Today my wife and I agreed that we would take this year to save $5,000 toward the purchase of a teardrop travel trailer. We shook on it.
We have always set goals in our marriage. It’s a ritual for us. We take our common interests and we turn them into a common goal. The pursuit of something inside of a marriage is important. It’s a primary mechanism through which people build rapport with one another. We align ourselves with those who we view as an accessory to our goals.
This year we are deciding to pull the trigger on something that we’ve wanted to do for a very long time, but a camper trailer.
Now, we don’t have any notions of buying a diesel pickup and pulling some monstrosity around the country. What we are looking for is the travel trailer equivalent of the tiny house movement. We want to buy something just big enough to be comfortable during the night times. We only plan to say in one place just long enough to soak up the essence of it, then we will move on to the next place. Our goal isn’t to make a home out of anywhere we are visiting. We want to live a nomadic life, one that is conducive to the type of accommodations a tiny camper provides.
I’m not one of those people who wants to store away my great reward for the future or some afterlife. Right now, I’m young and healthy enough to be able to travel light. In another twenty years I will not be. When I die, that’ll be it. This is the only life that I have evidence of, so I want to, as Thoreau put it “suck out all the marrow of life.”
Why should I live my life confined to my hometown and my workplace? What does it mean to live with less? Surely what we need most in our modern consumer society is less. Less screen time. Less food. Less angst. Less to do. The camper trailer, for me, represents those things.
For my wife, I suspect the camper represents experience and novelty.
I was very fortunate that I got a traveling job right out of college. I’ve been to every major city in the country (apart from the Pacific Northwest). The cultural experiences that I gathered, and the people I met, are invaluable to me. That period was a time of great personal growth and learning, and that’s an experience that my wife didn’t have. I think she wants that for herself, and I certainly want that for her.
I’m a teacher, and we’ve organized our lives to be able to afford to live exclusively on my income, so the entire summer is open for travel for us. We could, theoretically, drive from my home in West Virginia to California, and have enough time left over to spend six weeks on the west coast.
$5,000 does not represent an insignificant percentage of our income. It will take some deep cuts to save that amount in a single year.