Change and transition are hard. We knew we would eventually make our way back to owning a home (Sticks and bricks as most full-time Rv’rs call it). We spent almost three full years on the road. I expected we would last a lot longer on the road and spend more time seeing each state while my Lineman worked. But, this obviously wasn’t our experience.
However, the pandemic, life, and house prices all were coming into play. My Lineman and I are from Florida, and we knew we wanted to end up back there eventually one day. My bestie was taking care of shipping for Linewife, so I was flying back and forth a few times a year to relive her when she vacationed or had family emergencies. She had a newer development being built near her home and I “popped” in one day just to see what the houses looked like. To my surprise they were perfect size, not too big and perfect for my husband, our dog and I. I wasn’t looking to clean 4+ bathroom house after adjusting to the camper life. It was a smaller community of a little over 40 homes. Spaced nicely with good size yards. But the price I tell you was shockingly good.
We talked about it and decided we were tired of California and if anything, we could rent the house out and keep on traveling. The price of the house was shockingly perfect for the upward tick of home prices to come. We took a risk and signed away. The change from the camper to the house was swift and left little time for adjustments. My poor best friend endured weeks of stuff being shipped to her home for the new house before we moved in. I am still forever grateful for her enduring my crap during that time! Thank you, Kim!
Let me tell you, when you sell absolutely everything but keep sakes and a few other things, you’ll be purchasing a lot coming back into a house. We were set to close in December, so I used Black Friday to my advantage. I ordered SO MUCH stuff. I never realized how much stuff we had before. Well, that’s partially a lie because I sold so much of it before we got on the road to full time tramping. I forgot in the process how we were living so minimally. This is definitely a vantage point I am grateful to take away from tramping. Less stuff makes life so much simpler. I still to this day have moments of purging like you would in a camper. When tramping you can only keep a few things that can be neatly tucked away for each move. I felt like it was a constant out with the old and in with the new. Now, in our new home and camper offloaded it looked like a bomb of crap everywhere. Not only did we have our stuff from the camper, but we also had all the new stuff too. We decided not to purchase the “upgraded” model so we could make all our own changes at a cheaper price.
Moving is stressful, starting all over again is even more stressful. My Lineman stayed home for about two weeks before he had to go back out on the road again. This time it wasn’t California, but Key West. Gone for two weeks then home for the weekend was the routine. It wasn’t easy adjusting to being in a home again. I hated cleaning so many dang spots, toilets and rooms. Like I stated above it isn’t a huge home, but no where near as small as the camper. Cleaning a camper takes a few hours tops, and that’s a deep clean. Cleaning a house is a half a day if you’re lucky. I was doing my best to get the house painted and ready more and more each day. I wanted him to see progress when he came home. But it was still hard doing all the new upgrades and new house things without him there.
My Lineman was also adjusting on his end. Living again out of the camper and this time without me. Key West prices are brutal when looking for camper spots. Especially during peak season. With no roommate to be found and living in a beautiful place it was hard for him. He missed having me with him exploring the Keys. Ok, most people think Key West, and immediately think party spot. Yes, but that’s mainly Key West itself. The other islands are where the true locals live and work. He was working in Big Pine Key, one of the bigger keys. Living with your spouse on the road then suddenly not, is hard. Doing the same and your spouse is working on a house you both have together while your away is rough. I knew he wanted to be apart of painting, upgrading things and picking out things. When you’re a Linewife and your Lineman is traveling, there are things that you just take care of while they are out working to support the family.
I always say it’s a two-week adjustment whenever there is change in his work. We’re both moody and short here and there for the first two weeks, then something I can’t describe only than routine creeps in and all is ok. Over time and growing closer to my Lineman this time frame has creeped to a little over a week but remains.
I loved living in the camper and cleaning it! I hated not knowing what campground we were going to next when in moving mode. Many times, we rolled into a town and got a spot locally by the hair of my Lineman’s chin. He always seems to make things work out. Me on the other hand would remain stressed until we had a good spot in a safe park. Still to this day I don’t know why I always stressed it. We always got a place to live, and it always worked out.
Life on the road is weird. You make and connect with SO many friends. People who travel/tramp are different and bond differently. Once I met an engineer’s wife in Long Beach and we became friends. They were from Texas and got kicked off a military base campground (he served prior) because of the pandemic closing the base campground. That is how she ended up in Golden Shores with us. She was older than me but kept me company on many lonely days. Another time I met a water plant engineers girlfriend in Bakersfield at Bear Mountain RV. She would drive over and stay with him a few days during the week, and we would hang out, do lunch, and go to the gym during the day while the guys were at work. My first traveling RV experience tops everything else though. It was the BEST by far and no other experience topped it. My Lineman was working out of Santa Rosa California. When I arrived, I was greeted by other Linewives in the campground with OPEN arms. When I say open, I mean, hey girl, lets go to Target and get Starbucks, or let’s get lunch and explore town, even let’s go hiking! Those girls were SO welcoming.
This was during the “California gold rush” time. We spent about 7-8 months there in that park. We had SO much fun exploring, hiking, and making some amazing memories all together. Our ages were different, but I tell you it didn’t even matter in the slightest. I cherish this time on the road. It by far was the best. One thing no one tells you about the road/tramping is that not a lot of people, friends, or family will make time to visit. These women knew this and made time to visit even after we had move to different spots.
I was naïve to think all my other experiences would be close to the same. I love people. It brings me pride to get to know other people and their stories. What I found was, not all areas and groups of travelers were the same. After our time in Santa Rosa we moved to Fresno, then to Bakersfield for almost a year, then to Long Beach, and finally to the last place Santa Clarita California. We tramped in Arkansas and Texas before California. But, in all my time in these places, Santa Clarita topped the worst with Fresno trailing a close second. The girls in the park weren’t nice. Even the guys didn’t acknowledge my Lineman. Not even for a simple kind, Hello. It was like we were on another planet there. Fresno crime was bad we were very isolated. The only reason I listed second was because the Fresno campground had a cool walking path that I really liked.
Being on the road is tough, I said it before, and I will say it again. Going back to sticks and bricks in a new town that you have no roots, aside from two friends is tough too. Try telling new people you meet that you traveled for a few years on the road and now you settled here. They don’t understand the lifestyle. Your two friends have a life and a routine that might not coincide with yours. Top that off with your Lineman working away again and cue the loneliness.
I found projects to do around the house, gardening, and of course Linewife to keep me busy. But some days that isn’t enough. My two friends and I would spend time together at the local farmers market or grabbing lunch to catch up. Slowly I found my place. My Lineman started working storm work and was home much more. It all had fallen right into place. Right where we’re all supposed to be.
I can tell you I still get that “itch” to grab the RV and go. We kept the RV and fully intend to use it more! There’s freedom living on the road. An odd enlightenment and different but resilient strength that doesn’t come from anywhere else. They say those who travel the road are hardened. While, I see that, I also see freedom, life, and a spark that wouldn’t be there if they never made the choice to travel. I have always said most people wait until they are in their 70’s-80’s to travel. This is the hardest most challenging time to travel. Our bodies breakdown and we can’t do what we could in our 30’s. Living the RV lifestyle has shown us that when you’re older it is a very physically hard lifestyle. I am grateful we had the opportunity to travel and make some epic memories. Although, I have this funny feeling it won’t be our last!
Thank you for taking the time to read our blogs. They’re our experiences and we’re blessed to be able to share them with all of you!