I have to laugh, I can remember so many times in the US Marines getting what was referred to as a “short timers syndrome”. In the Corps you were always getting “short”. Short on a tour in combat, short in boot camp, short in the “Suck”, and endearing term of the US Marines that only a Marine can truly understand.. but I digress.
Lynda and I are leaving San Diego in eight days. We are headed for Colorado for her family reunion, in our 39′ Newmar Kountry Star diesel pusher, towing our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser behind it.
And it dawned on me last night that a LOT of people had no idea that we purchased our motor home to travel in as well as live in. We have had some challenges over the years, as we bought our home in Poway during the peak of the real-estate boom, and were doing fine until Lynda was diagnosed with breast cancer. at that point, things changed…
After several years and some very scary treatments, we had several epiphanies. One was that we could afford Lynda’s treatments or the home, but not both. That was a very simple no-brainer. I can live without a house. I cannot, will not, live without Lynda, so that choice was easy. We gave up the house and moved into a condo in Poway. There we had another cancer scare and my younger sister asked me “What would I do if I lost Lynda?”
I had never even considered the possibility that she could lose the fight. I teared up and told Daonne that I would probably buy a motor home and disappear. Go skiing, hiking, scuba diving but generally leave society indefinitely… Later on, Lynda and Daonne got on that topic of conversation, and Lynda approached me. She stated that if I would do that without her, why don’t we do it together instead? And the “road trip for a lifetime” was born.
Yes, we thought we were just short of insane, but you know what? We haven’t been this excited about life in several years. The idea that we can make a living on the road, and travel the US just resonates with us. While we are not looking forward to leaving our friends here in San Diego, we are VERY excited about all the possibilities that are fast approaching. So for those wondering? We have been planning this lifestyle for quite some time. When mortality slaps you in the face you have two choices… Get busy living, or get busy dying. We choose the former.
So with that, in July, we pick up our nephew, Garrett, in Salt Lake Cityand head to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons for some back packing adventures.. Then we take him to Denver, drop him off, and return to the Wind River mountains in Wyoming for a 6 day backpacking trip with NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and learn a bit about leadership and serious backpacking.
In August we will check out South Dakota and see the Mt. Rushmore National Park. Lynda has a fascination with that memorial, and I too would like to see what it is all about. While I may have lost my belief and confidence in our current government, I have not lost my love for my country. However, on this subject, I will not mar a nice post with my political rantings.. Those I save for Facebook! HA!
Our destination after that becomes unclear, as we have a couple of options that we are exploring. Turn left and go do some bucket list hikes in the Northwest, such as Mt Rainier, and the Three Sisters in Oregon, along with the Redwoods and Yosemite as well as Sequoia National Park.
After that we have a month (Christmas!) in Belize planned (still a work in progress). We will start off with a week on a live aboard dive boat, the Sundancer II where we will take advantage of the training we are doing this week with Ocean Enterprises. We are getting our advanced open water dive along with Nitrox certification so that we can dive up to 5 times a day versus 3 times a day in Belize. It will also allow us to dive the Blue Hole at depths around the 80-100 foot level.
The following week will be spent with family in a 3 bedroom condo in Belize that Deb Bennett is renting us for that week… She also turned us on to Christine Cotten who is a travel agent she lives down there. She is the one that gave us the idea for the live aboard and a few others… and this trip is still a work in progress. This will be an entire month down there.
That brings up another major shift for us. The reason behind a month in Belize is that we have a BOATLOAD of air miles on our Alaska Airlines credit card. and we could get to Belize for FREE, but the problem was the dreaded “black out dates” during Christmas. I looked and looked and looked at how we could get down there for a week without spending a bunch on plane tickets when Lynda popped off with “Well, why don’t we just go down for a month?” My jaw dropped and the brain clicked as brain cells connected.. As long as we have internet connection? We can work from anywhere. Sooooo Belize it is.
When we complete our trip in Belize, and get back to the US, our intent is to spend the ski season in Breckenridge. Our intent is to buy two EPIC passes for the season and ski our little fanny’s off. At some point we will head to Florida probably Key Largo and enjoy some diving until May-ish where we will head back to the Southwest, and pick up my two sisters and my nephew and head to Alaska via the west coast.
People ask exactly how can we afford this? and our answer? We are no longer shelling out BIG house payments, and our “rent” at our friend Lori’s home has been very reasonable. When Lynda was first diagnosed in 2006 with cancer? We racked up some HUGE debt treating it. We blew through our savings, our investments, lost our house and had to downsize dramatically. However, while our house went through foreclosure we took every penny we weren’t spending on the home and paid off our debt. As rough as it was to lose our home which we dearly loved, paying off our HUGE medical debt was an incredible relief.
And side note here. I spent 4 years trying to work with Wells Fargo to come to a payment that we could afford while treating Lynda’s cancer.. I did not ask for any reduction in the principal, nor any special deal, just refinance it so that we could continue making payments while she was being treated. I cannot begin to tell you how stressful that was, or how relieved I was when I finally threw up my hands and told them fine.. “You want it so bad? Come and get it”. The banks inability to work with us was mind numbing. By a simple refinance at the interest rates that were available at that time, we could have easily continued paying for it.. Ah well, seems that in the long run? I like our current home with wheels MUCH better.
Over the past few years we have scrimped and saved and have rebuilt our savings. Not having a large rent or house payment has helped that. We cannot thank Lori enough for her help. So being able to work remotely enables us to earn a living on the road, AND live our lives on our terms. We have had a couple of pretty nasty scares, and with that, have determined that we would rather have a life of adventures than just wish we could…
For all of you following our story, THANK YOU. We hope to use this blog as a means of sharing our lives, and the adventures we are about to dive into. We hope you find it inspiring, entertaining, funny, and whatever else may come along. So please, sit back, read on, and enjoy the ride.