Let me paint you a picture. We rolled up to our first campsite at 9:00 PM, it was pitch black, and we were dirty, exhausted and spent. I stepped out, needing to direct Adam to backing up into our spot and was immediately overwhelmed with applause. I was suddenly surrounded by all of our neighbors and was simultaneously handed a glass of wine in a classy, plastic cup. I was told by the matriarch of the group to sit down and that the men would help Adam back in. I think she noticed that I was about to cry because she she looked me in the eyes, placed her hand on mine and said, “Honey, don’t worry about it. We all blew a tire on our first trip and we’ll help you sort it out and teach you the tricks of RV life.”
It’s hard to explain the RV community but, honestly, it’s something I have never experienced before. Imagine meeting up with a long-time friend whom you’ve shared your childhood with and not skipping a beat in reconnecting. That is the RV community—everyone is sharing the same experiences and is eager to share his/her failures, stories, tips & tricks, and jimmy-rigs to make life-on-the-road easier. At night, you sit around the bonfire and chat with your neighbors and, during the day, the kids make friends with every child they can find. Wherever you go, be prepared to slow-down and have a long conversation to hear about how someone got into full-time traveling, what their favorite “rig” is, and why they will never go back. One time, as we were trying to back-up and leave on time, we had our neighbor shadow us around for an hour before we stopped what we were doing to fully engage. We toured his swanky motor home, found out he was a very successful agent in entertainment, and how the death of his mother pushed him to take a leap of faith and hit the road full time. Something he said will forever stick with me: “I’m looking for a place where I belong.” He had no family and was desperately searching for belonging, as well as the freedom to choose a place that he could call home. From that conversation, I was determined to change my perspective that dictated TASK as being more important than people. I now try to stick to three simple principles:
- Reel it in
- Find the moment
- Treasure the every day
When I hear my sub-conscious yell, “Reel it in,” it means my to-do list, agenda or goals are smothering the people in my life. As you might have noticed, I LOVE lists and they keep me on track, focused, and successful. Unfortunately, lists don’t always work—they don’t listen well to others, make space for messes, or translate to the world of a four-year-old. So now, I often ditch the list and plan for a fun day or fun week. I stay in my PJ’s, get nothing accomplished, and rest. Where I once spent most of my days cleaning and missing the moments with my kids, I now find that simple, everyday experiences are regularly becoming treasured memories. This dramatic switch to find balance in the chaos and peace, amidst the noise, has made me a more present wife, mother and person. The shift to stay in the ordinary moments has shown me how quickly time moves and how fast my kids evolve. I don’t want to look back with a plethora of what-ifs and regrets, missing the simple moments that become memories for my children—perhaps, spending a whole day coloring and making puzzles. The luxury of being a stay-at-home mom is something I don’t want to take for granted, but treasure. I want to teach my kids that people—over things—are something to be treasured and valued—that a simple smile, kind word of encouragement, or opportunity to listen can have a ripple effect of growing more love in our world.
How do you stay engaged during everyday life? How do you treasure people? Stop by my Instagram page @auerbach_adventures and tell me—I would love to hear and learn from you!!