Five years ago today, July 25, 2013, I hugged my co-workers in the CT Department at Froedtert Hospital, and swiped my badge on the timeclock for the very last time. It was the last thing on our “to-do” list to prepare for full-time living on the road.
Dan had already finished up in June with his job as a high school math teacher. Our house in Wisconsin had sold in April, along with most of our belongings, and we picked up our fifth wheel at the end of June and parked it at Doug and Linda’s (Dan’s sister) a/k/a “Camp Meyer.”
I remember walking out the doors of the hospital to my car with a lot of mixed emotions. Dan and I had always talked about RV’ing when we “retired,” but with working at a Level One trauma center, you see first hand how quickly life can change. It’s what prompted me to realize we need to do this sooner, rather than later. I had spent so much time researching the RV lifestyle and following blogs that I knew we were ready to try this. And it didn’t take much to convince Dan…he was all-in as well.
Our future was now a blank piece of paper and we could fill in the details as we went along. We have never looked back and not once have we regretted our decision about living a nomadic lifestyle. Yes, we have missed weddings, graduations, and other special events, but we just can’t imagine coming off the road any time soon. I feel like we haven’t even scratched the surface with the places we want to see and the experiences we want to share.
We have relied solely on work camping jobs for our income these past five years, and have not had to touch our savings at all. Our very first job after we quit our careers, was with Amazon, in Campbellsville, Kentucky. I remember thinking after two weeks of working as a Picker, what have we done? It’s a hard, and mind-numbingly boring job. However, the people we met and the places we were able to explore more than made up for the mundane job. If you want to read more about our Amazon experience, you can search our past blogs.
We spent our first full summer in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota working at Crazy Horse Memorial, and our second summer at Madison Crossings store in West Yellowstone, Montana. The past three summers we have worked here at Luton’s Teton Cabins in Moran, Wyoming. We have worked with great people and it is nice when we are able to meet up with them on the road and catch up on all of our latest travels. We also enjoy catching up with friends and relatives when we return to Wisconsin and when some of them are able to visit us somewhere along our path.
The social aspect of the RV lifestyle has been the biggest surprise for me. People become like family in RV parks. Everyone really looks out for each other. And if you don’t like your “neighbor” it’s easy to move to another spot! We have lived in neighborhoods for several years, and never really knew all all of our neighbors. Yet in an RV park, you can know most of the people in just a few days.
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
Any time you have an anniversary, it gives you time to pause and reflect on the past, and think about future plans. We have decided to make some changes going forward. The past four winters, have been spent in Florida. We have accepted a position to work at Westwind Golf and RV Resort in Yuma, Arizona from mid-October to mid-April. Although it’s a six month commitment, (our longest work camping position so far), we are looking forward to exploring a new area for the fall/winter season. A couple that we worked with at Crazy Horse Memorial, Henry and Terry, contacted us about the job openings. Dan will be working three days a week doing golf course maintenance, and I will be in the office the same three days. My position will be paid, and Dan’s position will cover the site rental. In addition, we will have a $50/month credit towards electricity, and a $100/month credit to use at the RV park’s golf course, restaurant and concert tickets.
After we finish our jobs here around October 1, we will slowly make our way south to Yuma. We are leaning towards coming back here for one more summer in 2019, and are just beginning plans to go to Alaska in 2020. Our friends Karen and Al also want to go, and we hope to have a few other couples join us as well. We don’t plan on working that summer, just exploring, so we have already begun saving for that trip.
After that, we would like to start exploring the eastern part of the United States. That’s our plan for now, but we know things can always change.
Another change we are considering is down-sizing to a smaller RV, either a small class A (but still diesel), or a class C. We’ve been looking, but not very serious yet.
And so the journey continues…..stay tuned!
Quote for the Day: “Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” – Wayne Dyer