The isolation of living on the road
Living on the road can result in feelings of isolation. You discover really quickly how much harder life is without a support system by realising all the little ways you depended on it. When I lived in towns close to family and friends I still considered myself mostly independent, so obviously I was shocked when I realised how complex life can be without the people I am close to.
After a few months of being on the road it finally clicked
I realised that it’s not about what your support system do for you, it’s about knowing you have them, knowing they will catch you if you fall. When you take that away, even though you aren’t actually taking away regular “physical” help, you are taking away this unconscious fundamental part of your psyche. The part of your mind that pushes you to challenge yourself under the pretence of your subconscious being able to instantaneously assess what sort of help and support you will have in the event of a failure.
Once you’re on the road and “on your own” and you challenge yourself you can sometimes find yourself becoming very overwhelmed at things that may not have previously overwhelmed you. On the flipside you may also find yourself taking on greater challenges as your confidence soars as a result of being on such an adventure. Sometimes I feel as though I become more overwhelmed by tasks because I know that it’s all “on me”, I can’t phone a friend to race over and assist with babysitting duties. When these moments strike I have to try really hard to focus on the positives of our situation.
We’re all in this together
Although it is hard being away from your friends and family for the most part of the year, not knowing anyone and not having any support, this lifestyle still brings a lot of joy. For every close friend or family member I don’t see every day I meet a beautiful new person, even if sometimes it’s just for a few hours or a few days. Everyone on the road is in the same situation and because of this “we stick together”.
Quality time V quantity of time
This is especially relevant when camping in more remote areas and at road side “free camps” (rest stops). You spend a lot of quality, uninterrupted time together with people in a short time frame and because of that you get to know them really fast. Everyone is very relaxed because, ultimately, they are all on holidays. There is no T.V and mobile phones, you all just sit together by a camp fire and talk about the places you have seen and life in general.
How can I help you
One of the greatest things about being on the road is the way that everyone has something they want to give to others whether it is a message, a lesson or an actual item. Everyone has something to share. This kind of sharing and giving fills the void of the moments and support your friends and family “at home” bring to your life. Along the road you will have many experiences where you will be having a “down day” and someone will come into your life in a seemingly insignificant way or maybe a big way, but it will bring something to your day and fill the void for the time being.
For example: we met a young family at one point along the way and ended up spending time in two towns with them. Once we moved on from there (in a different direction to them) we were feeling a bit down and disconnected due to not “socialising” with other people for a few days. We ended up finding a motorhome broken down on the side of the road. They were absolutely destitute and the sun was setting. They had run out of fuel. We ended up giving them the contents of our Jerry can (which luckily was enough to get them to the next service station). We said they didn’t have to pay us but they gave us $50 for about $25 worth of fuel (refused to give us any less). This little stop with these people, which allowed US to help them made us feel refreshed and useful and connected. As we got in the car to drive away the man ran back over and handed us a lovely bottle of wine from his own winery, as a gift of gratitude. We ran into them at the next town and it was reaffirming to see a “familiar face”.
A bit of Zen
I believe that everything in life (and hence everything on the road) is a complementary process. For every negative there comes a positive, it’s not always enough to balance out the magnitude of the negative but it’s a reaffirming experience to say the least. When you have a bad day, spend the next day looking especially hard for the positives, they ARE there.
We all have something special to offer
I can guarantee you that when you are on the road, for every person you spend your days missing you will meet someone that brings something to your life – whether it is a beautiful story, a shared meal, a bottle of wine or a chat by the fire. There’s something humbling and reaffirming about connecting with a stranger along the road and I’m sure you will bring something special to their day too. After all, when we are feeling lonely, at least we are all lonely together.