I can honestly say that I don’t remember if I have ever had a “staycation” before. At least not since 1979 when I began my traveling career with Braniff Airlines, I can’t recall a time when I didn’t purchase an airline ticket, a bus ticket, a Lonely Planet Guide, or at least pack a bag in prep for vacation. It feels very odd to do so little prep for “PTO,” (time off from work,) such a precious commodity over the years. Instead of packing a suitcase, I packed away the makeshift desk, the routers, boosters, antennae and power cords, started my engine and drove 50 miles up the coast to the northern end of Assateague National Seashore in Maryland.
It’s a lovely campground with sites right along the dunes where I can finally hear the ocean lull me to sleep each night. Though probably a bit crowded by some standards, the sites are all angled with some brush in between for privacy.
Although there is lots of maritime forest vegetation on the lee side of the island, the windward side is quite barren. No sea grass in the dunes, remnants of seashells, or even dried seaweed on the beach. Just windswept bare sugary white sand as far as you can see in either direction. The four days I have been here, the wind is either blowing a gale or not at all, so the ocean follows suit with either giant, angry waves, or calm as a bathtub.
The bayside would no doubt be the kayaker’s dream, however like the ocean side, the wind has been a factor. When it is calm enough for an enjoyable paddle, the “greenheads,” or biting horse flies are intolerably relentless.
Assateague is known for its wild horses. They are referred to as “horses” here, not “ponies” like they are known on the Virginia side, and they appear to be more laid back sun bathers here rather than swimmers. 😉
There is another solo female RVer in the campground. She came over for a visit yesterday. She had gotten word that there was another “single lady” in the camping loop, as if that should bond us like a Beyonce’ song. “All the Single Ladies!!” She is one of those fidgety older women who asks a million questions “Why,” then proceeds to tell me everything I am doing wrong, from my DC volt meter to my SPF sunscreen. I stopped just short of telling her my mother had not yet retired from her job. 😉
I have enjoyed turning my little shell home into my own beach cottage, angling it into the parking space to maximize the privacy, the view, as well as the sound of the ocean through my bedroom window. I am enjoying a good read while at the beach; Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz, a modern day comedic “explorer” who set off to retrace the navigational routes of Captain Cook. I find that full timing does not offer as much spare time as one might think, between working, repositioning, and researching one destination to the next, so it has been fun to unplug and read about the remarkable 18th century navigational achievements back before the days of maps, Siri, and the GPS.
The last two weeks of the month are always my busiest time at work, which meant I had to cram 10 days of work into five before vacation started. Consequently, I had little to no time for “personal grooming.” My brother Don is meeting me at the next stop. Having been four months since my last “hair refresh,” my fear is he will confuse me for his grandmother rather than his sister. I meant to get this taken care of in Chincoteague, but I ran out of time. People I meet along the road are always talking about how “brave” it is traveling alone as a woman in an RV. You wanna talk “brave?” Try guessing at a hair color from a box, then coloring in a national park with no hookups, no mirrors, and cold water showers. 😉
Once I am done, I am not happy with the result. I want my sun-streaked hair back, gray and all. As I get closer to Manhattan and a life I had 10 years ago of black tie affairs and designer suits, I realize how my simplified life has changed me. I stopped wearing make-up, much to the chagrin of my Mom. She loves to remind me, “A little powder and a little paint, makes a woman what she ain’t,” to which I tease her in reply, “Exactly, Mom. I don’t like to be what I ain’t.”
I realize in the shedding process of becoming a Hermit crab, I have also shed some of my vanity. If you subscribe to the theory that “happiness is an inside job,” that is not necessarily a bad thing. Particularly when one is on Staycation.