Our RV road trip is nearing an end. Some months ago we realized that this chapter of our lives was coming to a close. Now, the next chapter is starting to come into focus.
Over the next 18 months we expect to mostly complete our tour of the United States. We’ll spend this winter making our way up the Pacific Coast and be in position to hit Alaska next summer. Over the fall we’ll work our way back down through eastern Washington, Oregon and California. By the time we reach Yosemite National Park, we’ll mostly be done RVing.
From there we might go on a short tour to promote Shannon’s upcoming book, Writers between the Covers (depending on release date) or drive back east to hit some of the places in the middle of the country we missed. Either way, sometime in 2014 we expect to be finished with our North American road trip.
What we won’t be finished with is travel. After thinking through all of the various options, we expect we’ll trade in our RV and most of our things for a couple of backpacks and finally begin our long-delayed world tour.
The thought of getting rid of most everything (again) brings familiar feelings. The RV has been our home for the past several years and there’s something comforting in the idea of hanging on to it. But, the truth is, we’ve been here before. It’s hard to see what about our current situation is really different. Having decided once to sell everything we couldn’t bring with us, I expect we’ll make that same choice again.
The upside of shedding the RV, our car and everything else is that our already low financial overhead will drop to a pittance. Our fixed monthly expenses will consist only of health insurance and a global cellular plan. That’s it. The rest of our budget will be available to cover travel expenses.
Once unburdened of our things, we’ll buy a one-way ticket somewhere and start making our way around the world. We’re thinking of heading east to Europe first, maybe starting in Iceland on our way to the U.K. and beyond. It’s been awhile since we’ve been to Europe and both of us are anxious to get back. It also seems like a good place to ease into a new lifestyle: noshing a croissant and sipping espresso at a sidewalk café in a century’s old piazza has delicious appeal.
How long this next chapter lasts is anyone’s guess. When we set out in the R.V. we figured we’d do it “until we’re done.” It looks like that will turn out to be about four years.
We’re similarly placing no restrictions on this next leg of our trip. We don’t plan to hurry around the world in a single year or two the way some RTW (‘Round the World’) travelers do. Places we like we’ll probably explore as thoroughly as we did the U.S. I expect in some countries visa expirations will be the greatest motivating factor in moving us along. We don’t really know, though. Mostly, we’ll just figure it out as we go.