015: What I’ve learned about myself this past year

We’ve been RVing full time for a little more than a year. I love it, we both do.

But what exactly do I love about this lifestyle? After all, it can be… no… it is chaotic living in a 300 sq ft house-on-wheels. I’m often asked, “Do you miss living in a sticks & bricks house?”  or “How long are you going to roam like this?” I’m actually surprised when I hear myself answer “No I don’t” and “I don’t know”.

What exactly happened to me this past year?

As often is the case in life, the answer came serendipitously while in Montreal last October, following a conversation I had with Jean, my cousin Danielle’s husband. BED64E7B-D629-4BDB-93A8-8D997E4E556F_1_201_aJean is what I like to describe as ‘very’ French, a gentle man in his early eighties. He and Danielle used to live in picturesque Normandy, near Monet’s gardens in Giverny. About six years ago, they sold their house and moved to Montreal. Jean took up curling, joined a prestigious choir and recently became a Canadian citizen! To my questions, “How do you like living in Montreal?” and “Do you miss your life in France?” Jean simply replied, “Je suis heureux ici, oui ; je me sens chez moi où que je sois.” (“I’m happy here, yes; I feel at home wherever I am.”)(

I remember thinking, what a privileged way to be… to carry, as it were, your house inside your heart and be comfortable wherever you find yourself.

(A sister concept jumps to mind, that of “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”—a phrase beautifully worded by John Lennon. It has certainly been a wishful goal of mine for a long time, but sadly, it hasn’t exactly been attained, at least in a sustainable way. Life has a way to mess up the best of plans.)

But then…these past few weeks, I’ve come to realize that Jean’s comment rings true for me as well. I’m truly comfortable wherever I find myself and as a result, I seem to have become much more adept at living in the moment. Just had to stop and notice it. One state of mind begets the other, who knew?! No matter who I meet or where I am, whether the view from our rig windows has a magnificent desert sunset or the sight of the neighbour’s RV in a too-narrow camping site…. It doesn’t matter much. The real ‘gift’ is the realization of personal growth… and be able to reproduce it consciously; to appreciate the ordinary as much as the extraordinary. The ordinary IS the extraordinary.

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One of the great privileges of full time RVing is to discover various parts of North America and encountering its people and places.  Our first year on the road saw us through a total 20 states. I’m hard-pressed to come up with favourite places. I loved them all, for many different reasons. Oftentimes, like our summer months in the Deep South (yes summer!), we visited places well off the typical tourist track, and, just as frequently, those communities proved to be the most interesting destinations (hello Tupelo, MS!).

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It doesn’t mean that problems and challenges have disappeared. At times, I do miss not being close to family and close friends. We have yet to meet granddaughter Antoinette, born in Toronto on November 20. While not being with Antoinette’s parents in Toronto at that momentous time was hard, I shall never forget driving on a road in Yuma, AZ when our son Olivier finally texted us the news… Antoinette Jeannine Rose borne an hour ago! I stopped the car on the side of the road to take in the news with both of us weeping tears of joy! The ordinary turned extraordinary indeed!

What Year 2020 has in stock, I don’t know, but I daresay it will be filled with beautiful ordinary moments that I fully intend to take in.

Wishing you extraordinary ordinary moments throughout 2020 !

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5 Comments

  1. Wow, très touchée que Jean t’ait touchée (hihihi). Figures-toi qu’à bientôt 81 et maintenant 74, on songe à revenir en France. On se plait beaucoup dans notre mini maison et on a rendez-vous demain avec une agence immobilière pour voir ce qu’on peut louer ici. La nourriture est beaucoup moins chère qu’à Montréal, sans parler que c’est bien meilleure. D’excellents vins à $4.50, un marché avec du bio très abordable, pas de neige, une région très douce, on s’y plait vraiment. Et comme on ne voit presque plus les cousins, on ne voit pas trop la différence. On a passé 4 jours de Noël chez nos amis à Dieppe (une amie de Bergerac nous y a conduit et ramenée, elle-même allant à Rouen) et 2 jours à Evreux, ce qui nous a permis de revoir notre petite-fille Anaïs pendant 5 heures. Elle aura 21 ans le 27 mars prochain, eh oui même jour que ma chère mère.
    Il fait environ 10º le jour, matinées fraîches et comme on a pas de voiture, on marche, ce qui nous fait le plus grand bien.
    Je serai opérée pour une prothèse de la hanche le 15 janvier prochain dans une clinique toute neuve à 63 kms d’ici. Cadeau, tout gratuit. Ma belle-soeur Dominique arrivera le dimanche précédent pour tenir compagnie à Jean pendant mon hospitalisation qui devrait être entre 3 et 5 jours.
    Voilà les news, j’avoue avoir des insomnies, me demandant si c’est bien raisonnable de faire ce move à notre âge 🤔
    Gros bisous à vous deux, une Belle Année 2020 vous attends avec encore d’autre découvertes et rencontres merveilleuses.
    Ta cousine qui t’aime et souhaiterait que tu sois plus prêt, mais c’est aussi çà la vie.🥰

  2. Beautifully said! Happy New Year to you both and congrats on the birth of your granddaughter. We have just left Mississippi and reluctantly crossed into Florida.

  3. What a lovely post and a reminder to the rest of us. It’s true: retirement takes time to appreciate. Like you there are many places right here in the states that I wish to visit. Not all vacations need to be on a different continent!

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