Give All This Up?

I don’t remember when it started, us talking about giving it all up to move into an RV and travel. I know that we talked about it briefly, discarded the idea, but continued to discuss our ideas of retirement life.

We were both in our late 50s and worked from home, but our house was just way too big for two people. I couldn’t keep up with the cleaning, and he couldn’t keep up with the maintenance, so it seemed as if that’s all we ever did on weekends. It felt like we were slaves to the house.

The trouble is that this was our dream home. We’d chosen it specifically to live out the rest of our days, but what seemed like the perfect plan at 45 years old, didn’t make any sense once we started creeping up toward 60 years old.

Expecting to stay here, we’d invested thousands of dollars, and years’ worth of blood, sweat, and tears, changing the home to suit our desires. Bear was loathe to give it up, because so much of his sweat equity had gone into these walls.

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  • We each had our own office space on different floors, with a gorgeous view of the lake. Bear telecommuted, and his office was in the basement with French doors leading to the back yard. The basement boasted a full bathroom, and a refrigerator which he’d converted to hold kegs of beer with taps on the door. The useless space under the stairs became a wine cellar, constructed board-by-board with his own hands, and it was gorgeous.

    The basement was his office most of the time, but when company came it offered drinks and entertainment, its walls covered with branded mirrors, cute sayings, dogs playing poker, old work tools, fishing lures, and other sundry decor. Ping pong, foosball, darts… the game room was fully loaded.

    My office had windows that looked out over the lake as well, and it was no ordinary boring office. Bright yellow walls trimmed with dark wood became the backdrop for whimsical objects. Painted ceramic frogs climbed the walls, a metal dog flashed a peace sign, and old man tree faces sat on the bookshelves.

    Wallhangings included sunflowers, birds, colorful ceramic dog tiles, and a hand-made leather map from South America. It was an antique reproduction, and absolutely gorgeous! The light fixture had been changed out to a stained glass fixture, and overall my office decor was fun and inspiring. I called it my happy room.

    Bear had constructed my desk to specs because I didn’t like ordinary office desks. Mine sat higher so that my feet never touched the floor. One end had three cabinets which provided eight drawers. The work-end was as long as the cabinets, with a total length of several feet long. The backside which was in the middle of the room had shelves for computer equipment, and one end allowed for a chair to go underneath, offering a second work space.

    Throughout the entire house we’d spent years amassing our favorite things: comfortable living room furniture, a big-screen TV, a convertible tile table for the kitchen, a set of dishes for Christmas, plus good china, plus regular dishes, and stuff — hoards of stuff. It boggles the mind how much two people can collect, especially when both have personalities that inspire collecting.

    We had numerous collections: sea shells, Indian arrowheads, old hand tools, chess sets, beer glasses, old magazines, and whatnots. And for the man who loved to tinker, the garage held tools for every job imaginable, all neatly organized. We’d invested years perfecting the system.

    But the trouble was, for everything we had, neither of us were truly happy. We wanted to travel, and in the early years we did, taking road trips to neighboring states, and cruises through the Caribbean sea. But life had changed, and instead of us traveling, it seemed as if we’d become conduits for everybody else’s travels.

    Living near Atlanta made us a hub for everybody driving through Georgia to Florida, or to the ocean. Our set up created a five-star hotel atmosphere for travelers, and the amount of work involved in running a “free hotel,” complete with home-cooked meals, meant that we never had time for ourselves.

    No sooner did we finish cleaning up after one set of vacationers then it seemed as if another was calling. Cleaning a gigantic house is no small task when you’re in your fifties with health issues. Physical labor to that degree kept me in pain most of the time, and Bear often said that he felt like the caretaker for somebody else’s lake house.

    And even when we didn’t have people, the house demanded our attention. There was no such thing as a weekend where we’d wake up and say, “What do you want to do today?” Weekends were full of chores, constant never-ending chores.

    Twice a month we enjoyed an evening playing cards with friends, and that kept us going until the friends moved away. One by one, all of our friends had moved away into their own idea of dream retirement, and none were close by anymore. In spite of the chores and lost friends, we hadn’t yet encountered “the trigger.”

    So many RV full-timers share their stories online, but the lead-in for what triggers the change is usually just a sentence or two. You don’t get a generous helping of all the thoughts that go through a person’s mind before taking the plunge, and it’s a scary plunge.

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  • You are literally giving up everything you’ve worked for, every asset you’ve acquired, everything beyond a few suitcases worth of clothes, towels, kitchenware, and whatnot. Even the dog beds might be too much of a space-hogging luxury, and our eight year old dog really loved her bed. Both dogs would be giving up a huge fenced-in yard to run in, with wooded areas to explore, and critters to chase.

    And yet, the dream took root, bit by bit, and all the while triggers kept firing, poking us hard in the shoulder as if to say, “Take that! And that! What, this trigger isn’t enough to move you from the comfy zone? Okay, then how about THIS!”

    Enter into the journey with us, as we share the full lead-in for the Big Change to living in an RV full-time, and to what lies beyond…

    * * * * *

    In the meantime, follow me on a very different journey of high strangeness. Alien Nightmares: Screen Memories of UFO Alien Abductions shares memories and dreams relating to my personal experiences with extraterrestrials, along with the little-known UFO flaps from the time periods which swept me up into an extraterrestrial neverland of high strangeness.

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