The following is 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
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
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
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
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
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.