Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes, Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear. Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes, How do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes, how do you measure a year in the life? These lyrics, of course, are from the musical Rent and they pose great questions that in some form or another I’ve been asking myself since I embarked upon this amazing journey - 525,600 minutes ago.
Today - August 24, 2020
It originally started with what was then a 15-year plan to move to a Spanish-speaking country (somewhere near a beach!) once both kids—Joseph and William—were off to college, where I could live on far less than it costs to live in the U.S., AND have a better quality of life.
The location was at that time, unknown.
And although my heart knew this is what I really wanted, and it was driving every fiber of my being, and I was already accustomed to traversing the globe as a travel and feature writer for many years, and that I have always been a good planner, there were so many times along the way that I wondered if any of it would come true.
Nevertheless, I continued to move forward the best I could over the years, even putting the vision of what I wanted my life to look like on a Vision Board, including specific Intention and Vision statements.
When I had about four years left before “lift-off,” I realized that although living in a less expensive location I’d still have the standard expenses of rent/mortgage, utilities, etc. – all the daily living necessities no matter where you reside. However, since I was self-employed my office would be my laptop, and I could travel and work from anywhere. And because there were so many places in the world that I had not yet seen, I decided that my income would go a lot further if I didn’t have those standard expenses.
So, I changed the plan to travelling the world full-time - without a home base!
My destinations would be determined by a combination of travel writing assignments, speaking, workshops, and book talks, visiting friends and family, housesitting, and wanderlust adventures just for fun! While in the U.S. I’d be primarily driving, and when out of the country my car would be left with a friend or family member until I returned (check out my calendar!).
In May of 2017 Joseph graduated from high school, and it was so hard to believe that those 18 years of life did indeed go by in the blink of an eye!
A few weeks later, we sold the house we had lived in for 13 years, downsized considerably, and moved into a two-bedroom apartment nearby.
A couple of months later, Joseph left to begin his college years at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. It was a bittersweet moment, but I was so happy for him and bursting with pride at what he had accomplished.
The first birdie was leaving the nest.
The next two years flew by as well and before you knew it, I was back in the stadium stands watching William walk across the stage to accept his diploma.
Kansas State was awaiting in the fall.
The Final Countdown
Now the clock was REALLY ticking, the next few months were filled with selling almost all of my worldly goods; years’ worth of possessions reduced to an 8’X10’ storage space—keepsakes, precious artwork, holiday decorations for when the kids and I are renting an AirBnB in town during their winter breaks from college, those pesky you-have-to-keep-them-for-seven-years tax papers, and winter clothes (those for ONLY when I choose to be in a cooler weather destination. No more full seasons of cold, ice and snow!), and what was going with me in my car (now equipped with an “attic” and “basement”) on the road.
On August 4, 2019, Joseph, William, and I had our Grand Adventure Party going-away celebration at our beloved Center for Spiritual Living Kansas City, and were surrounded with so much love and well wishes from our spiritual family members and friends.
Not long after, Joseph returned to Nashville, William and I packed up the last of the apartment, and on Saturday, August 24 we took off from our hometown of the last 19 years for move-in day at K-State.
A few hours later the last bird had flown the coop and I was officially an empty-nester – without a nest.
My long-held dream was coming true.
It’s hard to believe that today makes 525,600 minutes—365 days—that I’ve been living on the road full-time, and what an adventure it has been!
Wanderlust travel has always been so deeply rooted in the depths of my very being, and I was downright giddy in all of the incredible places I visited for travel writing experiences: Louisville and Lexington, KY, Charleston, WV, Baltimore and Annapolis, MD, Staunton, VA, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Sedona, AZ, and Gulf Shores, AL.
Friends and family visits took place in several places in New York, Bridgeport, WV, Allentown, PA, Woodbridge, VA, Southern Pines, NC, St. Augustine, St. Pete Beach and Groveland, FL, Albuquerque, NM, all over the Dallas Ft. Worth area and Georgetown, TX, Tucson, AZ, and Palm Springs, CA.
There were a lot of housesitting gigs mixed in as well, including in Groveland and
Georgetown (again!), Austin, Tucson, San Francisco, Ft. Lauderdale, and Arlington (TX).
And let’s not forget the mini stops in Waco, Tallahassee, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Nashville, Harrisburg (PA), Dodge City and Liberal, KS, Hatch, NM, Napa, St. Louis, and back through Kansas City a couple of times to change out clothing and the like for the next leg of the adventure, and during the holidays and this past summer to spend time with the kids when they came home from college (their dad still lives in the KC area).
Moreover, as you might imagine, my trifecta States, Capital City, and Capitol Building Bucket List grew as well – currently standing at 45, 26, and 19, respectively. And in each I’ve sought out and found some of the most amazing vegan and vegetarian eats!
At each state line, time zone, change of climate, accommodation, cityscape, historic site and attraction, and more I did my best to take the time to really soak in the experience – how I was feeling, what I was learning, how Spirit was continuing to show up in my life in new and miraculous ways, other areas and ways to be of service to others, and perhaps most importantly – living into being my true and authentic self, in whatever way I was able to show up at any particular moment in time.
I’m a work in progress and change—constant change, literally, when one is living a nomadic lifestyle—is my ever-present call to presence.
On the career front, in addition to the speaking, workshops, and book talks (all of which have gone virtual for the foreseeable future) I have also started teaching a variety of courses for 11 to 18 year-olds on Outschool. And I’ve taken on a few new private clients for various writing projects as well.
I also have a fabulous new social media manager—Alex Gilliam—who is also an absolute wiz at video production (she is a very well-known opera singer too!) and she has helped me exponentially in growing my YouTube channel and following.
Where to from here?
The pandemic, of course, has created a global detour for everyone and for me it’s no different—the planning has just taken on a new layer.
This kids have gone back to their respective college campuses—Joseph for his senior year (wow, that was fast!) and William for his junior year—and I just trust that they will make sound decisions around protecting their health and that others they come in contact with will do the same. Of course I’m concerned, but they have to live their lives with me no longer the “manager” rather simply a “consultant” (and only when asked).
This challenging time in our world shall pass.
At the end of this week I’m going back to one of my heart places (and former hometown), San Francisco, where I’ll spend my 57th birthday (Yikes! That number keeps climbing!) and housesit until about the 3rd week in September, and in November I’m housesitting for another family in Roanoke, TX for about three weeks.
In between that time? I’m wide open!
So if you’re willing to welcome a houseguest, have a vacant cottage behind your house 😊, need or know someone who needs a house or pet sitter, or want to traverse the open road with me for a bit, hit me up!
Two common questions I get are, “Do you miss not having a home to go back to?” and “How long are you going to keep doing this?”
The answers are simple:
~ No! I love the freedom and flexibility I have without having to also maintain a residence, and love knowing that what I carry with me is only what I truly need.
~ Until I don’t want to do it any longer! That’s not say that I won’t encounter some fabulous place and decide to “settle down” for a few months, but becoming a long-time residential renter or homeowner again is currently not anywhere in my consciousness.
And to those who’ve said you admire me and wish you had the balls to do the same thing - thank you! I take it as a compliment. But you too have the ability and strength to grab life “by the huevos” and create the life of your dreams! It might not look the same way it does for me, but you can find and live true bliss.
The world is my oyster and I’m letting that wanderlust aphrodisiac take me wherever and however it may!
And last but certainly not least, it bears repeating how grateful I am every day for this life experience, and for how Spirit works in, through and as me—mind, body, and spirit—ALWAYS.
Here’s to the next 525,600 minutes to come!