For this post, we’re takin it back to 1991, firing up the boombox, and blastin out some vintage Boyz II Men.
Watch, listen, appreciate, and I’ll see you on the other side…
“Why did I just listen to that,” you ask?
Because ever since I typed the title of this post into the title field, I’ve had this damned song stuck in my head. So now, it’s in your head too. Which is fitting because it seems we’ve all been on this journey together. Me writing about whatever nonsense comes to my mind; you wondering if I’ll notice if you unsubscribe.
But here we are, together, at the end. You made it, and so did we. Somehow.
After almost 100,000 combined RV and tow car miles, 230+ campgrounds in 47 states (plus two Canadian provinces), countless national parks, museums, historic sites, and too many tacos to count, in 2022, Kevin and I will be hanging up the keys and winding up this chapter of our lives.
Is it bittersweet? Not really. Having a steering wheel and speedometer in your living room for five-plus years is deeply weird.
Oh, I’m kidding. It is, unquestionably, bittersweet.
But, more than ever, we’re feeling ready to move on to new things. To be honest, we’ve been feeling ‘done’ for a while now; we just weren’t sure how to exit our nomadic lifestyle. We kept doing what we’d been doing because it’s what we knew and it’s what made financial sense (fun fact: fulltime nomadic travel can be significantly less expensive than living in a traditional “sticks and bricks” house), but, if I’m being honest, our hearts haven’t been in it for a while.
Although we never had a specific plan for how long we would be on the road, way back in 2016 when we started this trip, I figured it would probably be about three years. But as we were getting to the end of that third year, two completely opposite things happened. First, we got really burnt out on fulltime travel; and second, we decided we really wanted to visit Alaska. Our solution to these conflicting desires was to take a break from RV life by living in an Air BnB for a couple months before moving back into the motorhome and traveling up to Alaska. But, just after we settled into the rental house, Covid came along and wrecked everyone’s plans.
Like everyone else, we suddenly found ourselves unsure of what we were supposed to do. There was a big part of us that wanted to settle down permanently, but we didn’t know where, housing prices were getting zanier by the day, and, we didn’t want to make an expensive commitment for the wrong reasons.
In the end, we decided the most logical thing to do was to just stick with RV travel until something else came along that made sense.
The upside of that decision was it allowed us to see several spectacular places.
The downside was that life was pretty solitary. Even before the pandemic, many of our friends had come off the road, but once the virus started tearing around the country, it became a real rarity for us to see a familiar face.
All of that was remedied when we reached the west coast and the company of several dear friends, but the experience had drawn us further to the idea of putting down roots somewhere.
In the meantime, we now find ourselves in the midst of the biggest camping and domestic outdoor travel boom in history. For better and worse, a deluge of new RVers has entered the market, national parks are filled with visitors, and, #RVlife is all the rage.
For us, it’s been just the motivation we needed to get moving on our future plans. What are those future plans? Well, we’re still working on figuring them out. But we know there are no future plans that will involve a 38 foot motorhome. So, given how much demand currently exists for used RVs, if we’re thinking about leaving our nomadic ways behind, sooner would be better than later.
In the immediate future, as we wait out winter, we’ll continue visiting with friends and family in the south before making our first ever trip to Red Bay, Alabama, home to Tiffin, to get some minor stuff repaired and replaced by people who know what they’re doing.
Once that’s done, we’ll head back up to the northeast for a couple family events before heading to the D.C. area where we’ll rent an apartment, transition out of the RV, and prepare him for sale. Given the larger schedule, I expect Barney will be on the market by late June/early July.
What we will not be doing is going to North Dakota.
It’s true. After all that blather about the importance of filling the sticker map, I have to admit, North Dakota is not gonna happen. It’s just too far and we don’t have it in us to drive all that way for a sticker. So….it will remain my white whale. The one that got away…
In truth, there are several states we gave short shrift to, big national parks we wanted to see but missed, and experiences we just couldn’t make happen. But, all things considered, when I look back on these last 5+ years, I am so thankful that we had this opportunity. And, for several reasons, I am extremely happy we decided to jump when we did. We really have lived the dream, the occasional catastrophe notwithstanding.
At some point, I’ll probably write a couple round-up/wrap-up/”Deep Thoughts With Laura” posts, but for the time being, we’ll just be enjoying these last few months of an ever-changing landscape while imagining a life where we can just walk into a grocery store and know exactly where the salad dressing is.
And with that, I’m off to start figuring out what the hell is in the back of our cabinets and bays. The end of the road means it’s time to begin “The Great Purge of 2022!”
As we look forward to another year full of change, we wish you and yours a fabulous holiday season and a very Happy New Year!!
(And if you know anyone who might be interested in a gently used motorhome, please feel free to send them my way. You can tell them I’ll knock $1,000 off the purchase price if they agree to drive directly to North Dakota and put the stupid sticker on the door.)