With plans for lots of RV trips over the next few years Betty and I have been discussing how we will travel and still stay connected with those at home. Also, how do we get involved in the communities where we find ourselves camped for a week or two? Just sightseeing or sitting in a chair in front of the RV for days on end is not what a satisfying retirement means to us.
With three young grandkids, our first thought is our travels could be used as a tremendous educational tool for them. With all the ways of staying in touch at our disposal, we will have the ability to send pictures of where we have been and provide links to web sites that detail the history and importance of various historical sites.
Betty thought we should give the kids state maps or an atlas with our route highlighted. Then, as we update everyone on our position they will learn some geography and get an early understanding of the locations and differences between the states we drive through.
Skype video will enable us to check in on a regular basis and answer any questions they may have.
My dad is used to a lunch time visit from Betty and me every 10 days or so; 75 days is a long time for us to be gone. Regular phone calls will assure him we are fine and enjoying the trip. Of course, he can call us at any time if he has a problem or a concern. Our daughters live not far from his retirement community so they can visit occasionally or do some of the shopping that he certainly will need over such a long period.
What about becoming more than just strangers passing through? We won't be in any one location long enough to become a part of any community, but there must be a way we can interact with locals, or at least leave the place a little nicer than when we arrived. After brainstorming, here are a few of our ideas – I hope you will add more:
- Pick up trash at a local park or town area
- Attend a local church each Sunday, share fellowship with others
- Pay the bill for the person behind us in the drive-through lane
- Donate books we have read to the local library
- Make a donation to a local food bank
- Eat and shop at local merchants instead of national chains whenever possible
- Leave some extra quarters on top of the washer or dryer at the Laundromat
- Leave an extra-generous tip for a particularly hardworking waitress/waiter
What would you suggest we can do to make our trips more meaningful and productive?
A road trip is chance to relax and explore, deepen our relationship, help educate the grandkids, and make the places we stay just a little better. To just pass through, take a few pictures, and add another state to our "been there" list isn't satisfying enough.