I have wanderlust. Fortunately I married a man who suffers the same. To complicate matters we are also driven to achieve. We set goals and we complete them- individually and as a team. Together we rely on a timing that is above our understanding- otherwise we would be adrift- and adrift holds no place in our collective spirit. So, with a need for structure and a longing for change we navigate life together. In the spring of 2017 our time was once again due for change, for one chapter to end and another to begin. With a soul-stirring wind of change, one season was blowing out: our youngest daughter left to start a family, our dog (my constant companion) passed away, one of the snowiest winters on record was melting into hungry spring rivers, and buyers were lined up for another home in our slice of paradise. With that chapter-end came the thrum of ‘what’s next?’. As I blinked into the blue sky of spring I had an idea. My husband was overseas, as per usual, so I sat down and typed him an email.
Wife: “What if we sold our house and got rid of our stuff and traveled the world in our Sprinter Van?”
Husband: “Sure. Let’s do it.”
Two weeks later the house was under contract. Three weeks later we had a back up offer (gulp, no turning back now). Four weeks later my husband returned. And six weeks after I sent that email, we were homeless, stuffless, and driving away into the sunset- literally.
The clinchers to making this work for us financially are two-fold: selling our home and becoming debt free. We have modest monthly retirement income that will allow us to travel indefinitely (as long as we do not have a home to maintain). Our monthly bills now consist of a phone bill, insurance, and rental of a small storage unit. Barring any catastrophic incidents we can potentially travel the world in our van indefinitely. And indefinite is exactly what we tell people when they ask how long our ‘trip’ will take us.
The past year of travel consisted of the United States and Baja, Mexico. Our coast-to-coast US trip gave us the convenience to travel and make changes to our set up as we went along, while Baja was what we called our “training wheels” trip to really test our systems. Now, in the summer of 2018, we are gearing up to head south for what we are calling a trip around the world. Our intent is to drive south, through Mexico and Central America, then ship the van to South America. When we are ready, we will then ship to Africa and drive north. From there we can access Europe, Russia, Asia...but that’s all getting ahead of the story. At the moment we have no intention of completing a specific route. We have no timeline; and we know that family commitments will provide welcome interruptions to our journey. As we look at the map of Central and South Americas we see endless places we long to explore, and it’s hard to imagine getting through it all in less than two years..or even three. Beyond that, we contemplate the rest of the globe and it becomes impossible to say how long it will take to see it all.
We leave behind our loved ones, and that part creates a physical ache as we miss out on the day to day. We can only hope that our children and grandchildren know that we always look upon the same moon, and that we hope to inspire them with the beauty of our world and the people we share it with. We will continue to return home at least once a year- we’ll store the van wherever we are and fly home to see family, visit our doctors and dentists, and take long, hot, American showers. There are also plenty of opportunities for friends and family to meet us out in the world and we really hope that happens often.
I’m looking forward to sharing the journey ahead. Let the Slow Roll begin!