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  • Writer's pictureBrooke Campbell

Travel Bug Bytes

My first wife and I bought a small RV, but we only camped on long weekends in campgrounds within a few hours’ drive from our home. As the chief cook and bottle washer in our house, I didn’t see a whole hell of a lot of difference in our camping, since I still did all the work. Add to that, most of it was in the company of her homophobic family and…well.

Still, I wasn’t soured to RV living. Just the company I kept inside.

When my wife Terri and I were dating, we both expressed a desire to travel our vast country in an RV. She was much more traveled than I, but had not had the time to explore that she would have liked. I had a long list of places not-yet-seen and also wanted time to play.

Fast forward to 2018. I was teaching middle school and dreaming of escape. Neither my wife nor I are in the best of health. I have Psoriatic Arthritis, which is also in my spine. Terri, over a decade my senior, has her own medical issues. We both feel a drive to experience what we can while our bodies and minds are both still capable. So, we started planning.

You know, carpe diem and whatnot.

In late 2018, we sold our house and with the exclusion of a very few things, everything in it and bought an RV. We each had a handful of outfits for mild weather. Every item meant weight which meant gas mileage so we pared down to the absolute minimum. Our two cats may have brought more stuff along than we did. I didn’t miss any of it, really. Life was so changed that it isn’t like I was going to a drawer and wishing something was still in it. My closet was minuscule so I didn’t miss clothes or shoes. Comfort was key.

And I now know where the deer and the antelope play.

I have seen the range. And expansive salt flats. The other ocean, the Mississippi, and countess more waterways including swamps amazed us. We saw Ozarks and Rockies, mesas and unrelenting miles of corn fields. I conjure the vanilla scent of a Ponderosa Pine with ease. Massive Sequoias still blow my mind. From the Florida Everglades to the Oregon side of the Columbia River and many, many gorgeous places in between, we soaked up the sights, sounds, and smells of this country of ours.

After 10 months, though, our need for community outstretched our need to see and we settled in the mountains of North Carolina where we already had friends who are like family. The RV is no longer ours. We have a few more appliances, accumulated a little more stuff, though nothing like what we used to own. My wardrobe has expanded to accommodate my needs in the job, but not to the point it was before. I’m not sure it ever will be. I find I’m much happier with less these days.

However, the travel bug bit hard, and I still have itches to scratch. One day I will.

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