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End of the road, start of a new one

Three years ago this week, we sold our house and went out “on the road” in an 1977 Argosy travel trailer. It’s our anniversary!

Three months later, we swapped the 24-foot Argosy for our current 30-foot Airstream so that we could travel full-time in greater comfort. We figured we’d be on the road for six or seven months, then return to Vermont and build a house. Four months later we tossed that plan and decided to extend our travels for another year.

Two years after we began, we began to sense a change coming, like a new wind blowing in, and so we bought a home base in Arizona as an insurance policy against sudden changes in circumstance. Last winter, the feeling got stronger, so we returned to Tucson to prepare the house to become our home.

I mention all this because it shows how our lifestyle and plans have changed over the years. We never set out to live in a travel trailer for three years, but it happened that way. We never planned to relocate to the southwest. I never thought I’d be keeping up a blog this long. Our plans are rarely cast in concrete. They seem to flow from circumstance, but really they are the practical results of a thousand soupy factors that occasionally congeal into a plan.

Well, that process continues. I alluded to this a couple of posts back. This plan is no more set that our earlier ones, but I am pretty sure that our current road will come to an end in October. I can’t point to any single reason for that, but there are a dozen small reasons that together are telling me that the winds of change have finally arrived.

This doesn’t mean that we’ve become tired of the lifestyle or disgruntled with fuel prices. It’s not because we’ve seen everything (that’ll never happen!) Traveling is still fun, still affordable, and still something we plan to do. But we’ve had a marvelous run of three years, and seen more of this country than we ever thought we’d see, and now other priorities and opportunities are popping up that we’d like to pursue.

So we will have one last big run of 3,000 miles from Vermont to Arizona (via NY, OH, IN, MO, KS, CO, UT) with many great stops along the way. We’ll begin that trip around August first, and probably arrive at home base sometime in October.

Once we get there I plan to wrap up this blog and start a new one. I’m looking forward to that. I want to write on a less-frequent basis, perhaps weekly, on a somewhat different subject. I haven’t decided what that subject will be. (I’d welcome your suggestions.) I might write about life in Arizona, or the publishing world, ukuleles, bicycling, writing, photography, or any of dozens of other things that interest me … who knows?

I’ve talked to other full-timers like Leigh & Brian (the former 63FlyingCloud travelers), and Bobby & Danine (ending their year-long journey in five weeks), and Brad Arrowood (who wrapped up his travels with Mary over a year ago). One common thread is that we’ve all discovered there’s an end eventually. Sometimes it’s not even clear to ourselves why we are ending what appears to be the “perfect” lifestyle, but we do.

I suppose that’s hard for most people to appreciate. I know that the way we’ve lived has been the dream of many people, and I don’t discard the lifestyle casually. For you, it must seem rather anti-climactic for us to go back to a life of conventionality when, strictly speaking, we don’t have to. But a lesson of having done this is that we realize most of the restrictions of conventional life that we perceive are those we’ve put on ourselves.

In other words, we’re not afraid to go back to a house in the suburbs because it is not the ultimate for us. We know now that we can break the rules again if we so desire, and run off once more to a completely different lifestyle. This gives me the same epiphany of freedom that I first experienced when we were three weeks into our first big run across the country. We have choices. We live in a free nation, a great land, and there is a lot to be explored if we will only let ourselves do it.

For the record, we are not selling our Airstream. I can’t imagine life without it. We’ve already planned a trip to California over the holidays. Our first few months in the house will be spent settling in, making local friends, and exploring Tucson, but we’ll still get away from time to time. Frankly, we’ve become spoiled by our travel format, where we can stay as long as we like in a place for $0-30 per night. (Eleanor has a short trip planned to the Boston area while I’m at the Vintage Trailer Jam, and we are both suffering sticker shock from what ordinary motels cost down there. I’m ready to propose she take the tent and sleeping bag…)

There will be more on this subject later, as we work out details and ideas. In the meantime, I’m going to keep posting on our travels this summer. Next week the Caravel project will start in earnest, and the week after that I’m heading to the Vintage Trailer Jam. A couple of weeks after that we’ll start west.

431 Responses to “End of the road, start of a new one”

  1. Bill Doyle Says:

    As others have mentioned, you have a gift for writing and many of us enjoy following your experiences and insights. Perhaps you might call your new blog “Epiphanies of Freedom” , and write about whatever interests you at the moment.

  2. Karen Britting Says:

    How about “Yogurt and Other Favorite Rants” ?

    Rich, you’re the best ranter I know, you have to keep us entertained!!


  3. leigh Says:

    I miss being on the road like CRAZY. I think in a perfect world we’re half-timing. Congrats on the 3 years!

  4. Lois Grebowski Says:

    Life is full of cycles and changes. Wishing y’all the best. Been living in our airstream for almost 70 days…and loving it!


  5. terry Says:

    Rich, three years on the road is a good run, most people would love to full time for half that.

  6. terrie Says:

    I agree with Leigh….6 months at the house and 6 months on the road is a good way…..your statement, “……we realize most of the restrictions of conventional life that we preceive are those we have put on ourselves”. this is the truth….you three will bloom anywhere……

  7. Rick Wade Says:

    As your travels wind down, my travels have just started. I have enjoyed your blog now for about six months and will soon have read most. Thank you for some valuable tips and insight. Please keep blogging as you keep us all entertained.

  8. Rich C Says:

    Rich, I hit the road for different reasons. Illness, divorce, a massive life change. Here I am now, more than 2 years of full-timing in my Airstream……but the last year has seen little travel. While I’ve adjusted to a settled format I’m still an “Airstreamer.” You will be too!

    For me, I found the right spot with the right blend of activities for myself while meeting real world needs (ie medical insurance coverage). If those pesky medical needs weren’t there I know I’d be out more, but still returning to a home base.

    I agree with Leigh 100%. I’d like to be on the road 50% of the time, and in Prescott the other 50%. We’ll see what comes!

    Of course, avoid pondering such things as opening a gallery….that’s what’s on my radar screen right now, and the number one reason not to do it is it will tether me and restrict that 50% travel concept!

    Pop through Prescott on your way home!