“We’re only here for a visit” – the words of my late Father-in-law. Sometime in my 50th year these words took on greater meaning. They’ve always resonated with me, but there was something about the past year that made it click, like one big “aha” moment. Age never really bothered me, so it’s not the “50” thing. My husband Craig just turned 62. Yes – there is a 12 year age difference, but his mentality pretty much keeps us on par with each other. (This whole campervan thing is his fault anyways, but that’s a story for another time.) What it comes down to is that I’m at an age of transition. It’s like a 2nd act that I’m sure many of us feel when our kids are grown. It’s a time when we turn to our spouse and say “What’s next?” or in my case “Do I still like you enough to be stuck in a campervan with you?” Let me make it clear that we are not empty nesters. All three of our twenty-something daughters are back home, plus one. We love our daughters and granddaughter more than anything, but I’m sure they are sick of the “get off my payroll” comments from their mom. The year also had some other challenges. I lost my job of 12 years. Found a new job with an hour-plus commute. We unexpectedly lost some family members and friends. Craig’s job is in question, which is not good for an aging tradesman. There’s been a few health worries. My parents are getting older. Finances are stretched. Extended family has had some fallouts. A few car accidents. Then there is that damn election.
That’s life. Nobody said it would be easy. In actuality, I find ourselves blessed and often wonder to myself why we are so fortunate. There are so many people in similar situations and they get the bad news. So when life happens, I’m learning to push through because it could be worse. At the same time, I’m realizing the opportunity that lies ahead. It’s like everyday we are given the chance to make life meaningful. To figure out the path we want to take. I do believe for the most part we are the creators of our journey and that things often happen for a reason. There has been a lot going on this past year and my mama bear instinct likes to come out and take on the world for my family. That is until we come to the realization they need to start figuring it out for themselves. As I would often get mad at Craig for spending countless hours on his recliner, researching vans on his computer, he may have had it figured out long before me. He wasn’t just looking for a van, he was considering his road to a more meaningful life.
As someone who tends to overthink and overwhelm, the purpose of this blog is to keep it simple – whatever that may be. Much of the writing will be about our journey into campervan life. After 3 years of searching, Craig settled on a 2015 Mercedes Sprinter 144 crew van. It’s a blank slate and I’ll be chronicling how we turn it into a vehicle that meets our needs. At the same time, I’m figuring out how to move from living the big suburban life to a more purposeful, simplified lifestyle that focuses on the important aspects such as relationships, health, and passions. So I’ll be recounting the frustrations and victories of that journey. That will start with getting rid of the stuff – everything that is cluttering up my house, mind and happiness. When I ask myself now “Will this fit in our campervan?” what I’m really asking is what value something brings to our lives. Most of the time we’ll find it’s not the stuff that makes life meaningful, it’s the memories. Like the memories of my father-in-law’s wise words “We’re only here for a visit”. So make the most of that visit and hopefully some of it will be traveling by campervan.