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Life Lessons from a Father Who Cried His First Day of RVing

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

I’ve always tried to not envision myself a certain way as I’ve gone through life. Thank goodness I didn’t see my future self as a filthy rich entrepreneur with six-pack abs at 37 years old. If you lift up my shirt or check my bank account, you’ll quickly see that neither of these have come true.

However, one thing I’ve always envisioned for myself was to be a father. I didn’t know how many children I would have. I didn’t know if they would be biological, adopted, special needs, boy, girl, nothing specific. I just knew I wanted to be a dad. I wanted someone that I could pass a piece of my heart and my inner beliefs on to.

It took us over a year, but a little over 3 years ago Marissa and I brought Hensley into this world. I had no clue what the future had for her or for me as a dad. I just knew I loved her more than I could have imagined and somehow I continue to love her more and more every day.

During the last 2 years of living in an RV, I’ve seen my little girl learn to run, speak full sentences, develop a sense of humor, and embrace the unknown. I’ve seen her count, sound out her alphabet, and sing her heart out to the the Trolls Movie soundtrack (I’m much more open to Justin Timberlake as a Troll than a teenage heart-throb in a boy band).

We’ve been through a lot as a family in an RV. Everything is closer. More personal. And we feel what each other is feeling on a regular basis. There are no rooms to retreat to. No separate TVs. Nowhere to hide. It’s all in the open.

I remember crying as I held Hensley only 1 day into our first RV purchase. The trailer had much more wrong with it than the owners led me to believe.

We’d already handed the money to the owner and pulled into our first campground 2 hours away for the night. However, pulling into the campground was about the only thing we could do with the camper.  Unknown to us, the toilet was busted. The Kitchen sink pipes were cracked. The bathroom sink was toast. The shower had water streaming out of the wrong places. The instant-hot (that’s french for very expensive) water heater literally looked like someone had put a bullet through it.

I didn’t know it yet, but all this damage was going to be $3,000 to fix. And it was my fault. I hadn’t fully inspected the trailer. I believed the people selling it to me when they told me all the water had been flushed out the winter before.

As I stood in the RV bedroom holding Hensley, emotions crept over me as I felt like I’d let my family down. Dreams of selling our house and being closer as a family had led us down this path, but unfortunately I’d blown almost all of our money on a 5,000 pound super shiny paper weight.