Lately it occurs to me. What a long, strange trip it’s been.
- Truckin’, Grateful Dead
Two years ago today, Donetta and I cried and rejoiced as we closed a chapter in our lives and started a new one. It’s crazy to think we’ve been “homeless” and on the road for 730 days now. And the good news is our marriage has survived it all. LOL!
As I sit here writing this from Lake Texoma while we temporarily home-base in our fifth wheel, it’s incredible to think about all of the incredible places we’ve been across the United States. It seems unfathomable to believe the priceless journey we’ve been blessed to experience together.
But we’re not close to being done yet. More on that soon.
Would I change anything about our digital nomad and traveling lifestyle?
Reflecting back on the last two years of traveling is difficult to do given the sheer amount of wonderful memories we’ve made along the way. Of course we’ve had our share of problems, arguments, challenges, and a pause in travel too. It’s not a perfect lifestyle after all and there are only a few things I’d change.
1) Make better use of time and money.
This is more of a reminder to myself but could be a valuable lesson to anyone seeking to travel full-time.
In 2021, I needed a much needed break from everything. Mentally I was becoming happier but there were still decades of detrimental baggage to deal with. Working wasn’t a priority and we partially lived off our savings. While it was fantastic to spend time doing more of the fun stuff, it certainly didn’t help the bottom line. When you see your bank account get lower each day, it also robs you of the joy of traveling.
While I have no regrets for the decisions made, it was a reminder that our resources are not infinite. Going forward will require a better use of time and money.
2) Throw agendas and plans out the window.
We recently talked with a young couple who were about to sell everything and embark on their own adventure and they wanted to get some advice. The two best things we could say were “go for it at all costs and screw the planning.”
Having an idea of where you want to go is good but if you live for an agenda, you’re gonna miss out on beautiful experiences and new opportunities.
We have learned that life and traveling is WAY better when you just go with the flow. It’s more enjoyable to take each day as it comes. Sometimes you discover a place that needs more time to explore or that going slow is better than moving fast.
3) Leave the responsibility of “family obligations” behind.
This is a hard one to accept and embrace but you have to live for yourself and nobody else. It might seem selfish but you only have one life so don’t miss out.
When my Uncle Jules passed away last October, I was destroyed even though we knew his health was quickly deteriorating before we left. It wasn’t unexpected but it was still hard to believe. Because I was so close to him, we decided to drive long days from Maine to get back to Oklahoma for his funeral. Plus I had promised to render military honors to him since we were both in the Army.
And then family members decided not to wait for us to get home and had the funeral a day before our arrival. It was heartbreaking and hurtful in so many ways!
What we learned was that sometimes we have to choose our dreams over real or perceived family obligations.
We absolutely loved Jules, but despite our attempt to get thousands of miles over a few days, we still missed out on saying goodbye. We also missed out on a bucket list dream of seeing the fall foliage in the northeast. As a man who traveled the world, I think he would’ve wanted us to stay in the northeast and enjoy the life we were living.
4) Never stop living your dream.
Back in May, we hit the road again to visit Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Colorado. Our pause in travel was not something we intended to do. It just happened for various reasons and we embraced it.
However our six weeks “back on the road” was a very clear reminder that we must continue the adventures.
We’ve been very thankful for the time with our families and my new work opportunity, but we’ve also realized our greatest joy is being together while traveling full-time. Our hearts are happiest when we’re living our dream.
What’s next for us?
Honestly it’s hard to figure out with so many insane things going on in our country and the world. It’s all up in the air really.
The idea is to move the fifth wheel to a more permanent RV site at the end of summer. From there we can come back and work as needed or spend time with our people. If the economy collapses and it all goes to hell in a hand basket, we’ve got a safe haven to return to.
Then we’ll decide if we can build a small home on the property here in Kingston, Oklahoma. Of course that will take time, money, and other resources we don’t want to give up at the moment but definitely something to shoot for in 2023.
Settling down is not the goal right now though.
There are too many places to see still and other places we want to return to. Our bucket list dream is to visit Alaska as soon as possible, which would be our 50th state together. Finally we gotta get back to the Netherlands to see family and friends, as well as explore so many other countries on our list.
Wrapping Up on Two Years of Traveling
If we could impart anything with this post it is to encourage you to go out and live your dreams as well. It might not be traveling full-time but there’s a good chance you have something you’ve always wanted to do.
There are many reasons that prevent us from doing something , but sometimes it really comes down to whether you’ll take the risk or leap of faith to do it. Stop screwing around and GO for it.
Donetta and I have said many times that if today were our last day on this planet, we would have no regrets. We have lived to the fullest and you can do the same.
Thanks so much for continuing to read our blog. There will be more stories to share soon! Now to see if we can make it to year three.