I can honestly say that this trip, this way of living that can only be imagined at this point, has been part of my consciousness for just about as long as I can remember. Even as a teenager I had feelings of wanderlust, when a summer chock full of sailing gave way to fantasies of sailing around the world; or later, when I gave up a good job and “promising career” to leave Detroit for an unknown future in Los Angeles. It was all about the same thing. It was about a value system that ranked new experiences, travel and adventure over just about anything else.
Fast forward to 2012 and all of the pieces for a grand new adventure started coming together. Bridget and I had just gotten married, still decompressing from all of what that involves, when we sat down to a chat about our future. We recounted how we have had various “shared goals” along the way – should we date, sleep together, move in, get married – now what?
We acknowledged how many new couples consider starting a family at this point, a cycle that wasn’t going to be repeated, having a daughter already in college; or, perhaps we will work our way back into the realm of homeownership, and all that that would entail. Again, not so much.
So what to do?
So we talked and talked and talked some more until I confessed my longing desire to leave LA, a place that we both love, and hit the open road. I wanted adventure, something new, something unknown. I wanted to find a kinder, gentler way of life.
So we kicked the idea of full-time trailer living around a bit. We even tried to sit with the idea for a couple of weeks, with me excited about the adventure, and Bridget starting to plan how we will function. The two viewpoints began to struggle against each other, and instead of a shared goal to rally around, we found two perspectives of the same idea trying to convince each other to join the other side. We had to find a new way, a third perspective, that we could both support with ease.
We arrived at a concept we called “independence day”; an idea composed of all of the elements that would be required in order to live anywhere of our choosing. Here, all sorts of practical matters could be safely sorted and discussed. Matters such as seeing the kid through college, eliminating debt, building our writing careers, and being able to earn a livelihood from anywhere were all added to the mix. We simply had to get to work toward independence day as some sort of open-ended target, with the understanding that we will know we have reached our goal when we got there!
In the fall of 2015 I got involved in building a large art installation for a popular, nor-cal music festival. There was a lot of pre-build work to be done, and we were fortunate to have a crew member’s home and acreage in Grass Valley as a place to gather and shape tons of materials for the installation. While camping with the crew, talking around the fire, and getting to know and love the area, the notion that independence day had arrived began to surface. Bridget’s online enterprises were going strong, our writing careers were beginning to yield results, college graduation was behind us, and there would be plenty of carpentry work available to supplement my income along the way.
And, of course, there were those beautiful Sierra mountains.
One month later and we literally shook hands on the deal. We were going for it.
We bought a new travel trailer in January, gave it a couple of shake-down excursions to see how it all worked, then spent some time redecorating and making a few modifications to the rig.
We hit the road on May 9, 2016 to reach our first planned stop to work for a month at Lightning In a Bottle, a popular music and art festival near Paso Robles (central CA).
To fully answer the question, “why?” is beyond the scope of this posting, and will inevitably be the subject of writing to follow. That being said, the shortest answer would be, that I intend to reinvent myself, and therefore my life, once again.
Writing is my fourth career, and nothing will create space, provide inspiration and stoke the testosterone like a major shift in my daily patterns of life.
It’s also a sexy subject for writing … a writer’s dream really.
The dream trip for me would be nothing unless Bridget and I continue to be completely in love along the way. It may seem a bit corny, but if we are in synch, then it will mean that we are staying within our mission statement to continue so long as it serves us.
Is the effort and sacrifice that we will surely face, worth the rewards of what may be?
Though the answer may be a bit scary to consider at times, we have never been better prepared to face the challenge.