When I was around ten or eleven, my dad bought a truck with a little home-made camper on top of it. The truck looked more like a car…all sleek and slim. The camper was made with plywood and painted green. The roof was canvas. It looked sort of, kind of, maybe…like this.
That is so not really right, but I like it anyways. The little area over the truck cab was so small that I couldn’t make myself share the space with my sister. I slept in a lawn chair outside. My parents slept on the table…lowered down to the level of the bench seats. There was no bathroom. The kitchen consisted of a tiny counter with a propane camp stove and an ugly gray water cooler.
Camper – Meh! Camping – Awesome!
I did NOT like camping in it on those rare occasions that we went to Atwood State Park in Ohio. I loved being there. I just didn’t like having to sleep and spend time with three other people in THERE. Outside the camper, my parents left me to my own. I explored the woods and spent a lot of time looking at the other campers. There were no Winnebagos that I can recall. Mostly there were tents, truck campers, little vintage trailers, and some old school buses converted into campers.
That was the moment…there at Atwood State Park. It was seeing those little RVs. To me they were little homes and I wanted one of my own. I wanted to see what they looked like inside.
First Glimpse at my Introversion
When our own camper was at home, it sat out under a tree, balanced on four stilts that cranked down to allow the truck to pull out from under it. Dad left the little camper sitting there on its thin legs. I was allowed to go inside whenever I wanted. I felt like this was some sort of right-of-passage. I was at last old enough to do something by myself. The little camper was not hooked to electricity, so it was always a bit dark inside. I didn’t care. I went out and sat on the bench seat and just thought. I imagined myself living in there and being on my own. I locked the door and it was thrilling to just be allowed to lock a door. Privacy. My first privacy. My first solitude. And I liked it. I didn’t need it all the time. A few minutes at a time was enough to give me the energy to go back out and be around others. I just loved getting that time to myself, even though I didn’t really have anything to do out there. Mostly it was just sitting in the dim light, smelling the odd wooden structure and the plastic covered seats; taking time to just be.
That was how it started; my being an introvert and finding a way to do that and not to feel like I was weird. I was just me. I discovered how much I savored quiet moments, the listening to things…really concentrating on things around me