A few weeks ago, we heard from a couple who wants to buy our RV.
RV ownership can be a tricky enterprise. For one thing, it's not nearly as glamorous as one might imagine. Like a house, everything breaks (usually one thing after the next, if not all at once); dust collects on windowsills just the same; the shower floor and doors need scrubbing to keep from turning pink; plumbing has to be fixed when it backs up or when pipes freeze. Then there's all the vehicle-type things to maintain: six enormous tires, an engine (and its oil changes), a generator (and its oil changes), battery upkeep, diesel fuel, and so on. The country is ours to explore, yes, but that freedom isn't free. Despite its steep price tag, an RV is an investment that more accurately resembles that of vehicle ownership than home ownership: It depreciates at an alarmingly fast rate, so much so that you could find yourself owing more on it than it's actually worth (hello, 2008 subprime mortgage crisis), a scary prospect for anyone, let alone a couple who wants to make other investments, eventually. And without a beleaguered 34-foot rig parked in the front yard of said other investments.
Everything we've heard seems to suggest that it takes about a year to find a serious buyer for a motorhome. Ah, perfect! A year feels like a sweet spot—a long enough plan to feel intentional about how we spend the next 12 months, but a short enough timeline to start scheming about next moves.
So, no one is more surprised than we are that three months after making an online listing we have an earnest buyer who's ready to buy our motorhome for what we owe. And who lives in the very same city as some of our family whom we'd planned to visit at this exact time. (Don't need to consider yourself a serendipiter to see what's happening here.)
Surprised and...relieved? devastated? The two are so thoroughly mixed that it's difficult for either of us to decipher which feeling predominates. Are we grateful about this turn of events, or gutted? And, perhaps the more important question: Do we have to be solidly positioned in one camp to know how to proceed? Or even before we proceed?
That, my friend, is where curiosity comes in.
If the RV sells this week (GULP) (also, you can bet you'll hear about it on Twitter), how might we transform our situation into an opportunity for adventure?
[Note: This is decidedly different from the act of bright-siding. To see the bright side of a situation often requires that we plug our ears and shield our eyes from the less-than-awesome aspects of our circumstances in favor of convincing ourselves that the positives could, in some alternate universe, outweigh the negatives. It usually smells a little desperate because it is a little desperate. On the other hand, transforming a situation requires an actual shift in how we understand the situation. It's looking, like a serendipiter, for the connections between what we really want in our lives and all the pitches the universe is throwing our way in order for us to get it.]
Well, for starters, we've wanted to explore some of the country via Amtrak. Could it be that this is our opportunity to try that for a spell?
Another thing: Months back, we became enchanted with the possibility that Dana's work could send us overseas for a few months—but the costly necessity of storing the RV was a major deterrent. Mightn't this turn of events make international travel more doable?
Opportunity and our readiness for it (really, our perception of our readiness for it) rarely sync up. And if we think we need to wait for them to align before we can act, we're sadly mistaken; we're looking out for the wrong sign, because that just isn't how the universe works; that isn't how we discern the rightness of whatever's around the bend and whether we can handle it. That's why there are adages about striking while the iron is hot and opening the door when opportunity knocks and grabbing the bull by the horns. We have to meet opportunity halfway (gosh, at least halfway). Change is difficult, but recognizing the chance to pivot when it presents itself doesn't have to be.
Hit 'reply' and tell me what experiences you've had (or are having currently) with pivoting and transforming situations.
Notes from the week of April 3
CAMPED AT AINSWORTH STATE PARK & ALDERWOOD RV EXPRESS
+ this couple's resolve to live Airbnb in New York for a year (via my friend, Bonnie)
MEALS EATEN, DRINKS DRUNK
+ a Portland Sidecar & salmon bento box at Mother's Bistro & Bar
READ & NODDED MY HEAD
+ "But why do we feel that we owe each other this place of importance when we don’t make hardly any effort to maintain a friendship in the way it is actually maintained — through frequent, low-impact contact and effort? Friendship happens in the phone calls, the visits, the “thinking of you” gifts, the random text messages. Why do we let all of these slip by the wayside with people we used to love, and then expect that same level of treatment when the big moments come?" (via Fadila Henry)
+ "Still, true friends do exist, miraculously hidden amongst all the situational flux. How do you recognize them? Usually they reveal themselves only after the situation itself has changed. And the results can be surprising: sometimes the people who remain in your life and the ones who fall out are not at all what you would have predicted! But these “friends forever,” however they play out in your particular life situation, always seem to share three characteristics: 1) They have a capacity to grow with you (and you with them) through life’s changing circumstances; 2) They are low-maintenance, rarely-to-never imposing themselves or laying expectations on you; and 3) contact with them, when it comes, is never a duty, but always a gift “heart to heart.” Such friends—always a rare and special breed—have an uncanny knack for being able to stay in tune with you emotionally over huge gaps of time and space. Maybe you don’t hear from them for three years—or 30—but then the phone rings and there they are again, and it’s like picking up as if you never left off" (also via Fadila Henry; lots of finds on friendship this week!)
BOOKMARKED (HAVEN'T READ, WANT TO READ)
LOCAL COLOR EXPERIENCED
+ Spokane Falls gondola sky-ride
+ Atticus Coffee & Gifts
+ Riverfront Park
+ Jeff & Wendy
+ Vicky, Haven, Dan, Scarlett, & Ollie