Full time RV’ing offers unique experiences that the sticks & bricks resident may not have access to. The fact that we travel from place to place and stay varying lengths of time gives us a source of insight that the accustomed resident may not see.
It’s not about having greater intelligence or doing more interesting things. It’s about the fact that we regularly break the chain of local familiarity and begin again getting to know a new place.
The way I see it there are three phases of getting to know a place.
- First Impressions we accumulate during the first few hours and days of living in a new place. Tourists develop a lot of first impressions.
- Intermediate Impressions — after we’ve been in a place for a few days, or for a couple weeks — we see beyond the first impressions to plusses and minuses about a place. We begin to notice what’s missing and what’s in over abundance. We become aware of undercurrents and ethnic tensions. Seasonal workers get good at seeing these intermediate impressions.
- Longterm Impressions When you’ve lived in a place for a few months you gradually become immune to many of those early impressions. You learn how to find what you want, you learn how to live in that place.
In my mind first impressions last a few days. Intermediate impressions develop over a few weeks — the typical 14 day stay in a public campground (to me) is a good time for those sort of impressions to form — you’ve been in a place long enough to see beyond the obvious and to realize that every place has drawbacks to it. Of course the longer you stay in a place the more those longterm takeaways come to the fore.
Back in ’93 Peg and I took a vacation to Key West. Like many people we were captivated by just about everything about the place and it would have been easy to pick up our Wisconsin stakes and move to the Conch Republic! Of course those feelings were based on First Impressions and some Intermediate Impressions. We never spent enough time there to know if we’d REALLY want to live there — we fell in love with the idea of living there, not the reality.
We know family members who came back from vacations and did, in fact, relocate. Several of them lasted a couple years in their new home towns, and sooner or later returned to what they knew and had left behind. Avoiding that mistake was one of our reasons for turning to the RV lifestyle in the first place: to see if we could find a place we might really want resettle in. Or if we could avoid the mistake we’d seen made by loved ones.
Maybe that’s why we have varied out stay lengths since starting this journey. Some places we learn enough about in a day, or a couple weeks. Sometimes we want to stay longer to get to know a place better, and we have. Have we found a place that we’d actually want to relocate to? Not really. Even Milwaukee isn’t the ideal for us — cold weather is not our friend. But we aren’t at a point of having to choose right now. 🙂
I’m not sure I’m conscious of when I segue from one kind of impression to another. I’m not that organized. But I do realize that my ‘take’ on a place changes as we spend more time there. I think that’s a good thing. Embrace change — even when it takes place within us. It’s OK to change how you feel about a place. It’s OK to realize that the longer you spend in a place the more you get to know it; isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Who would dare think they knew everything after only a few minutes.
Of course that’s applies to RV’ing as a lifestyle too. The longer we do it the better we get at it. (assuming that we learn from our mistakes). And that is about it for today. I hope you welcome the changes in your own attitudes. Realize that it’s a good thing to learn and grow as we go. And changing our mind is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of growth and maturity.
Thanks for stopping. I’ll be here again tomorrow. Why not stop by and chat tomorrow.