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What Traveling Around the Country in a Bus For a Year Taught Us...

By Doreen Orion

When my husband Tim announced he wanted to "chuck it all" and travel around the country in a converted bus for a year, I gave this profound and potentially life-altering notion all the thoughtful consideration it deserved.

"Why can't you be like a normal husband with a midlife crisis and have an affair or buy a Corvette?" I demanded, adding, "I will never, ever, EVER, not in a million years, live on a bus."

We're both psychiatrists, but he's obviously the better shrink, for we soon set forth with our two querulous cats, sixty-pound dog - and no agenda - in a 340-square-foot bus.

How Traveling and Seeing The World Was Truly a Life-Changing Experience

  1. We learned how not to put off our dreams.
  2. We discovered the importance of living now.
  3. We grew to understand we had to pare down our lifestyle, so that we could spend more time with the people we love - instead of the things we love.
  4. We recognized how comfortable - too comfortable - our lives had become. Many of us work so hard year after year. Then, one day, we wake up and wonder, "Is this all there is?" We hadn't realized the importance of continuing to challenge and stretch ourselves.
Yes, we had our share of disasters on the trip including fire, flood, armed robbery, and my developing a bus phobia, to name just a few. But, the adventures and misadventures helped us grow. They shook things up and added a certain "spark" that we didn't even realize was missing. It was hard enough getting on the bus, but nothing taught me the importance of getting outside my comfort zone more than going to a nudist RV park!

What I Discovered About Nudist Parks
Although as a psychiatrist Tim is very much in tune with unconscious drives, hidden meanings, and deep-seated motivations, he is also a typical guy. And typical guys want to go to nudist resorts. Not being any type of a guy myself, I had always informed him I would never, ever, EVER, not in a million years...

But, now I had clearly lost any semblance of free will. I was, after all, living in a bus for a year. I didn't stand a chance. Not that I was nonchalant about this. I started Atkins in anticipation - just in case - months before. I need not have bothered, for as I discovered, nudists are incredibly low-key. Unless, that is, you're trying to get into one of their parks. Then, they can be just as big a pain in the ass as any prudes.

When we pulled into Olive Dell Ranch Nudist Resort in Colton, California, I faced yet another dilemma: Usually, I headed to the office to check in while Tim stayed with the bus. Should I take my clothes off now? What if, in a variation on the universal nightmare, this was some God-awful joke and everyone was clothed but me? I was wearing earrings. Do I take them off, too?

I could have called on my cell phone and asked, but I didn't feel like being laughed at just yet, especially as I was anticipating that reaction as soon as I stepped off the bus, anyway. So, I kept my clothes on. The woman in her home office had not. (Note to self: This could very well be my dream job, for not only can one work at home, but not even have to get dressed.) I soon discovered that none of my concerns mattered. In a nudist park, everything is stripped down, so to speak.

What You Will Not Find at a Nude Park
As Tim observed, there's no macho, no pretense, no posturing. Your balls (and whether or not you have any) are out there for everyone to see. (Especially, as we would later discover, when partaking of naked karaoke.) But our favorite part of the entire experience had to be the maintenance guy who walks around nude except for his tool belt. An interesting effect, for every time he turned around, I nearly exclaimed, "Hey! You dropped your..." Oops.

Don't forget that you too, should add some spice to your life. Don't put off your dreams any longer. Discover the importance of living now. And, don't settle in life, at work, or in relationships. It will help you keep growing, something we all need to do our entire lives.

Psychiatrist Doreen Orion is an award-wining writer and author of the hilarious "QUEEN OF THE ROAD: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus With a Will of Its Own."
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