oh happy day! for years i have been squirreling away every penny possible toward a major life goal. with much fanfare (dancing in my head the dance my body will no longer perform), i have achieved a major step toward that goal.
five years ago i purchased a vehicle for trips to points north and west. after giving up my rented three-bedroom home on an acre of beautiful desert land, i placed my furniture and other belongings in storage and moved into the over-sized van to prepare it and myself for travel.
a couple of months’ worth of working out the kinks and becoming familiar with the ins and outs of hooking up to electricity, sewer etcetera and becoming comfortable with life in a small space and i would be on my way. and then, as it tends to do now and again, life threw me a curve — not a gentle, sweeping curve, but an arc of gigantic proportions: a motorcycle accident which turned into a major life (and, amazingly, death) event.
after six and a half weeks of hospitals, complications, dying, returning, coma, hypothermia treatment, and lost memory, i returned to my little home on wheels literally unable to walk or care for basic needs such as grocery shopping or attending to my cats’ litter box.
the unintended result: four-plus years of full-time living in a tiny van-based rv, smaller, i sometimes joked, than many of my friends’ bathrooms, with two cats as my constant companions, two surgeries, another extended hospital stay, two brief hospital stays after falls, a seemingly endless round of doctor visits, a major bout of depression, a thwarted desire for adventure, my tiny living space getting smaller each year.
never before have i had such enormous desire or the discipline to save money. a friend once remarked in amazement, that i never had money because i clearly did not care about having money. i have never owned a home, nor cared to, generally traded my old vehicle for a somewhat newer one after twelve years or so, taken very few vacations which did not involve sleeping in a tent or an aging van.
dreaming of travelling the southwest and pacific northwest was a favorite pastime of mine and my dad’s. we spent many hours together on day-trips in southern arizona, picnicking in lovely parks and sky islands and taking rest stops in obscure remote bars for a beer and a friendly, if competitive, turn at the pool table.
our adventures together, though simple, were delicious and precious to us. equally sweet were the “blue sky” dreams we shared, of more. always more. both of us on limited incomes, our dreams were a form of escape. neither of us had laid eyes on the grand canyon even though i had lived in arizona for twenty years, dad for nearly thirty.
we envisioned ourselves buying a bus which i would drive, heading off the see that incredible hole-in-the-ground, then on to whatever we hoped to see next, no worries, no logistics to sort out, just enjoying the trip of our lifetimes. when it became clear that my dad would never realize our dreams, i told him that i would travel for both of us.
the greater part of my view throughout the u.s. was from the cab of an eighteen-wheeler, on the way from one destination to the next, with no time to stop and explore. so many areas fed the flame of my wanderlust with no opportunity to wander. yet, through all of the setbacks, my dream has persisted. living simply, denying myself even the simplest of pleasures if it required money, i began saving every penny.
now i am reminded of a song from the sixties, by singer song-writer, donovan. sunshine came softly through window today. i am pleased (read: out of my mind with excitement) to say that i have purchased a new home on wheels! thirty-eight feet long, a veritable mansion! over the next months, i will, albeit slowly, be moving into my new digs, acclimating, and taking some short trips to prepare for the actualization of my dreams. and my dad’s dreams. i’ve even saved a small bit of his ashes so that he will be adventuring with me.
oh, happy day!