Our Plan

This is from the letter Jeff sent in March 2006, just prior to our road trip. It does a good job of explaining our idea and our plans for the next year.

Dear Friends and Family,

One morning last September, as I was sitting in my office dreading the long workday ahead, an idea occurred to me. (Technically, the idea belonged to a co-worker, but I claimed it as my own). At the time, the housing market in Phoenix was on fire, with homes selling just hours after being listed, and buyers entering into bidding wars and driving selling prices high above their asking prices. As my co-worker and I commiserated each other’s employment misery, he asked a simple question: “Why can’t I just sell my house, put all that money in the bank and go on the road for awhile?” We talked about it briefly, but it was idle chatter; just something to fantasize about to help get us to the end of the day.

Except that I didn’t leave it as idle chatter. That night, I floated the idea past Susan, figuring she would dismiss it. To my surprise, she liked it. A lot.

There were many reasons why this idea made sense. We knew that home values had increased substantially in our area, so we would stand to make some money if we sold our house. Susan was tired of her school district and the whims of the bureaucrats who make it difficult for teachers to do their jobs. The Phoenix area was increasingly congested and polluted, and we knew that we didn’t want Justin to grow up in what was becoming the next Los Angeles. I was just finishing up my degree program in IT. And finally, I had become weary of my job and needed a change. For all of those reasons, we decided a change was in order.

And what a big change it’s become. After several months of planning, many emotional ups and downs, and periods of going back and forth between doubt and excitement, we are about to enter a new phase in our lives.

In the past few weeks, we’ve sold the house, sold the Suburban, sold or donated a bunch of things we no longer need, put our remaining stuff in storage, and bought a 30-foot motor home. Starting the third week of April, it will be our new home as we travel around the US for a year.

There is no way to plan a year-long trip, so we have no firm plans. However, we know that we want to visit all of the National Parks in the Lower 48. We want to visit friends and family along the way. We want to hike, bike, climb and otherwise enjoy the great natural areas around the country. We know that we will initially head west and up the coast, then try to be in the northwest at the start of Summer, the northeast in the Fall, and spend the holidays and much of January in Florida, staying warm. Then we’ll head out along the Gulf coast, and finish up with New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado in Summer 2007. We’ll fill in the blanks as we go, eventually hitting all of the states except Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas. Right now, we have no idea what we’ll be doing at the end of the trip, but we hope to settle down somewhere in Colorado.

As you might imagine, we’re very excited and a little nervous about our upcoming adventure. Wish us luck, and maybe we’ll see you during our travels.

Jeff, Susan, and Justin