Where do we begin to tell our travel story? So many parts are essential to getting us to the point in our lives where we step off into the “great unknown.” It’s too long to tell here, but we will give you an overview.
It all began in two small towns in America, one in Arkansas, where Bev was raised, and another in West Virginia, where John grew up. Both of us had happy, fulfilled childhoods with wonderfully supportive parents and many opportunities in the communities we call our hometowns. During college, John majored in Engineering and Bev in Advertising Design/History.
Career & Family
Throughout his career, John worked in aluminum manufacturing for one company, beginning in project engineering and ending in international operations management. Bev devoted her energies to raising our five children at home. By the way, each child is married, and together, they have given us a gang of eight grandchildren we adore!
Several years ago, we began thinking about retirement. We had always planned to retire early, and we worked hard to make it happen by living within our means, paying off our mortgage early, saving, and investing for the future. In the process of evaluating our “lifestyle creep,” we began to realize that we acquired too much stuff.
Beginning Retirement Travelers
When the time came to retire in 2020, we planned a long trip abroad, but like everyone else, our plans changed, and we pivoted toward a journey in our own country. We purchased an Airstream travel trailer and set off on a road trip across the United States to see all the National Parks and finish the list of visiting all the states. It was a big adventure and one we wouldn’t trade for the world! Our travel story begins.
Within this first year, we made the decision to sell our home and give away our possessions so we could downsize our lives for a journey around the world as a travel couple. It was quite a process to go through everything we had collected throughout our lives. We considered everything and gave our children a few of our keepsakes, but didn’t keep anything other than our golf clubs. We sold the Airstream, too.
Inspiration for Your Travel
In starting our creative journey of living our lives differently, we were greatly influenced by two books, Vagabonding-An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts and Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. Vagabonding for the inspiration of the journey and Big Magic for the inspiration to create, write, and live a life without fear of failure. We highly recommend them both.
How we Travel
Our overall travel method is a bit different than most people who retire. We travel quicker than many people prefer, generally 4-7 days in one city with longer stays occasionally. We like traveling regionally, exploring lots of places in one country. We’ve settled into a nice pace and every time we change cities, we are eager to see what it offers.
As we age, we anticipate slowing down a bit, but at this time, we are healthy enough to move about, and because we carry so little in our backpacks, it is not difficult to move on down the road when we choose. We hope to be more spontaneous as we go, in fact, the biggest lesson we learned our first year is not to plan too far ahead because those unexpected detours have turned out to be the most fun and fulfilling.
Our World Travel Journey
We began our world travels in Central America, South America, the Middle East, and Europe and our second year is starting in New Zealand! The first year abroad brought many wrong turns, mishaps, and frustration, but the adventure has been worth it all. Ahead, we know we have wonderful experiences and beautiful people to meet, and we can’t wait for what the world will teach us. We intend to travel as long as our bodies hold out, filling our minds with memories that will sustain us in our latter years.
Of course, we return back to see our children and grandchildren, and we often meet up with our families, children, brothers & sisters, mothers, and friends on the road. Someone asked us recently, what about your friends? We are happy to report, we make new friends all the time, and we are blessed beyond measure to have dear friends who support our dream and encourage us to go while we can.
Ultimately, we hope to know that our lives are richer from the people we meet, the foods we taste, the experiences we have, and the things we see. We hope it is not lost on you to dream big and follow your own inner calling.
We love C.S. Lewis’s quote, “You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
John & Bev
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