Taking It All With You

by Robyn Justo — I was taking a walk by the ocean one morning alongside a very long line of recreational vehicles parked side by side with picnic tables and barbecue grills sprinkled between them. People were making coffee and cooking big breakfasts. Lazy dogs curled up on pillows in the midst of it all. Some of the RVs were larger than my latest studio and probably had more stuff in them.

So I wondered as I wandered. Vacation, originating from the word vacate which means to leave a place that was previously occupied, is a sort of getting-away-from-it all or simplification of life, offering a brief sense of mobility and freedom, or at least it is supposed to be. Looking around, it felt like a whole lot of work to me and looked like instead of getting away from it all, most of it was coming with these folks. But they looked happy to be anywhere but the place they vacated in spite of the haul of all of the kids, an overabundance of stuff, and most of the comforts and habits of home including smokes, beers, and TV. I guess it comes down to perspective.

My mind drifted back to a former fiancé who used to take a huge rectangular box the size of a coffin, filled with kitchenware and all the fixin’s for extravagant gourmet dinners on our camping trips.

It was a highly anticipated ordeal. Pitching a tent, cooking prime rib and drinking fine wine out in the woods was his escape. I was along for the ride, accompanied by a lazy golden retriever named Bos. We were simply the observers to this blessed ritual. It seemed complicated to me, but what did I know?

Once we were planning a hike and my fiancé even had a pack for his dog, believe it or not. It draped over his back with holders for wine, food, etc. The night before the hike (and me being shown how the pack worked) Bos started limping and although after careful examination nothing was found in any of his paws, he laid up against me listlessly, looking up with liquidy puppy eyes that begged, “Please don’t make me go” so we canceled the hike. As soon as we did, Bos was up prancing around like nobody’s business. Never let it be said that dogs are not smart enough to fake an injury. Too lazy to carry a pack, maybe. But hey, it’s their vacation and they know how to enjoy it.

I’ve always had the fantasy of a tiny house on wheels. Now this makes sense to me. Feels simple. I could have freedom and mobility all of the time, I wouldn’t need an RV because I would basically live in one, and I could take it all with me without having to bring it back and unpack it. And the bonus is that I would never forget anything.

Fantasy aside and tiny house unmanifest, getting away from it all for me is grabbing a small overnight bag, hopping a flight to a place that has no resemblance to the one I am vacating, and not having to do the same things I do at home (like cook, wash dishes, and so on).

Sometimes this planet confuses me. Humans are interesting creatures indeed. Dogs make a whole lot more sense.

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