Once upon a time, there was romance to the Gypsy life. Your wagon, your people, on the road forever. A culture shared. A world with music, dancing, and the horizon as your world. These days, when people talk about “hitting the open road,” they are discussing a truck. A big truck, from approximately 20 feet (a very small one) to maybe 40 (more?) feet … which is about the size of big trucks you see hastening from city to city on the roads.

gypsy wagon with hohrse


I might have gotten my head wrapped around the horse and wagon, but I’m sure the truck wouldn’t do it for me. I know it has become quite trendy to sell everything and pack it all in a recreational vehicle, otherwise known as an “RV.” I’ve also noticed that the romance with the road tends to last a few months at most and the rest of the time is spent looking for somewhere to settle down.

America’s roads are, for the most part, not romantic and you can’t just park your RV anywhere you like. It isn’t self-sufficient. It needs pumping. Gasoline. Electricity. Water. There are places you can stay. They aren’t beautiful and they aren’t free.

When I think about giving up my roots and hitting the open road … selling it all and taking that big old gypsy wagon, er, RV … down the endless highway, my whole life stuffed in it … rolling place to place, sleeping wherever we find ourselves and waking to watch the sun rise somewhere, I start making charts, budgets, schedules. I calculate the price of gasoline. Do you know how much it costs to run an RV? It’s not how many miles to the gallon. More like how many gallons to the mile. Seriously — that’s a lot of money.

Much as I love them, I don’t see us hitching up the horses, either. As a start, I would have no idea how to hitch up the horses. I have a feeling it isn’t as easy as it looks in the movies. Actually, come to think about it, how often have you seen the star or starlet of a movie actually hitching the horses to a wagon?

Driving them? Maybe, but getting those big, heavy harnesses on? That’s what the crew does, I’m sure. Giddyup!

We have dogs. There we are, rolling down the long road, singing while watching the gas gauge drop, We realize one of more of the dogs is restless. Is he or she serious? Or just messing with our heads? Do we want to take a chance on guessing wrong? Our dogs are smart enough to think it’s a hoot to get us to stop the wagons so they can get outside and run around, day or night. Their cheerful barks will surely be the hit of the RV park.


With no doggy door, no fenced yard, it’s us, the dogs, the leashes, and the weather.

“Please, go, it’s late, I’m tired, I want to go to bed,” while Bonnie snickers at me as only a Scottie can. And then there is the matter of bathrooms. My husband has a thing about the bathroom. He loves them. Big, comfortable ones with a spacious shower and unlimited hot water. Room to spread out. That leaves me searching for a private spot in the bushes.

One more minor issue: someone — I’m guessing me — has got to pump out the head, fill the water tanks. Hook up to the electricity. Buy groceries. Dog food. Cook meals in a tiny kitchen galley. I don’t much want to cook even with in a fully equipped kitchen. Will I rediscover the joy of cooking in the galley of an RV? I doubt it. I don’t think Garry would last a week. I might wear out even sooner.

So let’s say we bought a small truck, in this case, a 26-footer. This is what our new home would look like — or at least, sort of.

The gypsy life is a great idea. You should definitely try it.

Please send me postcards!

34 thoughts on “NOT FOR US THE GYPSY LIFE

  1. Oh Marilyn, My apologies, both for not being aware of your reply and if I in any way implied you should give it a go. There’s no way I’d try and compel anyone into that lifestyle, And I should have registered that you’re not a youngster but I didn’t, sorry. Still, I find the people I know and meet are mostly very resilient and adaptable and making do or putting up with self-imposed hardship is quite do-able provided it fits their purpose. Like living in a shoe box on the back of a pick-up in order to travel to places they couldn’t manage any other way. Once upon a time I’d have liked to walk the Pacific Crest but other things got in the way, now I’d settle for walking from Wales to Lincoln and up the river that bears my name and on to Argyle where there’s another wee burn of the same name that is much more relevant. A journey with a purpose, a hikoi through the lands of my ancestors. I still can’t afford to travel around the world to do that or more, I can’t bring myself to adjust my priorities in order to afford to do that. That in itself is a state of mind just as much as putting up with the privations inherent in such a journey or leaving a comfortable home to live in a wagon and Enjoy It.


  2. I think it’s a state of mind thing. Friends raised 2 teenagers in a bus for several years while building a 2 storey log house. When they moved across they ddidn’t have enough room for the things from the bus, lots of floor, a sit-in fireplace and big windows but not a lot of places to put things without creating clutter. Gypsey’s then (and now) don’t pay rent and aren’t tied to a job (to pay rent). It might now be a lifestyle choice, but the choice is to do away with accepted trappings of ordinary society and not be tied to a place by job, chattels and mortgage.


    • I’m not saying it’s not a life for anyone ever under any circumstances. I’m just saying for me, at my age, with my heart condition and arthritis, not to mention dogs and enthusiastic use of WiFi … with both of us in our 70s? Not for us. There was a time in my life when it might have appealed to me … and by the way, neither of these is a caravan or a MOVING life. Which was what I was talking about. Regardless, it’s not for us. If it works for someone else? Enjoy. Send postcards. Write about it. I’ll read the book and maybe even enjoy the movie.

      At our age, it’s not a state-of-mind thing. More like a survival thing.


  3. I can’t even romanticize about that lifestyle. I get stir crazy to get back into my normal routines after just two days on a regular vacation in a hotel. I’ll pass on the RV and/or covered wagon…


    • Aside from any practical considerations such as “I’d rather live in an RV than on the street,” all of that rolling along the road stuff does some unfortunate stuff to my back and innards. Two days of driving and nothing works right anymore. I can actually understand WHY someone would want to do it. It’s just not for US.


  4. When we were living up north, I remember some people were talking about selling everything and living their retirement on a boat. I would imagine that would lose its allure pretty fast too. Nice to get away every now and then but there’s no place like home.


    • A houseboat — as opposed to a sailing boat — is a reasonable way to live IF you are VERY HANDY. If there’s a lot of work in a regular house on land, imagine the complications of having your house floating on water.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think they were planning on living on a sail boat and travelling the world on it. Not my cup of tea when I get sea sick so easily. I don’t know what happened to them.


  5. Humorous. Entertaining.

    I had suggested to my wife that when our nest is empty we take to the open road in an AirStream. If she reads this she would certainly knock the air out of my stream.


    • You should really think long and hard about it. It doesn’t work for most people. It sounds great. But for older people, NOT so great. Especially in the kitchen and bathroom departments, not to mention that living in a truck is not quite as easy as everyone thinks — until they have one. And much harder beds, too.

      All those things that are automatic now? you have to do by hand. Like pumping out the toilets and soiled water. Oh, and laundry. No machines. No books, no pictures, little storage and a very tiny fridge. Ironically, when I was young, I’d probably have enjoyed it — for a while. Now? I want my comfy chair. I want my big screen TV. I WANT MY WIFI!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We’ve (me included) gotten soft over time! And our countries have gotten over regulated (which given the size of the population is quite appropriate – would we want millions of these things roaming the highways?)

    The gypsy life is largely for a bygone time but probably wasn’t all it was romanticised to be anyway.

    I’m sure your dogs would be up for it though! 😉



    • The idea of millions of senior citizens roaming the roads in huge RV trucks is terrifying. The truckers are all that great, but a 50 foot RV in the hands of an 80 year old who was never all that great about backing up? OY VAY.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The hottest trend these days is “tiny homes.” They’re built on flatbed trailers and are hauled by trucks. Much better than RVs. My wife and I watch a number of shows on HGTV about tiny homes and have been giving some serious thought to building one. They typically range from 175 to 350 square feet, but you can also build a “foundation-based” tiny home (i.e., it’s not mobile) and they can be 500 to 750 sf. Check out one of the tiny homes shows on HGTV.


    • I’ve read a lot of about them. I don’ t see what advantage they would offer us, other than conveniently fitting on our land. If I’m going to have a house, i might as well have room for us and the dogs, though one as a vacation studio might be lovely … in the right place. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Now me, I would give my eye teeth for one of these things… as long as it came with the funds to run it and keep me fed. But in an ideal world, I could wander for weeks at a time, then come home to my bathroom and washing machine 😉


        • Many people do. I think it’s fine for those who don’t need to do it ALL the time … or those few who really do want to live in a truck. I’d love it as a way to travel, — as long as I came HOME when the travel was done. And I don’t think I’d be that great at dealing with the care and feeding of a truck. A horse? Maybe, but not a truck.


            • Would England even have room for those big trucks? Most of them are REALLY big. I can even imagine trying to maneuver the little roads in the UK in something so bulky. I’d be more inclined to get an old VW van and fit it with beds and a campfire. I remember the roads as narrow, twisting, and heavily locked in with tall hedges and trees. We drove everywhere for about 8 weeks, including most of Wales and while we didn’t see 1/10th of the country, the roads were consistently not suitable for even a normal large car, much less a full size truck. Of course, that was 40 years ago … and the times have changes a lot since then. I was married in London, you know. On the road and married in London.


              • I didn’t know that, Marilyn!
                The roads, apart from the main ones, have changed very little. I’ve driven some big vehicles down them…but not ike the American RVs. I’d prefer something a little smaller… but I could happily live in one of those. They are probably almost as big as my appartment and much bigger than the space I actually use. 🙂


    • If you are away a lot, it might be fine. But for all of us, comes a day when we want to be in one place, with comforting things. A bathroom that is big enough and has plenty of hot water … and a kitchen big enough to make more than a sandwich. Or maybe that’s just me.


      • With the cost of hotels for the workshops and the travelling, it would probably pay for itself very quickly, had I the cash to buy one. My needs are pretty simpe, especially if I have the landscape to play in 🙂


  9. In Switzerland – no deal. You have got to the borders in a couple of hours and the rest of the journey is crossing borders. Besides we like comfort. Find a good hotel with your own shower facilities and a good restaurant and we might think about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of people seem to think living on the road is going to be very cool. All the people I know who actually did it got really tired of it really quickly. Like in six to eight weeks, they were looking for someplace to settle down. It never appealed to me. Our roads are just not that entertaining. Hotels, on the other hand, are much more interesting, especially when they have good places to eat.

      The U.S. is huge. Canada, Russia, and Australia are bigger, but more of all of those places are not places an RV could survive very long. Ditto many places in South America and Africa. They don’t have facilities and roads for those big trucks.

      Real old-fashioned, caravans WERE self sufficient. They didn’t need electricity, waste pumping facilities and WiFi connections. The people and their wagons were their own world. This isn’t true — not at all true — these days.

      I would love to have a little one to travel in so we could take the dogs when we visit people and not have to worry about motels that let you have your dogs … but the rest of the time? I don’t think so. And it would have to be small. Those huge trucks are not my idea of driving!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sorry not my idea of fun. I lived out of the cab and sleeper of an 18 wheeler for a “few” years. I could probably do it for a week but that would be really pushing it. More than that and there is not enough coffee and chocolate available to keep me civil.

    Liked by 1 person

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