The End of the Beginning

Something strange has happened to us recently. When we first set out on our trip, roughly two years ago, we’d answer the common question of “how long are you planning to RV?” by saying, “until we’re done.” Rather than being flip, that answer is as close to the truth as we could get. We simply didn’t know how long, we just figured we’d keep doing it until we didn’t want to do it any longer.

As we set out on this particular chapter, we never really tried to look over the horizon. We didn’t know where it would lead, and didn’t really care. We always knew at some point we’d have to start drafting a script for the next chapter, but we didn’t spend too much time thinking about it. That is until now.

In recent days we’ve begun to think again about the longer term. What comes after? For the first time we can see the finish line of our RVing adventure. We think it ends with our completion of our westward journey, probably two year’s hence.

We don’t live in an RV for the love of it. Some people do, I guess, but we’re not them. We’ve chosen this lifestyle because it is a tremendously efficient way to cover the great expanses of the North American Continent. By 2014 we expect we’ll have canvassed most of the highlights. We’re not big on encore performances so I don’t expect we’ll want to do most of it a second time.

What comes next is a bit of a mystery, even to us. We’ll travel of course, but the logistics get a bit more challenging. Do we live out of a suitcase forever? Do we keep our existing R.V. as a temporary base? Do we get an R.V. on another continent? Do we rent an apartment somewhere as a permanent base, or maybe rent apartments temporarily in cities everywhere in the world? We have no idea.

For the first time since we set out we’re starting to think about what happens when there are no more U.S. sites we feel compelled to drive to. Our next chapter needs a plot. We’ve only just begun thinking about an outline.

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17 Comments on “The End of the Beginning”

  1. hobopals February 29, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    How fortunate you are. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your life and adventures. I hope you’ll still be blogging so we can follow you in the path you’ve chosen as your next “beginning”. You are both young and have your whole life, together, ahead of you. Wishing you much happiness.

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    • Brian February 29, 2012 at 10:26 am #

      Thank you for your well wishes and for following along. We intend to keep blogging, “until we’re done.” You’ll know when that is as soon as we do. LOL.

      With respect to our good fortune, we very much appreciate that, but would steer people in a different direction. We are fortunate in the same way that millions of people similarly born to loving middle-class parents in first world countries all over the world are fortunate. We’re fortunate for our good health, our good education, and that we have all of our faculties. We’re thankful everyday for these things. But beyond that, most everything else in our lives reflects our choices, our preferences and our sacrifices. Many, many, many people could be as fortunate as we are if they dedicated themselves to it. That is part of what this blog is about . . . making choices and working consistently toward the life you want. We’ve found the old saying to be true, the harder we work, the more lucky we are.

      Happy travels,
      Brian

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  2. Sarah February 29, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Sometimes I think the “what’s next” is the hardest part of having freedom in our lives. I wish you the best in determining the answer to that question. We are experiencing the same struggle in our lives, and it is hard to remember that you don’t have to decide what you are going to do forever, just what you are going to do next.

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    • Brian February 29, 2012 at 10:32 am #

      Your last sentence is very good advice: “remember that you don’t have to decide what you are going to do forever, just what you are going to do next.” Those are words that we live by, and ones that I think are unique to our generation and the ones that follow. Generally speaking, we no longer make lifetime commitments to employers, careers, towns, even (sadly) spouses. For the most part, it is a far, far better way to approach life. Instead of one long boring chapter, we get the opportunity to rewrite our story as often as we like. How exciting.

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  3. jmeyersforeman February 29, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    it would be interesting to see a map, shows us the road you travelled! I am not sure if that is possible, but it could be a separate page on the blog! just a thought.

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  4. customtripplanning February 29, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    Have you considered working for an agency similar to the Peace Corps that would send you somewhere, say a nation in Africa, for a period of time. That would get the huge transportation cost covered and put you land based for further exploration.

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    • Brian February 29, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      We have considered a stint in the Peace Corps, and looked into it a bit. The two year commitment may be more than what we’re really willing to do, but we have it open as an option. Certainly, one of our future chapters will entail more charity work. We’re looking for opportunities to marry our travel ambitions with our charitable ones. The Peace Corps is an obvious option. Unfortunately, most of the “voluntourism” things we’ve found are terribly expensive. We’ll keep looking.

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  5. hermitsdoor February 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Hmmm. I can hardly think a place to which we traveled, after which we did not think, “Well, that was just the ‘exploratory trip’. We will have to get back some day.” Time, finances, health…
    Oscar
    PS. We have done some narrowboat trips in England, and learned that the Brit’s narrowboat in the summer and “caravan” in Spain in the winter.

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    • Brian February 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

      We’re kind of at the opposite extreme. There aren’t many places we go where we feel compelled to return. That isn’t to say these places aren’t great, they are – it’s just that there are still so many places we haven’t been. Hitting someplace twice seems like a missed opportunity to see something completely new.

      We do find some places that are evergreen – European cities stand out in my mind. That is usually because they have so much to offer that you can go back repeatedly and never hit the same place twice.

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      • hermitsdoor February 29, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

        So many options, so little time and attention. Certainly, some locations have just a few “attractions” or points of interest, while others have many nooks and crannies to explore. We also tend to be on the detailed oriented side. If this does not horrify you, we have been to the Geology Exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History at least 10 times and still not absorbed all that we find fascinating in there. That is just one of the dozens of exhibits within the museum! Then, again, we often spend only about a hour at a time there, check out the special exhibit, wander over to the National Gallary, take in a play, catch up with friends in D. C., have a meal… Happy travels.
        Oscar

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  6. Kevin and Ruth February 29, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    There are so many possibilities out there. We are also having to think about what our future travel plans will be. Whatever you decide we are sure you will have fun.

    Kevin and Ruth
    http://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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  7. alienheartbeat August 9, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    Re “What comes next is a bit of a mystery…RV…permanent base…rent apartment…”
    Some thoughts.

    1. You need a permanent address of some type. health insurance, banking, many things become painful if you tell people you have NFA. The computer systems make no provision for this. And it needs to be in a sensible jurisdiction. An address in Tanzania gets you bank accounts in Tanzania, but that may not help you as an international traveler. I use HK.

    2. I prefer to also have a permanent base. No base means you either need to carry too much stuff with you or keep moving between temporary apartments. Moving apartments internationally, like nationally, is a pain and consumes a lot of resources. However the base doesn’t need to be much – it could be a bedsitter. It is easiest if the permanent base is also the permanent address, though in fact I sometimes end up having them in different countries.

    3. Doing (2.) above enables you to backpack travel. RV is not the best, or even practical, everywhere.

    4. This does not stop you from renting an apartment in a new city you like and exploring a new country from there. But you don’t move your stuff to the new apartment, you just move into it with you traveling gear, and buy a few extra things locally to make life more comfortable (teapot, kettle, saucepan,…). It is really just a cheaper, nicer hotel room.

    Hope this is useful.

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    • Brian August 10, 2012 at 9:46 am #

      Thanks for the helpful input. We have a permanent address that won’t change, we just can’t live there. It’s a mail forwarding service where we’ve domiciled our legal life.

      We still don’t know exactly what we’ll end up doing, but my guess is that we won’t have a permanent base to start. I think we’ll probably pick a direction and start backpacking. We’ll do that until “we’re done” just like the U.S. RV thing. Along the way, I can see us trying to arrange house sitting gigs or renting an apartment for a month or so just to chill. If we get furnished places (maybe through sites like AirBnB) we won’t have to worry about lugging a saucepan. The truth is, we don’t really know and mostly will have to make it up as we go along. But advice from folks who have done similar things is super helpful as we think through this next chapter. Keep the comments coming!

      Like

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