It’s always strange leaving the comforts of an apartment and moving back into the Sprinter. Each time before we hit the road again, we can’t help but wonder how we’ll fit everything back in the van, manage with a one year old baby and a geriatric dog, keep up with Outdoorplay, and fit in enough time for me to write, or at least take a shower before bed.
Below, Sol and Tree enjoying the last night of sleep in our big Mendoza bed.
Life is certainly different on the road.
It’s harder work. Far less comfortable. Much more uncertain.
And, yet, for us, it’s infinitely better.
Sometimes bath time is in kiddie pools…
and kitchen sinks.
Sometimes dinner is in a fancy restaurant….
whipped up in a hostel, or served a little too late for someone’s taste.
But we always have enough to eat…
Enough to drink…
There is always time to play….
And time to smell the flowers…
And, of course, time to make new friends.
And isn’t that what life is about?
Driving south for 3 days from Mendoza to where we are now in Puerto Varas, Tree and I had a lot of time to talk. I realized how much I missed these conversations, the ones that come when there isn’t the daily grind of divvying up who will do the dishes, mop the floor, and pay the electricity bill, when what really matters starts to surface. It’s on these long drives with Tree in the Captain’s chair, me by his side, Soleil sleeping in her car seat between us, and Kiki’s head resting on the baby’s feet that I fall deeper in love with my husband, my family, my life.
As Tree and I speculated together on how Soleil might react to life on the road again, we considered the meaning of home, or rather, what it means to not have one. Right now she’s just a baby, but in years to come, will Soleil miss having a real home? Meaning, will she long for an actual place filled with her belongings? A sanctuary to call her own.
What if Soleil wants to nest? What will the longterm effects of homelessness be on our child?
We have friends who love their homes–who need their homes–who would feel uprooted and unsafe without them. And even though Tree and I aren’t interested in having our own home, we sure are grateful for the homes opened up to us by family and friends. Every time we are back in Hermosa at Cyndi’s house, in White Salmon at Cheryll’s house, in Seattle at Indra’s, in Bellingham at Noni’s, or in Santiago at Kate and Martyn’s house, we soak up the familiar surroundings and take a deep breath of comfort.
When we slow live, I do my best to create a makeshift home. I paste some modern art postcards on the wall, decorate some pillows to throw on the sofa, cook up a storm, occasionally buy flowers, light candles and burn incense. We like it at first. Slow living definitely has its perks, like not having to share a kitchen or wear flip-flops in the shower. Plus, as a rule, we only stay in places we like and want to get to know better, like Mendoza.
But, still, something wilts in me when we stay in one place for more than two months. Within a week or two of settling into our ‘home’, we develop routines and divide up the labor, which makes sense to do, but the next thing we know we feel hemmed in by our self-made, conventional constructs and overwrought by a surprisingly stressful monotony. It doesn’t take long before we bicker. We glare. We can’t stand it anymore. What was once a home becomes a stifling box.
We can’t get out of there fast enough.
I know some people thrive in a home. But we don’t. For us, home is not a place. It’s more a frequency where we connect, and when we’re on the road, we find this frequency almost effortlessly. We share a common dream and bring our best selves to meet the daily challenges of realizing it. We shine as a team. There’s no conventional way of handling road life. There’s no history, no tradition, no role models. We make the rules up as we go, and then break them at the next turn. We love it.