Shall We Stay or Shall We Go On?

After completing 5/8 of a life on the edge of each other’s nerves – we had towed the trailer 11,654 miles and put 20,122 miles on the odometer in the car. In a country that is 3,000 miles wide by 2,000 miles top to bottom that’s pretty good going. We’d drawn a very drunken diagonal line down across the U.S. map from Washington State to Florida and back along the southern border and west coast. A two-year-old with a crayon could have scrawled a tidier route. But in the process we perused 26 of the 48 states on our agenda of looking for the perfect place to live in the continental U.S.A.

We decided this was definitely a plastic 'gator put out for the tourists in the Everglades when her real brothers and sisters were in hiding.
We decided this was definitely a plastic ‘gator put out for the tourists in the Everglades when her live brothers and sisters were in hiding.

Some states only merited a quick drive straight through to the next state. I won’t tell you which ones as all us patriotic Americans are proud of and proprietorial about our own states and I am sure we didn’t do them justice by not stopping to poke around. Other states kept us fascinated for days, sometimes weeks. But we were just tourists. Visiting The Everglades, Monument Valley, Mount Rushmore or San Francisco for the first time is a real kick but they are not areas we would consider living due to weather, remoteness or cost of living. And we were just so enthralled with the sight-seeing sights in this diverse and stunning country, we often didn’t bother to do our homework on towns as potential homesteaders.

One our favorite campgrounds: Monument Valley UT
One our favorite campgrounds: Monument Valley UT

The next stage of the route would take us east across the top of the country, up into New England and down the east coast with a bit of the inevitable to-ing and fro-ing. Getting in the way of the search was a spacious apartment in sunny and probably-too-expensive California that was calling us.

I was longing to get our furniture out of storage and put my underwear in a drawer instead of having it stuffed in a shoe box and to hang up my clothes instead of playing lucky dip in a jam packed locker. Jewelry was tangled up in a box and fine chains and long necklaces formed a monkey’s fist of silver and gold, beads and crystals. I doubted I would ever wear them again. I wore the same jeans and hoody for days out of sheer inertia.

The same rotation of clean clothes came off the top of the stack day after day rather than create an avalanche of tee shirts to put together a new look. We dressed, hobo unchic, in cotton clothes that were washer/dryer-ready-to-wear. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. Unmentionable articles of underclothing aside, we sometimes scrutinized and sniffed our outerwear for an extra day’s service before consigning it to the laundry bag. My prissy nature came out when faced with dirty laundramat machines that may have seen dog blankets, greasy overalls, muddy trousers and almost certainly much worse.

Books and files were hidden deep within a hell hole under the bed instead of being to hand on a bookshelf. Wrenching my right shoulder to lift the mattress and locker lid and hold it up, I then wrenched my left shoulder to haul out the printer, two sleeping bags and a bag of wrapping paper and ribbon (yes, of course ribbon is essential on an RV) to gaze at a cardboard box of books through a gap just big enough for my head. As I grunted and strained with the weight of the mattress and locker lid on my shoulders himself would ask, “Can I help you with that?”

“NO!” I would bellow in frustration and risked decapitating myself with the trap door of the dungeon. A feeble flashlight that doubled as the oven light barely glowed much less illuminated the book titles so reading choices were often made by feel. Sometimes I thought oh stuff it and lay on the bed listening to my iPod until whatever inkling of motivation to do something creative or productive or even vaguely educational passed.

Should we stop somewhere to live in an apartment and try to regain our sanity or continue to play happy trails?

16 thoughts on “Shall We Stay or Shall We Go On?

  1. We’ve moved a tad ourselves (not as much as you) and seem to get bored after about four years with any given town/city. So we’ve resigned ourselves to mobile then not then mobile again. However, after this last move, it’ll take awhile before I have any interest in hauling stuff out of storage. Have you lost your wonderlust?

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    1. My initial reaction to your question was “Yeah, kinda,” then “No, not really.” What I’m missing is a base as Joanne mentioned. You seem to have family and friends all over the west and make yourselves at home wherever you are which is great. I’ve got one brother in WA, one brother in FL and the kids and grandchildren are in England and Australia. They couldn’t be more far flung! But shallow as this may seem, we are really enjoying the winter weather in AZ – every day a mountain view and a clear blue sky (except yesterday when it was cloudy and we had a dust storm but the temperature dropped and that was nice for a change). Truth be told we are dragging our heels here while we dither a bit longer!

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  2. Whatcha’ need to do is git yer butts back up here to Washington with its threats of earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis which no one believes will happen until they actually do. Yeah, it rains a bit. OK, a lot. If the dark, gray, dreary, wet (Need I go on?) days of winter finally get to you towards the end of January, Southern California is only three days away waiting for you and your travel trailer. Ya gotta’ admit our summers are hard to beat. And, one of you has at least some semblance of family. The other of you is more or less equidistant between yours. Just sayin’……. On a slightly more serious note,whether you settle or travel the other choice will eventually beckon. You know…the grass is always greener…..yada yada yada……

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  3. I feel the need to weigh in … a little bit. In my darkest days while working, I wanted to sell everything, get a Winnebago and hit the road. Fortunately my husband is a lot more grounded than I am 🙂
    In the end, I think I would need a ‘home base’ to go back to … if only to find some balance and sense of ‘belonging’ somewhere.

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    1. We did just what you were completing but now I need that home base again. The choices (at the moment) are:
      AZ – a long way from family
      WA – to wet
      UK – too grey and cold
      FL – too humid and buggy
      OZ, Australia – a long way from anywhere
      France – I love France but himself being English . . . well let’s not go there. I love France. Hey ho. The discussion continues.

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