I was reminded yesterday of the day I made the decision to radically change my life. It came up on Facebook. I read it as I looked back on over a year of adventure. I read it as someone who was now living it. I read it as a changed human. Here is exactly what I said:
Greetings loved ones! I sit here on the eve of the 54th celebration of the day of my birth. Wow, that is a hard number to wrap my head around. I am not sure how old I feel, but 54 is NOT IT! I am traveling most of my birthday for work and will apologize in advance if you do not get a timely response to your well wishes. I also have an announcement. I thought this could wait, I thought this would come much later, but the excitement and resolve I feel compel me to not only start my journey, but to share it with all of you. I have decided to quit my job, sell all but the most precious and irreplaceable of my belongings (including my house) and embark on a 12-24 month road trip. That’s right, I am leaving my life as I know it to live out of my Jeep, with a motorcycle on back of course, and camp, hike, visit, couch surf, explore, and meander my way around this country. I have spent time and money lately exploring who I am, what is important to me, what I really want out of life, and what I am really good at. Bottom line is that I do not have enough time to do the things I want, in the way I want to, with the people I love and care for, and in a manner that brings me joy. I am simply not happy and I intend to change that. While most folks so far are wildly supportive, and some cautiously skeptical, please know I did not come upon this decision lightly. I intend to have my affairs in order and I will have both emergency and contingency plans. In the end, I will have one of the most self-directed, unusual, and possibly most marvelous adventures of my life! Barring any unexpected set backs, the plan is in motion and I should be on the road Spring 2019 – before my 55th birthday. I intend to seek out odd jobs and alternative ways to supplement my savings – house sitter anyone? need a car transported someplace? need a temporary handy”man”? temporary general worker? – you get the idea. I am early in the process, still exploring, researching, plotting and scheming. I welcome your suggestions, council, love and support. I also look forward to seeing you along the way. Peace and cheers!
I read it on my 56th birthday. I remembered my 55th birthday from the road, at my sister’s house, watching my nephew graduate high school. I took photos while she looked on with pride. Attending that event was just one of the goals I accomplished, one of the milestones I promised myself I would meet, and one of the special times with family I had felt I missed.
I did not manage the motorcycle thing and I did not work my first year. I do not like house sitting and I never worked for any friends. As with life itself, things do not always turn out as you think or imagine or plan. They work out how they are supposed to.
However, I am glad to say my journey is a resounding success. I know I did not see everyone in all places, but I did pretty darned good! Weather and time were my greatest adversaries, as I ran from storms and hid from the rain. I had a loose agenda and a rough idea of where I needed to be. I planned Thanksgiving in Florida and the new year in Arizona. These were crucial and benchmark goals. I did what I set out to do and am very proud of that. I feel sated and at peace and so very much appreciate the time I spent and the people I spent it with.
I had already planned my second year as one of seasonal and/or part time work or volunteering. Less travel and more “stay”, earning or saving money, and deepening my explortion of target areas. Thanks be to God, the Universe and all things Holy because when COVID hit my life turned upside down. Life on the road became nearly impossible and my journey came to a screeching halt. I recovered, regrouped, and am now on the planned leg of my journey. Mostly back on track (as much as one can be in these tumultuous times).
I am where I chose to be doing what I chose to do. I miss the road at times, the freedom that comes with it, the challenges it brings, and the opportunities for growth it provided. I may hit the road again when the road is a more friendly place, when the road is more welcoming, when the road can provide me with what I need, and when the road is someplace I recognize.
I am looking for my fall/winter job. I am targeting the West. I miss the mountains and the terrain and a world I am more familiar with. I know this place in Minnesota is not home though it is special in it’s own way and I appreciate being here. Still, I am not completely in my element. There are pieces missing and I make note of them so that I can make sure those pieces are part of the place I finally choose. This place in this time is yet another piece to the puzzle I have yet to complete.
I am not even close to being done with the chapter in my life. I know deep down I am not done. I am still learning and growing and exploring. I am still challenged and, at times, restless. I am also happy and grateful and amazed still that I am here in this time doing this thing. I am in awe.
I am now 56. It is a hard as that number to wrap my head around. It is what I am. I am also working mostly outside, living in the wilderness, walking 5 minutes to work, moving all day, exploring and learning about a new and interesting area. Wow.
Cheers to another year around the sun and double Cheers to many more!