I have a fierce drive to own an RV and traverse the nation; preferably wearing a paisley headscarf and a smirk. This RV obsession is firmly rooted in mental illness.
After accomplishing most of my educational goals and some professional ones, I started down an unexpected personal path resulting in a spouse and a couple of kids. In short order, I quit my job to stay home with these new people and to my surprise, the youngest of the lot appeared to need me but not particularly like me. I’m told this is indicative of colic but I took it personally. I acquired an acute case of the blues and intense desire to run away. This condition remained undiagnosed far too long because I grew up believing that I should either fix it or forget it and seek a doctor only if it’s festering or falling off.
During my 3:00am blue moon nights nursing one child while listening to the other snore like a grown man, I dreamed of the open road. My only tether was my undeniable love for my family, but to be clear, had I not liked them so much I would have chucked it all for a VW bus, sleeping bag and a copy of Stephen King’s, Misery.
Like a subconscious paddle ball, RV road trip daydreams continued long after the blues went away. Over the years it grew into a full obsession and I was convinced my children needed to get out of suburbia too. They needed to meet new people, experience the scent of body odor on a subway, squat over gravity fed sewers, and eat meat that hung upside down from a hook. This would help prepare them for middle school.
Then the panic attacks started. In hindsight, it shouldn’t have been surprising given our run-in with an ill-timed home invasion and subsequent law enforcement gun draw. After High Noon, my brain started following my emotions rather than the other way around and I didn’t trust my intuition anymore. Decision making felt like moving through cognitive pea soup and maintaining was exhausting. I managed to tread undetected for a long time and in time I recognized my limits and it got easier.
One of my limits was getting on a airplane. I hadn’t been on a plane since before my littles were born and it certainly wasn’t happening now so my attention turned again to the road. Vintage travel trailers, 50’s diners and all things mid-century; a Wes Anderson aesthetic for no reason other than it was clean and sprinkled with odd, a place I was comfortable. I spent countless hours devouring Pinterest in a glorious display of escapism. I was convinced travel would make my children better human beings, because at their age, “There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” – Jack Kerouac
Come hell or high water I’m going to point my kids in the direction of someplace they’ve never been and it just might trigger empathy, curiosity, motion sickness and homesickness. This is my mission.
So, I bought a travel trailer and I now write about it.