Saturday, September 17, 2016

Home Again - Let's Clean the Fridge

Our House on Wheels

We have returned from our seven week epic camper trip, and have been home for a couple of days. The last few days of travelling were focused on driving and getting home, rather than seeking out new adventures. We both felt sad that our holiday was coming to an end. We had visited friends and family, and spent lots of time in towns where we used to live. As we turned our truck east towards the prairies, it felt almost like we were leaving home rather than returning home. It was hard to say good-bye.

Cousins Having Fun at the Fair

And yet, after seven weeks of living in our tiny little house on wheels with a floor space the size of the bed of a pickup truck, we were starting to become tired of living in the camper. (I never thought I would say that; I love the camper!). Certainly, the fact that our refrigerator stopped working halfway through the trip didn't help matters. There were no more gourmet camper dinners for us as we became dependent on a cooler and ice. After awhile, the novelty of roughing it with brief camper showers and a hair wash only every second day, begins to pale.

I must mention that our friends and family cooked us some wonderful dinners in those last three weeks, and we also had some great family restaurant meals, not to mention delicious fare at my women's retreat. So we didn't suffer lack of nutrition due to the broken fridge, as our waistlines will attest. 

Still, we both felt ambivalent about coming home. We do not have a big network of friends where we live now. Even after four years of living here, we still feel like "come-from-aways." We know that when I retire, we will be moving back to British Columbia, our home province where all of our family and many of our friends live. So we haven't tried very hard to set down roots here. In fact, our holiday felt a little bit like a fact-finding mission: would this town be a good place to move to, or this one, or this one?

Last Night on the Road

So when we rolled into our driveway, I was surprised at how happy I felt to be home. Our lawns looked green and lush, and our gardens were still thriving. Our house seemed huge, luxurious, and welcoming. Our pets were delighted to see us, and happy to be released from pet jail (the kennel). A big shout-out to our son, who looked after the house, yard and pets all summer, except for the first bit of September when he left for university. It was so nice to return home to a clean house, healthy gardens, and happy pets. 

Of course, there was the drudgery of unpacking the camper, which does not have the same fun factor as packing to go away. Doing the laundry, listening to the phone messages, dealing with a huge pile of bills and other mail, watering the gardens, mowing the lawns, as well as restocking the groceries were all immediate tasks. As happens to me every time I return from a trip, I took one look inside the refrigerator, and decided that I would not put any food into it until the fridge had a good cleaning. So we spent our first morning back emptying and cleaning every part of the fridge. I went into a frenzy of doing laundry, and Rob vacuumed and washed the kitchen floor, and mowed the lawns. 

I've rejoined my evening art group. We made plans to go to a concert tomorrow and invited a friend to join us. I have been to the farmers' market to stock up on organic veggies, baking, and locally raised meats. I have spent an afternoon at my office, setting out a plan for some the work that I will accomplish during this study leave. We have gone for a couple of long walks, and will do a bike ride this afternoon. It feels good to be home. 


  1. So glad to see you got home safe! We are looking at about a 4 week trip next fall - I'm not sure I'm ready to do much more than that. The pictures and stories you've shared have certainly inspired us!

  2. It's all one big sign saying "retire and move to Vancouver Island"! Close to family, a great place to live...and tons of places to work on (and sell) your art!

  3. Vicki, will your four-week trip be a road trip? I have always loved road trips, camping trips, and travel in general! Rob is not as much of a fan of long-distance travel as he doesn't like the stress of airports and airplanes, but he always enjoys himself once we get to wherever we are going. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos and stories.

  4. Donna, there are lots of things about Vancouver Island calling to me as a perfect retirement location, including kids, grandkids, and friends near at hand. We are hoping to spend December and maybe part of November on the Island, and I am looking into short term house rental or house sitting opportunities within an hour's drive of Nanaimo. If you hear of something, let me know?

  5. So glad you're home safe & sound and that you had a wonderful time. Loved the photos in this post! Each one is really good. Sounds like you know what to do to get your eventual retirement off to a good start. You're in the perfect position to enjoy your remaining working time while looking forward to the new phase of retirement before long. Well played, I'd say!

  6. Kathleen, thanks so much for your encouraging words. Who knew that something as exciting and positive as retirement could be so fraught!

    I hope your recovery is coming along well. Rest and get well!


  7. Home sweet home! We once did a 2 week camper trip and loved it - was about the right amount of time for both of us I think, would have started feeling cramped and missing proper showers with good water pressure without having to squeeze in :) Hope to do another one day!

  8. NZ Muse, seven weeks in a camper is a record for us! I have to admit, though, that while the first half of the trip was out in the wilds, for the last half we were parked outside the homes of friends or family. So we had easy access to showers and lots of great visiting during that last few weeks of the trip.