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Why Are We Here?

There are three ways to answer this question:

Why are we here? (What are you two up to?)

For the past few years we have been watching our budget closely, paying off our debt, and saving as much as we can. This has given us the freedom to pursue a dream. What dream, you ask? A random one! While we do not have a definite goal or specific plan, we have developed some guiding principles:

  • Let life rule instead of work.
  • Explore the country and the world.
  • Trade "stuff" for genuine experiences.
  • Create rather than consume.
  • Develop a spirit of volunteerism.
  • Take odd jobs in unfamiliar disciplines to see if there is something we love, but don't yet know we love.
  • Live in the moment.
  • Work for ourselves as much as possible.
  • Dance outside our comfort zones in order to grow.
  • Find a way to stretch the money we have saved for as long as possible.
  • Identify properties of cities that we like should we choose to "settle down" again. ("You kids back there better settle down right now!")
  • Develop maintenance-free streams of income.
  • Move at a pace determined by our interest, rather than by a clock or calendar.
All that said, we do have a rough sketch of what the next few months will look like. We need to be out of the house by February 15. After this date, we may or may not be in Phoenix for an extra week or two. After that, we will pack up the conversion van and a U-Haul and head to the Denver, CO area to drop a few items and our puppy, Asher, with Mom and Dad J. Then we begin the US North American portion of our journey.  See the top of the sidebar for our current route, subject to lots of change.

After the US portion, we plan to to wait around until we find a really cheap flight to Europe. We have a couple offers from some friends to stay once we get over there, but the plan after that remains fluid. Again, there are some places we have in mind to visit, but we're going to let fate or leg wrestling determine our path.

Why are we here? (Why did you start this blog?)

As we begin this next chapter of our lives, we want to share both our experiences and what we have learned. So far we've learned about budgeting, downsizing, the short sale process, and conversion vans. More on all that later. I don't doubt that through the next year we'll have some stories, life lessons and maybe a picture or video to keep this blog full.

And it's not just all give, either. We'll be seeking advice, too!  Does anyone have any must see locations for the US portion of the journey that are near our travel route? Any good advice on travel insurance? Those are both real questions, not just examples. Answer them if you can help!

Why are we here? (What is the meaning of life?)

"There is no right answer." is what I once told Ellen when we were trying to decide whether or not to bring children into this world. She was afraid of making the wrong decision, but I believe that "to bear or not to bear" are just different paths. We all find meaning in different places. Part of the purpose for our journey is to find out what in the world brings us meaning, passion and joy. We look forward to sharing that journey with you.


  1. If you happen to be hitting Montana in the summer, "Going to the Sun Road" in Glacier is a must.

    Also, "Valley of the Gods" in Monument Valley... there's an 18 mile dirt road, off the beaten track... probably the most beautiful place I camped along my Western road trip.

    Dave W.

  2. Not to be lame or sound like somone's parents, but what are you doing about health insurance? (And no this isn't a troll comment to instigate a political flame war!) Or is that what you meant by travel insurance? I was assuming travel insurance was for like missing a flight or a ski vacation due to being ill or whatever.

  3. Also, there's an *amazing* restaurant along Highway 1 near Big Sur called Nepenthe (‎). It's not budget food, but it's a pretty incredible place, particularly at sunset.

  4. Dave - I love Glacier! We will definitely be hitting it - thanks for the tip. Not sure about Monument Valley but we may just have to make that work!

    Rich - We appreciate your parental concern! We are extraordinarily focused on health insurance. It's quite confusing to know which one is the best and what we need for overseas. But we will definitely have some! And thank you for the restaurant recommendation - we'll save up our pennies and splurge on Nepenthe!!

  5. I encourage you to visit the countryside in Italy. The country is so old, yet so wise. I love how they live off the land there and waist nothing. They are innovative, creative, hardworking, everything I want to be. Yet, they have very little stress.
    One other thing, have you read the "BlueZones" book?? I think you should check out all of those places.
    You should also have a baby while you are doing all of this and bring that child with you EVERYWHERE.

  6. I dont know if this is within your route, but when I saw this it sounded really cool. See the stars before you won't be able to anymore. Seth

    Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

    "This park probably has the darkest skies in the continental U.S.; in fact, its remote location in southern Utah almost guarantees it. Stars fainter than naked-eye thresholds have been seen here. The park also hosts astronomy programs around new moons." 435-834-5322;

  7. WOW!

    If you are going to Bryce, you might stop at Coral Pink Sand Dunes further south. I thought it was beautiful. While in Bryce, try to see the Bristlecone Pine trees. They are among the oldest living things on earth. They grow in other parks in the area also.
    Thanks for the blog. Jeanne

  8. Yahoo... I'm so happy for you guys. And I'm so inspired!

  9. Hey guys, cool idea, cool blog! What an exciting time you will have! I thought I'd mention how much my wife and I liked Roanoke, VA and the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's sort of on your path... but it was very pretty.

    We have started making a list of places we'd like to see, and possibly move to, and so far of all the places we've actually seen, Roanoke is at the top. It's not the most spectacular town or anything... just spread out, clean, beautiful, and everyone we talked to in Virginia were overly curtious. Strange.

    Have a good time!

  10. @ Anonymous: We had not heard of Blue Zones before. That's really cool!
    @ Seth and Jeanne: Starry nights and ancient trees sound wonderful. I've updated the official, unofficial map with a stop at Bryce. Thanks for the advice!
    @ Luke: I remember loving the Blue Ridge Parkway on a family vacation when I was younger. I've rejiggered the Eastern portion of the trip to include Roanoke.

  11. I'm so excited for you both! I can't wait to read your experiences and vicariously live through you! My man and I decided to settle down for a while in a foreclosed home, but hope to do what you are doing, someday.

    There are enough people in this world having kids. Just because you choose to not raise children (right now or ever) doesn't mean that you'll be living life without purpose. I've spoken to many childless couples who choose to remain childless and they have lived very fulfilling lives with no regret. You'll know if you're ready to have children. And if you don't ever, that's ok too!

    Also, I am a very knowledgable health insurance agent and would love to help you with your domestic and international needs. Just email me when you ate ready to talk!

  12. I suggest taking the ferry to Provincetown from Boston. Here's a link for info,
    The Cape is beautiful.

  13. Thanks. We do enjoy a good boat ride!

  14. Sounds like an exciting adventure. Have fun and enjoy the journey. We saw Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone and Grand Teton 2 summers ago and LOVED it. I recommend starting in Jackson Hole, WY and working your way north. It gets more breathtaking as you keep going. I recommend getting up early enough to see the sunrise reflecting off the Grand Tetons - the pinks, yellows and reds are amazing. A fun (but cold) adventure is white water rafting on the Snake River.

  15. @Greg: Last summer, we had some friends who had their wedding reception on a ranch right in front of the Tetons. We stayed in Jackson Hole and really loved the area.

  16. When in Ohio, stop and see Don and Cyndi at 3513 Warrior Place, Urbana 937-484-3747. Cyndi's cell is 937-657-3031.

    In Detroit, ya gotta see Ford Museum and the adjacent Greenfield Village. This is a 2 day experience. It's also possible to visit Henry Ford's home at a nearby site.

    When traveling up I 75 from Dayton to Detriot, stop off and see the Neil Armstrong museum in Wapakeneta. It's small and not all that I would have liked to see, but you can say that you saw it.

  17. Have a wonderful time and a Wonderful Life.

    And remember... always consider the consequences of your actions and always Bring Your Cameras!!!


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