Based upon the responses we received from our last post, YES we are living THE dream! While it wasn’t ever our dream, as it began to unfold, it became a DREAM of a lifestyle! We are loving it, no doubt. We have visited amazing locations, met wonderful people and reconnected with friends and family. In part, we are traveling because we can’t agree where to “settle down.” We are visiting a few places that have potential and at the end, we usually give it a thumbs down….
In this post, we want to share the reality of our lifestyle and say that it isn’t exactly what we thought it would be as well as the downsides of it. Again, it’s not for everyone as it takes a lot of flexibility and patience to maneuver through the various obstacles in our way….we survived the biggest of all, our blowout!
While we could have been killed or seriously injured, the blowout was nothing compared to other concerns. So is it coincidental or not? One favorite couple we’ve followed since the beginning of our travels just posted for the first time in three months. We found them because of their love of hiking and how well they blogged about them. We’ve admired them from a distance – hoping one day our paths would cross. As we’ve “lived the dream,” we’ve been praying for this couple, Steve and Mona Liza Lowe of Lowe’s RV Travels. They truly have lived the dream for five years. And then Steve was diagnosed with cancer. The biggest concern of us full time travelers is just that, how do we handle such a major life crisis on the road? They have successfully coped and just wrote this post to give us an update, so timely! Here is their fabulous map of yearly travels, colored coded. Visit this site to see each year since 2012 broken down.
Life just happens. No matter where or how you live. We have had two deaths in our family since we have been on the road. When my step dad (click here to read a tribute to Cliff) was diagnosed with terminal cancer, your hearts were broken – as with anyone who gets the diagnosis. We were able to go visit him numerous times, even spent a month there twice, to help out to just love him and my mom. It was a very rough time. This past November, Bill’s only uncle passed away. We hadn’t seen him or Bill’s Pennsylvania family for about five years. Our lifestyle enable us to drop everything to attend his viewing and service. It was great to reconnect with his family and now we hope to see them more – Pennsylvania is in our future. While it takes some planning and arranging, we have to be able to leave our motorhome in a safe place when we have these sudden and unexpected trips. Fortunately, so far, we have been able to do this.
Two years ago, we made Fredericksburg our “medical” home. We know medical care is an issue for many people. Since we are here at least four months a year, we can easily schedule all of our appointments during our stay here. And it was great that we have had “fresh eyes” on our health as we learned Bill had heart disease. Had we not moved our medical things here, he probably wouldn’t have learned this – and the radiologist who reviewed his CAT scan said he was at risk of a massive heart attack! He has the “silent” killer disease. We often said what would take us off the road would be a serious medical issue! Fortunately, he was referred to an excellent cardiologist who said he just needed to radically change his way of life and he should be fine. But that still hangs over his head, although he has radically changed his way of life. This change has added a new issue on how we travel. Main thing now our lives are centered around him working out everyday (takes a full two hours if he does everything he needs to do) and is centered around eating a heart healthy lifestyle – which means lots of meal planning ands shopping for fresh, whole foods – little to no eating out for us.
We’ve both had minor surgical procedures. That’s a huge question, how do you do that? Same as if we lived in a house! Really, no difference. We had to extend our time here in Fredericksburg due to the fact I had to have an epigastric hernia repair. We extended our stay for a week to take our grandsons and their HARD working parents on a weeks vacation to the beach. We only wished we had taken real vacations in our early years….It wouldn’t have happened for them had we not been able to help them. And we do love helping them, after all! Anyway, our lifestyle is conductive to healing – so we’ve been able to stay put for an extended time. We are parked in an area where I can get outside and easily stroll around to stay fit and to keep my lungs functioning – doctor’s orders! I’m up to 2 1/2 miles but the doc said I need to still take it easy for at least another four to six weeks. UGH…
We’ve both had some dental issues as well. We were thankful we could return to our former dentist from when we lived in this area over a decade ago. They have been able to work with us, around our travel schedule. So that is one major thing we have learned about the medical profession! Although we now have all of our medical care here in Fredericksburg, with the newest medical issues, we have found much of our precious time here to be with our grandsons and help our daughter and her husband, are visiting doctors (as well as getting our car tuned up and we take the boys on all their appointments as well). We counted 13 appointments this past April and 22 these two months here now. 😢
In addition to planning our trips back to Fredericksburg we have to plan our travel around the holidays. One thing we know for sure, we don’t want to be on the road any where close to holidays. So we have to plan ahead for places to stay – and we don’t like to much planning since we know we could get a phone call at anytime to cause us to run to our families aid….Bill’s mom is 96 and mine is 94 and our grandsons are BOYS and you know what all that means. All seem to be OK, but even our mom’s have their minor health issues – and at their age, minor issues are not so minor!
A few examples of flexibility and holidays colliding: Two years ago, May 2015, we took our “new to us” motor home back to the factory in Red Bay, Alabama for minor tweaks. We had made a commitment to receive Bill’s bother in Illinois for 10 days from care giving to their mother. We thought we would only be there at the factory a week. Long story short, we were finally done two weeks later on Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Oh great, where can we stay on the road to Illinois from Alabama on a holiday weekend? After a few calls, reality set in, we needed to stay put and leave on the Tuesday after the holiday. Fortunately we were on a day by day rate and could stay put. We’ve had to work around the 4th of July as well. The past two summers, we have just been in the right place at the right time! Our bonus this year, was to be able to stay at the same place as some friends – actually, they were our mentors when we were trying to buy a motorhome!
Another issue in addition to live 24/7/365 in 400 square feet living quarters is that we share a car! Fortunately, we get along GREAT, we both like the same temperatures (that’s a biggie), have the same taste in food, so to speak, love the same activities and really, we’ve had the same goals all of our marriage. It’s all about give and take and being considerate of the other. Has it hindered anything? Not yet. We’ve only had to hire a taxi once – our car was inadvertently towed from right in front of our motorhome here! Actually, it was in the grass in the field in front of our home. The parking area where we have to park was being paved and the manager told us to park in the grass. But they have a contract with a tow company to do late night drive throughs. If a car is in the grass, tow it!!! So imagine our surprise when we were leaving for a 9:00 am doctor appointment. Normally, we are running late, but this day, we were early so decided to leave anyway. Thank goodness as it took the extra time for a taxi to arrive! Did you know if you don’t show for some appointments, they will charge you up to $75? We’re not sure how they do it, we don’t want to find out!
Finally, the hardest part of this wonderful lifestyle is that we can’t do it all. We are not complaining, but at least six months a year are devoted to our grandsons (4 months at least), a month or so to RV repairs (that’s our average so far) and then we spend two weeks with each of our moms and that doesn’t include the travel to see them. We are blessed to have our moms. My mom is in the Florida panhandle so that fits easily into our winter travels. Bill’s mom is in Illinois. Initially, Bill didn’t think he would drive our RV there. But Bill finally figured out how to get out there twice and that expanded our travels! Sadly, we have hurt some feelings of family members because we haven’t been able to come see them. It may look like we are just floating around the country, but it’s not that easy to fit it all in….Here is a little slide show of our priorities:
In retrospect, we are amazed at well we have adapted! Bill really doesn’t like change, while I thrive on it. Bill is more of the introvert-type personality, so he’s fine with “just the two of us.” Had it not been for our grandsons, we would have a map that looks like the Lowe’s! If Bill had a dream, that was it, but that was also before our grandsons….I’m the social one who also thrives on relationships – so social media helps! And we are so grateful we both love the outdoors, long walks, hiking, exploring and seeing all the beauty we can in this great country and enjoying God’s creation to the fullest!
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13
What’s next? Well, one thing we have decided while we went through this “dream” idea, was we really want to visit all new places, excluding seeing our grandsons and our mothers. We have been here over two months and Bill has the “hitch itch” – ready to hitch it up and let these wheels roll! Finally, we are going to spend a month in the Wilmington, NC area to see if it might be the place for us to settle down in one day. Stay tuned to see how that goes, will it be thumbs up or down???