This is a perfect day to look back on my first 100 days of becoming a vagabond. It’s sunny, short-sleeves-and-shorts weather, a nice breeze, and a mostly empty campground. Just me, the butterflies, the occasional horse on the path the other side of the fence, and cars coming and going down the road.
100 days ago, I was at Safari Condo, nervously picking up the trailer I had waited 15 months for.
I really had no idea what I was in for. Not a freaking clue. I knew this vagabond life decision would change my life, but I really didn’t know how it would. After 100 days, I am starting to figure it out.
10 random things I’ve learned since May 2:
- There really *are* Walmarts or Targets almost everywhere (thanks to my friend Mary for that tip). Many Walmarts are open 24 hours, which can be very handy.
- Amazon Prime delivery is awesomely fast for those things Walmart or Target don’t carry.
- Hitching and unhitching a trailer is not that hard, once you figure it out.
- Dumping poop is really not that bad. Having a toilet with me 24×7 is worth it.
- Friday and Saturday nights in summer at campgrounds near cities are crazy.
- Picking a campsite involves research, planning, and dumb luck. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t. It’s been a mixed bag so far.
- I am still getting rid of stuff 3 months after moving into my trailer. Seriously, I have no idea why I thought I would need some of the things in the “going to goodwill” bag.
- The Facebook group of Alto people has saved my sanity more than one time. I <3 all of them so very much.
- My brother is the best. Whether I’m feeling disconnected or like an orphan missing my dad, he always picks up the phone. And when he doesn’t hear from me for a while, he checks in.
- I have wonderful friends. People have spent time with me on playdates, walks, dinners, lunches, phone calls, video chats, Facebook and blog comments, and IMs. I was worried that being a vagabond might be lonely but thanks to good internet and great friends, I feel in touch, supported, and loved. You all know who you are!
Top 10 favorite things since May 2? Here they are, in no particular order:
1 – Lake Superior and the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan. And spending two days learning RV and Alto-specific tricks from Rhea and Dave (eternal thanks will never be enough!)
2 – Seeing my Wisconsin great-nieces for the first time in four years. They’ve grown! And having Eden be my first sleepover Alto guest was extra-special (she’s the one in the pink jacket).
3 – All the back roads. I avoided interstate highways a lot of the time and was rewarded with views like this one in Wyoming, east of Yellowstone.
4 – Spending a weekend in Yellowstone National Park with my cousin Judy and husband Ray. Learned a lot about RV life, cooking a good meal, and seeing wolves, elk, and bison. Lots of bison. And lots of tourists.
5 – Seeing the Grand Tetons for the first time. Thanks, Ray, for rerouting me so I didn’t miss them.
6 – Staring at a great horned owl who was staring back at me so intensely it kind of freaked me out. Thanks, Gary, for taking me on that hike, it was great!
7 – The whole eastern part of Oregon was a new thing for me and those big skies convinced me I’ll be back. (And if you’re near Pendleton in an RV, I recommend the Indian casino RV park, it was the best one I’ve stayed at so far, hands down.)
8 – My first night as a full-timer (no apartment, no storage unit, just me and Bella and Breeze) was a bit of a mixed bag. I had this beach as the highlight…
… and this campsite as the definite lowlight. Not only did they break the rules with two trailers, this actually wasn’t even their parking spot. A big tree had fallen where they were supposed to park so they “shared” mine, even after I showed up. It was my first lesson in learning that not all parks have rangers to sort things out and that sometimes you just have to shrug and let things go.
9 – I got my setup mostly figured out by my third campsite (Dash Point State Park). I’m mostly resigned to the idea that the awning will never look the same twice, tent-type assembly just isn’t my forte.
10 – I’ve rediscovered my love for hiking along trails, taking the time to meander this way and that, looking at the small things like mushrooms, berries, and banana slugs.
Next week, more changes: my last day of work is looming large in my thoughts. I’ll no longer be tied to the Seattle area and (after a week of housesitting for friends) will move to the coast and start hanging out at beaches. I’ve missed beaches for four years, so the first thing on my retirement bucket list is to get my fill of them, which is what the red pins are showing (the green pins show where I’ve been).
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite photos from my first 100 days, a cairn I made along the Green River while staying at Kanaskat-Palmer State Park.