Earlier this week I told you we had arrived at Caballo Lake State Park and found ourselves an amazing spot by the water. I shared a few photos of this incredible find, but since it’s so gorgeous I feel compelled to share some more.
I’m starting to feel like a broken record when I tell you that, yet again, we had a quiet week. It seems that lately I don’t have as many adventures to share as I once did. I think the reason is because over the past few months we’ve fallen into a comfortable routine that involves much more time spent around the house enjoying our immediate surrounding, and not much time out and about. Most of our days consist of work during the day followed by an afternoon and evening close to home. We do our running (just finished up week 9! blog post coming soon), maybe take a bike ride or a stroll around the campground, but not much else. And that’s perfectly fine with us.
There was a time when our goal was always to do and see as much as possible. If there was a cool hike near by, or some popular attraction, we tried our best to cram these activities in. The problem was that since we don’t have all day to drive around checking out cool things and hiking mountains, we often spent a week, or even two, in an area and still left feeling like we hadn’t experienced everything. For awhile we both struggled with this. Logic told us that if we’re not fully exploring all the places we travel to, then what’s the point of this lifestyle? For me, I know this feeling stems in part from the ridiculous amount of travel blogs that I read. I read about travelers who hike everyday, visit every national park/monument/preserve, go to every museum, eat at every restaurant. Where do they find the time? The answer is really quite simple. It’s called retirement. Out of all the travel blogs I follow, I estimate that 80-90% of them are written by retired folks. No wonder we can’t keep up. Eventually we stopped trying.
I am not sure exactly when, or why, it happened. I don’t even think it was a conscious decision, but at some point we stopped forcing ourselves to squeeze in as much as possible. We came to the realization that this is long term lifestyle for us. A lifestyle that we feel secure and happy with. A lifestyle that is not about seeing and doing as much as possible in a year or two, and then rushing back to real life (whatever that is). Instead, this is chance for us to live a fairly normal life with the extra bonus of getting to experience new places, meet new people, and enjoy new surroundings – all at our own pace.
If that means we leave somewhere without visiting every attraction or hiking every trail, then so be it. The beauty of living in a house on wheels is that it’s really easy to make a return visit. We’ve already re-visited many places. Lake Mead, San Diego, Phoenix, and Tucson are all places we returned for a second time and found both new and old things to explore. This summer we’re headed back to Colorado, and while we’re planning to make some new stops, we’re also going to re-visit some of our favorites from last summer. Does that mean we will have experienced everything those places have to offer. Probably not. But that’s okay. Full-time RV living for us has truly become an ongoing adventure.
About a month ago I wrote a post about how content I feel to be living this traveling lifestyle. I think part of that content, happy feeling comes from letting go of the notion that we must do it all. Once we gave up the regret and disappointment in regards to what we were missing out on, it was much easier to enjoy what was right in front of us. This week that happens to be a lovely lake.
All of this absolutely does not mean that we’ve given up on experiencing all those things that make this country great as we travel from place to place. A few weeks ago we spent the day at White Sands, this weekend we have a full day of ghost town viewing and green chili eating planned, and I just adjusted our schedule for the following weekend so we could visit the Very Large Array. But if in between these outings we have a whole week of nothing but work and strolling around the campground, we’re totally okay with that.
Glad to hear that you guys are going to see the VLA. In case you are looking for a place to stay in the area, Datil Well BLM Campground is absolutely wonderful!
I will have to keep what you mentioned in mind about not trying to cram everything in as I work and travel. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed and feel like I am always on the go, so these will be words to live by!
Thanks for the campground recommendation! We are looking for a place near the VLA to spend the night, and that sounds just perfect!
It can be hard to remember to slow down and keep balance, but I think that’s the key to long-term travel. Hope to see you in ABQ.
Sounds like you have a very healthy approach to full-time travel. I work on the road, but only part-time, so we probably have more free time than you do to explore. We do end up doing a lot, but as soon as we start to feel burned out, we take a day off and just relax with a walk or bike ride in the campground. It’s a great life, and we’re in it for the long haul. Happy and peaceful travels!
Those days off are definitely important. I suppose like anything in life it’s all about balance.
A long time ago, a wise person told me that you can assume that you’ll return to a place you love so there’s no need to try to see and do everything. I like that. You’ve found that out for yourselves…to just settle in and BE is a wonder.
Sounds like good advice to me!
Pearls. Thanks for the healthy reminder not to turn the new life into the heavily scheduled and exhausting days of the old life! You’re in such a beautiful spot to just “be” – glad you’re enjoying that. Love the flags-in-the-wind and the purple bush.
You’re right, the goal of this new life is to be more free, more relaxed, and have more fun. So if we continue to fill our our days with scheduled activities than all we’ve done is exchanged on exhausting life for another.
Amanda &Tim –
I loved this post and agree that a big part of the appeal of full-timing is kicking back at a beautiful campground. Whether you are working remotely, on a weekend getaway or retired. Don’t get me wrong, I love hiking, biking and exploring – but the saying “had to go back to work to recover from my vacation” comes to mind. I realize you aren’t on vacation, but the reason we want to fulltime is to live in campsites and in boondock sites. People these days (including the retired) stay way too busy in my mind. Slow down a little. I hope when we go fulltime, i remember to spend the max time in each park or boondock site, to spend a whole day reading. When we csmp now, i love the all day hike up the mountain, but i also like to walk around the campground. Love your blog. Enjoy Caballo! Have you thought of checking out Abiquiu Lake. Beautiful spot in northern NM
It can be hard to remember to slow down. It took us a while to get out of vacation mode, but eventually we realized that this is not a vacation, it’s a lifestyle and we need to treat it like that. I’ll have to check that lake out. It looks like a pretty spot on the map. Thanks for the recommendation!
Your first year was quite the whirlwind, and I expect ours to be too in our excitement of finally being free. Even though we’ll be among the retired crew, my vision is to eventually settle down and do it pretty much the way you two are now. We’ll continue to hike and bike more during the day, as you did before Tim had to return to work, but once that first year is over, I hope to settle down to week-long or longer stays in lovely places where we can just hang out and enjoy where we are. It’s easier on the wallet that way too.
I think it’s true for most full-timers that the first year is busy, and then you eventually slow down. While we are glad that we did so much in the beginning, I think we are actually enjoying ourselves more now that we have settled into a slower routine. And you’re right- it’s much easier on the wallet.