Who are These Crazy People?


Having never RV’ed before my bride, Sharon, and I (John) sold everything we own except what we could fit into our rolling home... a 2007 front end diesel Tiffin Allegro Bay RV. We left our working lives behind and only look forward to our future adventures...
In the beginning … :)

I began writing this blog October 7, 2009 and originally my blog was simply a place to organize my thoughts… It has transitioned from the days of our dream of early retirement, being financially independent and finding a quaint sticks and bricks home to settle down in near a beach or mountains…  Then there was a turn, on the road to retirement, when we came up with the crazy idea of looking for an RV to live and travel in full time, for a while.  Initially we wanted to use our home on wheels to watch our daughter, who was then in college, play her last season of collegiate sports (Fast Pitch Softball). After that we wanted to be able to explore places that we might eventually call our retirement home.

We were both raised as military brats or children that grew up in a military family. Both of our fathers were “lifers” in the Air Force. My father started in the Army during World War II… he joined when he was very young after running away from an orphanage and lying about his age. Both of us during our father's careers moved very often. Sharon lived in exotic places like Turkey and Hawaii while my family lived in Germany on three separate occasions. Sharon's father worked in secret communications and I never knew exactly what my father did but he apparently did it very well as he was one of the first E9’s in the USAF.

We both lived in many states. One thing I can tell you about “military brats” is that as a result of moving often, breaking friendships, and making new friendships, military kids usually end up in one camp or the other.  They either love moving often or they want to settle down and stay put. As a result of all the frequent moving (we both went to four different high schools) I ended up in the nomadic group. Staying put was, and is, not my style! I still get the itch to go somewhere and do something after we are in the same place more that a month or so. In our early marriage Sharon fell more into the staying put group as she enjoyed nesting while our kids grew up.  Fortunately now that the kids are grown and out of the house, Sharon has embraced the nomadic life style as well…

Our son has a promising career with Lowe's and his wife and our grand kids have made their home in San Antonio, Texas.  Our daughter earned a full scholarship to play college softball in North Carolina and has opted to continue her education in a Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program there.
My first real job out of college was with Texas Parks and Wildlife in Austin Texas where I was hired a the Resource Manager for the state parks in the eastern half of the state (a very large area). I mostly did field work and wrote many Resource Management Plans for several state parks. I was also involved in wildlife and plant inventory assessments, prescribed burns and public relations. After I tired of the bureaucracy at the state level I worked at Texas A&M University for over 30 years initially as an Undergraduate Adviser, then as an Internal Auditor and finally as a Senior IT Administrator for a several large departments in the Student Affairs Division.

Sharon was trained as a Dental Assistant while I was going to college and worked in the dental field her whole career. She began as a chairside dental assistant for many years before becoming the business manager for a very successful cosmetic dentist. As a member of his staff she had the opportunity to travel all over the USA and stay in many fine 4-5 star hotels. Later in her career she became interested in Handwriting Analysis and worked toward becoming a Certified Handwriting Expert. After her certification she became partners with a motivational speaker out of Austin Texas. Together they held many seminars over her remaining years of employment.
During our working years Sharon enjoyed traveling to cities and staying in nice hotels.  We also vacationed to exotic locations by taking cruises.  My travel itch was satisfied by the occasional back packing trip and unique opportunities to travel to places like Argentina, New Zealand and Antarctica (twice). As we approached age 55 we began to discuss early retirement more and more as we really wanted opportunities to travel together.

As we discussed retirement options and locations it was Sharon who first suggested the idea of purchasing a motorhome and traveling. Her motivation was the desire to watch Katie play her last year of softball in college. After discussing this option we decided that to make it financially feasible we would have to sell everything and travel for a minimum of two years. That got the ball rolling and before we knew it and to the amazement of our friends and family we had sold everything we owned except what we could fit into our rolling home...

With only two weeks before we were scheduled to retire we finally found a motorhome. A 2007 Tiffin Allegro Bay was going to be our next home. Sharon retired on March 1, 2011 and I retired on March 2, 2011. We waited a whole day before we left our house behind and hit the road on March 3, 2011. Neither of us had ever camped or driven in a motorhome before we made this decision. My first driving experience was the day we bought it when I had to drive 165 miles through Austin Texas to bring our beauty home. That drive home was only the beginning of what has been several years of pleasure for us as we have traveled thousands of miles across the USA. We have no regrets having left our working lives behind and only look forward to our future adventures on this wonderful road of retirement... 

2 comments:

  1. Hi,

    Your story is so similar to my own. I was an USAF brat as well, and my father was in the Army in WWII and then had a 26 yr career in the AF. My younger brother had 20 yrs in with his last tour at Lackland. He retired and built a house in SA and now rides with a Veterans group. My husband and I hope to get on the road in the next year or two. We are renovating my 1971 Airstream Caravel (we are newly married old folk :-) ) which I owned before I met him. We are hoping to sell it and purchased a used Class A ( probably somewhat well-used ) we are pretty handy. We hope to 3/4 time to begin with. We appreciate your blog and very concise info!

    Toni Laughlin

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    1. Thanks for the kind words and I hope all goes well with your RV'ing plans.

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