It’s one of those feelings. The feeling that you have stepped into another world where you can let go of everything you hold important in your day to day life and focus on what really matters.
Turning off your phone, being with those around you.
No makeup, letting your face embrace the fresh air au natural.
Not having an agenda, letting the day play out as it feels like.
Trading concrete for trees, sirens for rushing rivers.
Finding yourself in a place where you have all that you could need: fresh food, water and each other.
Road trips have a way of letting the hours pass quickly and getting you to a destination that is remote, removed and relaxing. Our close friends (my mentor from SF State to be precise), take their RV, two dogs, and head up to this camping spot along the river in this small town called Westfir, Oregon for the summer. There’s not much there, the next closest city is Eugene, about 40 miles away. This RV place is off the freeway a few miles and lies aside the Willamette River. Anyhow you get the idea that it’s off the beaten path, well they invited us up for the 4th, never really having an “RV” experience and feeling the need to break loose from our city craziness we said yes to something we had never experienced before. Besides, what could be better then being with the people you love to be around, the people who inspire you to be great, and challenge you?
For those of you who have “RV’d” before, well this will be repetitive and obvious, but for those of us who have never stayed at an RV camp let me enlighten you to this cultural experience.
My exposure to the “RV” lifestyle was minimum, my grandfather traveled in one for most of my childhood and when I think RV, I see the minimal pool at the KOA camp in Auburn, smell his blue mint Halls and remember sitting in front of the RV in lawn chairs. This was different, perhaps it was the fact that this was a luxury RV equipped with two bathrooms, a closet the size of my own, and a full kitchen. It almost beat my square footage at my own flat. So with that said, the RV we were in more than sufficed for accommodations.
The culture in this small traveling community is amazing. Let me give you examples. Everyone morning we took laps around the park/river with the dogs, everyone says hi. The neighbor asks if they can pick up anything from town when they go. Meals are often shared with others in the community. It’s like one big functioning family, everyone is interested in what everyone else is doing. The RV demographics typically runs in the later years of 40+ so the richness in life is great. Everyone has a story, and is usually more then willing to share if you have a lawn chair to sit in and listen. It’s amazing.
With all of that said, being around such friendly and caring people reminds you how great humanity it is. That people don’t care what great tech company you work for, where you ate for your last over priced dinner or what brands of clothes you’re into. They care about who you are, what you believe and why you believe it.
Funny thing, the group of people we met didn’t even ask what I did for work until the last day, boy was that refreshing (we were with them for 5 days).
The day to day was not complicated. Perhaps the most complicated tasks involved finding the beer opener, deciding which protein would be bbq’d and whether to sit inside or outside. It’s great. Mornings spent with fresh coffee taking in the sounds of nature, afternoons out on the river watching the dogs swim and evenings spent fly fishing after a hardy meal.
One day we went rafting, more of a float as the highest class of rapids were 2. At one point I rode the bull which was a highlight, but then again so was the water gun fights with the other raft. We took on the task of learning how to fly fish at one point during this nature escape. It was great to learn another art, which fly fishing truly is. In a quick seocnd a fish bit on my line, of course my squeal of excitement made for a moment of distraction and I lost the trout shortly after, oh well.
The Willamette River made for great scenery, a soothing sound to fall asleep to and a reminder that life is always moving which requires a break, I suppose that’s one reason why dams were created. This trip was a special ode to what is most important in life but often gets jaded with other interruptions. It was a breath of fresh air to break away from the city and did well for the soul.