Twenty-four: The exact number of hours from the front door of our family home to Orlando.
Eleven: The amount years our family has made the journey from Ottawa to the Sunshine State in our RV.
One: The number of times we’ve made the trip without children, and dare I say, one of the best RV experiences yet.
Our annual journey south has always been a family affair, which is why we jumped into RVing in the first place. It’s the perfect way to spend time with children and my hope is to create vaults of memories for ours. Still, sometimes I envied RVers whose children had grown and left the nest. What would it be like to RV alone, I’d wonder. Is there more freedom? More care-free wandering? Less fighting and fewer bathroom breaks? Or are child-free travelers missing out? Perhaps adult-only vacations bring new challenges which balance any benefit. I wanted to find out.
So, with these questions in mind, my husband and I decided this year we’d dip our toes into the unknown waters of “kid-free RVing.” My parents – who cannot get enough of my children – accepted the “offer” to watch them for a week with the glee only grandparents can muster. And so it came that my husband and I would get a sans-children trip while delivering our RV south for the winter. With arrangements in place for our children to be spoiled rotten, err…be wrapped in loved for ten days, we hit the road. In case you’re wondering, a Type A Motorhome can indeed burn rubber in a suburban driveway. What can I say? We were excited.
In years past, the trip south has been – in a word – loud. I’d estimate that in the distance between Ottawa and Florida I hear “Mom!” over 16,000 times. I can also confirm that sibling rivalry packs light and makes an excellent traveler, because it always seems to find a seat in our family RV. Also, a One Direction CD can withstand the piercing glare of a pair of 40-something Eagles fans and when two pre-teen girls play it on loop they possess the collective power to cause temporary insanity. Yes; “loud” is exactly what best describes our family journey each year.
The first thing my husband and I noticed this time was the sound of silence. Sweet, sweet, silence. I was even able to drift off a few times without being startled awake with cries of “MOM! She touched me! And can you hit replay on that CD?” Hours would go by and not a word was uttered. It was heavenly.