My husband wanted to try it for six months. My sister said I wouldn't last thirty days. I wasn't sure I would make it a week. While we made the transition from South Georgia to Washington DC, my husband and I decided to live in our RV (Recreational Vehicle) during the wait for base housing. We felt like life in the DC was complicated enough without trying to find temporary living accommodations, so we decided to make life simple—and ride out the wait in our twenty-six foot pull behind trailer.
A few years back, we purchased an RV so that our family could enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of an air conditioned and heated trailer. When we purchased our trailer, it seemed gigantic in proportion to our previously owned little two person pull behind. But, on our first trial run we noticed when lined up against the giant motor homes seen often seen in RV parks today, our trailer look a little forlorn. I knew life in a twenty-six foot RV for any extended period of time could present a few challenges, but I felt it was nothing that any two bright, adaptable adults couldn't handle.
RVs nowadays come equipped with everything from satellite dishes, to walls that extend out with the push of a button, and some even have washers and dryers. Ours came equipped with two dogs, and from the first night we pulled into our spot in Planet RV and I raised our little lopsided shade to take a look at the neighbor's Airstream with its sleek lines, and all aluminum siding, I was suddenly overcome with trailer envy. When the little white lights that hung from the Airstream's awning danced in the breeze that first night, and the plastic pink flamingo in the front gravel yard stuck out its winged chest, I knew life in our trailer might be slightly more challenging than I had originally anticipated.
We arrived in the middle of January to some mighty cold winds, and apparently we forgot to read the memo that we should insulate the trailer pipes. I knew I should have paid attention to how that knob was turned in the bathtub, and as the sun warmed up on our first full day, the pipes that had frozen during the night, slowly defrosted. We returned from our morning explorations, to a trailer that had water pouring out the front end! That event required some real-time resilience for this long time married couple! After much renovation to the trailer, we learned other important lessons, like how to sleep on our own two inches of mattress space, how to grocery shop for mini-sized products that fit in a mini-sized fridge because a whole watermelon just doesn’t fit no matter how you slice it. I discovered you can fit two different seasons of clothing if you squeeze them tight enough under the bed, in every cabinet you have, including the “dining room” bench seat. A girl does require access to her favorite outfits, purses, and shoes even in a trailer; at least that is what I kept telling myself. The laundry mat is a great place for social events, it is there that you meet new friends, discuss the latest DC news and find out the best places to visit in town. The base library is a great mainstay for checking social networks, paying bills online, and cruising the shelves for books on topics you ordinarily never have time to read, like the fall of the Roman Empire, or how to learn to speak a foreign language in a week.
I admit there were times when I did feel a little like a caged lion. I overcame my trailer pacing by taking my faithful canine buddies for long walks, no matter what the weather; bundling up in all those clothes squeezed under the bed. I even came to appreciate that lack of space does have its advantages: you can clean your entire “house” in less than an hour, and cook amazing meals in a kitchen, that only requires one step to get from the fridge, to the stove, to the sink, and back again. I also have to admit, that not having to deal with all our “stuff,” allowed us considerable freedom. We took lots of weekend sightseeing trips, and visited family and friends more often. All in all, trailer life was good, and we broke our anticipated record by living there seven months! When the day finally came to move out, we unloaded all the things we thought had been absolutely essential just seven months before, and sat down on the front step of our new base house. We looked across the street at our previous little home, and both gave a long sigh, thinking she looked a little forlorn once again; no family to bang their shins or bump their heads would be living there now. While I do enjoy our new home, with plenty of space for the dogs to run, and a fridge I can fit a watermelon into, I realized I would miss both the challenges and the simplicity of trailer life. I also realized I would miss something else. Tomorrow I think I will run out and buy some little white lights and new pink flamingo for the front yard!