My first car was a 1980 Honda Accord, that had been painted a bright red-orange using a can of latex wall paint. I know because the extra paint was included in the price of the car. Then I inherited a series of cars from my mom. First a red Nissan Sentra. Then a silver Toyota Corrolla. Then I bought my first Prius. Then Nathan bought the second. And now we have a van that’s more like a yacht than an automobile. I’ve loved each of these cars in their time. They’ve all served me well, and each one holds special memories of places I’ve gone, songs I’ve sung, and friends I’ve traveled with.
But the Westfalia Camper remains my dream car.
My dad had several of these campervans when I was a kid, and I loved our camping road trips. I loved the hours on the highway. I loved all the places I could hang out during the trip (front seat, back seat, sometimes the middle seats, and if those were missing, I could dance on the center floor space...this was before seat belts were popular.) I loved that in the evenings, we’d pop the top up, cook ourselves some dinner, curl up in sleeping bags, and sleep outside, but not quite outside. I decided I would spend a good deal of my post-college life seeing the U.S. in my own Westfalia camper. My friends and I called it my “Westfalia Camper Plan.” Heteo suggested we drive to Tierra del Fuego.
I love the space you find on a road trip. As much as I appreciate the sights and the sounds and songs and the snacks associated with being in the car for hours, it may be the room to think I appreciate most. Something about the rhythm of the highway makes the mind a little looser, and more relaxed. I was driving back from mom’s house when I came up with “meteowrite.” I spent another such drive choosing carpet for the house I hoped Nathan and I would buy one day. I mapped out the boy’s family history blog on a trip to Fresno. I’ve “written” countless stories. It’s easy to imagine when you’re driving.
For our honeymoon, Nathan and I traveled to New Zealand, and we spent three weeks driving a campervan. It was heavenly. Somewhere towards the end of our trip, I spent several hours imagining what it would be like to travel with our future children. I bought us an imaginary RV, and pictured our cross-country road trips. Perhaps the kids would be home schooled? And they’d have their cameras, certainly. My only requirement would be that they would update a blog, keeping a journal of their travels. We’d drive and learn and see and think and document.
In real life, I don’t see the Westfalia Camper Plan as a viable option any time soon. I don’t drive stick shift. I don’t want to homeschool. I like my job, I like my house. But I do hope the boys develop a little bit of my wanderlust, and I hope they love a good road trip. And they’d better like to blog. Before too much longer, I’ll load them up in the yacht-van, pack some traveling tunes and some sleeping bags, and we’ll see where we end up.