No matter what weird interactions happen at the RTR, the sometimes petty things that go on; little disagreements here and there, the occasional odd vibe from somebody or a situation. I even felt a wave of sadness around the beginning, hearing how some connections had ended, how the whole vibe of the RTR had changed. How it always seems to change, especially to those who have been here since the beginning.
But looking through all of that, this place is something special. This is my yearly pilgrimage to reacquaint myself with my own wants, needs, and desires. It’s not just the amazing souls I happen to meet and connect with. Though, that is a huge part of it. The connections I’ve made with people here, the truly authentic conversations I’ve had with people here will resonate with me my entire life.
But more than that, this is an opportunity to remind myself why I’m doing this. Why I decide to live the way I do. The freedom of being able to wake up in a new place everyday or stay if I so decide. The ability to have new adventures in new places and with new people. The freedom of so much choice can at times be debilitating. Having so many options of where I’d like to go and who I’d like to see can sometimes lead me to just staying put. It reminds me of the book The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. An in depth look at how–in the context of consumerism–there are so many choices in say something like buying salad dressing, the overwhelming amount of options out there can be, well… overwhelming. Obviously this is something entirely different than buying salad dressing but that deer caught in the headlights effect is still there.
On the flip side of that, it’s very telling of how modern society, with all it’s grandiose technology and simplifying everything down to the point of pressing a button for coffee or music or even driving, has created a cushiony, nonabrasive way of facilitating no decision making at all. We have alarms that wake us up in the morning, our morning routines of coffee and making ourselves presentable to the world. Our daily routines commuting to work by taking the train, bus or driving then sitting at a desk all day. Our evening routines of getting out of work and relaxing with friends or maybe hitting the gym. And then we do it all again the next day. And the next. It’s easy to fall into that groundhog’s day effect of doing the same thing all the time that at a point we forget we even have a choice in the matter. And the things that people tell us, about their idea of what it means to be successful, about how you have to go to college in order to support yourself, that getting married and buying a house and a white picket fence is your life goal, all of this just re-enforces that feeling of not having choice of what to do with your own life.
Once you can break that cycle, the whole world can and will open up to you. Suddenly you have so many options that you never even considered before. And with this new realization comes the universe bringing people and experiences into your life that support that open mindedness. I have friends who travel to other countries when they get enough vacation time. I have friends that travel full time across the globe while they work. I have friends who are weekend warriors and take their done up conversion vans out on trips every weekend. I have friends who have been like gypsies, going to many different places working many different types of jobs their whole lives, never once working a typical 9 to 5.
I guess what I’m getting at is that there is no right way to do anything in this world. We know the most common way, the easiest solution and, hey, that obviously works for a lot of people which is why it’s considered the norm. But some of those people are just blindly following an idea of what they are told they should be that they don’t ever stop to notice that they actually have a say in the matter.
Here at the RTR, it’s two weeks that I get to spend with other like minded people who all are doing things their own way. It goes beyond the whole vehicle living movement. It’s in the small details of how their living in their vehicles. From their choice of vehicle (no joke one guy lives in a semi truck) to how they’ve set it up or built it out. Every rig I see, it’s an extension of the people living in them. The things that matter to them or are important to them, you see it in the rigs they’ve set up. Yes we all, or at least most of the people I’ve met, are full timers. But that’s just about where the similarities end.
Being here at the RTR is one big mindful moment. I acknowledge it. I give it space. I breath in all the experiences from this last year, both good and bad, and create intentions for the year to come. I don’t know where my path will lead me. I don’t have it all figured out. I’m not even sure where I’ll be next week. But wherever it is and whatever I do, I’m sure as hell going to be enjoying the ride.