For a very long time I have wanted a travel van that would allow me to launch some spontaneous and comfortable travel. Last year, Favorite Husband and I did an accidental trial run. The pandemic was in full swing so our focus was on minimizing contact with others. I don’t think it was part of the plan, but a blinding rain storm made it impossible to continue highway driving and dictated that we spend one night in a parking lot. We slept in our slightly cramped vehicle with months’ worth of luggage and three big dogs in their crates. It wasn’t terrible but it was useful, instructive, and only a little bit uncomfortable.
With two weeks of quarantine before we set off and another two when we reached the family farm, we stayed healthy. We rode out almost three months of that crazy summer with all the beautiful outdoor space a person could want — and many loved ones within a short, ten minute drive.
Driving and Planning
Favorite Husband and I rarely play music or listen to news on long drives; the trip back to Florida gave us a lot of time to talk about what was working well for us and what either of us would like to change. By the time we pulled back into the driveway, we had a plan for some significant changes. In some ways it was like putting all the important pieces of our lives into a fishbowl and pulling them out, one by one, to create a new order.
Since relocating to the island nearly a decade ago already, we had done some fun and funky renovations. Gardening and landscaping was significant with lots of herbs and fruiting trees around the yard. The place felt like us. And it was too big for two people — no matter how many big dogs we put under that roof. Besides, much of our financial plan relied on real estate investments. A trusted advisor was strongly suggesting that it was time to move on to the next step so we put it on the market and it sold right away.
A Whirlwind, Not a Hurricane
Then we really picked up the pace. We had also invested in two rental properties and, for the most part, had wonderful experiences with tenants. We sold one and gave our tenants-turned-friends about nine months’ notice to move, and we rented a friend’s house in southeast Georgia — a short drive from our community. Eventually we traded our vehicle for a high-top cargo van — and somehow managed to squeeze in a major surgery. Through it all, we have continued to let go of things that no longer serve. It feels great.
And, in about ten days, we will hit the road and I’m starting to get excited. One of the reasons we chose the van that we bought is that it has a lot of space. We’ve not outfitted the van for camping, but do have it set up for dog showing and training. Collars and leashes, dog food and crates all have their places. The trip itself we teach us what about any changes we might want to make in the future.
Head South 500 Miles Then Bang a U-ey
We are once again headed for farm and family but are planning a meandering drive. The first two travel nights are in place and, true to form, our trip north begins with a few days further south. What can I say? We’ve got family members who live south of here and others who are coming to the northern Keys for vacation. Overdue reunions await.
Of course the day after I firmed up our reservations, we got the season’s first hurricane warnings. I suppose it’s important to keep Nature and her whims in mind as we think through our options. Whether we like it or not, that‘s where the last word on plans resides so let’s hope she’s feeling comfy and calm.