I imagine when we walk away from our careers we’ll be asked many questions by our friends, family and co-workers. Some will ask where we plan to travel first. Some will ask how long we expect to be on the road. But some will ask (or at least, think), “what the hell is wrong with you???”
The fact is, just a few years ago, if I was on the receiving end of such news, my response would have been the same. “Morons! Why would you walk away from such a good gig? Why would you throw away all that you’ve worked for when you’re really just hitting your stride? You’ve got job security, financial security, good health insurance, a great house and a solid social network. Why would you give all that up?”
But, as is often the case, a little experience can change our outlook in immeasurable ways. In seemingly no time at all, the thing that sounded positively reckless might suddenly sound pretty reasonable. All it takes is a little experience to shine a light on a whole new perspective.
So what was it for us? Mostly it was Kevin’s health. While everyone knows that life is short and unpredictable and that nothing is guaranteed, those cliches take on new meaning when you’ve had open heart surgery by the time you’re two, a stroke at age 34 and a heart attack at age 36.
Kevin’s medical history is enough to make health insurers shudder at the very mention of his name and enough for us to take those stupid cliches seriously. You really do have to live every day to its fullest because there really, truly, might not be a tomorrow. Or at least, not a tomorrow that looks like today.
So we had some options. We could keep working our well regarded, well paid jobs and mindlessly burn through money or we could establish a new focus. The more we thought about it, the more we realized our interests had always centered around places, not things. While we’ve certainly blown money on toys and gadgets, we realized we’d always been perfectly happy to live in a small house and drive an old car and wear the same clothes one year to the next. Neither of us grew up with much and neither of us give a damn what the Joneses are up to.
What we really wanted to spend money on was seeing and experiencing the world.
With all that in mind, we started thinking about what our life could look like. Day-dreamy goals of “Let’s travel the world!” were quickly limited by the realization that Dixie was never going to enjoy Cambodia. However, what she would enjoy (and by “enjoy” I mean “tolerate,”) appeared to be the ultimate solution: seeing our own beautiful country in an RV.
We spent hours researching and the more we learned, the more specific the plans became. And as the plans took shape, so did the goals we needed to reach to make our dream a reality.
Is it possible this whole experiment will be a giant failure? Sure. It’s possible we’ll hate it, or suck at it, or wish we never left. But the one thing I don’t want is to get to the end of my life and find myself sitting alone in some old folks home watching all the money I’ve saved for “some day” being transferred to the nursing home’s coffers.
The simple truth is, I’d rather be old and destitute with a bunch of great stories than rich and alone with a bunch of regrets.
Fabulous! Safe Travels! ????
So happy for the two of you, oops.. three.. can’t forget Dixie! By the way I’m Kevin’s Aunt Krissy. Penny is my sister. I just had a wonderful visit and supper with them today. Stay safe on your journeys. Absolutely love your pictures and post. ❤️ I’ve already subscribed 🙂
Hi Krissy! Nice to “meet’ you! Thanks for stopping by and saying hello! We were just talking with Penny about you all hanging out for the first time in so many years and she was telling us about your INCREDIBLE collection of animals! I had no idea you could have possums as pets! That is so cool….and now I have SO many questions! Maybe we can all meet up some day. That’s been a nice part of this traveling thing – meeting up with friends and family as we go. Anyway, thanks for the nice comments and the good wishes. We really appreciate it!
Good for you two to discover what is important in life! We’re sorry we didn’t hit the road sooner, but we had to wait for the perfect storm to get us on the road. And now there is no turning back.
I just read a brief story abut Greg and Linda Lawson, F481410 (FMCA member number). They also hit the road – for them because of a tragic health diagnosis – lung cancer. It is amazing how taking your focus off of your life in a box and hitting the road in a box seems to be extending his life as he travels this beautiful country!
My husband got hit with a bad diagnosis three years into our travels. We were just reminiscing, if we hadn’t hit the road, we may not have known he was headed for a massive heart attack. Instead, his health now seems to be improving more and more!
Hi Debbie! Thanks for your comment. It’s funny rereading this post now, on our actual two year anniversary of hitting the road, and after some more health-related curve-balls were just thrown our way. When I wrote this, I was pretty sure we wouldn’t regret doing what we did. Nowadays, I am absolutely sure of it. We’ve just known too many people who’ve had similar stories – waiting too long to do what they wanted to do, receiving life changing diagnoses, going through other experiences that changed everything. We never know how long this trip will last or what life will throw at us tomorrow, but no matter what, we’ve had all these incredible experiences and met all these wonderful people who’ve enriched our lives in countless ways. And in the meantime, we’ve been happier than we’ve ever been, just enjoying life, and making the most of each day. While none of this means all of Kevin’s complex health issues are gone, at least he is living a healthier life and actually enjoying it now, rather than being stuck in an office for 12-14 hours a day. I am so glad we jumped when we did. It sounds like you are too, and that you are enjoying the benefits of that decision. It’s all seems so obvious now, but at one point, it was a scary decision for all of us. Cheers for making it happen!
Love this….somehow I missed this post when I started following your blog. It’s so very true!
Wasn’t aware of Kevin’s medical history. Being a retired nurse, I can imagine how scary that was for the both of you.
My father worked 12-15 hr days, 7 days a week trying to get a new business off the ground & successful. My mother pleaded with him to take a vacation, even if just a weekend. He kept promising maybe next weekend or next month. Well, that never happened as he was killed in a car accident driving home from work. He was only 42. Boy, did that make an impact on my 15 yr. old psyche!
I was determined not to just work at making a living, but work at living a life!
I too do not care what the Joneses have, but am very interested in where Chapter 3 travels to, what mountains they climb, and what experiences they have!!
Here’s to health, travel, and adventures!
I am so sorry to hear about your dad, but happy that what happened positively impacted your decisions over the long term. What’s amazing to me is how many people see things like that happen in their own lives and still don’t change how they do things. We are all just so used to the idea of working to buy things and collecting things and needing the latest things and, in the meantime, our best experiences are relegated to a week or two of vacation a year – if that. People just assume they’ll get to do the things they really want to do “some day.” In the meantime, time just flies by and so many people miss their opportunity, not just to go travel but to do all the things they wanted to do. It’s hard to think differently and break away from expectations, but what could be more important than actually LIVING your life and spending time with the people who matter most, and making meaningful connections with people? I will happily live in a tiny house and drive an old beat up car if it means we get to really enjoy the little time we have. To health, travel, and adventures – Indeed, and right back at ya!
Someone recommended to look at your site on RV life parlor. Your pictures are fabulous. You are a unique writer. We had similar experiences this summer in Montana Glacier, partially closed. Mt Ranier too fogged in to see even when we were at the top, so sad. But cascades were amazing. Same smoke in September in Oregon orange air. I am looking forward to following you. Full timers for 4 years. Chasing 70 degrees too. Have 2 rv ports one in South Corona Ca one in Titusville Fl. Happy Trails Cathy Costello and “Stretch the juggler” on YouTube juggling all over the world.
Hi Cathy! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind comment. It does sound like we’ve been traveling along the same routes. It was certainly a bizarre summer, but we were glad to at least find some great weather and fantastic views along the way. I like the idea of having a couple home ports. We’ve been moving a lot slower recently, mostly because of this pandemic, but it’s made things a bit less hectic and stressful. It’s definitely something we might consider over the longer term. Anyway, I hope y’all are somewhere warm and sunny and enjoying life. Happy Trails to you too!!