Leaving home is always tough, but leaving home and completely changing your lifestyle is a doozy. We’ve been full-timers for a little over a week now. I’ve been thinking about this post the whole time and believe I’m ready to write it without crying. If you don’t know this about me, I cry a lot. Television commercials make me cry, along with buying greeting cards and seeing anyone else cry. Don’t even get me started on weddings, babies and funerals. (Watch for upcoming blogs posts, “Things That Make Me Cry, Parts I, II and III.”)
Traveling around the country in the RV is a long-time dream of ours. It’s on the official bucket list. I am truly grateful that we have this opportunity while we’re this young. That being said, it’s still a lot of change. Change is good, right?
A lot of full-timers get rid of everything that doesn’t fit in the RV. Since our plan is to travel for a year, we rented a couple of storage units and set out to purge about half of our possessions. A year ago, we were “those” people, with a big house filled to the brim with stuff, the garage overflowing with cars, trucks, motorcycles and toys. Today: one truck, an RV, a Harley and a side-by-side, no house and about half of our belongings. Getting there took some work.
Saying goodbye to some of the stuff was easy. Each time we’d moved in the past, it was to a bigger house. This was a long-overdue purging. I am embarrassed to admit that, while cleaning out closets, I found a box of dried flowers that I’d brought with us from Missouri…in 2002. Suffice it to say, they were very, very dry.
Passing along my godmother’s 90-year-old baby grand was a little emotional, but easier than I expected. She was a music and piano teacher and lived next door to us until I was seven, but we moved before I ever learned to play. We’ve been moving the piano from house to house since 1987, but its age, the dry Colorado air and the moves were taking their toll. I found a nice family from Grand Junction who was willing to invest some money in restoring it so that their kids could play. The young daughter was very excited, and I know my godmother is happy now that it’s actually being played again. It is in the right place.
Other possessions were harder to part with, even though they’re easier to replace. I’ve never claimed to be logical.
I cried when I sold my Harley. Learning to ride it was a huge accomplishment for me, and I brought my helmet and leathers along so that I can rent one on the road, but it still makes me tear up a little. Same thing with “Henry Honda,” my trusty Honda Pilot. This is the first time I’ve been without a vehicle of my own since 1981; it’s hard to give up the independence that provides. I am happy that my brother’s family is now taking good care of Henry.
Saying goodbye to the house was tough. We’d only lived there for five years, but, between designing, planning and building, it was a nine-year process, and, most importantly, it was where the kids came home. That was the hardest part for me. It was hard for them as well. I’m so proud of how strong and supportive they are. We spent our first weekend on the road with them, and will see them both several times over the next two months, so we weren’t saying goodbye to them, just to the place we’d called home.
We also said goodbye to our routines and our lifestyle. Things I took for granted, like meeting friends for drinks, dinner at our favorite restaurants and knowing where everything is at the grocery store, will happen less frequently until we settle down again.
Now, before you think this is really depressing, the other side of this is an amazing sense of freedom. For example, although it was tough to part with my car, saying goodbye to insurance premiums, oil changes, license renewals, new tires and payments wasn’t hard at all. I know for a fact that Scott does not miss looking out the window and thinking that it’s either time to mow, water something or plow the driveway.
Saying goodbye to the mortgage? That, my friends, did make me cry, but in a good way. Tears of joy are totally acceptable.
Now we look out the window and see a new place to explore, no mowing, watering or plowing required. If we get tired of the view or the climate, or want to see some friends and family, we can pack up and be on the road in a jiffy. We can find new favorite restaurants and visit friends and family across the country with whom we haven’t spent much time with in years. When the kids want to come home, we have beds and seats at the campfire ready for them. And when we decide we want another house, or a car or a motorcycle, we can do that as well.
In the meantime, we are settling into our new lifestyle and looking forward to a year of adventure. Change is good. Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more Tales From the Empty Nest.