If you really appreciate your living together with other people, whether or not you are related to them by family links, make sure that you have very ample space to live, a lot of square metres per person, otherwise I prophesy that, in a short period of time, you will end up badly.
I can speak from personal experience, which invests me with a certain authority to warn you of this danger.
Some years ago, driven by a youthful dream, my husband and I decided to buy a caravan. I have always been something of a globetrotter. I haven’t put down roots anywhere and I can be perfectly happy in any place in the civilized world. The sine qua non condition is to be moderately healthy and , of course, to have money.
So, after some time browsing countless brochures and visiting authorised caravan and trailer dealers, asking everybody, face to face and on the Internet, and laughing over and over again at that dear old film, The long, log trailer, starring Lucille Ball, we decided to jump into this caravan world with a new German caravan, top quality, of a size suitable for the number of people who would live inside: three human beings and a chihuahua. It was also obvious that the weight of our loaded caravan must be within our car’s towing ability –a family sedan.
What a joy, the day we hitched up our beloved caravan to our car! Being a very foresighted person, I had supplied us with all kind of household items for our lovely roulotte in those days that preceded our first journey, so we could be perfectly comfortable. I was elated and overjoyed, so I went to my dear El Corte Inglés and bought all the miniaturized household appliances I judged indispensable for my future globetrotting getaways.
How could I possibly travel the globe without a powerful household vacuum cleaner –a small one, of course- to suck out the dust of the roads? How in the world could I not take a set of dinnerware to serve properly the delicious dishes that we would cook in that cute Barbie doll kitchen? And if you are going to cook you will need some basic cooking utensils like pans and pots, a colander, a whisk, a skimmer…
All in all, a fine trousseau, always taking into account the space limitations.
It doesn’t make any sense to choose a caravan with a shower if you don’t use it and for that, you also need towels and some bathroom utensils. And, OF COURSE, we needed many bed linens to change the beds often. Such display of home textiles requires a washing machine. I provided myself with a mini portable washing machine, with spin function, so I could have all clothing, bedding and towels spotlessly clean in any place the world. And certainly, a travel iron. And a hairdryer. And a heater for
freezing temperatures in the wilderness. And three umbrellas, for the rain.
And a variety of clothes, suitable for every season of the year, as I foresaw sudden changes in weather between the four cardinal points. I could not set aside the technological aspect: our cellulars, our three tablets, our ereaders, cameras, laptops, my husband’s tripod…And my dog’s little toys, his two beds: one for winter and another one for summer, his paw plunger to keep mud and dirt from getting into the caravan, his bowl, his portable drinker and his inflatable pool, among other highly useful things without which life would be comparable to a cruel exile in a remote cavern back in Early Pleistocene.
And the much anticipated day finally arrived: husband, daughter, chihuahua and I, all of us bubbling over with excitement, sang and barked together: “I want a motorcycle to ride very fast” (Los Bravos’ song, “Believe me, baby”= “La moto” in Spain).
Four braves ones continually looking back to the rear to make sure that we were towing our caravan “Carmelita”, the name we gave to our mobile home, without a hitch.
So, we left towards Las Alpujarras, a rugged and mountainous landscape, located in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, that my husband knew very well and loved even more since his youth. The car was crammed, floor to ceiling, but we didn’t mind. We squeezed between suitcases and bags, very happy and waiting anxiously for the many adventures to come. The caravan, also bursting at the seams, chugged along at our back. On the steep slopes we could feel it pulling the car strongly backwards, like a titanic hand that wanted to knock us down. Even worse were the precipitous descents.
Every second I feared (and I even visualized) that the caravan would push on to our car and drag us down with it into one of the ravines.
At last we arrived , exhausted and with nerves on edge owing to our restrained tensión. How thrilling! What freedom! Like snails carrying our cute little mobile home, so well furnished and now motionless, on our backs.
Today we were in Las Alpujarras, tomorrow, we would see. We held several family brainstorming sessions to discuss and share ideas on subsequent destinations.
But we didn’t last even three days. Forced to share such a small living space, family quarrels emerged soon. We exhausted all combination of family quarrels, individually or in pairs: mother versus father, mother versus father and daughter, daughter versus parents, mother and chihuahua versus daughter, daughter versus chihuahua, father and chihuahua versus mother, daughter and mother versus chihuahua and father…a pitch battle!
On the first day, at night, I had already decided to get a divorce. On the morning of the second day, I wanted to put my daughter in the dog crate and take her to the “kikos” (The Way, a religious sect against the use of modern contraceptives). But luckily, on the third day, at last, reason prevailed: we departed and headed home, the one with the solid foundation. First, we took “Carmelita” to the (astonished) caravan dealer and begged them to find a buyer for the caravan and its accessories.
The moral of this story: the greatest enemy of harmony and happiness is living together with your beloved ones in a small place. Daily coexistence requires more space.