2015 Aug 8
In 2010, we began to seriously talk about, research, and plan for a life a full time travel, in an RV. I was desperate to get out of Pittsburgh’s North Side. Our neighborhood had NEVER felt like home to me. It was never the place I would’ve chosen to live. (I still harbor some unresolved feelings about having spent 20+ years in a neighborhood and house not really of my choosing, but that’s my own personal issue which I will eventually resolve.) Getting an RV and traveling was my grown up equivalent of running away. But, it also got us out of Pittsburgh, and the North Side, which I do not think would’ve happened without a dramatic exit. Now, I am willing to admit that there may have been better ways of dealing with my desperate unhappiness. But, the way things have played out, haven’t been all bad, or even really bad at all. We did travel and see areas that I had longed to visit for years. Places like Ely, Minnesota. I got to meet, in real life, a few people whom I had only known online. People like Kandy, Anick and Prin. (I missed out on meeting Alexis, Jennifer, and Shelley. But life isn’t over yet!)
The original plan when we began to travel, was to roam until we found a small town that we both loved. Unfortunately, we haven’t both loved the same places, or even the same climates. A couple of years into the adventure, Raymond began detailing his need of more space and being desirous of "settling" somewhere. The opportunity to be work campers at Ocean Waves Campground seemed to offer at least a partial solution. We had been campers at OWC in the past, both in tents and in our RV. Ray agreed to give it a shot. We have been here in Waves, NC since March 2014. Being two rather introverted people, living full time, in a 29’ Class C motor home, with no real privacy or personal space, has proven to be a greater challenge than we anticipated. And, while I enjoy my work camping experience, which consists of cleaning bathhouses with my husband a couple of morning each week, and working in the office/camp store a couple of days, my dear husband is not as enamored with his responsibilities. He has become quite adept at bathhouse cleaning, but the two mornings he spends weed whacking and blowing grass cuttings, are, especially in June, July and August, sweat drenched days, that result in muscle spasms. He claims to be ready "to be fully retired". Add that to the fact that he has been wanting to put down roots, and you see why he wants to get off the road, even though, technically, we haven’t moved the motor home since March 2014.
For me, I am missing family, friends, and familiarity. When I lost my Father, in January 2014, I lost my anchor. No matter where we were, or how far we travelled, my Daddy was always in Pittsburgh. And I always made sure to be traveling somewhere nearby in September, so I could celebrate his birthday with him. All my siblings live in the Pittsburgh area, and since my Dad’s passing, I feel a greater need to connect with them. I never thought, when I pulled out of our driveway in the motor home, that moving back to Pittsburgh would be an option for me. But it is. NOT into the city proper, and definitely NOT to the North Side, but back to an area less than a ten hour drive from family. Back to an area with up to the minute medical care. Back to an area of good pizza, and perogies. Will I regret this move? I hope not. But, there was something very special about having one of my nieces say, when I told her we will be moving back, "WOO HOO!!! Can’t wait to have you guys nearby again!!!.." There is something special about feeling wanted :)
In the recesses of my brain, I had thought that we might settle in coastal NC. And I harbored fantasies that some of my siblings might one day relocate there as well. That, it seems was simply fantasy. After spending the last 17 months in coastal Carolina, about 65 miles south of my "happy place", there has been one visit by multiple siblings, and no discussion of anyone relocating. I have been disillusioned by both locals and tourists. I am a Yankee. And, in addition, I am a left leaning liberal. And while normally, I discourage such labels, I mention them here, to illustrate why I don’t really seem to fit in, even though I had thought this to be my happy place.
I long for a tribe, a group of like minded people, who will understand and accept my quirks. I desire someone with whom to have breakfast, or lunch. I want to have a space where people will feel free to drop by. I want a neighborhood library. I know that I am, for the most part, an introvert. I do best with one or two people at a time. I wish for folks who understand that. I want to live somewhere with options - movies, plays, recycling centers, stuff that I don’t find right now.
In the midst of the beauty of this coastal place, I came to realize that perhaps this is my happy place, but in a 'vacation here a couple times yearly' kind of way, not a 'live here day to day' way. Who knows? I am willing to say that nothing is etched in stone, at this point.
I fear this writing has been too much stream of consciousness, and not enough structured understanding and explanation. I love that life is not etched in stone. I don't expect people to fully understand any of this. But, I am going home. No matter how much I might have wanted to get away, I am beginning to accept that I am a Pittsburgher, in ways I never realized until I lived away, and on the road. Perhaps I am simply a slow learner. I have lived in other places, Kansas, and Hawaii, come to mind, and I returned to Pittsburgh from both of those areas, as well. And though we are returning to Pittsburgh, we will still travel, visit and explore. We have never, either of us, been to Montana, Washington, or Oregon. We loved the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. If our health and well being continues, there is no reason we can't visit Alaska. But, for now, we are going home in November.