I once took an interior design class with a final project to design a 6’x12’ living space. Some people would view this a prison cell, but I threw myself into it, adding a loft bed, storage sofa, fold-down tables, even a garden window. My design never came to fruition, but by then I was hooked on tiny homes. Some go small by necessity, others feel freedom in paring belongings down to what really matters; I guess I craved a vague togetherness and simple life. When we started a family, I sometimes fantasized about couples vacations, date nights now and then, even a lock on the bathroom door, but feared that our kids would someday drift away. Heck, more like scurry away with their cell phones whenever we entered a room. I wanted to always interact with them, even if it meant forcing them into a confined space with us on occasional weekends.
Our house at the time looked like BabysRUs and ToysRUs threw up all over it. Yes, I suppose we could have decluttered, just like we could have subsisted on my fantasy window garden or run a sub 3-hour marathon. I needed to live tiny, even part-time, so began considering RVs. My Dear Husband, God bless him, is a cautious man. He keeps me on the straight and narrow, and usually reacts to my schemes with a weary “Uh-uh”. So I did the sensible thing, and didn’t tell him about my plan to start researching RVTrader.com (kind of like a Match.com for RV buyers) and visiting dealerships. The field research was a lot of fun. It was a bit strange entering small enclosures, lying on mattresses, flushing toilets, and standing in shower stalls in front of strangers, but as a parent of young children I had already lost my dignity.
It was a tough decision. First, (stereotyping here) I didn’t picture ourselves as typical RVers: Empty nesters whose chicks have long left the nest, following the sun in a giant rig, burning the competition at shuffleboard and square dancing, possibly wearing matching captains’ hats. And then there was the thought of throwing away my life savings for a camper on steroids that we may or may not use. The research continued, and I feared DH was starting to suspect I was conducting an affair when I hurried off my laptop as he walked in, or told hopeful salesmen– who called at all hours– that it ‘wasn’t a good time to talk’.
Finally, I heard a late model, smallish Class C (cab over drivers seat, gas powered, truck chassis) calling to me from sunny Florida. I broke the news to DH at our anniversary dinner, hoping that he was feeling love for me and confident that the venue was too public for an ugly scene. He was intrigued, if for no other reason telling his friends and co-workers that he was driving a Ford F-450. Soon, we were flying down to pick up our new tiny home on wheels. They say that you can gauge the health of your relationship by going on a long road trip with your beloved. Does the same hold true for a family and pets?