There are three ways a decision to travel full time can go. No way. Maybe. Let’s! For us it was a variation of all three at different times. I, Julie, was the main instigator in the various discussions, and that’s ok, because being an instigator has propelled us into making some pretty significant changes in our 40 years together. Consider:

  • We moved to Minneapolis. Mind you, I was from a small town of 5,000 and this is pre-internet where my only exposure to Minneapolis and St. Paul was the opening scene of the Mary Tyler Moore Show!
  • Terry was a stay at home dad. One of the originals – more than 34 years ago.
  • We ditched the big city and moved into a remote place in the country.
  • We learned to sail and bought a sailboat. Thankfully in that order.
  • We ditched the place in the country and bought a 150-year-old house in a small river town. Yay to sidewalks and only a 5 minutes round trip to the grocery store!
  • We’re selling our house, buying a 25ft motorhome, and setting off to travel fulltime on the road.

For a few years now I would mention the idea of selling it all and buying a RV. The discussion would go like this. We would get excited about the idea and think, “Yeah!” Terry would start to feel unsure of the idea and bring up the reasons why we shouldn’t. We would drop the idea. Generally this took 3-4 days start to finish. Not that he didn’t have valid reasons to feel unsure, he did. And those reasons, and taking the time to really communicate about them, helped us to make the decision to move ahead with our plan.

One major sticking point for us was the lousy mileage of a RV. Neither of us felt comfortable with a rig that would get 6-8 miles to the gallon. For this reason we focused our attention on a Class C type motorhome that usually has better mileage. In the end we decided on a Winnebago Navion with a Mercedes Benz diesel chassis that will average 16 mpg. We could live with that. Check.

Selling our house was a huge consideration that many find the craziest thing we’re doing, but making the decision to sell was not a very difficult decision for us. Granted, we’ll miss this home (it’s a fantastic home) but consider:

  • As we age, we would like to have a smaller, single level, low maintenance home with a much smaller yard.
  • Leasing out the house isn’t an option. We don’t want to come home to a house that wasn’t properly maintained while we were away.
  • We have a wood house that was built in 1858. It needs to be repainted every 10-12 years and we just had it painted so this is the perfect time to turn it over to new owners so they won’t need to deal with that for quite awhile.
  • Most importantly, if we have a sticks and bricks waiting for us, I would feel the tug to go home and it could hamper our traveling decisions. I’m really looking forward to the motorhome being our home.

One thing we didn’t really need to think about was how to work on the road. Terry is a full time artist and I have my own business that I can do from anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. I started my web business specifically to give us flexibility to travel. Now it’s time to implement! Terry will need to adjust his work by focusing on watercolors and drawing while we’re traveling but he’s looking forward to the change and all the inspiration our travels will give him.

While living in this area of Minnesota/Wisconsin, Terry has had 25 years of support of his work from our local coffee shop and friends. He’ll always be grateful to them. But he’s always loved travel and is looking forward to painting from some of his favorite subject matters – history, National Parks, Civil War, road culture, people and landscapes.

For 25 years I’ve been extremely active in my community and the area. From helping to start an animal shelter and a farmers market to being a VISTA volunteer. I rallied the community against a couple of very serious issues that would have negatively affected our communities; helped spearhead the effort to allow chickens in the city and I was the head elf for our small city’s big community Lighting Festival. There are numerous other things that I don’t need to go into – I always feel a bit uncomfortable tooting my own horn – but I will toot that I was once honored to be named Royal Lady of the Village 🙂

Terry wonders if I’ll miss not being involved with community when we’re on the road (and I’ve had more than one friend wonder the same thing) but I don’t believe I will. I’m excited to go from community responsibilities to travel responsibilities!

We hear from other full-timers that they are surprised at how many people they meet on the road and that they create new and strong friendships. But saying goodbye to so many good friends is not easy for us. The community here has helped make us who we are and so, as we head out on the road, you will be part of us and in our hearts. Not to be forgotten. We will share with you all.

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