Absolutely. One of the most important happened on the very last afternoon. We had discovered a beautiful state park less than 10 minutes from the RV park in Show Low. It has a large lake, hiking trails, enough picnic tables for a small army, and a stunning RV campground. As I sat on a bench by the shore, watching the clouds march across the sky, a bird dive-bombing the lake to grab a fish, and Betty snapping pictures of even more wildflowers, I suddenly realized a part of a satisfying retirement that I had not fully grasped.
I have been retired for over 11 years. I have vacationed in Europe twice, Hawaii, the Pacific Nothwest, California more times than I can count, and taken a 5,000 mile driving trip. But not until last Thursday afternoon by a lake just 5 hours from home did I fully grasp the gift of feeling free. I felt like I had stepped off the merry-go-round.
This RV trip has given me an important look into how I structure my time. It has re-taught me the critical importance of maintaining a balance in my life between obligations and pleasures, to-do lists and want-to-do lists. It has proven to me (again) that I am happiest with simple things like an afternoon in natural surroundings, a quiet morning, reading, being alone with Betty without outside distractions, and no list to check or cross off.
Obviously, I can't live the rest of my life off the grid like the last nine days. I have family I love and obligations to them. I have church groups that I enjoy attending. I have a house to maintain, cars to service, finances to manage, and bills to pay. But, an RV trip seems to give me a respite from reality, a simplified version of my life, and a chance to reconnect with the quiet part of me.
Next? We need to see how Bailey, our cocker spaniel, will do on the road. I've survived draining black water, using the stove top to make toast, remembering to take off my shoes before going inside, and mastering the furnace so we wake up warm instead of frigid. But, if the dog in our life can't adapt to traveling inside a car or trailer, not barking at every living thing, or sleeping in a more confined space we have a problem. The next trip will determine when (or even if) we get our own RV in the near future.
My parting words: even if RV travel isn't something you think you might enjoy, take one form of travel or life change and try it. You just might discover that makes your satisfying retirement truly come alive.
|A grand time and the Grand Canyon|