Thursday, October 1, 2009

Scratchin' the Itch

With this first post of this journal, I will briefly recap who we are and how we got this itch.  As a blog reader, I always like to go back to the first few posts to see how things got started and hopefully get a little history about the blog authors.  So here we go.

As is stated in the short intro paragraph of this journal, we are full time RVers.  Gene’s parents had several small RVs and eventually bought a park model in Florida where they would spend the winters.  I am from a military family traveling from base to base as the Air Force saw fit.  I guess that wanderlust is just in our genes.  How else can I explain this itch we both have to travel?

As we turned 50 and could actually see retirement down the road, we started talking, almost nonstop, about traveling.  It didn’t take long as these discussions intensified, for us to came to the conclusion that full-time travel was our ultimate goal.  In 2003, we saw our way clear to “semi retire” and started taking 6 months off from work each year.  Without completely jumping off the deep end and investing a ton of money into an RV without having any experience at that sort of thing, we decided to take our trusty tent and just go on a looooong camping trip.  We loved the whole experience of wandering around foot loose and fancy free without a deadline except to be back at work in the fall.  We spent that first summer in Colorado visiting the National Parks and doing what we love to do--hiking.

Since that turned out so well, we bought a pop-up camper.  Boy, was that great with a tiny refrigerator and a sink and a table that wasn’t out in the rain.  We were completely hooked on this nomadic lifestyle.  That summer, with the pop-up, we went to Alaska and the following summer we spent several months in Michigan.

Since that turned out so well, we bought a Montana 5th wheel and moved in on Thanksgiving weekend 2005.  We could hardly wait until the end of our 6 months of working to get on the road in our home.  The summer of 2006 saw us on a fantastic learning experience in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.  This was every bit as good as we had imagined.  That is not to say that it was easy to give up our home and most of our worldly possessions, but that is a different story.

The second summer on the road in the Montana was to take us to the Oregon coast and Washington state.  However, Gene got a call from the boss just as we were ready to leave town, asking if he would consider helping out in the Knoxville office for a little while.  Of course, he said “yes, sir”.  I suppose he could have said, “no thanks” or “I quit”, but the time wasn’t right for us to completely retire.  Off to Knoxville we went in our Montana.  After nearly a year there, the boss was generous enough to allow Gene to work via computer and cell phone and we were on the road again.  We immediately headed to the east coast near Charleston, SC for the remainder of the winter and then headed to New York for the summer.  Even though Gene was on the phone or otherwise working much of the time, we were still able to enjoy being away from the stresses of the office and seeing a different part of the country.

That was a great gig, but our goal was to be fully retired and fully traveling.  As soon as we felt we were able financially, Gene retired from his job of nearly 30 years and we hit the road finally full-time.  2008 was our first year to be totally free of job restraints.  We left Nashville on December 26 to start a large loop around the US that took us across the desert southwest, up through Nevada, along the Oregon coast to the Pacific northwest before turning east and heading back to Tennessee.

We will soon celebrate our 4th anniversary living in an RV.  The learning curve has been steep at times and there have been numerous days of frustration, but we still love the lifestyle and see no end in site.  We just keep scratching that itch to travel.

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