I have been on the road for four months. If a yellow mongoose had become pregnant the same day I took off, they would have given birth by now. This is my second blog post. Yikes. Thanks for making me look bad, mongoose.
I cannot jump into some monologue to catch you up to speed. Too much has happened, and if I meant for this to be a journal I would just direct you to my Instagram where plenty of my random thoughts land anyway. Instead, I started thinking about themes from the last few months. What can I say that has not been said a million times on travel blogs? Where have I gone that I can put a unique spin on? After considerable thought I found myself staring anywhere but my laptop screen and trying to avoid any sense of duty to actually work on this blog that I had, at one point, committed to doing. “I need help!” I whined, allowing a spoonful of self-pity down my gullet. Then, it hit me. Help. I need help? Oh, how much help I have received on this journey.
Help that has given me stories that will last a lifetime.
No one in their right mind buys an RV that was built twenty-five years ago and expects to take off across the land with the exhaust pipe shooting out rainbows and glitter. I understood I was taking on risk but, hey, it was either my beloved Elton (Airstream Land Yacht) or some newer RV that was going to lose 30k in value over the course of the year as I forced it through every mountain pass in the continental United States. Elton could self-destruct, which, believe me he is attempting to do, but even if a mushroom cloud appeared suddenly where he once was parked I still would be out less money than if I had gone newer-RV. So, with cash in hand I bought my problem child and hoped for the best but remained logical: there would be issues!
Here is the kicker. No one in their right mind buys an RV that was built twenty-five years ago, without having ever been around RVs, and thinks they have any concept of what “issues” are, either. Whoops.
Before I even had the chance to leave what was once home-base the first debacles occurred. In the midst of starting the interior remodeling and decorating I underestimated the difficultly of reupholstering the sofas and chairs. I also ripped the table out of the wall.
When finally on the road it did not take long to experience my first battle with 30mph wind gusts. As Elton got pushed around like a submissive in a dominatrix dungeon I could have sworn I heard a cracking of a whip. That sound was really the largest awning on the rig stretching out and then slamming back into the side of the RV. Eek.
Over the course of the last four months I have had hubs replaced, food go bad in a finicky refrigerator, misfires up steep hills, doors randomly open while driving, tow trucks hoist me out of sand piles, and a plethora of other smaller scale concerns and repairs that are no longer even worth mentioning in comparison. It has been quite the adventure.
Is this another dose of self-pity, you ask? Not at all. Why? Because of the helpers.
“The helpers” almost sounds science fiction-y, right? Like some space race that comes down and uses weird chirping noises to resurrect Elton anytime he tries to implode. However, the helpers are anything but that. They are humans, some which I knew and some which I have gotten to know, and they have all taken it upon themselves to notice my plight and offer a lending hand.
Helpers are everywhere and in more abundance than those that wish to cause us harm. We have to choose to remember they exist when the latest stress inducer is at our doorstep. What do helpers look like? Well, let me tell you. Helpers call and ask how you are doing, and show up to sew couch covers for you with only a payment of friendship. They pull over when they see you climbing the roof of your RV in 25 degree weather with winds pounding your face. When your black water cap is dangling on its chain on the highway, helpers wave you down with a look of horror on their face! Helpers sweat during attempts to dig you out of a sandy ditch which you drove into because you were temporarily not using critical thinking skills. These are people that know what it is like to be vulnerable and want to make sure that you are not alone when shit hits the fan.
“You are traveling alone!?” I am often asked. Most times I proudly state that no, I am not alone, I have a 14 year old orange tabby with me. I say that because I think it is humorous. However, if I had to answer the most accurately I would say, “well, I live in the RV alone but, I do not travel alone. I always have the helpers.”
We are never truly alone unless we want to be. Being comfortable asking for and accepting assistance can be a challenge but, there are people around us that will offer such assistance without strings. We can also bring this into the world and be helpers ourselves. Yes, this is the part in the blog post where we all sit in a circle and sing “Kumbaya” together and talk about paying it forward. Sorry, not sorry. The world can be a daunting place but the turbulence we feel is felt by others and when you find yourself in a situation where trouble is encroaching it is likely that, if you hold the best of intentions, it will not be long before a likeminded hand reaches out.
Traveling is always a bit of a test. You can plan, you can organize, you can insure, you can even go to a psychic and try to get predictions, but you cannot defeat the fact that with any uncharted territory, whether it be a new city or a foreign country, you are going to witness moments you did not expect. Those moments will make some of the best stories, and, when those moments turn out sour? Look for the helpers.
As I continue to drive around this stunning country there are a few things I know I can expect. Elton is far from done giving me a headache, and it is only a matter of time before he requires a check-in with the local mechanic. In fact, I am taking him in tomorrow! I can also be sure that, this journey is only possible because of the kindness of others. Sure, it required a healthy bank account and a bit of common sense, but if I had truly been alone on these travels my spirit would have withered within the first month.
Remember, I am on month four.
And, this is my second blog post…
But, I have to help myself with that one.