one year you’re waiting for the beginning, another year you’re waiting for the end

I suspect that RV’ers are more acutely aware of seasonal changes than most of their contemporaries & neighbors. Our movements are largely dictated by Momma Nature — whether Macro from (concern for seasons), or Micro form (concern for any given storm).  We all set our general travel schedule based on the season; and more often than not I have adjusted my schedule a day or two to either side of my original plan because I was a wimp and wanted to avoid a storm, or contrary winds, or even a major event in some city we needed to pass through. This year I’m thinking in different terms.

Last year this year we were anticipating a summer of camp hosting in Northern Wisconsin and our plan was to arrive before the opening of the campground season and to watch as the campground came to life.

This year we’re one of the few residents who are hanging out here for some part or all of the summer and we’ve been occupied with the drama introduced by the tango  of departure rather than the gentle waltz of new arrivals.

It’s a strange difference, just as ‘hellos’ are different from ‘goodbyes.’

Peg is from a family of long goodbyes. Me, not so much!  For the couple years we lived in Ohio and for our entire married life the process of leaving was one that went on, and on, and on, and on.  In the case of a casual afternoon or evening’s visit saying good bye could easily take well over an hour.  If it was a several-night-stay-over it sometimes seemed as if people were starting their goodbye process before the last night had seen sleep. (yeah, yeah…. I know I’m exaggerating but sometimes it seemed  that way).  I never really got over our Toledo Goodbyes even though we only lived in Toledo for less than three years.

I’ve been one of those people who believe that anticipation is a wonderful way of extending a trip’s actual length.  There’s the time and energy one invests in deciding when to go, where to go, what route to take, etc.  I have a chance to sort of live the entire experience before it even begins and then to make the actual trip even better than my imagination.  As a result, while others are saying goodbye, I’m thinking about where I’m going next (if I’m the one leaving), or when the family will be returning (if I’m staying).

RV’ing brings a different rhythm to life.  Campgrounds have seasons;  even the ones that are open year round.  Which is to say that the visitors to an RV park are seasonal in nature.  Summer time is vacation time:  kids abound,  activities center on the warm weather and family,  food is apt to focus on picnic and bbq fare rather than square meals and multiple courses. Winter is Snowbird season, or Winter Texan season, or whatever name is applied in your area to Northerners who abhor the cold and flee to the balmy delights of Southern States.  We — the lot of us — are seeking a respite from the cold.  We may still like snow skiing, or curling, or snowmobiling — but for some reason or another we are willing to sacrifice out cold weather delights just to get out of the cold and into the warm.  Our activities are, perhaps, less aimed at summer time activities than they are at the idea that they aren’t cold weather activities.  🙂   So, it makes sense that the time to leave carries with it different sentiments than the time to arrive.  Departures during the Spring are equally as concerned with whether it’s still snowing up North as we are with looking forward to the coming summer!

I’m still amazed — even after having RV’ed full time for over 5 years that so many people have a full house and a 5th wheel, or a motorcoach, or a pull behind in which they choose to live for 3, 4, or 5 months of the year every year.  Let’s face it, as much fun as RV’ing can be it’s not the same as having a ‘full sized’ house.  There are tradeoffs you make when you go RV’ing — and space is one of them.  I never thought much about having a house and an RV, but a lot of people do just that.  There are issues when you do this twice annual migration that concern what to bring and what to leave behind.  Does one duplicate appliances and tools, or does one buy a duplicate set of household “needs” (whatever the individual feels that means).

For some of our RV’ing neighbors the process of leaving takes a lot longer than the process of arriving.  Folks seem to unload their cars in record time; but deciding what’s going back home, and getting it packed and loaded into the vehicle seems to take days rather than hours. Some of our neighbors were heading North with regret — some want to stay longer and can’t afford it, or have obligations back home, or …. well, there are a million reasons why we do things we aren’t fully enthused about.  Whereas arriving here is usually whole-hearted;  people are glad to be here and to escape the cold and snow that they left behind.  It’s a very different state of mind.

Being the ones who are here either to greet the arrivals, or to see the departures off means that to some degree we end up sharing their emotions.  Of the “year rounders” still here I think more of them look at this as a sad time than a time they look forward to.  Some of their friends may not return next year;  we’re all of that age when that’s a definite possibility.  Others may skip a year or two.  On some level there’s a sigh of relief that some of us feel now that activities are winding down — not as much hubbub — a welcome change if you aren’t into activities.  But still…. friends you’ve come to know and to like are leaving…. that’s never a happy time.

I found the arrival time last spring to be exciting.  Departing time this spring is slightly a relief, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that my mind is less on who’s departing than on the wedding planning for our Grand-daughter’s wedding in about 2 weeks.  That has on the lips of the women in the family for months and I’m enjoying the excitement (and happy that I’m not in the middle of things as I would be if it were our daughter instead of our Grand One).  This is a much bigger affair than any of the previous weddings in our family and I’m quite out of my comfort zone.  I’m just hoping I don’t curl up in a corner on the day and hibernate.  It’s way more people than I care to be around; but we only have one Grand One — so it’ll be fun.  I’m repeating those words like mantra.

Next spring I may be feeling differently about the departure tango and all the accompanying drama. This year I’m semi-insulated.  It will be 5 months before many of the departees return.  Not many will be back even in September.  We’ll have plenty of time to continue our “job” of getting settled into goods and services and all the little things you get accustomed to when you move to a new place.  We’ll have to do most of that on our own — the people we might have asked for suggestions about who to use, or where to go mostly won’t be here.  But that’s ok — we like exploring.

Still, it’s an interesting sensation this watching others leave….


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