Valentine’s Day has recently come and gone. What could be more befitting than the subject of the above title? I’ve always been a true romantic, though not always an optimistic one. Some may be surprised to know that when I decided to become an RV-living gypsy, I gave very little thought about having a love life. I guess it was for a good reason. In the four and a half years I’ve been single, I have had not one long-term relationship. This is not by choice, though relationship gurus and teachers of the Law of Attraction may tell you otherwise. Maybe I’m still holding on to deep issues from my messed up childhood. Could it be that I’m not visualizing Mr. Gypsy with enough focus and faith to bring him forth into my life? Erm… No. I want a relationship.
Though there may be some truth to the above, I honestly believe having (and keeping) someone good in one’s life has a strong element of luck, timing, and circumstance at the heart of it. It is the hand of fate. But, I digress. I didn’t consider the issue of dating when making my decision to be a nomad because my luck with men has been beyond disappointing (i.e. shitty).
After a lot of fruitless Internet first dates and relationship false starts, I’ve grown to accept my hand. I have to share that Internet dating is a horrible way to meet someone. In the online world, people tend to have a shopping cart approach to finding a mate. A date becomes more expendable because three more dates can easily be scheduled that week. That guy or gal you’re really hitting it off with keeps any sort of commitment with you at arm’s length because there is a bigger and better deal a click away. These Picky Pickers fail to realize that it is just as difficult meeting someone special online as it is meeting someone randomly on the street! Online dating only gives the illusion that there are countless numbers of people that you can happily be well matched with. Having said that, I do have four friends who have met their spouses this way, but there are also people who win the lottery. I sometimes wonder if becoming a gypsy is a way for me to prepare for a life alone… an exciting, fulfilling and adventurous life, but most likely, alone.
What I didn’t consider with this lifestyle was how potential suitors would perceive me. I realized that many men may associate women and vans with EASY SEX. At the dealership where I work, some men have dubbed Eunice as the Shaggin’ Waggin’. I was even asked, in jest, if I had “Christened” my van yet. I wasn’t offended by this question, as I was also wondering when that would happen! Though they are being playful, I can’t help but ponder if at the heart of their folly, they perceive women with vans (especially vans with beds) as more “sexually accessible”. I feel that I’m no more or less accessible than any other and truth be told, I’m a healthy woman and have needs.
With dating, I find there are adjustments I have to make. By adjustments I mean defenses. Months ago, I was on the phone with a older successful gentleman that I was set up with by a mutual friend. He asked me the awkward question, “Where do you live?” I jokingly told him that I live “everywhere” and how I moved into my camper van. He chuckled in a fatherly way and asked if our friend knew that I was doing this… as if I was in some sort of trouble. Though he seemed okay with it, I realized not every man would be comfortable with the way I live. I passed on meeting him in person, but from our conversation, I decided not to talk about my lifestyle until I knew that my date would be cool with it. Also, it’s a good practice in safety to hold off on giving that piece of information until trust is established. Though I have an alarm system and an NRA sticker on the back of my rig, why invite trouble?
I want to be a gypsy, but I also would like to have a meaningful relationship. Since most people have a traditional home, I would most likely be expected to settle down if I meet someone worth while. However, I can’t alter my plans for someone who may not come into my life… or worse, someone who does. God forbid someone comes into my life for the sole karmic purpose of bungling up my plans!
For the first time in my life, I fear finding the relationship I want. Since day one, I asked myself, “What happens if I meet someone within the three months that I am giving myself to leave Connecticut?” I didn’t dwell too much on it because, seriously, what are the chances? I do recognize that my needs and desires push and pull me in different directions. This life stuff is complicated.
I figured I should actively find a way to merge my gypsy lifestyle with finding a life partner. Maybe I could go online and join groups to find another vandweller to whom I can be suitably mated. It makes perfect sense, but I think I’ll pass on that idea. Forgive my prejudices when I say that I believe many men who choose the nomadic lifestyle (with the exception of men who are under 25, divorced, or jumped in with a wife or girlfriend) are either gay, confirmed bachelors, or eccentric loners. Since the main biological goal of men is to attract women, most wouldn’t choose this lifestyle if having one in their life for a permanent relationship were a priority.
I figure I’ll keep things joyfully open-ended by traveling the U.S. and perhaps meet someone along the way, maybe “settling down” if the things worked out. After all, it’s a big country out there! If not, I’ll continue on with my gypsy ways. I have tried to guide fate’s hand my moving my online dating profile to parts of the country that I’m interested in exploring. However, I admit this was done mostly out of curiosity to see which parts of the U.S. I was considered most attractive. Not surprisingly, it was not in my own state!
Though my online excursion was mostly experimental, I did connect with an interesting man named John* in Ohio (my most popular state). From what I could tell, we shared many of the same values and beliefs. This appealed to me because most men I happen to meet tend to be agnostic/atheist and have values opposite from my own… I tend to skew towards “Midwestern”. He had no problem temporarily carrying on a long distance relationship and he was open to moving outside of his state. We spoke on the phone for a week before deciding to video chat on Skype.
The Saturday we were to chat, I broke from my usual weekend schedule and set up my laptop at Dunkin’ Donuts for our 3pm date. Though a plain Jane, I made sure I wore makeup and had my hair back so he could easily see my features. I rarely use Skype, so I made sure the speakers and microphone worked and that the webcam was well positioned. I was ready!
At around 2:55pm, in walked two men. Like all of the other patrons coming in and out, I barely noticed them. They were the opposite of each other in appearance, stature and bearing. The first man was tall, fair, with a robust build and carried himself with a slow and steady confidence. The second man was dark, much shorter, with a compact body that was controlled by quick sharp movements. The first man picked up his order and turned away from the counter. I looked up from my laptop and his eyes met mine, lingering longer than a passing glance. I saw that he was ruggedly handsome. He said hello and I returned his greeting as he sat down at the next table facing me. I put on my headphones and continued with setting up my video call. He insisted on starting a conversation with me anyway.
His name was Beau*, an avid outdoorsman who has hiked and camped all over the U.S. One of the things that impressed me most was that he enjoys camping, even in the dead of winter… that’s pretty hardcore. We talked for hours until his friend dragged him out of the shop. He asked me out for a date before he left and I accepted. Beau called me up an hour later and we went out to a dinner and a movie that very night! That was a month ago and we’ve been spending time together almost everyday ever since. I have also come to know that not only does he have a love of nature and travel, but he is also in touch with his spirituality and has reverence for God.
I can say that I’ve had a beautiful Valentine’s Day! Perhaps I should take back what I said about going online to find love. After all, I have met someone special while on an Internet date! Jest and butterflies aside, what now of my gypsy plans? Oh, that hand of fate.
*Name changed to protect the innocent and infamous.