We've been traveling in this van for about two weeks now. We've gotten used to the cramped space, the fact that if there are five people trying to move around, at least half will be sitting down to get out of everyone else's way.
We've gotten used to thinking on the right side of the road.
Those of us in the back have become accustomed to shouting out back-up directions.
"You have a meter left!" I'll shout, knowing there's about a meter and a half. Dad's stop reflexes often don't kick into gear until the third frantic "DAD STOP NOW!" and it's always better to be on the safeside.
We've also learned to interpret Mom's ridiculous signals-- a sort of fifth position ballet hands, with a torso twist to either side means to turn the wheel.
On a ridiculous tangent, I'm amazed I remember ballet hand positions. The last time I took a class in that was when Ileana was in kindergarten. It's fascinating what you can remember.
And we've learned to adjust to ridiculous bumps and bruises. Big Bear tends to bounce up and down over the most ridiculous little potholes, especially in the back. We've learned to close all the laptops or move base to the table in the relative center of the RV.
And don't let me forget we've learned to live together in a way we've never quite had to before. The minuscule space means that we've gotten used to co-existing. And let me tell you, there's a huge difference between co-existing in a hotel room roughly twice the width of this camper van and half the length of it and co-existing in the camper van. For one thing, there's a larger passageway and everyone has a comfortable bed to flop down on.
Our beds are either two feet below the ceiling or non-existant during the day. And existing in something just two feet from the ceiling is not fun in any way, shape, or form.
But it's all worth it in some weird, twisted way.
We eat up the miles, we can stop at a stunning vista (I love those words), and everything is so insanely green.
I love just looking at it. The faraway mountains are blue. Sometimes they have crowns of fluffy clouds around them. Sometimes there's not a cloud in the sky. We can whiz by thousands of pastures with thousands of sheep on them. Sometimes there are cows instead.
Rarely, more commonly in the south, there are enormous reindeer herds. They're still just as skittish as they would be in the wild, and they almost blend into the green, even though they're a nondescript light brown.
It's a peaceful landscape, and calming. Most of all, when you step out, it's quiet. There's only the wind, and that's occasional.
The smell of it is beautiful. Fresh and crisp and clear.
It makes you feel just a bit more alive than usual.