#30. Sleep and Community

Last night, for the first time in three or so days, I finally managed to get a decent night’s sleep. Biscuit’s been keeping me up. She meows in my face, scratches at the window dressings, and demands food at 3 AM. And because we live in such a tiny space, it’s not like I can relegate her to a room across the house and close the door.

Finally, Trent suggested that I switch places with Sam and sleep in his bunk, because maybe that would throw off the cat enough to make a difference. And guess what? It did. She was a little feline angel last night. I’m not even sure she knew where I was. (Bwahahahaha, Biscuit. Fooled you!)

Some people can operate without sleep. I can’t. Without sleep, I am moody, depressed, and borderline out of my mind. This is why I have only one child. I don’t think I could do the baby phase again.

*

I’ve been quiet here because I’ve been feeling conflicted. Really confused. Since parking it in Flagstaff, I’ve had the overwhelming desire to stay here, to find a little house or apartment, rent out the RV, and settle down – for real this time.

All of a sudden, our tiny home doesn’t feel small, it feels downright claustrophobic. There’s no such thing as personal space. And sometimes it’s just plain uncomfortable. Sometimes we can’t get level; it’s like living in a funhouse. Take now, for example: we’re situated in a spot that makes the RV tilt forward and to the left. Not much, but enough that my coffee is off kilter in its cup, and enough that I sometimes find myself stumbling backwards when I move from the cab towards the bedroom. If Trent walks around while I’m in the shower, I feel like I’m trapped in a bouncy house. And if it’s windy at night, acorns and pinecones pound on the roof while the RV sways and shakes.

Meanwhile, I look at Flagstaff and I see a place where all three of us would be happy. We’ve kind of fallen in love with the place. The trails are incredible (we’ve been out on them almost every day), the outdoor and running communities are strong, and it’s neither too big nor too small in size. It’s beautiful with the mountains as the backdrop. The population is diverse. There’s good coffee.

I could see us here.

But we committed to living in the RV, and I feel guilty for questioning or changing our plans. This is what we decided to do… so shouldn’t we do it? Oddly, I feel like we will be letting other people down if we change our minds. We’re supposed to offer an example of an alternative way of living. What does it say about us if we go back to the same old, same old? Does it mean we’re totally flaky? Does it mean we’ve failed? WHAT DOES IT MEAN.

I think what I didn’t know before, and what I know now, is that community is a necessity for me. As a nomad, I often feel incredibly isolated – not only geographically, but also culturally. Although we have online friends who are living this lifestyle, I don’t know anyone “IRL” who’s doing it. They have houses, in-person jobs, real life friends that they see on a regular basis, schedules, lunch dates and birthday parties… We don’t.

What makes it harder is that Sam says he feels lonely, too. He misses other kids. He misses having good friends. He’s sick of his parents (who’d have thought that would happen?)

What to do? We don’t know yet, though we’ve laid out three options:

  • Keep going as planned. Head to southern Arizona, then California, and then continue on from there. Pros: we get to see more of the country and use Sam’s Every Kid in a Park pass. Clark the RV gets to stay on the road. We don’t have to rent or sell (which, admittedly, would be a pain in the butt). Cons: See above.
  • Find a place and settle in. Pros: We get situated in a place we love. We find a community. Sam makes friends. We make some money on the RV before Biscuit tears it to shreds. Cons: We’d have to figure out what to do with the RV. We wouldn’t be traveling the country.
  • Stay here but live in the RV for a while. Pros: We don’t have to do anything with the RV for a while. We get to know the community. We can move on later if we want to. Cons: Winter is coming and this RV is going to get cold. See complaints above re: tilting, shaking, bouncing, etc. Biscuit continues her reign of terror.

I’m hesitant to post this because I’m afraid of quick judgment and off-the-cuff advice (which I’m not looking for), but I also think it’s important to keep it real. This is the reality. Most of the RV blogs I read make this lifestyle seem grand: challenging at times – like when a tire goes flat on the highway or water leaks all over the rig – but a great option for anyone who loves to travel and adventure. But I love to travel, and I love adventure, and I’m not sure this is the right thing.

I also want to point out that my take on the situation isn’t identical to Trent’s point of view. He’s said he could see himself staying here, but he could also see himself continue on. My impression is that he’d slightly prefer the latter, though he’s not too attached either way.

 

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