“Honey . . . I don’t want to hate on your dream, but I don’t think a weekend in the National Forest requires a dishwasher.”

DH and I are discussing family camping necessities.

I just realized that the word “necessity” needs some context. Grab a comfy chair.


In the Beginning, there was The Boat.

DH has saltwater in his veins. He grew up on his parents’ sailboat. As a teen, he raced sailboats. He scrimped and saved to buy his own 22-footer in college.  As soon as our marriage and business both were stabilized, “family sailboat” was next on his list.

He did (sort of) ask me first. I said that if sailing made him so happy, I’d give it a try.

So DH and his parents joined forces on a “family sailboat.” I soon learned where DH had inherited his executive-level ways.  The bare-necessity size was set at 50 feet. The bare-necessity crew was set at 2.  The bare-necessity outfitting included fluffy comforters, custom window treatments, an onboard washer-dryer, a Keurig, and I think also a bread machine.

Unfortunately . . .

. . . we swiftly discovered that I got seasick just looking at pictures of boats.

Okay, well, I just needed to spend more time on the water, DH said. My inner ear would adapt, DH said.

But it never did. Out for an hour or out for a week, my choices were a) yakking over the side or b) blundering about in a drowsy haze of anti-nausea meds.

DH was devastated. The bare-necessity crew was 2, remember?  Thanks to me, he could not sail.

I urged him to sail with friends. Take our child with you, I said. Sail with your parents. Make memories.

He did, but with little heart. Clearly he thought I was malingering. Over time, his vague encouragements devolved into not-really-jokes like, “a disgrace to your Viking ancestors,” and “convinced me to marry you under false pretenses.”  For my part, I started to quote Samuel Johnson and darkly mutter about the Hesperus.

Good times.

Although seasicking was the dispositive factor, there was more to it as well.

The boat was not only huge, but also gorgeously outfitted. Nothing was overlooked, nor any expense spared.  I, for my part, was fully drilled in the care, maintenance, and operation of the bare-necessity equipment.  I also was fully advised as to the perils of smudging the linens with sunscreen, allowing anything to rust, losing or mis-using the “good” towels, and the overall importance of keeping the boat Nice.

But I just suck at keeping things Nice.  Although I did my best to spit and polish and scrub and swab in good faith, I really did, there was always something missing (a blanket is gone; did the cleaning crew steal it?) or damaged (is that mildew on the linens?) or just not right (why aren’t the dishes put back this way?)

It’s not that DH went all Captain Bligh on me. It’s just that his family was so in love with that boat that the newbie ended up feeling like odd man out.

I’ve been told that I’m oversensitive where his family is concerned. It’s probably true.

Probably true, but still I was terrified every time I set foot on that boat, and not of drowning.

I’d like to say my concerns are moot now.  The boat was sold long ago. The RV purchase is agreed and planned.  National Forests and seasickness tend to be mutually exclusive.


The other day, DH started talking about putting an inverter in the RV “so we could have a Keurig.” And my stomach just flipped over.

I don’t want a Keurig.

I don’t want the RV to be capital-N Nice.

I want to love it. I want to enjoy it. I even plan to clean it.  But I refuse to be immobilized by Niceness. I have a hard enough time managing my everyday. I don’t want to be overwhelmed by “stuff” in my happy place.

I don’t want to live in fear of my own possessions.

He doesn’t even drink coffee.

And with that, I think we’re ready to discuss minimalism. Stay tuned.