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Friday, June 20, 2014

Don't Forget to Write

My friend Madeline is running away from home. That’s how she describes it. She’s a grown up, so I guess she’s allowed to run anywhere she wants—no permission slip required!

(Side note: I’m not intending to make light of the large number of teenagers who run away in this country. It’s a very sad and serious phenomenon. But for the purpose of this blog post, I will be talking about a grown up’s plans to leave it all behind.)

I’ll confess I have mixed feelings about this. Madeline is leaving town for good, and I will miss her. I bond for life, so it’s hard when a friend moves. But change is inevitable. Instead of resisting that, I’m trying to be supportive. The amateur journalist in me is also fascinated by the details, and I have many, many questions about what this will be like. How will they do it? Will it be everything they hope it will be? I’ve threatened to email her hundreds of questions along the way. She laughs. I don’t think she knows that I really do have hundreds of questions for her. But soon enough she’ll discover I’m serious…

Let me stop for a second and supply a few details. Madeline, her husband, their two sons and a large dog are leaving San Diego in a thirty-foot RV. They will drive all over the USA for a year (give or take), and then land in North Carolina in time for the school year 2015-16. They have their first three weeks planned out, and the following 12-14 months are flexible. Wow.

The boys will be homeschooled for this coming academic year. Their education will be hands-on in the truest sense: they’ll set foot on the very areas that most kids read about in text books. Sounds cool.

Madeline is very excited about not having to wake up to an alarm clock this year. (You may be wondering about the dog, who is as reliable as a rooster when it comes to early morning wake up calls. Madeline’s husband has begun taking the dog on his morning walk so that the dog does not require Madeline for a morning walk. She thinks of everything!)

I’m such a home body. And I’m unapologetic about that! I’m not sure if life on the road would appeal to me. But part of me is curious about it. I might love it. But I’d really miss my garden, checking on my plants and noticing the changes each day. I’m curious about what else I’d miss. Obviously, I should not look at their adventure as an RV half empty of gas, but half full! They are focused on the adventure ahead, the fun and the memories, rather than what they will miss. They’re ready to head out into America to see what they can see. They will have July 4th on the road.  Where will they see fireworks? What is Thanksgiving like in an RV? The oven probably can’t handle a turkey but they’ll make do. Does Santa Claus visit RVs at Christmas, even if there’s no chimney? Of course! What will be there favorite places? What will be the biggest surprises about living in an RV? (Yes, I really do have lots of questions.)

(More details on their RV in a future post. Fascinating how so many conveniences of home are tucked tidily into an RV, every inch planned to perfection. It’s mind-boggling.)

Madeline and her gang are only days away from a giant adventure. I’m excited to see what they discover when they take this leap. I’ll miss you, Madeline. Happy trails…

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