Maturing as full-time RV’ers and travelers has happened quickly for us. In a little over a year we have crossed the country 3 times, seen fifteen National Parks, stayed in everything from parking lots to luxury resorts, and we’re starting our fourth volunteer workamping job. Phew! It has been a year full of adventures, but also learning.
Fifteen months ago we were naïve and knew almost nothing about RV’s, campgrounds, workamping, or even about this country a couple hundred miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. Alayne and I felt compelled to shake up life a bit and explore. There is something about throwing oneself into the unknown that creates a quick learning curve, and draws upon resources previously unknown. Living life on the road is not all smooth sailing and kicking back at campgrounds. It is waking up and not knowing where you are, or where the grocery store is. It is flat tires and blow outs, broken refrigerators and roof repairs. It is all the things life throws at us, with the extra element of disorientation and a lot less space. It is about becoming comfortable outside the comfort zone, and most importantly learning to listen.
Listening is an active process that internalizes thought or information to expand one’s own awareness or consciousness. Early in our travels, I imposed my will on everything with elaborate trip planning, campground reservations days or weeks in advance, lining up volunteer positions for the next year, always with a head full of timelines, worry and doubt. Frequently, this resulted in missing out on opportunities or places we should have seen, always stressed more than necessary. We quickly realized that it was when we took cues from our bodies, intuition and other people that we ended up right where we wanted to be, without previously knowing. Serendipity rarely occurs when one is forcing something to happen. Most of our “less than desirable” circumstances have happened when we were trying to impose a preconceived notion. If we have learned anything from living on the road, it is listening.
Having come to understand that listening is integral to a positive outcome, we try our best to do so. In practical terms, this means we now travel loosely. We have found it completely unnecessary to make campground reservations except on the busiest weekends in the most sought after locations. Since we prefer public campgrounds it is cheaper too, avoiding those pesky and pricey reservation fees. Our itineraries always have extra days built in for weather or diversions. We have even begun pursuing workamping positions more on the fly, too. There always seems to be last minute need due to cancellations or inability to fill. Anytime Alayne and I feel stressed or feel like something is harder than it needs to be, we take a moment to pause and listen. We literally ask ourselves if God or the Universe is trying to tell us something. While that may sound a little new age, I assure you, listening is pragmatic. Since we have begun doing this, life on the road has been less stressful and more adventurous. We also have situations happen that remind us and reconfirm that listening is an active process.