What follows is the brief evolution of our lives as travelers, partly for my own amusement but also in hopes it may prove useful to see how one might find themselves in a situation similar, should they desire a traveling life.
July 2004: On my first major roadtrip I cross the Mississippi for the first time, sleeping in a tent throughout the Southwest and California, I’m bitten by the travel bug. The Rocky Mountains and Pacific Ocean explain to me just how much I have yet to see of this world.
September 2004: Renee comes to visit me in my small Cape Cod-style home in Erie PA. Having just returned from six months of backpacking around Europe, she adds further fuel to my desire to travel abundantly.
2005: After a year of planning, I quit my job and start my own freelance web design business. I am just getting started, but it will prove to eventually pay the bills and then some. I fly to England and live in the coastal town of Brighton for a month before returning to my son and life in the US.
Summer of 2007: After another cross country roadtrip, now my third, I move to Portland, Oregon for the summer. Two week long roadtrips are no longer enough to satisfy my desire to see the world, and after this trip I realize I want to go full-time.
August 2008: I am in love with my city of Pittsburgh. I have tons of friends and ride my bike everywhere and know all the best things about every neighborhood, but I’ve also spent the year getting rid of my stuff and buying an RV. We set out on the road full-time.
2008-2009: Via trains and planes, along with our usual RV lifestyle, we see Memphis and Austin, West Texas and the Grand Canyon. Most of our time is spent in the deserts of the Southwest but Oregon, California, and South Carolina make the cut as well. I’ve grown tired of living in a bulky Class C RV and the limitations it poses, and make plans to downsize significantly.
September 2009: I visit Colorado and meet up with Renee again, briefly. I have never loved anyone like I do her, and tell her I’ll be back to whisk her away. I then ride a Stella scooter from Colorado to West Texas, shed my RV, and my son and I drive a rental car back to Colorado.
October 2009: I buy a little 1978 Volkswagen Bus and he and I spend a few months fixing it up while Renee ponders whether she’ll leave her life behind for one on the road with us.
December 21, 2009: On the Winter Solstice, and after a truly magical trip in the Bus to the Redwoods of California and down into San Francisco, we leave Colorado–with Renee.
2010: We travel the nation, the Southwest and Southeast, making a life for ourselves with very little square footage and plenty of freedom to do as we please. As summer fades we visit her family in Florida, mine in Pennsylvania, before parking the Bus and flying to Oregon, where we’ll live in a beach house overlooking the Pacific Ocean until our first son together is born.
2011: Winter Erik arrives. At 4 months old, we leave Oregon and throw him into the Bus to travel New England and Michigan for the summer. Somehow we end up in North Carolina, in the same mountains where he was born, and spend some time exploring the Smoky Mountains before heading up to New York and the Adirondacks.
2012: We’re back in Western North Carolina, where our youngest son will be born as the leaves begin to change color.
2013: Before spring can even fully dissipate the winter, our now too-large-for-the-Bus family piles into an Airstream travel trailer. We’ll cross the northern plains from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the lakes of Wisconsin, on to the Black Hills and then the Tetons, Missoula, Glacier, and into Canada. We visit Banff and Vancouver before dipping back into Washington. Mt. Rainier, then the Oregon Coast. We fall in love with the Beaver State again and spend the fall touring from Bend to Brookings and back to the North Coast before giving the Airstream a break and renting a string of vacation houses in Astoria, Oregon.
Which leads us to today. We have plans to wait out February, heading to Leavenworth this week and then completely revamping the Airstream, slapping a fresh coat of love on her before embarking for Sequoia National Park and parts unknown from there. Joshua Tree and southern Utah are loose plans, but I’ve learned that plans are nothing but possibilities.
I’m eager to see what may come as much as I am thankful for what’s been.