They moved here from Carson City to finish college and start the rest of their lives. It was fitting, I thought, to spend the very first day of the year in an environment of hope and change.
Mother Nature, though, was making it interesting for them. As I write this at 9 a.m. Saturday, several hours before the appointed moving hour, those friends are driving a 40-foot moving truck through a fresh layer of snow. On Friday, I helped these same friends load their lives into the truck, filling every inch of space with the items that define the place they call home. Three years ago, I did the same thing when I moved from California to northern Nevada but my life was driven on dry roads by a man with many years of experience piloting heavy construction equipment. I can’t imagine the nervousness my friends are feeling watching their truck travel just the 25 or so miles to south Reno through slippery conditions and I hope they have a good driver.
The ability to move about freely, whether for a temporary trip or a permanent home, is a huge part of life in this country. Since America’s birth, we have gone to great lengths to see new horizons. The people who paved a new road so the rest of us could travel more easily were heroes. Today, we take for granted the ability to get in a car or on a plane and quickly be transported to a completely new place. Even in my limited travels, I have seen great stretches of this country both from the ground and air.
Such adventures are expensive, however, and difficult to arrange with the obligations of life and work. Since graduating college in 1998 I have always had full-time jobs and since 2004 I have owned a home, making it nearly impossible to just get up and leave on a whim. That has not dampened my desire to see new places and meet new people, however. Working for a newspaper helps that somewhat, since I get to talk to all kinds of people and sneak peeks into their lives. But in a singular place, even that variety runs out eventually. That’s why my girlfriend and I, in the course of plotting a possible future together, have talked about simplifying our lives to what we can carry in a travel trailer and taking our existence on the road. Kind of like living in that moving van permanently. We’d get odd jobs and I’d try to work freelance doing writing and photography. That way if we got the desire to see someplace new, we wouldn’t have to wrestle with the hassles of a house full of stuff and career obligations to get there. All we would need to do is hook up the trailer, fill the tank with gas and head off to a grand new adventure.
OK, nothing in life is that simple. I have been reading books on the RV lifestyle and with it comes a slew of things to learn and take care of, but those things are no worse than dealing with a fixed home. The hassles would be similar but with the benefit of changing scenery to keep them from being quite so routine. Think about it: The millions of us who live at permanent addresses deal with all kinds of things in our everyday lives and take vacations to escape them for our employer-allotted periods of time. Under my RV plan, I’d take my work with me on a permanent sight-seeing trip. Just like any kind of traveling, my itinerary is subject to the weather but instead of being stuck at home or in an airport, I’d just be stuck at my prior destination.
The turn of the calendar has me itching for something new, it appears. That doesn’t mean I am able to make such a huge change immediately, but like any goal for the new year I can start doing little things to accomplish it, such as getting rid of all this extra stuff I don’t need.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to bundle up and help those friends move. I wonder if there’s anything I can unload on them.
Nathan Orme is the editor of the Sparks Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.