Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We will begin our great RV adventure in about a year. We are what you would call “wet behind the ears” when it comes to RV traveling. My husband thinks it is going to be this magical mystery tour. I think he might be building himself up for disappointment. I am trying to throttle him a bit. Is this unfair? Should I just let him dream his dreams and let him find out the hard way that it’s not all utopia out there?
--Balloon Bursting in Baltimore
Don’t rain on his parade. It can be whatever he wants it to be. Everyone will create a different experience, pursue different interests, follow different highways, pick different places to camp and live. You two will have to find your own way.
I like to think of this lifestyle as utopia. If I were to suggest reading material it wouldn’t be a road atlas. I would suggest starting with Steinbeck’s "Travels with Charlie." I read it in high school and found it very helpful. I lived in my truck for a summer traveling across America. I used Steinbeck’s method of washing my clothes. He hung a plastic bucket with a lid from bungee cords. After a hundred miles of sloshing around you stop and put the rinse water in. It works great.
My second suggestion would be one of my favorite writers, William Least Heat-Moon. He will inspire you to look for that which is not obvious as you travel. Start with "Blue Highways," then "Here, There, Elsewhere." If he inspires you then continue with "River-Horse" and "PrairyErth."
There is adventure around every bend in the road if you have the right mindset. Don’t be afraid to explore, meet people, try new things, expand your horizons. We just set crab traps and caught monster fish off the coast of California, and we don’t even like seafood! But now we have stories to tell and memories to tuck away.
There may be some trying times. We just drove up a one-lane curvy road to a beautiful National Forest campground. There were a few hairy moments when our motorhome met cars coming down. Sure they think we are nuts, but we are having cocktails tonight in one of the most beautiful places in California.
My point is, don’t let anxiety turn you into a main road traveler. The magical mystery tour will be found along the “Blue Highways.”
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink