For my first trip to Acadia as an adult Barbara and I bought a van, turned it into a camper, and took Tom, Brian, and my Tommy to Acadia National Park when he was about five. It will be fun to go there now with the next generation. The grandkids can play and we’ll take them hiking.
And I wonder where the two-volume set of Grimm’s Fairytales are—did they get ruined during Sandy? We’ll have to get another set to read around the fire at night.
Then, I thought about sleeping on the ground for a week. Not such fond memories of that. But I remembered those cute little nineteen-foot compact RVs that Cruise America rents—if I reserved one now for next year…
But then, I thought there was that trip to Nova Scotia that I’ve wanted to do for 20 years. Woo hoo! I don’t have to return to NYC after my Retirement Jamboree! I was quickly consumed by these plans and fantasies.
I spent a day looking at maps, both Google maps and my old paper ones. Spoke to Nina at the reservation office and she calculated that what I was planning would be a 2000-mile trip. The three weeks estimate just for the rental and insurance looked like about $5,000. I booked it. Add to that tolls, gas, food, beverages, campsite fees, and a budget for those funny hats—yikes!
The trip marinated in my brain for a few days. I was stuck between the reality of living on a fixed income going forward, and the fantasy of this trip. I have so many camping memories of lovely mornings in the mountains, stepping out of the van with my first cup of tea…
Somehow, the next logical step in my head was to locate and purchase a used RV. And yes, going on the road full-time with it for a year. I loved the thought immediately.
When my sister was diagnosed with metastasized lung cancer, the first thing she said to Ed was, “And I never got to go anywhere!” Her husband was always saving for the future, for when they’d retire… Well, she didn’t live long enough to use any of that money.
Her experience was a good argument against saving my cash, investing it for my future, as a hedge against my funds running out before my life does. I can invest in life while I am young enough and healthy enough to actually do this journey. It has become a plan for a pilgrimage in a way. If I spend $30,000 on a used RV, drive it around for a year and then re-sell it. I can invest that money after I have the experience of full-timing, and seeing all the places I’ve wanted to see in the US.
I was suddenly gripped by this passion to go on the road, to take a year off for myself, in between my work life and my retired life.
But we had floated these child-care plans—an alternate future that would fill my days with joy, as days with my grandsons always do.