April 24, 2020.
Hunkered down in Northern Indiana at Newmar’s parking lot playing dodgeball with a pandemic, we are anxiously awaiting whatever the new-normal is.
There are a couple of milestones are happening this week at chez Julie.
Two days ago was our One Year Nomadiversary! April 22, 2019 was when we took ownership of Julie, our motorhome, and set out on the road as full time travelers. Today is our twentieth wedding anniversary. This post is a reflection back on those twenty years. Before you panic and expect 10,000 words, much of the look-back will be in photos rather than words…..
In 1997, I was a salesperson in the bottled water industry and Lynn managed and was a stylist at a hair salon. My first computer had just arrived…a Gateway model in cow-themed boxes. Battling some stomach bug, I inserted the AOL floppy disk and signed up for their free trial. Little did I know that my first instant message would result in what is now a twenty year marriage. I was convinced that there must be a way to sell bottled water service to businesses via this new computer-thing. I got the sale….and the girl.
A few months after we started dating, we went on our first cruise together. Twenty years later, we’ve been on fifty seven.
We also bought a tent and started camping….and you can see what that lead to!
In 2009, we bought our first home in Western Massachusetts and I adopted Lynn’s two cats, Snuggles and Peaches.
Continuing the out-of-order normal life process, we then got engaged at Tanglewood Music Center, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
We chose to elope in Maui, Hawaii while on vacation aboard Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody Of The Seas. We chose this port as the ship was there overnight and we got married on Kapalua Beach at sunset. There was four of us in attendance – Lynn, me, the photographer and Loki, the Hawaiian minister.
The bottled water company I worked for was acquired by Nestle Waters in 2002 and I lost my position of General Manager. Nine months later, I accepted a similar position in Charleston, South Carolina and we purchased our second home where we lived for sixteen years until moving into our motorhome last year.
Shortly after we arrived in Charleston, this little monkey showed up and stole our hearts. She kept Lynn company when I was traveling and stayed by my side when I worked from home.
Come historic snow storms or scary hurricanes, we loved Charleston and miss our friends, breweries, backyard birds, back porch parties and that glorious hot tub.
So what do two New Englanders do after moving to coastal South Carolina? Buy a boat and name her Aloha Friday after the silly song Lynn and I would sing on Fridays in Massachusetts signifying the end of the work week.
Eleven years ago, Lynn started Indigo Travel, her travel agency and has been helping people plan and book their dream cruise vacations.
Speaking of cruises, we have loved traveling with friends and family and met many new friends on the high seas.
Somewhere along the way, we found this place called Alaska. We documented our first step…
And….fell in love with it. The nine cruises in ten years kind of fall-in-love…..
Through a difficult-to-articulate combination of careful planning, living & spending below our means and good fortune….we retired at ages 55 and 49 (I’m the old one). For my birthday two and a half years earlier, Lynn surprised me with a chain of paper clips. On the first of every month, we’d remove a paperclip until the last one was removed on March 1, 2019.
After years of discussing varying retirement plans, we decided to become full time travelers and purchase a 43 foot Newmar Dutch Star motorhome.
With Charleston in our rear view mirror, we set out on the open road for new adventures!
Along the way, we stumbled into a group of working-aged RVers called Xscapers…..”drank the Kool-Aid” and kept coming back for more! This group has wonderful camaraderie and we have met new friends….something difficult to do as nomads.
So, then…well…I got quite sick and was fortunate to recover.
And here we are….starting year two on the road!
Together for twenty three years…..As Jimmy Buffett sings –
Oh, yesterdays are over my shoulder,
So I can’t look back for too long.
There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me,
and I know that I just can’t go wrong.
It’s those changes in latitudes,
changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same.
With all of our running and all of our cunning,
If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.
Lynn’s 2 cents – On our 19th anniversary we were moving into Julie and on our 20th we have visited 16 states and stayed at 44 different places. Jim, I love this journey that we have been on since the day I met you. You are my best friend and I wouldn’t want to do life with anyone else!