“Happy retirement!” was the first thing my mother said to me when she answered the phone. It was late afternoon last Friday. Friday marked my last day at Ken-Caryl Ranch Metro District, a wonderful community I had grown to love for nearly three years. Friday was an emotional day – I had held it together for the last three weeks as I prepared to transition out. But, as I said goodbye to my fantastic staff and coworkers, I could not hold back.
After connecting with my mom, I called Eric. “Eric, holy crap, I am an emotional wreck!”
“That is one of the reasons I love you,” he said. “Because you are passionate and care, even when you are quitting your job.”
Today, Eric, myself and the two pups set out for one grand adventure. We left Summit County and do not plan to be back for nearly three months. Both of us have never done anything like this! We are certainly overwhelmed (in a good way) and ecstatic to see where this takes us, both personally and as a couple. While to some our adventure is a bit of a surprise, spontaneous even, a lot of thought and planning went into this idea. And, the timing could not have been more perfect. I had been ready for change in my career and was looking for other opportunities. Eric also came across change in his career and had to follow a non-compete rule (essentially, Eric left one company to work for another direct competitor…therefore, Eric was required to wait out his start at the new company for three months. For the record, Eric did not put up a fight).
So, what would you do if you and your significant other had the means and time to do whatEVER you wanted for just over ten weeks? Would you take up a new hobby? Would you reconnect with old friends and family? Would make every effort to enjoy the time away from the hustle and bustle? We have chosen to give up some everyday luxuries, cram ten weeks’ worth of running/climbing/doggie gear into a campervan, and own this opportunity to its fullest. We have chosen to reconnect with ourselves and what it means to live in our minds. We have chosen to let go.
We talked to quite a few people about this trip, and we quickly realized we are not alone. People of all ages had either experienced a similar adventure or knew someone who had. We commonly heard, “Why on earth do we wait until we retire to do and see these things?!” Great question. It is no secret that the ‘live simply’ and ‘less is more’ movement is a real one. And, certainly, the campervan fad is a thing. Whether folks enjoy the campervan life temporarily or long-term, there is something that is drawing us all to this simple way of living…campervan or not. People who know Eric, me, or both of us can recognize how much passion goes into our work and play. For me, though, it was not easy to let go of my career-focused mind and find calm in the idea of travel for ten weeks. Once I realized the much needed clarity I could gain from this trip, not to mention the sights and experiences to be had with someone I care deeply for, I found that calm. For the next ten weeks, the campervan and the places it will take us will be all that we are passionate about. That idea is both calming and oh-so-stinkin-exciting all at the same time!
This blog will keep all of our families and friends in touch with the ups, downs and rollercoaster rides we will be having. From alpine summits to roadside breakdowns, you will hear it all. So, now that we are on the road, here is a quick synopsis of how packing and prep went:
I am writing this now as we head west, where we will be taking a pit-stop in Fruita to trail run and mountain bike. Then, on to Moab and Indian Creek, sweaty and dirty already! We are beyond excited to stretch our limits, learn more about ourselves and each other, and have lots of laughs along the way. We do not think we are special, different or heroic because of what we are choosing to do. But, there is something to be said about doing what you love and committing to the things you are drawn to. Whether you choose to raise a loving family or spend your life on top of mountains…live happy. Do happy…and wander more. See you all in the desert!