One hundred days ago, the animals and I moved into Nellie. Now is a good time to reflect, take stock, and consider what I have learned so far. Here are 100 thoughts for 100 days.
THE MONEY/WORK PHILOSOPHY
1. I am doing far more on far less.
2. The greatest gift is pure, unencumbered, unadulterated time.
3. No amount of money could compensate me to have only 15 paid days off per year.
4. No matter how much or how little money I have, I worry about it. That hasn’t changed.
5. I met two women judges on my tour of Salt Lake City. It was nice to be able to speak in shorthand to other lawyers. I didn’t realize I missed that.
6. My days go by so quickly, it is hard for me to imagine how I ever found time to work.
7. As I write more I feel I am beginning to get my groove back. The law has a way of sucking your creativity right out of you. Legal writing is sterile writing.
8. People are surprised when I tell them I used to practice law. That always amuses me. I’m not looking much like a lawyer these days.
THE STUFF PHILOSOPHY
9. There has not been a single thing that I got rid of that I miss.
10. Purging is like a sport; I still purge stuff every day.
11. I still have too much stuff.
12. There are many items in the RV that I have not even thought about, much less used, in 100 days. I’ll give it a few more weeks, and those things are gone if they haven’t been utilized.
13. I did a bit of buying as I traveled through Wyoming. I must keep a check on my spending habits. I now realize I did not need that purse made from boots, and I will donate it to the auction at the convention I am attending next week.
14. I’m still trying to figure out cocktails on the road. Right now I’m storing everything in the ottoman, but it’s getting awfully heavy. My big home bar was such a luxury!
15. It is currently Halloween season – the time of year I would put up the graveyard and decorate the house for the season. I simultaneously miss it and am relieved that I no longer have to do it.
16. Shoes and handbags are still my obsessions. I am practicing saying no to myself more often.
THE RV LIFESTYLE
17. No matter where I am, I am home.
18. My friends were my saviors and helpmates through the summer as I prepared for this journey. I love them more than words can say, and I owe them a great debt of gratitude.
19. I am so proud of both animals, who have adjusted smashingly.
20. The inconveniences, challenges, and difficulties of full-timing are far outweighed by the joy of discovery and the sense of freedom.
21. While people in RV parks are polite, they are not friendly.
22. In the full-timing world, people do not stage and put out lawn furniture and party lights. It is quite a departure from the vintage trailer crowd.
23. Except when cooking, I do not allow open flames in the RV. All the candles are fake. The fireplace is faux. I have seen what fire can do to a motorhome.
24. Towing the toad is a breeze, thank heavens!
25. If truckers are resting somewhere, you will be as safe as houses if you rest there too.
26. Getting pedicures on the road is difficult.
27. Four hundred miles per day max, or six hours, including stops, whichever comes first. This is not a competition.
28. Every day the list of places to visit gets longer.
29. If you told me when I was 30 that this is what I would be doing 17 years later, I would have told you you were crazy.
30. I hope I will find good hairstylists on the road. I’m a little nervous.
31. I am a bit surprised by the people who did not visit me or take a tour of the RV before I left Seattle. I guess it’s all a matter of priorities – mine, and theirs. The flipside of that coin is I am amazed at the people who made a point to reach out and reconnect before I started this journey.
32. When I stop at rest areas I still get out and use the bathrooms. Habit, I guess. And, no reason to fill up the black water tank sooner than necessary.
33. The captain’s chair is the most comfortable seat in the house; I sit in it even when I am not driving (turned to face the living area, of course).
34. Nothing will make you wet your pants while driving like a huge gust of wind coming off the prairie, especially when it hits as a semi tractor-trailer is passing you.
35. As a kid my sisters and I never got to stop at the cheesy roadside attractions. Now, I stop for everything.
36. I know I made the right choice to buy a diesel pusher when I am climbing up or coming down the side of a mountain.
37. Some men have said some of the stupidest shit to me on my journey; I am compiling a list and will publish it at some point. Here’s a little teaser:
Man (Looking at RV graphics): “Don’t tell me – a man broke your heart and you became this tramp?”
Me: “Ummm, no. This is a life-long dream, to travel. Men have nothing to do with it.”
38. While I certainly prefer to have the slideouts open, I can overnight in Nellie with the slides closed, and it is not that inconvenient.
39. I should buy stock in Museum Putty, 3M Command Strips, and Velcro. I have “glued” down art and counter items so they do not need to be stowed while underway.
40. Corelle really is great for RVs. My bowls and dishes have fallen out of the cabinet and bounced along the floor without breaking.
41. Life is too short to listen to thin and tinny music; I have been much happier since I installed a sub woofer and routed the sound through all the RV ceiling speakers.
42. I have gotten Nellie through some very narrow construction zones, and so far, so good.
43. I am enjoying using Instagram and Pinterest to catalog the things I see on the journey, such as Carnegie Libraries, and old vintage and retro signs. It’s like a treasure hunt.
44. My gas mileage is not great, but at least diesel fuel is cheaper right now.
45. I am surprised and pleased at how little diesel the generator uses.
46. When I stay at casinos “for free,” I usually lose about 50 bucks. So there you go.
47. Next week I will visit an old friend I have not seen in over 30 years, and the following week I will visit someone who has been following my blog. Life is sweet.
48. I vacuum every day. I brought my Hoover Linx stick vacuum with me from the Atomic Abode, and it is just right for the job.
49. I am eventually going to miss having a tub, and then it will be time to check into a hotel for a few days.
50. I always think I need propane, and when I check I have at least half a tank.
51. It is comforting to travel with a dog who barks when something is out of the ordinary. Most RVers have at least one dog, and they are usually small.
52. There are days when I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. Sometimes it feels like a dream.
53. I am starting to realize that trinkets and tchotchkes hinder my ability to break down and move quickly. Time to get rid of a few more things!
54. It’s frustrating that the gauges for fresh water, gray water, and black water do not work properly. Whether they’re empty or full, they read 1/4 full. (Or, 3/4 empty, depending on whether you are an optimist or pessimist and which tank we are talking about!)
55. It is a thrill and a rush when I get to overnight for free. I can be penny wise and pound foolish.
56. The Tempur-pedic mattress in Nellie is the most comfortable bed I have ever had.
57. RV parks are just dismal. Most of them are close to traffic and have gravel and dumpsters and few trees to keep from ripping things off your roof. I am thrilled that my interior space is relaxing and comforting to me, as many times what is outside is not.
58. I don’t like convection ovens. Perhaps I just need to practice more.
59. I am glad I joined the Fraternal Order of Eagles. I am meeting some interesting people along the way because of that affiliation.
60. I haven’t run out of hot water yet. That ten-gallon tank seems to be plenty.
61. I am beginning to feel more safe and secure in my RV. I have developed a safety plan, which I will not go into detail here. This safety plan does not include a gun.
62. I am very content with the car I bought for this journey. The Honda CR-V is more than just transportation. It is the garden shed, the pantry, the back bar, and the attic all rolled into one.
63. I enjoy driving the RV, even more than driving a car. With air brakes, airbag suspension, jake (engine) brake, comfort steering, six-speed Allison transmission, side mirrors, and rear camera, it is made for driving, and it is a pleasure to drive.
64. I have a lot to learn about taking care of the RV. I’m looking forward to the basic maintenance class at the RVing Women convention.
65. While traveling cross-country, I have been in the bad habit of eating out instead of making food in the rig. On the drive through Wyoming I made it a point to prepare all my meals in Nellie. It’s really convenient and saves so much money.
66. I am proud of what I have learned and what I have been able to accomplish in a short time.
67. I hated history in school; travel has made me a history buff.
68. A space heater is preferable to the furnace in the RV, which uses a lot of propane, and the roof heaters, which are fairly ineffective.
69. I don’t like that I am less “green” than I was before. RV parks rarely recycle. I love my Nespresso coffee maker, and while the pods are convenient for the RV lifestyle, they end up in the garbage. Perhaps part of my journey will include working with campgrounds to improve recycling.
70. I am very happy when the city I am visiting has a tour company. It is a great way to learn about a town and cover a lot of ground in a short amount time.
71. Even though it has been 100 days, I am learning something new about Nellie every single day.
72. When I imagined full-time RVing I believed (in best Jane Austen-esque voice here) I would be far too busy with sightseeing and reading books and writing to watch television. HORSE PUCKEY! I now have DirecTV, including HBO and Showtime.
73. Speaking of DirecTV, sometimes that damned dish goes out for no reason whatsoever. I have old movies for those occasions.
74. Books on tape are life-savers on long drives with little scenery.
75. I love the people in small towns. So far I have been treated with kindness and curiosity. My hair color and my tattoos make them no never mind.
76. I have promised myself that, while driving, no matter what noise I hear inside the RV, such as things falling or shattering, I will not look back and take my eyes off the road. Whatever happened will still have happened when I pull over to take a look.
77. I am so happy when people read my blog and leave comments. That way I know I’m not shouting into the abyss.
78. Tupperware is still the best darned thing for RVs. I have Tupperware spice containers, mustard and ketchup containers, and sugar and creamer containers. I prefer the vintage stuff.
79. When I first moved into Nellie I was in “camping mode.” I slept in my clothes, did not shower at decent intervals, and ate like I was on vacation. It took a little while for it to sink in that this is my home and my life – not a holiday.
80. I am really glad I put the graphics on the car and the RV. People, mostly women, wave and smile as they pass. When I am stopped it has been a great conversation starter.
81. When I am not staying in an RV park, garbage becomes a real issue. I am constantly on the hunt for a garbage can. If I use a small shopping bag, I can always fit it in a public garbage receptacle.
82. My least favorite task is emptying the black water tank. If you have read my prior post, I’m sure this does not come as any surprise.
83. I thought I could live without a toaster, but I was wrong.
84. Most gas stations immediately cut off the fuel at $100. At truck stops there is no automatic cutoff, and the fuel dispenses twice as fast.
85. I needed more room for food storage then I thought, but I’m making it work.
86. The best parts about full hookups are long showers when you don’t need to turn the water off as you soap up, and doing laundry in the RV.
87. I can live in Nellie for several days without water or electrical hook ups, which makes me feel independent and secure.
88. I keep thinking about buying a folding bicycle, but I don’t think I will use it enough to justify the amount of storage space it will require.
89. The Wi-Fi in RV Parks is ridiculous. Many advertise free Wi-Fi, but you’ll be lucky if you can even check your email with it. Before I hit the road I thought free Wi-Fi would be at at my disposal just about everywhere. Well, I am paying far more for data than I budgeted, but it is well worth it. I upload information to the blog, check social media, use maps, and stream some of my favorite television shows. I am currently at 20 gigs per month, and that is still not enough.
90. I could not live without my iPad. It is my camera, my typewriter, my GPS, and my encyclopedia.
91. I must learn to slow down. I am on no one’s timetable but my own. There is no need to rush.
92. Even though there is a coach filter and another filter at the kitchen faucet, the water still tastes “funny” to me, and I buy bottled water. (See “green” comment above.)
THE HEALTH PHILOSOPHY
93. It has been 11 months, and I am not in remission.
94. I am beginning to think I have reached a new normal.
95. I am thankful for the University of Washington for its innovative and cutting-edge approach to my disease.
96. There have been many occasions when I was very thankful to have a bathroom with me.
97. So far using Walgreens for prescriptions across the country has been fairly convenient.
98. Giving myself an injection is not as hard as I thought.
99. I hate taking that poison, methotrexate. It makes me so nauseated. And, I have been taking it for a month, and it is not helping.
100. It is so clear to me now that my job was taking a huge toll on my health, and if I want to keep whatever improvements I’ve made, I cannot return to the profession.