As you may know, Carl and I have been in our home state of North Carolina these past 11+ weeks to visit family and friends and catch up on various medical appointments. We first visited our daughter in Boone for a week, then spent the next four weeks in our hometown of Garner, two weeks with my mom near Bogue, then a week in my sister’s driveway in Swansboro before spending the last few weeks back in Garner moochdocking at my friend’s house (thank you, Chris!).
Spending quality time with our family and friends has been absolutely wonderful. It had been almost 18 months since we saw them, and we have definitely tried to make up for all that lost time. It will be bittersweet when we pull out on January 3 to begin our travels again. On the one hand, 11-12 weeks has not been enough time to be with everyone; on the other, our wanderlust needs to be satiated and we are ready to go.
The most popular question we’ve been asked is “what was your favorite place to visit?” This has been easy enough to answer—most of them—especially the national parks we visited. A couple of weeks ago, though, a friend asked me “what has been the most challenging?” Mmm. I didn’t have an immediate answer, and I have spent some time thinking about it since she asked. Now I have one.
Our greatest challenge since we began full-time RV traveling in May 2020 has been this visit back to our hometown these past two months. My traveling friends might understand this, but others might be puzzled. As much as we’ve enjoyed being back here, we’ve also questioned whether it could have been done differently.
First, we chose the busiest time of the year for most people – during the holidays. We have been jockeying for attention from those we love while they are working, preparing for the holidays, dealing with issues around the pandemic, and managing their overburdened schedules.
Second, Carl decided to get a part-time, seasonal job while we were here. No … make that TWO part-time jobs! Keep in mind we only have one vehicle – our old, big diesel pickup truck that doesn’t get the greatest gas (fuel) mileage – for him to drive to/from work just about every day. This has left me stepping out of my comfort zone much more than I like. I’ve had to ask friends for rides; ask family to serve as “air bnbs” (thanks Kevin and Angie AND Madeline and Layne – 5 stars to both locations!) so Carl could stay with them to work while the Airstream and I were down at the coast with my mom and sister; borrow our daughter’s car now and then; and ask my friend Chris to camp in her yard for about a month. They will never know how greatly appreciative we are that they were so accommodating. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Third, given that it is the holiday season, I have easily fallen back into old habits of overdoing, and our Airstream (and my psyche) are suffering for it. Routines have been completely dropped because of Carl’s work schedule. What little “space” we have in the Airstream was quickly cluttered with Christmas boxes, gifts, and wrapping paper. We are much more judicious with water and electric usage while moochdocking. And we (or I should really say “I”) have spent more money than usual – lunch and dinner dates, Christmas gifts, and food for holiday gatherings. Thanks to Carl’s two jobs, it hasn’t affected our budget too horribly!
Challenges aside, we would not take back these couple of months for anything. We have enjoyed every minute being with people we missed and love. Carl has filled his time working—meeting new people and helping them find what they are looking for as well as having a varying schedule each day. I have loved reconnecting with people and spending much-needed quality time with my daughters and mom.
We are leaving soon and, with our current plans (although they can easily change), we won’t be back here for another two years. Please remember to follow us (at RivetingJourney.com, Facebook, and Instagram), and make notes on your 2023 calendars so we can see you all again!
Whatever you celebrate, contemplate, or manage to get through this time of year, we wish you peace, happiness, merriment, and a sense of complete oneness with All That Is.
Season’s Greetings. Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Kwanza. Happy New Year.
Merry, Merry and Happy, Happy to you all.