As we approach our D-Day, that is the question we are most often hearing.
This past Thursday, March 11, Tracy and I both completed our final day of 9-5ers! During our farewells, we were frequently asked about our future plans. One of the allures of this lifestyle is to not have too many set plans. This is a bit hard for me as a consummate planner. While I don't generally book every minute of the day, I do like to have a general idea figured out. But the older I get, the less I try to plan. I've often thought a fun road trip would be to hop in the car and choose a direction to head for awhile and then change directions and go that way for awhile and so on until you get tired of driving, ending up wherever you find yourself. No destination in mind, no plans, no schedule. Well, I've never done that...yet!
So it won't come as any surprise to hear that yes, we do have a plan. We pick up our new home on March 26 and will spend a couple of weeks here in Colorado settling in and addressing any issues which may surface. We will be staying about a mile down the road from the dealer and also about a mile from where we currently live, so our first road trip will be very short over well known roads. How's that for hitting the open road??
In early April, we will head to Texas to establish our domicile. We've had many questions about why we are doing this. The short answer is it's cheaper than Colorado. Texas has no state income tax, their vehicle registration fees are signifcantly cheaper than Colorado, and their insurance rates (for both vehicle and health) are cheaper than Colorado. But money is not the only reason. Texas does not require you to own property or spend any specific amount of time in the state to establish residency. As long as you have an address and register your vehicles, you can claim to be a Texan! OK, as a long-time Coloradoan and a Democrat, I'm not exactly proud to be a Texan, but that's just one of the many trade-offs we've had to make. So our first official road trip will be to Texas to do the necessary paperwork. There is still some drudgery and hassle with this lifestyle too!
Once we get that all squared away, we will head to Northern California. We have accepted a position at North Shore Campground for the summer. For those RV-Dreamers out there, this may ring a bell. It is where Howard and Linda worked last summer. Many people are surprised that we are starting out immediately working. Why not take some time to travel? Well, our initial intent was to do that. Since we didn't know how long it would take to sell the house and get the RV, we didn't figure we could commit to anything for the summer, so we were just going to roam. But then this opportunity just kind of fell in our lap. And it was certainly appealing. Although it is a full-time position, we get paid for all hours worked plus our campsite, including electric and water, is provided. We anticipate that we will encounter some unexpected expenses the first few months and having an income stream right off the bat will certainly provide some comfort as we figure things out.
But really, we always planned to "work" anyway. It will just be drastically different than what we've been doing for the past 25 years. The main difference is that these "jobs" will be temporary. We anticipate them lasting anywhere from 1 to 6 months. Some of them will be for pay; others may simply be in exchange for a site. We plan to take time off between commitments to "play". But we really hope that there will be a lot of play within the positions as well. We will be selective about which positions we accept, based largely on location and experiences they provide. So here's a sneak peak of our summer location. We will be living on a large lake (Lake Almanor) in the mountains (where the Sierras meet the Cascades). There are numerous hiking, fishing and boating opportunities. I anticipate it to be very similar to the Colorado mountains. For someone who has been itching to get out of the city for years, what's not to like?
Where will we go after the summer? We have no idea! We will probably start looking for a winter opportunity in early summer and will most likely remain in the western states. Next summer we are planning to go to Alaska! We briefly thought about making that our first destination this summer but were a little concerned that it might be too big of a trip for our first outing. So we'll get ourselves settled, build up our confidence a bit, and then tackle the Alaska wilds next year. It's a dream destination for both of us.
So while we have some short and long term plans, there will still be a lot of room for spontaneity and I'm sure they will change often. There is so much we want to do and see, it's hard to prioritize. We just have to remind ourselves that we have the rest of our lives!
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