I have written about this before but I promise you this: road trips ROCK. I used to HATE them. After all, who had time to drive when there was an airport nearby and I needed to get back to work. But I have since changed my tune. When my daughters and I get in the car and start driving, and I force them to put away their electronic devices and stay awake, we have real conversations. We laugh, share stories, and talk about life. And, yes, there is the lovely downtime for the non-drivers. Taking in the scenery, listening to music, napping… And, seriously, the USA is amazing. There are fascinating places in almost every corner of every state and if you are flying over them (or skipping a trip completely), you will miss out.
And so it goes that my daughters and I are packing up and leaving town for several days. We are following my best friends, Julie and Shane, up to Cody, Wyoming and Yellowstone. We will hike, float rivers, perhaps go to a rodeo (I haven’t decided yet if I can stomach one), and check out the Buffalo Bill Museum. Serious bonding and exploring time with my children and best friends. I am really excited. When we are done, the girls and I are driving home. Julie, Shane and their children are continuing on. They are driving across the United States in a quest to see as much of the country over the summer as possible. Their itinerary leaves me green with envy. Neither Julie or Shane are wealthy. They are school teachers so they have time. And they made some HUGE life-changing decisions to make this happen. I’ll let you hear Julie tell it from her own lips (or, in this case, fingertips)…
Our Homeless Summer
We are off! It doesn’t seem real yet. I mean, I am driving and heading toward Utah but it doesn’t seem like I am going to be gone for the next two months. Everyone keeps asking where I am going to live when I get home. I don’t know! For real, I DON’T KNOW. What I do know is that I will be living at Lizzy’s in Utah for the next four nights and then in Cody, Wyoming. I have an idea where I will be “living” beyond that but I prefer not to think so far in advance. Right now is plenty enough to handle. One day at time. 🙂
My 40s really messed me up…well, sort of. So many life experiences and changes and transitions and ups and downs have led me here…to 47 and about to be homeless. This, of course, is all by choice and I couldn’t be happier. In a nutshell, the 40s brought me the following:
- My dad died…on my son’s 13th birthday
- My sister in law died at 52 after a long battle with ovarian cancer
- One of my closest friend’s sister died at 49 after a long battle with lung cancer (never smoked, by the way)
- My best friend, Lizzy, has been battling cancer for five years and is kicking ass, by the way (she is 48 although she will tell you she is 39)
- I transitioned out of a religion that is all I have known of God and the hereafter all of my life
- My husband has been battling all kinds of underdetermined health issues that have left us going from one doctor to another with no answers
Now, back to me! After all the changes and dying and taking care of five other humans I had an overwhelming desire to purge. And, purge I did!
We sold the house! We sold the furniture! We sold EVERYTHING! I told the kids, “Fit what you can in a suitcase and that’s all you get to keep.” We moved into our travel trailer in mom’s driveway (kids got rooms in the house) for three months in preparation for our homeless summer. We are now off on an adventure. 70 days and 26 states and no mortgage, no utilities, no credit card payments, no car payments, no job to report to (okay, I still have to teach summer school online), no doctor appointments. Just a lot of driving and spending time with family and friends along the way. I don’t know where we will live when we get back but that is a really long time from now and I don’t need to worry about it. I have chosen to live today! I will not worry about next month or next year and I certainly am not worried about the next life. I will LIVE today and be kind and a good human and make an impact on society and teach my children to love this planet and take it all in. This is what matters! I matter!
…And so it goes. One more person who is my hero. Living life BIG and GRAND. Because life is normal until it’s not. Is a summer road trip and “homelessness” for everyone? No. But finding your passion and living it to the best of your ability is, in my opinion, something everyone should discover. Because that’s all we take with us when we leave this life– memories. And all we leave behind are… memories. So go make some!
What an awesome thing your friends are doing. Really jealous here.
Make sure you leave plenty of time for the Buffalo Bill museum. It is fabulous and worth a day. We didn’t have enough time and were disappointed. Also, the rodeo was awesome.
Have a blast.
Thank you, Alice! Seriously, my friend Julie is my hero! 🙂