This is how it all started.
Some time last year, or the year before that, I noticed an odd little tin can sitting in the driveway across the street. Our neighbors were getting a visit from their parents, but rather than impose and take up a bedroom, their guests brought their own personal space bubble in the form of a tiny teardrop trailer. I filed this away in my brain under the tabs: “adorable” and “retirement”.
The long string of personal loss came either during or some time shortly after this. First, my best friend from childhood, Kate, then Dad, Mom, Grandma, my dear friend and mentor, Jim. In the space of two years I’d lost the key people who had shaped the trajectory of my life and my foundations were starting to crack. At some point it became clear to me that waiting for retirement to do anything was not a good idea anymore. So I started imagining rolling down the road, carefree, with a portable bedroom following along behind me, and the search began in earnest.
The next stop on my search landed on the T@B trailer. Still had the cute factor, but with standing room. Richard and I have done a fair amount of “true” camping, like where you hike out miles with everything you are taking on your back. My dad raised me backpacking and he was a purist. Tents were for sissies and the only things you really needed were your Sierra Club cup, an old bandana, a Swiss Army knife, and the kind of stove that takes an insane amount of time to light and starts small fires along the way.
We’ve also done some bike touring and this was the experience I was trying to emulate. Here’s what we learned from bike touring: we don’t like bathrooming in campground facilities, we don’t like sleeping on the ground anymore, and it turns out I’m not that fond of biking really. At least not for close to a hundred miles a day. Richard lives for that. Go Sweetie. Not me. So we’re looking for something we can sleep in that I can drag from campground to campground while Richard spends the day in pedal heaven. And it has to have a shower.
A few hundred hours of web searching later, I arrived at the Safari Condo site. All the right boxes were checked with this baby with only a couple of downsides: it’s only made in Quebec, and the waiting list is about a year out. Bummer. So I went to see a T@B in person at a dealership 30 minutes away. I really wanted to want that trailer. I wanted to go crazy and impulsively buy whatever they had on the lot and tow it home. I stood up in it, laid down in it, tried to stand upright in the shower. I texted Richard things like: “Well….” “Uh…. ” “Maybe….” but I just wasn’t seeing us sharing such a small space without driving each other crazy.
About a week later, Safari Condo put me in contact with a couple on their way home to San Diego after picking their Alto trailer up from Quebec. And that was it. The text to Richard went something like: “OMG OMG OMG! This is IT!!!!”
So here we are. We called the next day (that’s what I’m remembering anyway) and placed our order for an Alto 1723 (the model with the shower). The delivery date was set for June 25th of the next year. As our anniversary is on June 26th, it seemed perfect. But also, next year. We are currently at 45 days and counting until our pickup date, and a mere 35 days until I hit the road in the new tow car crammed full of a year’s worth of trailer gear. It’s all starting to feel unnervingly real.