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Freedom to Roam

Since the 1990’s, Southwest Air has been running a television commercial around their tagline “wanna get away?” The ads present comical, embarrassing situations in which people find themselves wanting to “get away”. Most of the ads are accompanied by the sound clip “[ding] You are now free to move about the country”—an obvious riff on the in-flight announcement that “you are now free to move about the cabin”.

Well I guess some kind of Mad Men ad exec hit the nail on the head with that one because it has stuck in my head through the weeks and months as I got ready to head out on my own take on freedom – life on the road in a “new-to-me” RV – a 40′ motorhome!!

Don Draper….”trust me, I work in advertising …”

For as long as I can remember I have been a dreamer. And, perhaps just as important, I was determined to make those dreams come true. Thankfully many of them have – I’ve had some wonderful relationships; raised two incredible daughters; had a successful career; had an extraordinary array of experiences in travel and outdoor activities; lived in and enjoyed some amazing cities.

One of the dreams that has been part of my own “true north” is to have a life with multiple “chapters” and experiences—no one act existence for me!! Well, one of those chapters was always going to be a “life on the road seeing all that this vast and beautiful country has to offer…” I love travel, meeting people, fishing, picture taking …. hell, I love the whole damn aspect of it! ‘nuf said

Not sure where the influence came from—maybe like the SW Air “ding” something else stuck—perhaps Charles Kuralt was beaming out a subliminal message … “go, go, go…” (He did OK with that gig ! )

Or maybe the whole “Go Rving” campaign resonated with me – inspired by the ad campaign, I subscribed to Motorhome Magazine long before I thought it might be possible. Go figure??

Well, it is not only possible but is now my reality…

Yup, that’s me – in my own “go rving” banner now that I am the proud owner of a “new-to-me” 2007 Tiffin Phaeton ☺ … a 40’ motorhome or, as my daughter called it, “…kind of like an apartment on wheels…[and]….Dad, I can see you living like this…” Out of the mouths of babes—truer words have never been spoken.

So how did I get to here?? Glad you asked…

The short version: With the train wreck unfolding that we now call the Great Recession, I had to fire many of my team and then decided to fire myself and take a break from all the madness. I also had always dreamed of taking at least a “sabbatical/halftime” at 50 if not a full blown retirement. In a perfect world, the break would involve an RV, lots of travel, fly fishing, and photography.

Full blown retirement needless to say is out of the question – wont bore you with the financial and personal details – but in early 2011, when I started to see some light at the end of the tunnel ( and it didn’t seem to be another onrushing train!) I decided to fulfill the RV dream for as long as I can and despite the obstacles.

Fast forward- spring 2011 lots of research on the lifestyle and reaching out to folks who were doing it; summer 2011-house is gone/stuff is sold & donated/”keepers” put into storage; fall 2011- attended Escapees RV Boot Camp/found the RV; winter 2011/2012-repairs/modifications and upgrades—yup, the head was spinning in the whirlwind that had become my life.

Sometimes the decision even amazes me — I know it amazes family and friends – kind of amazed I had the guts to go through with it, but then again I have always gone my own way on lots of things ☺ It might have been easier not to do it but easy hasn’t been my style through the years – guess you could say I love a challenge. I guess I wanted to live the “unconventional life” after leading the “traditional” life for so long.

I am also drawn to the idea of now experiencing things on another level – no more packing, dashing in, playing tourist, reentry to normal – you know the drill. I love history so now I can slow down and explore life in America on my timetable and have a chance to absorb more of it; love the natural wonder out there and can “stop and smell the flowers” for as long as I want; fly fish all the rivers that need to be fished; photograph all the scenic wonder out there; immerse myself in the incredible variety of local cultures around the country and indulging in all the culinary, recreational and artistic opportunities in this wonderful country.

It won’t be without challenges and many transitions. I expect it will offer up lots of rough days along with the wonderful ones I dream about but as I blogged elsewhere on another occasion “… I have decided to take the road less traveled…but, now where am I???…. “ well the answer to that now seems to be…right where I belong!!

I think this is a good place to stop for now—enough of the introduction—in the days and weeks to come I’ll post more about getting to this point as well as post about my initial stops; I’ll introduce you to the “Bunkhouse”; preview some of the trip plans; eventually this will evolve into a travelogue and photographic record of my journey. I hope you’ll follow along via RSS, email, Twitter etc. Feel free to leave comments and questions—like many out there already, I plan on having an ongoing dialogue about all this.

See you down the road….

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