We were in a random Walmart parking lot, about two hours south of Atlanta, when a woman I had just met asked the most poignant and insightful question about our trip.
We had spent the morning washing off the thick yellow dusting of annual pollen from the whole rig, and then a frantic few minutes getting out of the house with all the documentation and such to take with us on our trip south, and finally a nostalgic drive to meet a man named Dan who was interested in buying Gypsy.
Dan had requested we meet him as he was driving all the way from Florida, and if he chose to buy Gypsy, he wanted to immediately drive her home. When we arrived, Dan’s parents-in-law, avid and experienced RVers, were there to help him make a decision. So, here we were, with Raj giving a technically detailed and lengthy tour of the whole rig, and after some time, I basically took a seat to stay out of the way. Betty, Dan’s mother in law, eventually sat next to me as the men continued on to the outside of the Motorhome.
I had liked her immediately; she had bright and kind eyes, and a no-nonsense way about her. We made small talk for a few awkward minutes, but neither of us was very good at the superficial. Then, she hesitantly began to speak, choosing her words carefully: “You know, Dan told us about what you and your family did; how you took your young family on a sabbatical. I was so intrigued. I think it’s wonderful that you did this, but I just can’t help wondering… after going as far as you did, for as long as you did, having already broken ties with so much of the societal pressures we all struggle to free ourselves from… WHY DID YOU NOT KEEP GOING?”
I didn’t have to think about my answer. Raj and I had already thought about it while on the road… a lot. Like… constantly.
We absolutely considered the possibility of never returning to our “regularly scheduled programming” of life. We thought about cashing in, retiring early, and either continuing on the road as many families do these days, or moving to our dream destination in Chile. We went as far as researching tax laws, and discussing with family to see if they’d consider joining us! We had these discussions as hypotheticals – and they were – because we were legitimately struggling to choose between the security of returning to the life we knew, or turning our little adventure into a much bigger one.
But we did choose. We chose what was right for us as a family unit, and what was right for the individual members of our family. So, with a sigh and a smile, I told Betty the truth. “We thought about it. We were tempted! We discussed it for the final 3/4 months of our trip! We talked through what home-schooling would look like, what kind of life-style business we would build, and all the friends we would miss. We created spreadsheets to work through the financials of different options of either staying on the road here in the States, or going international bricks & mortar. We talked about what would be best for our kids and whether we can best instill in them the values we cherish in a more traditional environment or where, in theory, we could keep them more isolated from the more damaging elements of our society. And finally, we discussed Raj’s career. And it took Raj some time to work through his feelings, but in the end, he concluded that he wasn’t ready to retire from his chosen profession yet; he feels he has more to offer and more to prove, and he would always wonder how far he could take it. So, for us, it was about timing.”
We made a choice to live a “normal” life a bit longer, and as such, we also chose to sell Gypsy as she was just too big for long weekend camping trips. And so it was in a Walmart parking lot that we sold Gypsy to a guy named Dan and bid farewell to our fantastic temporary home. We owned her for less than a year, but we were quite attached to her. The Question Betty asked wasn’t really about Gypsy specifically, but it’s hard to separate the vehicle/home from the gifts we received while living there. And though we considered keeping her for occasional short trips, the logical thing to do was sell her while still under warranty, and pass on the joy we experienced to another family.
So, here we are, sitting around our brick and mortar home, located in a metropolitan city (and truly appreciating the high-speed internet), and I can honestly say, we have no regrets. It’s barely been a year since we first began our adventure by putting a deposit down and ordering our house on wheels. The learning experience was so much deeper and broader than we could have imagined. But being able to comfortably answer the question Betty asked, to not feel any qualms or regret about the choice we made, is a gift. It’s a gift to find such a solid sense of gratitude for what we have. It’s also a gift to know that we have options and that someday in the future, we may choose a completely different path.
Thank you for everything, Gypsy. We found so much joy during our time with you.