“Live life on the edge” they said.
“Follow your dreams” they advised.
“Do it while you can” they admonished.
Those messages resonated with us. But for most of our lives, we had done little about it. At age 60, like many Americans, we had been many places in the USA, but mostly for work or to visit family, with an occasional week-long trip to a national park. Our excursions outside the country were limited to a hand full of days just across the border into Canada and even fewer days in border towns of Mexico.
Fast forward ten years. My wife and I have now visited 15 countries on four continents, with plans to see more. And we have experienced the world in a fascinating variety of ways. We have done home exchanges seven times, in the US, Canada, and New Zealand. We have cruised the west coast, east coast, Atlantic, and Mediterranean. We sold our house, bought an RV, and spent two yours touring every part of the continental USA. We have arranged Airbnb stays in seven different locations, and would have many more if COVID had not intervened. This blog tells that story.
So what happened?
The short answer is that we took the chance and ventured forth on ONE “out of the box” trip. And that one trip changed our life. We both discovered that our greatest passion in this point in life is travel, and we intend to do as much as we can while we can.
Let me be clear. Except for a couple of goals (my wife wanted to go to Buckingham Palace and see the Eiffel Tower, and I wanted to visit all 30 major league baseball parks), these are not “bucket list” trips. That is to say the trips are not about ticking off landmarks. They are about the adventures that you find along the way, and especially the people you meet. In Austria, for example, we stopped for a Sunday morning coffee in Salzburg, and met the man in this picture below. We call him “Hans,” because that looks like it might fit, but we don’t know his name. We do know, however, that he was on his way to church, as he has been every Sunday since World War II when, as a young boy, he witnessed the Allies bombing his town, including damage to the cathedral. And we know he later visited the Seattle World’s Fair. We saw and did many wonderful things in Salzburg, including a Sound of Music tour. But this encounter was the richest of them all. We have equally fascinating encounters in a dozen more places.
My goal in this blog is to capture, as we go along, all the moments like this one with Hans. Hopefully you will follow along with us and be inspired to step out of your box as well and see all the wonderful things this world has to offer. Or, at the very least, to appreciate it vicariously.
Our early international trips were originally documented on a less sophisticated blog site. For most of our decade of travel, I was still working. But retirement brought the opportunity to tell the story a little better. So when, in August 2018, we sold our 4,000 square foot “sticks and bricks” house and opted for a 300 square foot fifth wheel trailer, I decided I had the time to do exactly that. Later, I would go back and fold the previous international trips into the new format.
The actual process of leaving a regular home and becoming a “nomad” in 2018 was met with amazement.
“You’re doing WHAT?” they asked.
“You’re going WHERE” they queried.
“WHEN are you coming back?” they questioned.
We patiently answered:
- “We are going to travel full time.”
- “We are going to see America and Canada. We have the first 60 stops planned, and a good idea of where we are going after that.”
- “We aren’t sure when we will be back. At this time there is no end date for the trip.”
From August 2018 to November of 2020 we traveled over 40,000 miles in 2 different RVs, driving through all 48 states and staying in over 100 camping locations. We went border to border and coast to coast, drinking in the fall colors of New England, taking in summer baseball in the Midwest, listening to jazz in New Orleans and visiting more than a dozen national parks in between. The “USA Travel” portion of this blog covers these adventures. My general goal is to tell the story in 10 pictures or less, with just enough narrative to fill in the context. In all, there are more than 100 blog entries covering this period. The entries are in the form of “top ten” pictures from each location, organized by category.
So what now? With the world opening back up again, we feel the clock ticking. We do not know how long we will be able to travel, or how far we can go. But we are going to do it while we can. You will notice the subtitle of our blog: If not now, when?
If you are new to the site, I suggest going to the index tab and scrolling through to get a sense of what is here. Click on any entry and it will open a separate page. Hopefully at least some part of this narrative will inspire you. By the way, the first picture was taken on our tour of Buckingham Palace. There are entries for the Eiffel Tower and the five baseball parks I have visited since retirement. I still have 11 to go, so hopefully those will make it here eventually.
So only one question remains. Want to join us on the adventure?