We are currently embroiled in a search for a used caravan to become our new home on our travels around Australia. This is a time, energy and motivation sapping endeavour which seems to involve great amounts of either sitting at the computer searching out caravans for sale, or driving all over the country side to view any such caravans. Both activities are injurious to one’s health as both involve way too much time spent sitting and too little time moving.
Yesterday, we drove all the way to Port McQuarrie – I don’t even want to talk about how far that is – to look at a caravan that we thought was going to be “the one.” We had looked at all the available, checked all the specifications, asked the owner dozens and dozens of questions, thought and thought about the caravan, and, decided in the end, that, although the van was a bit heavier than we would like, it had everything we needed at a good price.
After five hours on the road, we finally drove down the street to view the caravan and I felt incredibly nervous as I had an – I presumed - irrational fear that something we hadn’t thought of would be wrong with the caravan and we would have driven all this way for nothing. My nervousness evaporated as we looked at the caravan. It was in very good shape, as described, and had everything we were looking for. As part of our checking process, we pulled out the tape measure and measured the caravan – advertised as 14 feet long – at over 15 feet! Both Doug and I felt as if we had been hit by a brick.
In some degree of shock, we went down to the local beach, went for a swim and then tried to think rationally about buying the caravan. We had driven over 400 km to view this caravan which made us feel some degree of commitment towards buying the caravan. On the other hand, we had previously decided that 14 feet was the absolute maximum length caravan we wanted. Had we known this caravan was actually over 15 feet, we would never even have considered it. Yet here we were, considering it simply because we had put so much effort into researching and viewing it.
The decision making process reminded me of my mountain days. When you ski or hike a long way to get to the top of a slope or the bottom of a climb and when you get there, find that conditions are such that descent or ascent is overly dangerous. At those times, it is hard to turn back as you already feel committed to the ascent or descent. You have travelled a long way, convinced friends to come with you, passed by other objectives, scored good weather all to get to this one spot and achieve this one goal. Yet all those things are irrelevant to the decision at hand, which should be made on whether or not the descent or ascent is safe under the conditions you have and not on extraneous factors.
In the end, we decided against the caravan, realizing that all the extraneous factors influencing us – such as the many extras that came with the van, the price, the distance we’d driven and the time we had invested – while persuasive, were actually irrelevant.