This is the year I turn 65. I’m not exactly sad about it because I get Medicare. And Silver Sneakers! But, as this birthday approaches, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I want to spend the remaining years of my life.
My parents both died at age 82, so I figure I’ve probably got about 20 years left. My health is good; that is to say, I don’t have diabetes or heart disease or any other similar maladies. But I do have a lot of arthritis and bursitis, which limits what I can do physically.
I love to travel and have taken advantage of having friends in Europe to take a number of month-long trips to England, Scotland, Spain, Holland, and Norway. But traveling overseas is expensive, and I can’t keep imposing on my long-suffering friends. I have wanderlust in the worst sort of way, but I can’t really afford to satisfy it with pricey trips to Europe.
This is a huge country, and there’s a lot of it I haven’t seen. Ditto for Canada. So why not spend my time traveling to all the places here I’ve never seen?
I got the bug when I watched my first Bob Wells YouTube video. Bob runs a site called CheapRVLiving, and he’s sort of the king of nomads. A lot of people live in cars, vans, RVs, etc., full time now. Some do this because circumstances have forced the lifestyle on them (loss of job and/or home), others because they have the same sort of wanderlust I have.
If I were single, I might be one of them—a full-timer. But I have a husband and a nice home. I don’t want to or need to be out on the road full time. So I decided to look for an inexpensive vehicle I could use for my purposes. A couple of years ago (it was my idea) we downsized to one car because our second car sat in the garage for months on end without ever being started. It seemed wasteful. So we sold our two VWs and got a Prius, which we love.
I did my first camping trip in the Prius. There’s a fellow on Facebook who has lived in his Prius full time for five years. I give him a lot of credit! I know it can be done, and I did it for five days, but it’s really tight. My bed was comfortable, and I was cozy and warm, even in freezing temperatures. But I quickly realized it wasn’t going to work for me.
Then I found my 2002 Toyota Sienna. Only 109,000 miles! These vans can go forever. A lot of Sienna owners report 300,000+ miles. So I figure this particular van should last me for as long as I want to keep taking trips. I’m more excited than I can express. That old van represents my freedom.
Alan isn’t keen on camping, and he’s not sure how often he’ll want to take road trips with me. So this will be a mostly solo venture. I’ve done many long road trips alone (back and forth between New Hampshire and Colorado four times plus many trips from Colorado to Oregon), and I like to travel by myself. And many of my trips will include destinations where my friends live. This is a great, inexpensive way to visit friends, since I can sleep in my van. Once I get Silver Sneakers in September, I can stop at any participating rec center or gym and use their shower facilities. I feel confident it will all work out well.
I plan to document my trips and post pictures. Blogging will give me something to do on the road, too. On to ChileGirl’s adventures!