I’ve read about several folks who took up the “fulltiming” life because they were fed up with their situation, their job, their neighborhood, the rat race or whatever. And I commend folks for having the wisdom to see they are unhappy and the courage to try something different. But our story is a bit different. For one, we are not really “fulltiming” because we are only going for 6 months. But also, we are not trying to escape from anything (well, perhaps a break from some of the hustle and bustle will be refreshing).
When we moved to Old Town Longmont in 1999 I was sure it was just going to be one step in our real estate future that would eventually put us on a several acre plot outside of town with plenty of storage for stuff and lots of privacy….perfect for my introverted life! We were renovating our 1890’s house and were starting to think about a place in the country (well, I was…..I think Steph was just humoring me). We’d go out house shopping and when we would come back to the ‘hood I’d get this feeling. A really good feeling. Like I was home. But this just could not be possible. Our house was too small, the yard too cramped, no garage, a shed that is shared with our neighbor whos house is only 9 feet from ours. But there was no denying the feeling…this was home.
On the surface Old Town Longmont looks like any other historic neighborhood. We have big matures trees. No two houses even look remotely alike. Every house has some quirk: a bathroom off the dining room, a porch light with no switch, a mysterious step between two rooms, nothing is straight, nothing is level, drafty windows, creaky floors….you get the picture. But I often wonder if under the skin other neighborhoods are the same. People sit out on their porches. Garages are rare so you see people coming and going, you say hi and maybe chat a bit. Folks walk or bike almost as much as they drive. Droves of us walk our kids to school together and after the bell rings the playground is still full of parents socializing. We have block parties, family bike night, and impromptu get togethers. I really feel like we are living in a Norman Rockwell painting.
Then one day it hit me. The feeling of home was not about the physical location or the tangible housing….it was the people. It was our community. We are designed for relationships and this was the proof for me. Even my introverted self was being drawn into community and it felt right.
About the same time I began to realize that church was more than just a Sunday spectator event. It was a community. A family. I began serving on the worship team and in children’s ministry. We got involved with some small groups and became intentional about doing life together with these folks. I’m still an introvert but I’m beginning to come out of my shell a bit and bask in the warmth of community.
Now, none of this is news to my wonderful wife Steph. She is all about community and serving and being intentional in relationships. And so she is worried about our time on the road and its affect on our community. I’ve tried to ease her mind by telling her about the many fulltimers who say that they have been more social and felt more a part of a community while traveling than they ever did pre-nomadic life. Whether this is true for us we do not yet know…our bar is pretty high. But I do know that the fulltiming community is alive and kicking. A shout out to the Boyinks and Keiters who have been an amazing resource and encouragement to us!