April 12, 2019
Three years ago today I responded to a Craigslist ad:
“Hello, I’m very interested in the 5th wheel you have for sale. My husband & I & our 2 young daughters plan to downsize this year & move into an RV for 1-2 years and travel the country. Your RV has all of the things we’ve been looking for… ”
A few days later we were inside the trailer that would later be dubbed “Stumbo” (named after the gracious sellers)opening cabinet doors, pressing on walls, walking across the roof…we had no idea what we were doing.
As of today we’ve been on the road for 965 days, and we still have no idea what we are doing most of the time. We still regularly make mistakes that are too embarrassing to even put in print. (But if you know me – you know that any in-person inquiry will reward you with way more than you ever wanted to know about my life!)
But one thing that we have figured out is that our full-time travel will come to an end in May, so we only have a few more weeks left on the road.
This morning as we battened down the hatches (quite literally as the wind in NM today is INSANE!…oh wait, now it’s snowing) and hooked up to relocate Stumbo to another part of the country, it occurred to me that we will only do this a handful of times more. This realization makes me nostalgic, but not sad. I’m actually feeling really ready for this adventure to come to a close. I could not be more grateful to have had the opportunity to travel across the country for the past few years. But I feel like we have completely wrung out every last drop of fun from the experience. We’ve sucked the marrow from the bone. We have carpe’d this diem…and now it’s time for the next thing.
The next thing for us is shaping up to be yet another chance to reinvent ourselves in Spokane, Washington. Brad is closing down Apt Design, the graphic design business that first supported us in Wenatchee for 10 years, and then allowed us to live out this travel dream of ours. Brad has continued to design websites, create print marketing, and partner with all sorts of organizations as an all-around tech guru the entire time we have lived the nomad life, managing to churn out his most profitable year ever while traveling full time (an enormous concept to describe in a 3-word phrase), supporting my part-time work, enhancing the girls’ homeschool education, and taking some very grueling prerequisites online to prepare for OT school.
In February he was accepted into the Masters of Occupational Therapy program at Eastern Washington University in Spokane, Washington. His classes begin in June.
The story of how and why Brad has decided to pivot from graphic design to the medical field is his own to tell, but I could not be more proud of him and can’t wait to see him grow personally and professionally as he takes on this new role.
So…our travels are coming to a close, and it’s time for nostalgia and celebration and grand finale routes. But also, to be honest, as we approach a finish line of sorts, I feel this intense pressure to have learned something from these travels, to have a list of the ways we’ve changed, and to be reentering a community with tangible ideas about how our lives will never look the same.
But in reality, all I have is a grateful heart, a mind busy with ever-evolving ideas/memories/hopes, and a really long to-do list. We are looking for a house, I’m searching for full-time employment, and the list of things we need to do once we actually have a home address again seems to grow every time I blink.
But per usual – I’m excited.
And as for the lists of lessons learned, I’m sure that my full heart and busy brain will continue to mull over these experiences and spit out random thoughts about our travels for months and years to come. So be ready – they could be coming at ya anytime. And fair warning….I have no idea what I’m doing.