I know solitary confinement is torture, but part of me thinks I’d do just fine with it. Obviously, I’d prefer it if it included my dogs and a fully-loaded ebook reader and something to write with and on, preferably keyboard-oriented, but even without all that, I think I’d be okay, at least for a longer while than most people. I’ve never been one of those people who can’t stand their own company and after almost twenty years of primarily working from home, I’m really pretty good at solitude.
Obviously, that doesn’t stop me from getting lonely–everyone is lonely sometimes–but I didn’t worry about loneliness being a problem in my traveling life. I considered it, but I thought I’d be fine. And I am. Mostly.
The interesting discovery I’ve made/am making is that loneliness is deeper, at least for me, when it comes with joy. When I’m having a bad day or something’s gone wrong, I might want someone to vent to or share with or even get help from — I spilled coffee everywhere this morning and it would be really nice if someone could have grabbed the computer while I was getting the dogs out of the way — but generally speaking, the thought doesn’t even occur to me. I grumble to myself or to the dogs and I try to take my time with problems and if I really need help, well, that’s what the phone is for. I don’t usually feel lonely because something’s gone wrong.
But when something’s gone right…when I see an incredible sunrise or a mysterious animal or have a funny story I want to share (like the text I got from my son the other day, where he said, “It is a mark of how Floridian I am that when I first started seeing icicles I thought they were decorations,” which just makes me smile every time I think of it)… that’s when I notice how alone I am. I’m still okay with it — it’s not like I’m in solitary confinement, my solitude is not breaking my spirit or driving me insane — but those are the moments when I feel lonely.
I suspect I will also notice how alone I am the first time Serenity has a major breakdown. Life happens. If I spend all my life on the road, then at some point, I will be stranded or I will have a flat tire and I’m definitely going to be wishing for company at that moment.
Anyway, I feel like I should be going somewhere profound with this thought but I’m not. It’s just an insight. I truly love my life right now. I feel incredibly lucky to be living the way I’m living, even when what I’m basically doing is sitting in a parking lot (as I am right now). My mobile tiny house life is far from perfect — I’ve got a pile of coffee-stained stuff in the middle of my floor waiting for me to solve the laundry problem and something that I haven’t been able to track down yet has made the van smell musty for a couple of days — but it is really damn good. So good, in fact, that I am lonelier than I imagined being. I’d call that ironic, but really maybe it’s just incongruous?
I’m currently in Wildwood, Florida, in a Thousand Trails campground. Yesterday, I was trying to pull a burr off Zelda and it just would not come — I finally realized it was a tick, incredibly bloated. I suspect half of it is still in her, but the internet assures me that it’ll probably come out on its own. So gross. The campground… well, I’m here because it’s a cheap place to stay while I work on Grace. I’m making a conscious effort, a quest, to find something beautiful every day. It’s harder than it should be. Fortunately, looking up almost always works.