This last week, as I shed things and pack others in preparation for a move to a 493 square foot apartment, I’ve been plagued with doubts about my nomad choice. The conversation in my head goes something like this, with the doubting voice I call Eeyore kicking things off:
“You do know you’ve never been RV camping in your life, right? And now you’re staking your retirement on it?”
Well, if I’m wrong and I hate it, I can always sell the trailer, keep the car, and figure out a Plan B. Sometimes I think most of my life has been in Plan B mode. Never got married, quit a good job in Manhattan and sailed on boats for three years. Moved to Boston on a whim, found a job, got my Masters. Traveled for work from Austria to China to New Zealand, and visited almost every cathedral in England between work weeks there. It’s not like I’ve ever had a five-year plan, or even a three-year plan. So maybe that’s what’s kind of scaring me now, I’m planning out 2-3 years ahead for the first time ever in my life.
So I’m good at changing things up and surviving upheaval, especially the self-induced kind. So that’s a point in my favor.
“Have you ever towed ANYTHING? Do you have any idea how all that works?”
Uh, no. I don’t. No idea. I went to a trailer hitch website and within five minutes was completely overwhelmed by the variety of hitches available for my make and model of car. Ball thing, square tube thing, 5 wires, 7 wires? Yikes. I’m a techno-nerd and I make my living learning new geeky things like how to build systems in the cloud or ETL bits into a data warehouse. But that page of hitch options made my brain melt.
Then ” the little voice that could” starts fighting back against Eeyore.
“You can figure this out, you’ve got a year. Look at all the idiots out there driving big bus RVs and towing SUVs behind them. They figured it out. You’ve got to be as smart as they are, come on! Read a book. Google the web. Ask for help.”
Ah, there it is. The me that hates to ask for help. The me that underneath the Plan B change-ups and learning new stuff in every job is a control freak. And this nomad thing is something I don’t have under control yet. Not even close.
So there it is. I am making lists of things I need to buy, things to get rid of, things to learn, checklists to construct for setting up camp, breaking down camp, hitching up the trailer, unhitching it. I keep thinking that if I make enough lists, I’ll nail this nomad thing.
But nailing it, having everything under control with no loose ends or unknowns is not the point. Let me be clear to myself on this: the point of going nomad is to NOT know what’s coming, not have a same-day-every-day life. Yes, some things need to be known: how to get the trailer on and off the car (once I figure out what hitch I need on the car, that is!), how that pump-out deal works, and how much (or more accurately, how little) stuff I can take with me when I go.
This just might be the scariest thing I’ve ever done and I’m not even doing it yet. Some nights I lie awake staring into the darkness and wonder if I’m crazy and if it’s optimism and not pure naïveté that makes me think I can pull off this nomad thing. Some days, like today, when I look at the list of all the stuff I’ve sold off, given away, or donated, I wonder what the hell I’m doing and if in a few years, I will want all of it back.
Maybe it’s just the place I’m in right now: committed to the idea of traveling around the country as a sole feme, but without the pieces in place, I have too much time to think about things and second-guess myself. Maybe that’s why I bought the Subaru Outback now, 11 months ahead of when I’ll actually need a tow vehicle. Maybe I just needed something concrete that I could look at and say to myself “See, you’ve begun” and stop worrying so much about whether I’m going in the right direction.