HOMEGROWN Life: On the Road (Again)

| 6/25/2013 1:07:00 PM

hat on the dashboardI have a confession: I suffer wildly from wanderlust.

I don’t ever remember it not being there. I think it has been part of my DNA from the start. I am, and always have been, a restless spirit. Growing up, we traveled whenever possible, piling into the car on trips to who-knows-where. I didn’t need to know the destination. I just needed to know I was on my way. So it’s no surprise that I am now an avid road tripper.

A few years back, I started to add up the cost of a three-week vacation for five people, plus a kennel for one dog, and discovered that the price was outrageous. I needed to think of an alternative to a hotel and an airline ticket for a family of five. So, on a whim, I pitched the idea to my new boyfriend that we buy a cheap but sturdy trailer for $3,500 from Craigslist. By some stroke of luck, he wholeheartedly signed on. I got a lot of questions about my sanity and how we would make it work with a mixed family (three kids between us, two of whom were then 12 and had barely met, plus one large dog). We kept our fingers crossed that our kids wouldn’t kill each other and that we would still like one another at the end of the three-week road trip.

Luckily, we made it and are now preparing for our next big trip. This year it’s Montana, but in the three years since we began, we’ve covered the Dakotas, Idaho, Wyoming (twice), Utah, Nebraska, Colorado, and several states in between, not to mention somewhat-local extended weekend trips. We upgraded to a new trailer with two bedrooms and added another dog to the brood, just to keep things interesting. All in all, we spend about three and a half months out of the year on the road, fitting in as many adventures as possible.camping trailer

I still get some questions. Mainly, WHY? This one’s easy. It all comes down to time. I know that time is not mine to control. I am at its mercy, something I have no illusions about. Eventually, my now-15-year-old daughter will get a job and a boyfriend and pick a career or a college. My boyfriend’s son will be committed to a summer job to earn money for a car to drive a girl around in. My 8-year-old boy will not be 8 forever. I need to take advantage of these moments while I can, and for me, there is no better way than living closely, working together, and seeing sights that most people will never get to see.

We have a couple of rules for successful road tripping, though. No sleeping the days away or hanging around inside unless it’s raining. No electronics. No bickering, arguing, or unkindness. Teamwork is paramount when living in a 36-foot trailer with five people and two large dogs thousands of miles from our home base. Therefore, everyone helps.

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