat and Linda

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    1. Thank you, Pat and Linda! I feel like the reason for things is not always clear at the time, but looking back, planning for my ‘big adventure’ was a huge part of what kept my mind off of the cancer treatments. And I would hate to live a life wonderful “what if I had…”.

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  18. Margaret Ann Adams

    I’m finally getting to my email, and I’m very glad to read your blog. It answers some questions I’ve been wondering about. It makes sense to me to return to your home on land vs wheels, for now. You have a lot going on, and I understand—part of it, anyway.
    Love, Margaret Ann

    Like

  19. Cinandjules

    No explanation needed.
    Congrats on hitching up and backing! Whooooeeee!
    You tried it…and rediscovered you…life’s road isn’t straight forward. Your house is cute and sarandipty is closeby when that urge hits you!

    Our life changed also…we moved from the Adirondacks of NY to Sun City West. Still have the house on the lake for the summer. If AZ isn’t the place….we will find somewhere that is…you just never know!

    Have a great day and thanks for sharing! Hi to Yiska!

    Like

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