Happy Trails, Happy Tails

Luna takes in the view at Lake Norman State Park, NC

During this first year with Pearl, our RV, I wanted to read a classic travel tale: Travels with Charley by one of my favorite writers of all time, John Steinbeck. Every time we’ve traveled in Pearl this year, mostly weekends, I’ve read a chapter or two. It’s been extremely inspirational but also thought-provoking.

As much as #VanLife is a thing, and as trendy as the nomadic, “location independent” lifestyle is today, John Steinbeck might be considered the OG RVer when he set out in his customized pickup back in 1960 to travel across the U.S. Not only is the book a great ode to travel, but it’s just as much a nod to some of the best travel companions—our pups. Charley the French poodle experiences the cross-country trek aside Steinbeck—and being the great storyteller and journalist he was, Steinbeck recounts his “conversations” with Charley along the way.

Check out my vintage 75-cent paperback 😉

This year, 2021, 61 years after Steinbeck’s trek, as we set out in Pearl, we too have a canine companion along for the ride. Our Alaskan Malamute Luna came to us as a rescue. But as is the case with nearly all rescue dogs, the question becomes, “Who rescued who?” Because once you let a dog into your heart and home—even your mobile home—that pup ends up rescuing you in many ways.

The unconditional love that our doggos have for us humans is one of life’s most priceless treasures. Hit the road with that pup, and oh my gosh, that unconditional love is somehow multiplied. There’s nothing like hopping into the front seat of our RV with Luna in between us. I would imagine her thoughts as something like this:

Ohmygosh, we’re hitting the road again! Where are we going?! I’m watching the road, oh it’s so exciting! Pet me, mama! Whoops, eyes back on the road! Are we there yet?! Where we going?! Air, I need air (nose out the window)!

Repeat this 100 times down the road.

Front seat excitement!

Of course, we traveled with our three kids as they were growing up—and we have fond memories of fantastic family vacations. Now that they are all grown, Luna has become our “kid” as we travel in Pearl. Her morning walks become all the more special on RV trips. It’s such a simple thing—a simple pleasure—that makes my heart happy and grateful to start the day. Taking her out for hikes through the forest or splashes through a lake bring her so much joy—and we can’t help but smile and laugh to share that joy. When you see the world through the eyes of a dog, every day is an adventure.

Today’s Pearl of Wisdom: John Steinbeck would have written an entirely different book without Charley along for the ride. Likewise, I can’t imagine our first year of RVing without Luna sharing our joy-filled miles.

RVing at Florence Marina State Park, GA
Hiking at Lake Norman State Park, NC

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