Taking the Leap…

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol

I have long had the burning desire to go, to see and to explore.  This blog is a small reflection of that; as  I have made a concerted effort to document my wanderlust.  Today is a little different.  Today is the day I become a digital nomad, full-time traveler, an Escapee.   I am officially jobless & homeless.  That is obviously a bit dramatic but I just like saying it.   I have for months (maybe even a lifetime) been preparing for this day. However, I did give myself permission to back out if I needed to.  I just never took me up on the option.

While I have a deep affinity for Kentucky, the winters are just too gray, too cold, too long and my SAD too severe.  I am making a break for the Sunshine State where I’ll winter over before striking out to destinations yet unknown.

“Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.”  – Lewis Grizzard

Job angst, anxiety, and a trip to a counselor give cause for great introspection:  “What are the remaining chapters of my life going to look like”, I ask myself.  Did I take chances, did I play it too safe. Did I chase my dream or will I look back with regret.  What I’ve been doing for 50+ years isn’t working; I need a change. My age and impatience aren’t allowing for many more do overs.  If I’m to change my life it has to be big. I have envisioned hiking the Appalachian trail, riding my bike across the United states and any other number of grand achievements.  Those never come to fruition, but I still have grand plans.

I look into the RV life style and a group called Escapees.  It’s a novel concept and I wonder if that’s what I’m looking for.  I start looking for a Work Camping opportunity to winter over in south.  Opportunities that I like are far a few between, but the whole idea of embarking on a life of travel and adventure gathers steam in my soul.

“Summertime is always the best of what might be”,  – Charles Bowden

I perform a financial check on how long I could I live on savings. The stock market has been good to me.  I rushed into the stock market after Brexit caused a big dip. Doubled down the day after the Trump victory.  I’m not picking a side on either but recall Warren Buffet saying something about being “fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”. That advice served me well.  Pursuing investing as a lifestyle becomes my passion.  I take another leap of faith and enroll in the Investitute’s options training program. It seems with some planning and modifications to my lifestyle, I could become a nomad indefinitely.

Keeping a safety net, in case I need to come home, I keep my house but decide to list it for rental on Airbnb.

The Cleansing begins.  Action is now with a defined purpose. If I’m to rent out my house a lot of stuff has to go.   Process of letting go of things becomes cathartic. Listing items for sale on craiglist is thrilling. 1st bike gone, the 2nd bike gone, deer rifle gone, unused furniture gone.  Trips to goodwill with bag after bag of clothes is almost embarrassing. How did I gather so much crap.

The process of checking winter campground availability is just tedious. The far majority require you to call. I hate talking on the phone and prefer to check availability on line. Winter is not the time to book in Florida, I soon learn.  I’m about to just give up on the whole idea.

“Autumn, the years last loveliest smile”,  – William Cullen Bryant.

I find an RV spot available for January and February in Homossassa Springs,  Florida.  I hesitate before confirming.  Am I getting cold feet? Am I sure this is what I want to do?  The stock market is down, are my plans unraveling right before my eyes?  I’m scared. “Book it”, I feebly mutter to myself.  Almost immediately, I feel relieve.  A grand plan was made and am following through.

Almost instantaneously, I am contacted about a long-term rental for my home. I opt to rent my house for the Winter months to a pair of traveling nurses. There’s little room for turning back now; not that I want to. I keep waiting for a sign or divine intervention to convince me I’m making a mistake. It never comes; all systems go!

A new company acquisition and reshuffling of personnel at work puts me reporting to an inexperienced micro manager. That proves to be the final piece of the puzzle. I feel I have nothing to lose at this point. Working conditions are just untenable and no amount of money can hold me at the job any longer.  I’m not easy to “manage” anyway, micro managing me is a bit I will spit every time.

“Nothing Burns Like the Cold”, – George R.R. Martin

The first day of winter, the darkest day, is kind of metaphoric as I tender my resignation and the dark becomes brighter. That decision has weighed on me for far too long.

Retirement Balloons

As I write this during the first days of winter, 20’s & 30’s are in the forecast for Kenutcky. I can’t help but look at the 70’s and 80’s down the road just ahead as I hope to beat the rain and sleet out of town.

It’s with very little trepidation that I plug Elko, Ga into the GPS.  Next stop the Little Grand Canyon. The first of what I hope are many rewarding destinations to follow.

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10 comments

  1. Congrats! Your dad would say, “Go”! Looking forward to living vicariously through your adventures! Maybe they’ll inspire me to start my own! Be safe! Stay curious!! XOXO

  2. I’m jealous, but so excited for you!
    “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, a relationship we are afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.”
    Go for it, Craig – I’m proud of you and will be waiting to hear about all your adventures!

  3. Craig, all the best and may the light side of the force be your companion. Also, hope you hung on to at least one bike. Peace and safe adventures to you….

    1. Craig, I am so envious!
      I too, have that gypsy and roaming spirit. I am never happier than when I am traveling, seeing new places and learning new things. The 5 months Mack and I were on the road were my HAPPIEST!! I wish you ALL THE BEST!!! One piece of advice…. Remember ….out West you can always find a Cabela’s, Flying J, Walmart, or Casino to park overnight and regroup if a campsite isn’t near.
      I look forward to reading more of your adventures!!!!

  4. Hi Craig! I noticed on your map, you’ll be visiting Salida, Co. Our band plays in that town all the time. It’s one of my favorite spots!

  5. Mike & I are currently visiting relatives in central Georgia, and just read your post. My mother-in-law, Ferrelle Bagley, lives in Warner Robins and said that you need to stop by Royal Gardens in Elko, GA while you are there. The address is 2541 Elko Rd. Mary Royal and her husband have beautiful gardens and they welcome visitors. Their email address is marymason.royal@gmail.com. Good luck & safe travels!

  6. I love it when a plan comes together!! You’ve definitely worked SO diligently to make this happen. We’re excited to follow the rest of your amazing journey!! (Give Ariel a hug at homassassa!! …well, you know..without illegally touching her of course!🌊🐄..no manatee emojis. This was the best i could do!😜)
    Lots of light & love heading your way!!

  7. You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!

    Dr. Suess

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