This is where we live this week. It’s just a site by a lake, in the woods, on the upper peninsula of Michigan. Nothing exotic: it’s not the Keys or the Utah Arches, just a lake. But reflecting on this spot this morning once again confirmed why I’m living this challenging lifestyle.
Travel days are often rough, and yesterday certainly was. We had to drive out to find a dumpststion and potable water, and everywhere we saw campers pulling into campgrounds before us. Would we find a spot? Would we have to try spending the night on the side of some road somewhere?
You see people on social media laughing through tricky times like that, but of course that’s not the way you really feel.
After driving along miles of bumpy dirt road through three campgrounds (and trying to back the trailer several times into a weird spot in one), we finally picked this site. It has no electricity or water or sewer and one neighbor whose loose dogs are all three named, “Get over here!”
We’ve been doing this for five months now. You heard about our neighbors who ran their generator for six hours straight. People who yell at each other, their dogs, their children.
Then there’s me. I live in a vessel a little like a space shuttle. There are controls and monitors everywhere, and I still haven’t mastered them.
Don’t get me started on how complicated a job it is to direct Tracy as he backs the truck up to the fancy trailer hitch. Turns out I need to get the pitch of the hitch right as well as the height and the truck’s direction left/right. There have been tears.
Finally (not because I’ve run out of complaints but to spare you), it turns out I suck at planning where we’re going and navigating on the road. These are supposed to be my big contributions to this endeavor.
A defining framework of vacation is that it’s in contrast to your “regular” life. I find it a bit disorienting to be spinning free here. I’m often checking my phone to see what day it is. What time zone we’re in (right now Tracy’s phone pings a tower on Eastern whereas mine pings Central). And any of you I’ve tried to talk or text with know that one bar of cell signal is more frustrating than none. I miss hearing the sound of my friends’ laughter.
This morning when I peeked through the curtains behind my pillow, I saw the sun beginning to rise over this lake. I was tucked under my down comforter against the 50-degree temps inside, so instead of running out to take a proper photo of the sunrise, I shot this from the door, then got back in bed.
How can one view on one morning make the challenges worthwhile? Somehow it does. I’m on a quest to find out.