Tomorrow marks two years since the day I signed the paperwork on my house and drove away. Which means today is two years since I wandered around my house, doing last-minute cleaning, having one last torchlight swim, feeling surprisingly peaceful as I said good-bye to my home and ventured out into a new life.
My brother asked me the other day if I’d take my house back if I could and I didn’t even hesitate before saying, “Oh, yeah, definitely. If I could afford it. I loved my house.”
But I have no regrets. It’s amazing to me to look back on this past year, which feels like it’s lasted a lifetime, and remember all the things I’ve done.
Campsites by the numbers:
8 parking lots
28 state parks
3 national parks
2 national forests
1 Department of Natural Resources
1 Bureau of Land Management
6 Army Corps of Engineers
4 county parks
3 Thousand Trails
1 Good Sam
1 independent, not affiliated with a program
2 guest beds
1 air mattress in an office
If I’m counting right, 75 different places in 32 different states.
I saw Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon; a moose in Montana and a bear in Washington. I visited friends and family across the country. I cleaned out a refrigerator in California and organized spices in Seattle. I took a few ferries and walked on a few beaches. I got elevation sickness in Arizona and a phenomenal cold (or possibly an extended gluten-reaction) in Arkansas. I took a lot of pictures; I wrote a lot of words.
It was a good year.
As it comes to an end, I’m honestly not sure what the future will bring. I love experiencing a beautiful sunrise surrounded by nature, but I’m really tired of needing to strategize about how to shower. I like seeing new places, but I’ve lost all enthusiasm for driving. But I told a friend recently that I’d failed to plan an exit strategy.
And there’s still an awful lot that I want to do. Vermont again, Canada, Wyoming, more time in Montana, another visit to friends in the west, another visit to friends in the northeast. I’m fairly sure that a year from now, I’ll be writing a post titled “Three years” but maybe by then I’ll have some better ideas about where I’d like to settle down and how I can make that work.
Meanwhile, I’ve got a book to edit. I did a first round of revisions last week, after a quick fix on an incorrect name turned into a first-pass edit. I didn’t mean to, but I couldn’t help myself. I’m waiting on feedback from some early readers now, trying not to look at it again until I hear from them, but after my own first read through, I’m fairly sure it’s solid enough that I’ll be publishing it soon. The actual date might depend on when I have internet. I’m heading into Vermont and as I recall, cell signals there were pretty much non-existent. It might have to wait until I get back into a signal-friendly zone. I’ll know more soon, though. And I’m really, really glad not to be going into Year 3 with Grace still unfinished!
Glad I caught you before I had to shut my computer down. I can’t believe it’s been 2 years. And add to your list the sadness of losing Bartleby and seeing Zelda’s health take a turn. You’ve had a tremendous amount of good luck in that you’ve had no accidents, no serious illnesses or injuries, Serenity has run well, and you accomplished your goal of finishing Grace. I’d say overall, it’s been a really positive 2 years.
It definitely has. I did think about writing about some of the harder parts of this year — it was a lot more challenging than Year One, which was pure fun. And that wasn’t because the magic wore off, it was just the reality of bad mammograms and colonoscopies, sick dogs, family stress, deaths in the family… all of that made for a much harder last six months than any part of my first year. But it’s still been a wonderful adventure!
Judy, Judy, Judy said:
I think and rethink how I’ll do it when my time comes. If I had unlimited money… but I don’t. I actually would like to network a group of people with lots around the country that would work like a free time share sort of. Person a in person b’s lot while person b is in person d or g’s lot. Like that.
Judy, Judy, Judy said:
Ps glad to hear about Grace!
I’ve had a similar idea! With a good friend, except that we also want to travel together, not visit one another’s places when we’re not there. Also, part of the fun of the travel is going to new places, not just the same places. The Thousand Trails membership lets you go to campgrounds around the country and it’s a pretty good deal if those are the types of campgrounds you like. I’m not renewing my membership, because they’re just not right for me, but it’s definitely an economical option. There’s also a couple sites where people sign up if they’re willing to let someone camp in their driveway and lots of boondocking (aka free camping) options if you’re out in the west. I really don’t have any regrets — it’s been a great adventure. But I’ve been glad to have a few restful places to stay for a while. My brother’s garden house soothes my soul.
Tracie Lynne Hall said:
How very adventurous of you! Who knew you could be a successful writer while traveling? Do you use libraries then?
Absolutely! Although electronically, mostly. I have a library card with my mailing address and I check books out via Libby. I’ve actually considered trying to get an Ohio driver’s license so that I could use the Ohio library system — all the big cities in Ohio seem to have incredible ebook collections. But that would get awfully complicated, so I stick with my Florida card. 🙂
Although I should also add… success? I’ve been writing Grace since 2013 — I think I’d probably be much more prolific if I was sitting still inside my imagination instead of wandering around the country! By most standards, indie or otherwise, I’m an absolute flake as an author. On the other hand, two deer just ran past my window, which is not a sight I would have seen in my old life, so no regrets!!