We hear lots of life stories on the road without even prying. People love to talk. The Kat is a fine conversationalist and I’m a decent listener. Other full-timers are particularly interesting, and we all have a story of how we found this life, or why we packed in real jobs for a life of travel and part-time gigs. Many are retired, and they are usually best prepared for full-timing. Some have not worked enough, or saved enough, or are not yet even old enough for Social Security. Some have no regular income and are raising kids. That is a course we usually cannot recommend, but it beats living under a bridge.
Kat hears lots of stories at Amazon. There is this white-haired newbie, trim, seemingly fit, articulate and perhaps pushing 70. Paula lives alone in a nice 30’ motorhome, and she picks items for shipment on Kat’s shift. Kat, The Major (retired Air Force officer), Bob from India (he’s good with PC’s) sort of adopted Paula. She is a bit older than those three, but not a lot. She is also developing a crush on The Major, which is good, because I think he has one on The Kat. Paula is from Asheville, NC, as pretty a good-sized city as you will ever see. It has cool summers, and moderate winters with just enough snow. Kat to Paula: “How could anyone leave a place as wonderful as Asheville?” It seems that Paula’s kids were worried about her living alone, at that age. They firmly suggested she find a retirement home and live out her golden years along with many others, with whom she might have much in common. Paula told her kids in essence “That’ll happen when I don’t remember who I am, or who you are, or when Hell freezes: whichever comes first.”
We’ve heard other sad but inspirational stories of oldsters going to extremes to escape The Old Folks Home. “God’s Waiting Room” is a posting from March 2015 about a Del Webb retirement community and its denizens. In the spring of 2013 we told the tale of Nora, who bought a truck camper to travel and live on her own without knowing how to drive it. Her son kept promising to teach her, but never did. One night Nora took to the road while they were dining out. Her rig wore the scars to prove that hers was a steep learning curve.
Then there are the young families who work a few months at Amazon, and pick up jobs here and there the rest of the year. I guess that’s okay – leading a Bohemian existence is a time honored path for artists. It can be highly beneficial to see the country for a couple of years with children old enough to remember the tour, but young enough for diligent and more or less educated parents to effectively home-school them. Teens are way too old – they need a more interesting social life — and if you remember enough algebra, chemistry, and Espanol to do those subjects justice, odds are you’re kidding yourself. I hate to see people do this with kids, and then home-school them with bicycles and television. Some might call that parental malpractice, but who am I to judge?
Quit your job on hostile terms and sell your home to buy a rig, or rent it and unload the furniture? There is no turning back on the road.
Here’s some travelling music for you.