Hi friends! If you’re new here, thanks for reading! I was incredibly honored to be included in Substack’s featured publication this past week, and my heart is filled with everyone I now get to share my stories with.
I traveled for over two years in our motorhome and will continue to travel for years to come, but simply have a home base now.
If you know of anyone who would be interested in some short stories from an anxious traveler, I would feel very grateful if you would share this piece.
The smell of our RV is sour.
It’s not a scent I recognized our RV ever having the entire 28 months we traveled in it. Before it was fully ours, it smelled vaguely of someone else’s cleaning products and travel memories.
But it has sat for 154 days, and 150 of those, we have not slept in it.
When we bought our house in February, my partner, Jeremiah, and I had decided to purchase mostly new things for the home. This reasoning was two-fold. First, RVs do not have a lot of furniture. What little furniture exists is built-in to be able to travel down the freeway. (Which still amazes me, by the way.) And secondly, we intend on traveling often and want to be able to just “get up and go,” without packing the RV with all our necessities. While we weren’t buying an entirelyly new wardrobe, every day was a game of back-and-forth between finding things we needed in the house and deciding whether to repurchase them (cast iron) or move it out from the motorhome (our stainless drink shaker.)
We slept in the RV for four nights until our mattress was delivered. When our mattress arrived, I took armfuls of clothes into our house and hung them in the guest bedroom.
We began filling our house. A Facebook Marketplace desk was purchased. A couch was found at Costco. A Craiglist fridge was installed. There were fewer reasons to return to the motorhome. After a week, I cleaned out the fridge and freezer, vacuumed the dirt we’d tracked in, and left the motorhome.
And then, the motorhome sat idle and lonely, his only friends some now dead bugs.
I rinsed the anxiety of living in a large space--an 1800 sq foot house--down the drain while I took long luxurious hot showers. (Eight minutes long!)
I had no need to return until yesterday when I wanted a docking station for my dual monitors, so I trekked across our slope of land in the hot afternoon. 92 degrees farenheit: so humid even the air was sweating.
When I walked in, I thought I would be greeted by an old friend. A place of refuge and of adventure. A safe space. Instead, a sour stench hit me.
I had searched our cupboards months ago for any dry goods that were opened and could possibly go bad. We had laundered our towels and bedding, then brought it back in folded and in drawers. Still, the sourness pervaded and hung heavy. It was hotter in the RV than outside by a good ten degrees putting it somewhere in the 100s.
Sweat gathered on my upper lip and above my eyebrows. I fumbled through the half-empty cupboard, gathered what I needed, then walked to the bathroom area and looked to the left: our bedroom and my office, and to the right; our living area, kitchen, dining room, and Jeremiah’s office. All of that in such a small space. I could see everything we had lived in for over two years without moving. I fingered through some of the shelves and touched a puzzle, our camera tripod, a picture that had fallen from the wall. And all of it smelled.
The time had passed with the door and windows shut, and as we know, time passes both slowly and quickly. It seems like yesterday we hit the road in our motorhome: like those 2-and-a-half years were mere weeks or months. It certainly could not have been that long since I had aired out the RV.
Or maybe it had.
This weekend I’m going to turn the motorhome generator on, pop on the AC, and search for the sour smell that lingered in the heat. I’ll re-launder the sheets and towels. Sweep the dead bugs up. Look for any water leaks. Maybe I’ll give the motorhome a full bath.
And then I’ll get it ready, make a list of things we need to stock up on, and plan our next adventure because no motorhome deserves to smell sour.
Thanks for traveling with me,
this was a sweet read <3