One of the things that we are looking forward to the most in our post-retirement lives next year, is that we will be able to move our home where ever we like. We can decide what we will see when we wake up and open the Airstream door. Will it be mountains? A lake? A creek? The middle of the desert with no one within sight? Yes to all of these. While we love living in our Airstream now, and wouldn’t switch back to a sticks and bricks home, we are living a stationary life right now and wake up to the same views and chores each morning. The KOA (Kampgrounds of America) that we are staying at is actually beginning to feel like home. When we had our first move with Steve’s parents a couple of weeks ago it was amazing how just moving to another campground up the street felt like an adventure or a vacation.That got us thinking. Why not spend as many weekends as we can “camping” somewhere new? We had always planned to camp in the future but why not now? Isn’t that one of the golden rules of a happy life, to not put off for tomorrow what you can also enjoy today?
Now there are some restrictions in our plans to “camp” some weekends over the summer. The number one restriction being the heat. We’ve already had our first 100 degree day and highs are now consistently in the mid 90s and are only getting hotter. Until fall we’re either going to have to shell out the money to “camp” somewhere with electricity or go far enough away that we can make do without it. The second option (of going far for the weather) brings us to restriction number two, which is time. Unlike our foot-loose and fancy-free retired future selves, our current selves still have to work. In fact since my boss offered me overtime for the rest of my time with the company, I am often working longer days than I had in the past. All this work means less time for play (obviously). So camping 1 hour away is do-able but 3 hours away is pushing it for the for-see able future. A third restriction also, in a way, has to do with time. Like everyone else who works full time jobs our weekends are not for pure enjoyment. While we no longer have to worry about cleaning a house, or doing yard work, we do still need to run all those errands that pile up. So a couple weekends a month things have to get done. When we started to discuss picking up and moving our home for a mini “camping” vacation we decided that on these weekends we do NOT do normal life things. We don’t go to the gym, instead we go hiking. We don’t go grocery shopping (since we stock up before we leave). We don’t run errands, or do laundry, or really feel the need to do ANYTHING we don’t want to. These are going to be mini learning vacations and we’re going to enjoy them. If I want to read the entire afternoon or take a nap in the shade, then it’s going to happen!
So given all these restrictions, along with already scheduled vacations (first world problems?) we’ll probably be able to “camp” about once a month. That should be perfect. It will be special and keep our moving skills fresh. We’ll be able to refine our routines and checklists so we are super prepared for when we hit the road for real. We’ll also be able to explore more of southern Arizona which is a lovely area, with amazing nature but as residents we don’t take the time to really enjoy it. Isn’t it amazing how tourists often see more of our cities or areas then us as residents?
Our first solo camping trip is this weekend. We’re heading about 30-45 minutes away to the west side of Tucson. Gilbert Ray Campground is located inside Tucson Mountain Park and is smack dab in the middle of the desert. We’ll be surrounded by Saguaros, Prickly Pear Cacti, Chollas, Javalina, howling coyotes and more. For $20 a night we’ll have our choice of campsites with electricity so we can keep the Airstream at a reasonable temperature given then 95 degree forecast and the lack of shade. Since it is off season (anyone who can pick up and move their homes with the weather has long since left southern AZ) there should be almost no one else at the campground. It will be like our own little desert oasis and we cannot wait. Plans include special meals to be grilled, a gas power fire pit to be enjoyed, and a morning hike to be taken before (quite probably) an afternoon siesta. I’m sure there will also be plenty of learning and planning our future travels as well.
Happy Weekend All! I hope you can find some time to do something that makes you happy.