Greetings! Long Time No See!!

OMG, it has been a full year since I posted anything here.

In years past, I wouldn’t have dreamed of leaving this website untouched for more than a week, and now 85 weeks have gone by since I published articles here on a regular basis!

Don’t look too closely…I’m afraid cobwebs are growing on the edges of these pages. And I’m sure many of you who signed up for our newsletter during our silence are reading this wondering who we are and why you got an email linking to this post. I hope you’ll stick with us!

We are alive and well

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THANK YOU FOR REACHING OUT TO US

We’d like to say a most heartfelt “thank you” to the many kind people who have reached out to us during the past year to see if we are still “alive and well,” as I last reported. Your concern has touched us deeply and we really appreciated hearing from you.

Pink Rose blossom

Thank you!

The answer is still a resounding “YES!” We are indeed alive and well, and we feel blessed beyond belief to tell you that our life’s journey has taken us down a new and exciting path.

We are doing just fine even though we’ve been in hiding for a while!

As happens when choosing a new direction at any fork in the road, certain doors have closed behind us as we embark on this new trail, but other wonderful new doors are opening wide ahead of us.

WHAT ABOUT COVID?

Like everyone, our jaws dropped clear to the ground as world events began to unfold at the beginning of 2020, and like so many, our jaws are still that way a year and a half later.

We have been extremely fortunate to have spent the intervening time in a corner of the planet that has been relatively untouched by draconian rules. For the most part, life has been quite normal for us in terms of personal restrictions, personal freedoms and personal relations.

Masked Moon

Masked Moon

We haven’t been untouched by the disease, however. Although for the first 10 months we didn’t know anyone who caught the virus, we lost our beloved friend and first RVing mentor in Montana over Christmas.

At 86, he had the unfortunate underlying condition of Valley Fever lung disease when Covid caught up with him, battled him for his life, and eventually overtook him. We miss his good humor and his gentle, noble soul immensely.

Three other friends and family members around the country also got severe cases that ravaged them for two to four weeks or longer. They were all middle aged and in good shape beforehand, and thankfully, all have recovered.

To say that we feel blessed to have been spared so far is an understatement.

A FORK IN THE ROAD

So, what have we been doing, besides not blogging?

In a nutshell, we put down roots, sold the fifth wheel and bought a truck camper for summer travel.

Trail scout

Our little Trail Scout, Buddy, leads us down a new path

This wasn’t quite as surprising a turn of events as it may seem at first glance. A variation on this theme had been in the works for us since the Spring of 2019.

As you may know, we had leased out our previous home during our traveling years.

That home was a fabulous rental, but it was a home we never really liked living in ourselves. We knew when we pulled out of the driveway for the last time and ventured into our new traveling lifestyle in 2007 that we’d never move back in.

Rain clouds at sunset

Change in the air

So, we decided two years ago that it was time to sell the rental and buy a different rental that we liked enough to move into seasonally or perhaps permanently “someday.” Certainly we wouldn’t do that NOW, of course! We’d just lease it out and keep traveling until “that day” came, many years down the road.

We sold our old place a week before the disease hit our shores, and then, unexpectedly, the real estate market took off into the stratosphere in a parabolic upswing that has never let up! Holy smokes!

Suddenly, properties that had been affordable eight months earlier were now out of sight for us. How discouraging!

The last time that had happened, in 2005-07, we had thrown up our hands and jumped into an RV to start traveling full-time!

What kind of hat trick could we pull this time?

Lightning bolt across the sky horizontally

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Eventually, we gave up on the idea of finding anything in the areas where we wanted to buy, and we headed out for our usual summer travels in Cool North Country as the pandemic settled in for what became a very long stay.

At that moment, though, we figured we’d let some time pass and let the world and the real estate market get back to normal.

Columbine flower

This pretty columbine flower is oblivious to the foibles of human economies

Somewhere along the way, we stopped in a small town to do our laundry, looked around and said, “What a cool area!”

This has been one of our favorite sayings over the years as we have traveled from one cool place to the next.

As a lark, we checked for properties online, and lo and behold, there was our dream home staring at us. It had been on the market for two hours.

Puppy running

Weeeeeee!

NEW BEGINNINGS

We knew within a few days of putting it in escrow that we would not be renting it out to anyone. We loved it and we couldn’t imagine anyone living in it but ourselves. Neither of us had ever owned a home that we truly loved. What a heavenly feeling that was!

As with everything great in our lives, the most important detours and unexpected turns have come to us on their own, unplanned and uninvited and yet totally appropriate and natural when they appeared.

We knew that by saying “hello” to this home we would be saying “goodbye” to a lifestyle we had cherished.

We realized that finding our dream home meant the end of our nomadic lifestyle even though the timing was some 10 to 15 years earlier than we’d ever expected it to be. But it just felt right to make this change, dramatic as it was.

Desert oasis on the river

This huge decision involved a lot of inner reflection about our life’s dreams

On the practical side, to go from a furnished and fully equipped 350 square foot fifth wheel to an unfurnished home with gaping empty rooms was quite a shock.

The long long long hot showers were a blissful change from all those years of one gallon showers while boondocking or anchoring out. But, believe me, setting up housekeeping from scratch during a pandemic when absolutely everything from furniture to tools is out of stock is quite an experience.

Pink sunrise

Sunrise brings a new day

When we’d left to begin our full-timing travel adventures, we’d kept our memorabilia, photo albums and bicycles, and nothing else. Those few things had all fit easily into a 5′ x 11′ shed in a friend’s yard.

Now, in our new non-mobile lifestyle, we suddenly needed all those other things that go with living in a stick-built home…except for the simple kitchenware, clothes and tools that we already had in our fifth wheel.

Puppy in snowjacket in the snow

We had the clothes on our backs and the goodies in our trailer, but a stick-built home requires more than that!

After we moved in, a friend peeked in the walk-in closet that held two weeks’ worth of clothes on two shelves — our standard for the last 13 years — and he said with a smirk, “You don’t have many clothes!”

Truth was, we didn’t have much of anything!

Craigslist became our go-to resource for almost everything. Swap meets and yard sales rounded out our shopping destinations. As for anything new, if we could find what we wanted in stock anywhere, which was rare, it was only available in pea green with pink trim, or in a mustard yellow plaid pattern, or something along those lines.

But the thrill of starting a new chapter was deeply fulfilling. It felt so good in the midst of the world losing its mind to be able to gather ours together, shut everything out, and bury ourselves in fun new home projects.

Happy camper sitting by a creek

Finding peace in our own little world away from the world

Where our lives before had been one continuous sightseeing photography tour for 13 straight years (a shopkeeper in Mexico had told us we were “Professional Tourists”), suddenly our hands were dirty all day every day as we painted, nailed and sanded things and dug into the soil to nurture plants and flowers that held the promise of a stationary future.

Lantana flower

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Desert willow flower

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We slept on the floor for weeks waiting for a new mattress to arrive, and we sat in folding camping chairs or on pillows on the floors inside each room for months.

But we didn’t care. We felt like newlyweds just starting out! We were loving life and we were oh, so happy.

Playful puppy in the snow

Loving life!

SELLING AND BUYING RVs

One day a friend of a friend passed word to us that he was looking for a good quality fifth wheel to live in at his property. We hadn’t intended to sell ours just yet, but suddenly, our home of a dozen years was gone, headed towards the horizon to become home-sweet-home for someone else.

After a pang of sadness at seeing it go, we jumped online and began looking for truck campers. What a blast!!

2005 Arctic Fox 860 truck camper on 2016 Dodge Ram dually truck

Hmmm…this could be fun!!

All the anguish we had felt for the final few years of our travels as we’d weighed which kind of fifth wheel or toy hauler to buy to replace our aging rolling home completely evaporated as we dove into the idea of traveling in a nimble little truck camper with our RZR in tow right behind. No more triple-towing! No 44′ long toy hauler to haul around!

Mark soon found a truck camper on Craigslist that was just what we wanted. It is a 2005 Arctic Fox 860 (almost identical to the modern Arctic Fox 811 model but six inches shorter). It had been garage kept and rarely used since it was new. It looked great and all the systems worked.

2005 Arctic Fox 860 truck camper and Polaris RZR 900

Our 2005 Arctic Fox 860 truck camper is a breeze for our 2016 Ram dually to carry, and the 2017 Polaris RZR 900 is easy to tow behind on its little flatbed trailer

LOOKING BACK

Although our blog went dark for 19 months, I kept writing for the RV industry magazines. Seven of our photos appeared on RV magazine covers and another six appeared in artsy wall calendars (2020 and 2021).

With each article I wrote, our astonishing experiences came alive in my mind once again, and I marveled at what a fabulous adventure our wandering lifestyle had been.

Escapees Apr-May 2021 Cover copy

Stars swirl above us on the Escapees RV Club magazine cover for March/April 2021. During our blogging blackout we published many magazine articles, covers and commercial wall calendar photos

Mark and I find ourselves reminiscing all the time now.

Whenever we go back through our hundreds of thousands of photos to find a particular image for someone, we get lost in our recollections and take four times as long as necessary to find whatever we’re looking for because the photos tell a steady stream of vivid stories.

We thank God every single day for the life changing experiences we had and for the window of opportunity that appeared in our lives at just the right time in 2007.

Stellar's Jay on picnic table

In our traveling life we could land anywhere.

We were the right age, we were overflowing with curiosity, and we had limitless faith that our Big Adventure would prove to be the best years of our lives.

Every aspect of our lives up until the moment we departed had led us to and prepared us for the incredibly free-spirited years that unfolded before us on the road.

It was a beautiful life of total freedom and wonder that just isn’t possible when you are rooted in place by a stick-built home.

Ocotillo flowers in bloom

The sky was the limit

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – DREAMS FULFILLED

One thing that neither of us anticipated at all, though, was the sudden bittersweet feelings of sadness mixed with joy that overwhelmed us as we opened the door to this exciting new phase of life.

The heartache wasn’t due to ending our travels but was due to what was silently implied by having completed a lifelong dream and checked it off of our Big Life List.

With a shock we realized we’d had a huge dream, had chased it down for all we were worth, and had fulfilled it more brilliantly than we ever imagined we could, completing what we’d set out to do with more flair and greater depth and beadth than either of us had ever thought possible.

Puppy running in the snow

We had chased our dreams for all they were worth

Yet now our biggest dream to date has been completely fulfilled — and then some. It is behind us and can’t be called a “dream” any more.

Instead, we have transformed our greatest dream into a cherished memory and integrated it into the very fabric of our souls.

Most shocking, though, is admitting that now a big chunk of life is behind us. There’s a tangible wistfulness that goes with that.

Sunset

The sun sets in a glorious spray of color across the sky

Where all those years have gone is a mystery, but there is no denying that the wet-behind-the-ears 47 and 53 year olds who drove off into the sunset full of wide eyed anticipation in a 27 foot travel trailer are now a pair of travel-seasoned 61 and 67 year olds whose memories are brimming with fantastic travel stories and whose understanding of the world around them has been vastly enriched.

Purple cactus flowers

A prickly, thorny cactus welcomes Spring with big beautiful purple flowers

Recently, the new RV Magazine (which is a combination of the former Trailer Life and Motorhome magazines) asked me to write an article on the theme of “Life Advice from Seasoned RVers” for their August 2021 issue.

I’m certainly not comfortable dispensing Life Advice to the world at large, but I took the assignment as an opportunity to express how important it is to uncover your innermost dreams and then do all you can to make them come true.

In a world where we all find ourselves saying, “Who Moved My Cheese?” over and over, month after month, as things get crazier and crazier around us, it is more important than ever to keep our most cherished dreams in the front of our minds while holding faith deep in our hearts that we can make them come true somehow.

Ponderosa pine tree forest

It is easy to lose sight of the whole forest of Life for the abundance of individual trees unless you spend time with your dreams and envision yourself living them until you find a way to make them come true.

As Escapees RV Club co-founder Kay Peterson once wrote, “If you don’t fulfill your dreams now, when will you?”

And as Mike Mitchell, CEO of NuWa (the Hitchhiker fifth wheel manufacturer), once wrote on his company’s owners’ forum back in 2008 when the RV industry was starting a years-long nosedive into near oblivion (paraphrasing): People who have dreamed for years of traveling in an RV during retirement are not going to abandon that dream just because of a bad economy or faililng RV industry. They’ll adjust the dream so they can still live it.

Our dreams are still unfolding and we hope our little truck camper will bring us new pleasures that we can share with you. Our first few forays have been eventful and rewarding.

In the meantime, thank you for being a part of our journey. What a ride!

Rainbow over the landscape

A promise of beautiful things to come

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54 thoughts on “Greetings! Long Time No See!!

  1. Wow, Emily! Look at you two jumping into a new stage of life with both feet and much enthusiasm – good for you! The heart knows what it wants and intuitively knows when it needs it. Exceptional rewards come to those willing to listen to and follow their hearts, as you and Mark have proven during your past adventures. It was a treat to hear from you and to learn that your family of three is safe and well. Here’s hoping you won’t be a stranger for another year. And, of course, belly rubs to that precious little Buddy!

    • Thank you, Mary!! What a beautiful comment. Following your heart and listening to what it is saying is so important. Those were treasured years and our hearts will forever sing as we remember them. Now that I’ve shaken the cobwebs off the blog and remembered all the funky things necessary to publish and broadcast a blog post (gosh, I was rusty!), I do hope to share more as our truck camper takes us to new places. Happy travels to you!

  2. OM! I about fainted when I saw the email notification from RoadsLessTraveled! What a thrill it has been to ride along. I have missed the blog, the photos, and the learning. Welcome back and I am so glad you survived the ordeal. You were all missed! I got to run but I will be back to take it all in and comment more about my delight to see you guys back!

    • How wonderful to be in touch again, Jeff & Crew. I thought of you as I wrote about Buddy and penned the little email. Thank you for almost fainting when you saw the email in your In Box. Makes me feel really good 🙂 Buddy sends tail wags!

  3. How wonderful to start my day today knowing all three of you have “landed” and most importantly, are well. Alone working in the woods of northern Vermont on Thursday, one of those rare no humidity clear blue sky 50’s temp days, I thought of you. So many have been touched by Covid I had feared the worst. How wonderful to learn the direct opposite!

    Although we, as a lot of folks sheltered in place this is past year we undertook two of our “modified migration” from Amelia Island Fl. to Waterville Vermont trips. Mobile stealth RVing has us camped in church parking lots(except Sundays) and Park and Ride lots which obviously were empty. The Raven was morphed into a Life Pod and has offered us a way out and about. Mark and his “how to” RV knowledge was the platform for my ever expanding 3 ring binder( sorry I’m still at 68 a paper guy) and oh the RV modifications Covid allowed! Our little Life Pod on wheels now is also home to our little Furball “Oso”, a truly 4WD all four polydactyl black cat. What joy our Little Creature brings. How did I navigate without him on the dash looking at EVERYTHING!

    “Do good work, Be well and stay in touch”~~~ an old Vermont saying now more than ever sorta says it all.

    • Hi Robert – How wonderful that you were able to make the most of the quiet roads for some travels with your Life Pod and sweet co-pilot Oso during the shutdowns. Obviously, you’ve found that you CAN get there from here, despite the old New England saying that you can’t :-). I’m super happy to know that our various tech tidbits have wound up in a proper 3-ring binder you’ve put together. Screens are fine, but I love paper too! Enjoy the glorious woods of northern Vermont. I hope the summer is filled with clear blue skies and low humidity for you.

  4. You’re back!!! What an amazing surprise to wake and see in my inbox that you two are back adventuring again. I am excited to see the beautiful pictures and exciting stories of where you have been. The travel bug was quiet in us for a time too, but it has been busy preparing for adventure over the last year. We are excited you’re back and look to the day our paths cross again.
    Take Care,
    Ken and Denise

    • Our adventures aren’t taking us far afield for the moment, Ken, but we’ve done some cool things to the camper that I’m looking forward to sharing. It’s quite an adjustment to go from 350 square feet to 150 square feet, and traveling for 2-4 days (which is all we’ve done so far) is really different than traveling indefinitely. We’re really enjoying making the transition and it brings 20 year old memories of our popup tent trailer back to the surface. I hope your wanderlust continues to take hold of you and get you out adventuring again. It would be wonderful if our paths crossed — we look forward to it!!

  5. What a great surprise to see your email in my in box today. We’re glad y’all are doing well, and look forward to see more of your stories. I missed your articles and photos. Take care.
    John

  6. What a great article and it’s wonderful to see you posting again! Sure was nice to see you two (sorry, Buddy, three) back in my inbox 🙂

    • Thanks, Steve. We are thrilled that you have bounced back so quickly and are guiding photo tours in all kinds of exotic places again. Say hello to the beautiful birds in Costa Rica for me and have a blast in Africa. Wow!!!

  7. Believe it or not, I was just thinking about you guys the other day and how I missed all your beautiful pictures. We are at a similar juncture in our life and it’s nice to see God‘s plan working out in your life.

    • Thank you so very much for missing our pictures, Mike. Our cameras got a bit of a vacation from their constant use this past year, but we’ve gone out for a few photo shoots that we’ve really enjoyed. The big junctures in life are so nerve wracking and unsettling. Our hearts were uneasy for a very long time as we tried to find our way and nothing “right” seemed to come along until suddenly, when we weren’t looking, the ideal solution landed in our laps.

      We’ve always found that making lots of effort — research and planning and discussion — is really important, but the full resolution comes only when we walk away. We flew to the Caribbean after a years-long search for a sailboat, and only when we got to Grenada at the bottom of the island chain did our dream boat come up for sale in San Diego! Then, 10 years later we put hours and hours of research and emotion and travel into finding the ideal fifth wheel or toy hauler or rental house. But only when we set all those thoughts aside to begin our summer travels in 2020 did it suddenly come together. Then everything went like clockwork. Have faith, dream big dreams, pursue them with all your heart but then relax, look away, and let the magic happen!

  8. Great to see you are doing well. Yours is the first blog we started to follow when we decided that”someday” we would try full time RV living. Now several years later, ready to retire, we are selling our home ( which will cost us too much in retirement) and will leave Taxachusetts and head out west to explore the wild blue yonder. While in one way, the options available to travelers are not the same as when you headed out, the technology is so much more helpful. Our plans are to explore and see the country but in the back of our minds we will be looking for a small, less expensive place to call home. We are ready for new adventures because the thought of sitting in our rockers waiting to get older is not thrilling! You have inspired us and hope that you keep your blog up so that we can use it as a reference for great places to visit. All the best wishes to a new and enjoyable life for you two.

    • Hi Ron & Barbara — The West is truly jaw dropping in its majesty and splendor. I left MA 20+ years ago, and although I loved New England and carry it in my heart always, I was blown away by the drama of the natural world in the western states. You will have a blast, no doubt.

      And yes, each era has its own pros and cons. We didn’t face big crowds in our first few years on the road, but we kept in touch with a payphone card (we didn’t want a cell phone bill). Now we can all communicate so easily with screens and payphones are gone, but the destinations are busier.

      But those superficial changes don’t matter a whit because the experience will open your heart and mind no matter what you find in your travels.

      I watch the old westerns and see familiar virgin landscapes where we now park our truck and get a latte, and those movies were made just 60+ years ago. What did the RVers of the 1950s experience, or those of the 1930s? The West was so different back then.

      What we all share through the ages, though, is a deep curiosity and wanderlust, and it’s great to indulge those yearnings and see the world as it is right now in our era.

      Happy trails and happy retirement to you both!!

      • Thanks you for your encouraging comments. We are very excited and look forward to our next life phase. We know your life is busy but keep in touch with all of us with your well written, informative blogs. All the best in your new life phase also.

        • I will keep in touch and post goodies here as much as possible. I have several blog posts planned — first of all to introduce the new truck camper and show what it’s all about! Thank you very much for reading and have a wonderful time with your travels. You have so many great experiences ahead of you! When it comes time for those rockers many years from now, you will just smile and smile and smile!!!!

  9. As I did my usual morning email check I nearly deleted your post but backed it up once my mind registered who it was from! Glad to hear about your new adventure. Always enjoyed your posts and have missed them. Wishing you the best and look forward to hearing about your future travels. God bless!

  10. I also had missed your travels adventures. I relied on so many of your posts for ideas as traveled. We also have given up the wanderlust for a solid home after many years of traveling our great country. With it newer but old tasks awaken us. Mowing grass and flower beds plus the room to roam around in a house instead of the 36′ trailer. We also haven’t given up completely just yet. We bought a 22′ tow behind with no slide-outs. Works just fine for those 2-3 week treks.

    • This is a time of transition for RVers. Many new RVers are hitting the road after being cooped up in their homes, and many seasoned RVers are trading the big rig keys for a front door key and getting a smaller rig on the side. It’s all good. It’s really fun to get back to home ownership after getting out from under it for a while. The chores are satisfying in their way and gardening is especially fulfilling. But the open road beckons as well. There is a time and season for everything!!

  11. So glad to see your email this morning. Took awhile for me to remember who that email was associated with! Congrats on your new life changes. We have been considering changes as well as we approach our 8th decade (actually, Wally has already arrived). Our big home needs to go but that is a daunting task. Thought of getting an rv again but they are quite expensive at this point. I am trying to get him to consider a cabover and will be interested to see how you like yours! So glad that you are back.

    • I’m not surprised you were scratching your head about who the email was from, Liz. So far the truck camper is very cool but also very small! I’ve done quite a bit to increase the interior storage so everything doesn’t end up in a heap on the table! Getting Buddy in and out is also a challenge because it sits very high on the truck. But we got some stairs, and if they work out (untested yet), we’ll talk about that or about whatever solution ends up working… Have fun with your planning. Each phase of life is so interesting to live through, but moving from one stage to another can definitely be overwhelming at times!! Nice to be in touch again!!

  12. Good to see your post & all of your pictures are great! Buddy is still an energetic little ham – too cute!! Yay! A walk-in closet – I’ll bet it’s bigger than your fifth wheel bathroom was!! I’m looking forward to your truck camper travels😎 Thanks for sharing!

    • Yup, that closet is pretty good sized and would have been a welcome addition hanging off the side of the fiver!! Buddy is as full of beans as ever and so darn smart too. He loves the camper…so good to see! Happy trails!

  13. Em & M n Buddy, so wonderful to see u folks out in the open meadows again!
    Yep, we’ve all aged, gracefully, and are still in good health. (Thankfully)

    You all look healthy, and enjoying your “new” home, in a wonderful, “far out” location…so don’t be strangers to us who have followed your adventures for many years! So nice to hear you, Em, and see Mark’s fantastic pictures….Looking forward to your next outstanding story…by the way, looks like we’re not the only old couple, who missed you, huh?

    • We’ve been so touched by the warm responses here, and we’re especially happy to hear from you two! Far out places are wonderful places to be, and we’re so grateful to have had the opportunities (and continue to have the opportunities) to get out to them!

      Aging is a crazy thing, and it sure seems that every time we see photos of ourselves 5 or 10 years back, we wonder what the heck happened. Doesn’t matter if you’re 27 or 87, it’s that same shocked reaction of “I used to be so young!” but you don’t think you’re young at the time…

      Thank you for your compliments on our various online postings. Hopefully I’ll have fun tales to tell, and at the very least, I want to share the things we’ve done to our camper. We knew zip about truck campers before this spring. Now we know zip + one, but it’s still good stuff worthy of posting!!

  14. *squeal* Em! Mark! Buddy! (((great big squishy rocking hugs to all))) It’s beyond awesome to hear from you and know you’re alive and well and, of course, pursuing yet another new adventure! What else would you do? Congratulations on your dream home and truck camper. When you anchor in positive attitude and let go in faith, good things generally happen, but I’m preaching to the choir. Bright blessings as you continue to keep your ship of life aimed forward. Will you be starting a new blog and article path on life at the new place? I’d love to see your garden, kitchen and local area! <3 🙂

    • What a wonderful note to wake up to, Belinda. Thank you for the huge hugs and infectious enthusiasm! It’s a beautiful world and there are a million ways to live a great life. I don’t think I’ll start a new blog but I know you’ll be with me here in spirit as I putter around. I do hope to post some worthy RV tech tips and truck camper tales, though, and I’m sure little tidbits about our new phase of life will creep in. Happy Summer to you!!

  15. As with all your other friends & followers, we were surprised and happy to see the email announcing a new blog post! We had just been talking about you guys wondering what you’ve been up to. We were pretty sure you were alive & well since every month we’d receive our copy of RV Magazine with one of your cover photos and article inside. Never thought you’d make the jump back to solid ground so suddenly though. But the way real estate has been selling during the last year you definitely needed to act quick or someone else was gonna grab it. Glad it turned out to be your dream home. Those can be hard to find, and to find it in an area you want to call home even harder. Lucky you!
    Camper travel has always looked fun and freeing. No lugging around a trailer. Good to know you’re still getting out there having fun. Here’s to your new chapter!

    • Hi Tara & Steve – I’m so pleased you saw the post and left a note for us. Thank you! Gosh, you were one of our very first followers-turned-friend and surely you are the only one from circa 2008-9 who has stuck with us through thick and thin all these years. Thank you! We’ve been talking about you and wondering how you’ve been doing too!

      How cool that you’ve seen our goodies in RV Magazine! I’m writing another one now about fall color in Michigan that’s slated for October (I’m supposed to be working on it right now, ahem), so keep an eye out for it!

      The jump back to solid ground was sudden in a way because we decided to buy and then move in and stop traveling all at once, which is huge. But in a way it wasn’t so sudden because we had been searching for our next path in life–a new fiver? a new toy hauler? what???–for quite a few years, and we’d also been keeping a very close eye on the real estate market in the area we wanted to buy for a full year.

      So, just like all our other big life transitions–starting full-timing, buying a boat and moving into it, moving off the boat back into our trailer–when the moment was right, we were so prepared for it emotionally that it was a very natural decision to turn everything upside down and jump at the chance.

      The camper holds a lot of promise and we’re having fun setting up housekeeping in it. We’ll see how it goes — and I hope we see you on the road!

  16. Kudos, Mark and Emily….you may have a permanent home, but you’re still “on the road”… and dancing, prancing Buddy is leading the way. Happy trails to you all….LOVE, Mom !!!!

    • Thanks, Mom! We’re really looking forward to using the little truck camper and making it our new “home on the road.” Buddy loves his new perch on the bed by the window. He gets a great view from there, and if it’s warm and we open the window he can get the smells too!!!

  17. So wonderful to hear again from you and that you are both well and doing fine. I think we all have been in our own little world since covid hit, but thankfully we are getting back to normalcy. Congratulations on your new home and if you were close by I have a lot of stuff I could give you to fill that empty house as I am trying to downsize in Gloucester. I bought a bigger home in Florida during covid and that kept me busy for quite some time, a much bigger home like 4,000+ feet and fully furnished, I am spending 8 months in Florida and 4 months back in Gloucester for the summer. I am having mixed feelings about selling the Gloucester house as I have so many memories there, but it is expensive owning both homes so at some point I will have to give it up…July 4th is this weekend and will bring back to me all the good times we had on that deck with family and friends not to mention your wedding to Ron. Anyway, it was great hearing from you again and hopefully you will keep posting your adventures whether you are grounded or not…take care! Hugs! Camille

    • WOW!!! How awesome to hear from you, Camille. It has been forever since we’ve been in touch. You sure have a lot of news! I love your place in Gloucester and really hope you never have to sell it. 4k square feet fully furnished in Florida must be lovely, but your pretty home with the beautiful (and rock solid) deck overlooking the beach is a rare treasure. I’ll never forget how all the people on the beach turned their beach chairs and towels so they could look up at us on the deck and watch us getting married. What a special day in a heavenly place. Thank you for your note and enjoy those wonderful summer days by the beach.

  18. Good to hear that you have “dropped the hook” and are sitting still! I hope the anchor is as shiny and holds as well as you had it on “Groovy”.

    • Wow!! It is so great to hear from you, Bob & Jane!! OMG!! Such great memories with you in Ensenada. How is your adorable little teacup chihuahua? She was brand new and halfpint-size when we sailed off. I hope you are well and happy. Thanks for saying hi!!!

  19. New chapters seem to be exciting and bittersweet at the same time. After eight years of full-timing, we too bought a sticks and bricks and will be selling the 5th wheel and searching for a truck camper. We had a truck camper prior to the 5th wheel and loved its nimbleness and ease at which to pull our ATV or boat.
    Congratulations on finding the ‘right’ place. Enjoy this new phase and hope you continue to share your stunning photographs.

    • I’m happy to hear that you too have taken a new path and bought a sticks-and-bricks home and opened new doors, Ingrid. These transitions are trying but the underlying excitement of doing something new is where our focus needs to be!

      I think a lot of RVers who had been out traveling for a while decided to settle down with the arrival of Covid while at the same time a whole new fleet of RVers has taken this opportunity to leave home to go exploring for a while. So interesting!

      We are hoping to find, as you did, that the truck camper is a good little traveling home and that it is easy to tow things behind. Mark complains that he can’t see our small 5′ x 10′ flat bed trailer in his mirrors. My solution? Let’s get a bigger trailer so he can’t miss it back there and then we can tow our bikes as well as the RZR!!!

      Happy home life to you and happy trails when you find the right truck camper!! Your blog is a delight.

      • Well what a wonderful blessing to see your blog pop up! I have missed your pictures and stories while continuing to enjoy some of your articles in various mags! Have wondered often about where you three were and how you were doing and wondering if you were going to buy another 5th wheel of go the mtr home route to pull your buggy!!! Surprise!! You did neither!!LOL!!
        We are about your age and have been full timing for about 5 years but from a different perspective as we travel from CA to D.C. to keep up with our kids and grandkids! While we usually spend 3-4 months in AZ during the winter…we travel most of the other months. We have had several 5th wheels, trailers and slide in campers in our over 49 years of RVing and will predict that you will love your camper! We’ve had Anglers, Lances and Artic Fox’s…slide outs and not and have loved them all! Would still like to have one for certain trips and can see one in our future when we settle somewhere! Enough rambling!
        I have really missed your blog and am so very happy you are well! Somehow knowing you’re stationary make me sad…but I don’t know why!!! Kinda feels like I’ll be missing you…which is funny since we’ve never met!!! Will look forward to your future blogs and articles and wish you both the very best and many blessings!!!

        • Thank you, Bob. Sounds like we could learn a lot from you about truck campers. It’s a whole new world for us! Your travels from CA to DC must have been a lot of fun — there’s a lot of good stuff in between those places. And winters in AZ can’t be beat. It sure means a lot to us to know you have missed our blog and appreciated our various goodies over the years and especially that our new phase of life makes you a little wistful. Thank you. Even if our posts going forward are a sporadic sometimes, I hope you’ll enjoy them and stick with us. Happy trails and enjoy that open road!!

  20. So good to see a new post from you guys.
    I must say, it was so refreshing to read words such as “draconian rules” and “personal freedoms” on an RV travel blog written by a current or former fulltimer. Over the past 18 months or so, I have been so discouraged to read how nearly every single one of those folks were (and still are in many cases) scared to even go to a restaurant and otherwise stop living a normal life. Now, perhaps as you mention, they were in places which imposed “draconian rules,” but isn’t one of the beauties of this lifestyle having the ability to pick up and go to other places?
    Thank goodness, us, like you, were mostly unaffected in our daily lives by Covid 19 as we enjoyed nearly all of the fruits our fulltiming life offers over the past 18 months.
    We have been travelling in our 2010 Discover America HitchHiker for nearly two years now. Our choice of rig (which has been a huge winner thus far) was made in no small measure thanks to the wonderful information you have so graciously provided in this space. Amazingly, we have been thinking about putting this rather large boy in a semi-permanent spot where we could spend perhaps three or so months per year and do our travels with a truck camper!! Great minds really do think alike!!
    Best of luck with this new phase of your lives. I will most certainly be looking forward to following your future posts on your adventures and, especially, the ins and outs of your truck camping set up.

    • Oh gosh, Peter, I try to keep a neutral balance on this blog, but we have hugged our way through Covid-19, showing our family and friends in the most fundamentally human way just how much we love them. Fear makes us weak and easy to manipulate and isolation breaks our hearts. I do wish we’d been out on the road so we could see what was going on and how the different regions of the country were reacting and talk to people about their experiences.

      I bet your rig is gorgeous and you have seen some beautiful things in your two years of travels. Keeping it in one spot so you can run around in a truck camper makes all the sense in the world. Many very long term full-timers have two rigs. We visited an Escapees park in California and the storage lot was packed with small Class Cs, tiny trailers and truck campers that the residents used for “vacations.” A few weeks ago we camped with friends who have lived in an Alpenlite fifth wheel towed by a huge Freightliner that has a workshop in it for many years. They were in their “summertime rig” when we were with them. It is a wonderful older Class C with no slides. So, your idea is tried and true and a very good one to pursue.

      Thanks for writing and for noticing my wording. 🙂

  21. I have to say that when I first saw the email from Roads Less Traveled I thought I had accidentally brought up an old email. Even though I’ve talked to you a few times during your vacation, I must admit I was thrilled to see that the email was current and a new post was there for me to read and enjoy.

    Steve and I were on a trip of our own as the email came in, but we got home to Tennessee (and our 5th Wheel) last night. I took the time to really read and view all of the wonderful info and pics.

    I was saddened to hear of the loss of your friend. We have lost two dear friends to Covid too. Like your friend they both had some underlying conditions that simply wouldn’t allow them to win the battle. We’ve also had several friends and family members who were able to fight and win, including Steve’s daughter and our 10 year old granddaughter. Like you and Mark, Steve and I have had no issues, thankfully.

    Steve and I both enjoyed this post and seeing all the pics. It’s no surprise that they asked you for your life advice about long term full timing. Y’all are definitely a standard to aspire to!

    Take care of yourselves and that precious Buddy! We look forward to any future posts you decide to do.

    Hugs, Janet and Steve

    • Oh my. Thank you, Janet. You made my day with that compliment! I’m happy to hear you’ve been hitting the road, and I’m glad to know your younger and healthier friends and family members recovered just fine. I am sorry for your losses too. Fortunately, the open road still beckons, and there is a beautiful world out there for us to explore. Happy travels and big hugs to you!

  22. What a great life-transition story! Jeanne and I are happy to hear about your new path in life and we wish you both much happiness as you enjoy your evolving lifestyle and continued travels. We also want to thank you both for being such an inspiration and source of valuable knowledge as we planned for our own fulltime RV travel journey. We planned our Life Path change over a four year period and launched into our Big Leap in the summer of 2020 with our young Cavalier King Charles spaniel pup, Hershey. Yup, right smack dab in the middle of the pandemic! We just celebrated our 1st year nomadiversary last week and we have zero regrets!
    So, again, thank you for all the information, wisdom and encouragement that you two have shared! You’ve helped make an unimaginable difference in our lives by giving us the courage and confidence to create and live our own dream. All the best to you guys!!
    Erik, Jeanne & Hershey pup

    • WOW!!! What a passionate and mind-blowing testimony to our various online offerings, and ever more-so to your own courage and triumph in making your life’s journey utterly fulfilling for you despite the current international insanity.

      Thank you very much for attributing your pursuit of your dreams to us. In truth, your personal awakening and guts to follow your hearts is all yours. We are very moved to have been a small part of it and to know you looked to us for inspiration and wisdom. But the real kudos belong to you for taking the plunge despite world events in the summer of 2020.

      You can’t control the trajectory of the world, but you can control your own personal destiny within the parameters that exist, and that goes for every era, whether pandemic, economic depression, war, peace or personal challenges. In reality, what a GREAT time to have started — keep us posted on how it goes.

      I wish we had been traveling during the pandemic. Seeing the different reactions across the country would have been fascinating. I’m glad to know that you have been out there making your dreams come true and witnessing what we can only guess has been happening. Enjoy your full-time adventure. Buddy sends tail wags to Hershey and we all hope to meet you on the road someday.

  23. I did not click on your first photo before writing my thoughts, and now having read “the rest of the story” my best wishes for this change of course! Having been a sailor and RVer too, I can only say after enjoying the posts and pictures for many years, you two have something wonderful and magical that most of us search for…committed happiness between two souls.

    • Oh my, what a heartwarming and inspiring observation, Chuck. We have been blessed in so many ways, but perhaps most of all is that our dreams and passions are so closely aligned it’s like they have melded together. We share the same curiosity about life and have the same love of exploring new places, and as we’ve often said about each other, we feel like we are two bodies with one soul. Thank you for seeing that and for being a part of our journey all these years.

  24. I have read every post you ever made I think, I am glad to read that you both are in good shape and the PUPPY also. Keep writing I enjoy it is always interesting !

    • Holy smokes, Les, that is quite a feat! There are nearly a thousand pages here to read, and you are one of the very rare few who has made it cover to cover or close to it!! Thank you very much for being such a loyal reader, and thank you for the compliment on my writing too. There’s more coming!!

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