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RV Life is for the Dogs

I never really understand what humans mean when they talk about “homesickness.” Does it make them sick to be home? To be away from home? But then again, I don’t really understand a lot of things that humans say or do. Isn’t it so much easier to just bark maniacally?

Fond Chicago memories/Photo by Matt Kirouac

Since my dads and I left our first home together in Chicago, I’ve heard them use this word “homesick” a lot, especially in the first few months of living in my—I mean our—RV. They seem to talk about it a lot when they’re sad, or when they’re missing their friends. Or their favorite coffee shops and foods they crave the most. Personally, I know for a fact there is nothing in this world that tastes better than my bacon treats, so I just don’t get it. But ultimately, I get the sense that homesickness is something that really doesn’t affect me, and I guess that’s because my idea of home isn’t really a specific location; rather, it’s about the people I’m with, no matter where that may be. This is why our RV is the best sense of home I’ve ever felt.

Don’t get me wrong, I miss Chicago just as much as my dads do. I miss our walks down Ohio Street to Smith Park, and that time they took me to their favorite bar, EZ Inn. I miss hanging out on the roof of our building, especially on warm summer nights with friends and family. I miss getting pizza delivery, and using my pouty eyes to guilt my dads into sharing pepperoni with me. There’s a lot to love, and miss, about Chicago. But moving into our RV has been so much fun, and I think I speak for my whole family when I say that it’s the best thing we could have ever done for one another.

Keeping a watchful eye/Photo by Matt Kirouac

In Chicago, or I’d imagine any city, it’s far too easy for humans to get swept up in the business of the day-to-day. I could tell when my dads were stressed, or even when they were just frantically bouncing around all over town for work. There is so much to do and see in Chicago, which is great, but it can be distracting, and it can keep you away from the things that matter most. For these reasons, we’d all too frequently be alone for periods of time, and apart from one another, instead of all snuggling on the couch watching Friends from beginning to end (side note: I don’t think Ross and Rachel are good for each other, and I don’t understand why humans think otherwise). The time we did get to spend together was cherished and snuggly, but it’s nothing like it is now in the RV.

I’m not sure how my dads feel about it, but I love that the RV is so much smaller than the loft. For one thing, I can actually see out the windows! Watching the world go by as we drive through the desert, along the coast, and over mountains. They also come in handy when my dads are in the store, and I want to keep an eye on them, to track the exact moment they return. Another great thing about the RV is that, whether we all like it or not, we’re forced to spend lots of time together as a family. Even when we’re just watching movies on the couch or doing crossword puzzles, it’s nice being able to do it so often.

I love the beach!/Photo by Matt Kirouac

The best thing of all, though, is the adventures we’ve experienced together. When we were in the city, we were limited to the proximities of the neighborhood, but now America is our backyard. We can open our door one morning and be in the Badlands, or at Cocoa Beach in Florida. One day can be snowy and unexpectedly freezing, but on another day, we can be soaking in the sun on a patio in Texas Hill Country.

It was nice to be anchored in a place that we all loved so much, but the adventures and comforts of family are what make me happiest. I guess I’ve never understood homesickness because for me, it’s not about a particular place—it’s about the people you share it with.

Family hikes are the happiest/Photo by friendly stranger

Header photo: Finn and Brad Kirouac exploring Petrified Forest National Park/Photo by Matt Kirouac

Bark Ranger Finn is always excited to explore the great outdoors with his dads, whether it’s a sidewalk or a rest area, but his favorite places are dog-friendly trails in national parks. Just don’t forget his leash!

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