Occasionally we will run into a couple living full-time or part-time out of their airstream or RV. Naturally, after telling us about their reasons for choosing retirement on the road, they ask us about our story. A nice “what are you two doing out here?” segue. We mention the engagement ring and they chuckle; they know that keeping romance alive on the road when you’re living in such tight quarters is difficult enough for seasoned couples. But for newbies like us…
The good news is that we're not (quite) newbies. We've been together eight years(!) We graduated. Went to grad school. Got jobs. Moved across the country together. Tended a garden. Got a dog. Did the long-distance thing for two years. Moved back in together. Bought and renovated a trailer. It’s not a conventional path, but it’s one that’s tested us.
Still, life on the road is an entirely different animal. I’m used to more freedom. Carson is okay with closer quarters. I need alone time. He’s okay with us knowing each other’s bathroom schedules. It’s so us, and yet not at all.
One way we keep the romance is just getting ready in the morning. It’s easy to say “I’ll just wear these same sweatpants.” Harder to opt for jeans and a jacket. Another "I love you" moment: setting things up. I don’t like the outside stuff — i.e. hooking up the holding tank and securing the hose. Carson is less inclined to do dishes and cook a meal. Sometimes love in a trailer is saying thank you when your partner bites the bullet.
I can't say we go on "date nights." I don't ever think that's been in our vocabulary as a couple. But we do occasionally go out to eat. We split meals -- if only they allowed you to cash in your senior citizen discount early... We take turns treating one another to coffee and tea at the coffee shops we work at along the way. And when we really want to kick up the "love factor," Carson will say "surprise me with a soda from the gas station." And I pick him out Orange Fanta. And, of course, it's just what he wanted.
Bottom line: romance on the road is not what you think it is. I say "I love you" more now than ever before. And it's because we need each other for survival in this crazy road trip. And it's hard. And when you're tested and tested and tested, you eventually just become more grateful and appreciative. And isn't that what we're suppose to do anyway?
We love each other. More than ever before. But it just looks different. And it’s just what we needed.