Salute to Spouses Blog

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Running late but not behind

It was a cold and stormy night. The rain hammered on the RV roof. Slowly it gentled to a lulling pattern pushing her deep into much needed restorative sleep. Upon waking, she stretched, yawned, and heard the distinct toot of a car alarm – bolting upright she realized she had over slept and was late to class. How embarrassing since she got to park the RV overnight a few hundred yards from the classroom.

Nothing like waking up in the parking lot and still being late to class.

My master’s program is primarily online, but there is a physical campus and they do hold classes there so I am able to take both. In fact, for my state accreditation, I must take a certain number of credits on campus each term.

Campus is a leisurely five-hour drive from home through winding scenic byways skirting the major metro-centers along the east coast. It’s a drive I have done countless times in my travels along the eastern seaboard and one I love. There are good food stops, far flung friends, and beautiful vistas to be had.

There are actually several students from within an hour drive of my hometown who also commute to school these weekends we have to be on campus. Most of them choose to fly from one of two local airports. I find it interesting that we live in one of the few areas of the country where the rail system is actually very good, yet none of us opt to use it. I may have to explore that option one of these trips as I love train travel.

I see these five weekends each 15- week term as mini intensive educational vacations. Which, in turn tells me I have chosen the right career. Once this becomes the daily language and mode, I will feel like I am living a vacation wonderland. My eventual plan is to travel with my family in the RV teaching and seeing clients around the country who fit my very specific niche of integrative nutrition.

This is my second visit to campus. I have taken two other classes for the school, but they were held in a different location so this is the second time I am really on campus proper. The last time was a short one day visit, class was in the room we are assigned, and the professor lectured on his expectations and the major overview of the class.

I diligently checked the weather, being February in the northeast, and I decided it was going to be just warm enough to warrant pulling the RV out of winter storage for the weekend to blow out her cobwebs. Also being February in the northeast, I decided not to de-winterize the plumbing system for this short trip. To say it was colder and wetter than expected would be a bit of an understatement. I was glad to have left all of the extra blankets from our last chilly fall trip on board.

Next week my husband takes her out for his yearly training in Virginia. It will be his first solo voyage. In April I have two more school weekends and we have a short trip planned to visit a historical site for our daughter’s school. We already have our summer plans set up for travel to a new state.

We have this RV so we can use it for events and now classes at a distance from home where hotels charge center city rates even in the farthest burbs. This is exactly the kind of trip we want to be able to take as a family while one or more of us work through our educational trajectories, kids included.

I figure we are about two years out from living at least half time traveling in the RV from conference to lecture to clients. My career trajectory will take me to conferences and institutions for the next few years doing research and creating protocols with specific clients. We are hopeful that my husband’s career track will take a decidedly more parental tone after many years away with deployments and military life.

The ability to move from a tethered life to one of such freedom is intoxicating. It is becoming less of an oddity to be a traveler now. There are whole websites and blogs dedicated to “workamping,” travel nursing, and seasonal employment. Taking off and leaving the rat race behind to create your own yellow brick road is a growing trend. Just look at the proliferation of tiny house builders and young somethings eschewing massive material mansions.

The experiences we will gain and the friendships we can continue by virtue of our wheels is the whole reason we have this rig. By being truly dedicated to my master’s program and willing to work as hard as I play, I am hoping I create a dynamic career that leads to a life filled with experiences that my whole family can benefit from.

Next month the weather will be warmer, spring will have really sprung, I have plans in the works with local school friends to spend time with my kids. I just need to organize my husband’s time off from work so we can do a trial run with us all. This time I can guarantee I will not be late to class if my kids are in the RV with me.

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