Where We Are – And What’s Next for Us

The last few weeks have been a bit rough for us. July 3rd was a milestone, and a turning point – it was one year from when we decided to become Nomads and drastically change our life.  And, on July 3rd this year, we found ourselves questioning everything.

Let me back up. Currently, we are in San Antonio, New Mexico, finally, FINALLY under 5,000 feet in elevation. Let me explain why that is a big deal…

We spent the last 6 weeks in Flagstaff, Arizona, at almost 7,000 feet above sea level. To escape the Arizona heat found at the lower levels, you need to either go north, or go up. We had initially planned to go north, but all of our plans fell through so we decided instead to go UP in elevation.

Well, as it turns out, going up didn’t quite work for us. If you go up in elevation too quickly, you can get Altitude Sickness. Sometimes though, you can simply get Altitude Sickness just because you are susceptible to it. Since we spent over a month in Kingman, Arizona (elevation 3,333′) we definitely did not come up in elevation too fast. But, we both were feeling the effects of the altitude.

Altitude Sickness affects people differently, for us, it mostly means over exhaustion, with a handful of other minor symptoms here and there just to keep things interesting. In addition to constant over exhaustion, I had also been having quite a bit of trouble breathing (a tiny 1/4 mile walk had me huffing and puffing and having to take breaks), and though Summer usually means fewer Gastroparesis symptoms, I have been having a really rough time with GP. This summer is the worst GP-Summer I’ve had in over five years. High altitude affects the oxygen in your blood, which affects circulation, which affects bodily functions such as sleep and of course, digestion. Who knew?

Anyway, the altitude has been a huge factor in us feeling extremely worn out, and pretty awful all around. We considered going lower in elevation, but due to the heat, we were avoiding that maneuverer. However, things finally came to a breaking point where neither one of us could take our symptoms anymore, and we decided the heat is easier to deal with than the elevation (and the health consequences involved).

AND, this led us to question everything about how we are currently living. I mean, everything. The RV Lifestyle, our van (vs. another type of RV), just simply, everything.

Being a Digital Nomad isn’t easy, and not many of our peers talk about the struggles of maintaining a career (or two) on the road, and trying to fit some type of travel. I recently came across this post from Pace Smith and wondered why no one else ever talks about this stuff.

Rather than hide what’s happening, I’m going to be open about it. This isn’t working. There are some aspects of RV Living that we absolutely love, and that has had us flip-flopping our decision back on forth on a daily basis.

We knew traveling while working full-time would be challenging, but you can’t plan for every obstacle. We certainly hadn’t planned to have a career change this year and that has played a very large role in this decision as well. We are both launching new careers. Right now. Traveling with a NEW job role is absolutely, positively, NOT something I would ever recommend. So…

We are planning to transition back to a stationary life. The last few days have been all about – GET THEE TO A LOWER ELEVATION – and then figure things out. Seriously, it’s really hard to think straight when you feel like garbage. This decision has been much harder than the one we made a year ago. Leaving the RV Life means leaving much more behind than a stationary one – even though that seems contradictory.

I expect a lot of questions that we can’t answer quite yet – we’re still figuring things out. We have taken the first step though and that is: finalize our decision. We are definitely doing this. At the moment our plan is to continue to drop in elevation and head East. We have a few places to check out as potential settling spots but we need to see how things are in person.

We have moved a tremendous amount not only in the ten years we’ve been married, but even individually before that. We aren’t looking for a crash pad, we’re looking for a home. Ironically, it was the RV Park where we stayed in Flagstaff that made us realize how much we need an actual HOME.

The people we met and befriended over the last month and a half provided us with the strongest sense of community either one of us has ever experienced. It was a terribly difficult decision to leave the area. However, at the same time, it taught us that we need to find a community anywhere we could possibly even consider living.

It’s taken giving up almost everything to figure out what we need most. Isn’t it crazy how life works sometimes?

If you’re reading this – Bob & Diane, Dee & Jerry, Doug & Rhoda, Dawn & Sherri, Ken & Nancy, Dave & Donna – you all played an important part in us figuring out something very important that may actually help us “settle down” once and for all. Thank you!

Pictures from the Road – New Mexico

Datil New Mexico

Quemado New Mexico

Socorro New Mexico

On the Road - July 2016

I’ll be sharing more pictures from the road as we inch closer to a resting place.

Cheerio!

2015 Year in Review: 3,872 Miles Traveled & 53 Books Read!

If I had to describe 2015 in one word, I’d probably call it busy. If you grant me two words, I’d say life-changing. Can I have two words please?

We kicked off 2015 as new residents of Asheville, North Carolina. Not long after settling in we experienced the Asheville Snowmageddon 2015. It was fun… at first. Much better after we got a snow shovel. Though, I have to say the Fall of 2014 was a lot more fun – especially for Frodo.

Asheville 2015 Pisgah National Forest

We experienced the joy of living in a National Forest, definitely an experience I’ll never forget. This also included fighting a little bit with the creatures that lived near our house. There were the birds, and the spiders. And Dave protecting our house from critter invasion…

Dave on a Mission

I finally had a chance to photograph our bedtime routine with Frodo. Yes, we still brush his teeth every night. He loves it, and so do his teeth! You can tell from the photos he has a good time.

In May, we watched a life-changing documentary, and have been vegans ever since. It’s been almost 8 months now and I only wish we had made the change sooner.

Early in July we decided to take our life on the road, and began the process of downsizing our belongings. In a few short months we sold most of our stuff, our house, our car, and purchased a truck and a travel-trailer. It was a whirlwind of activities.

We hit the road October 17th, officially house-less, beginning our journey as nomads. After leaving Asheville, we traveled very quickly to South Dakota to get our driver’s licenses. On the way, we stopped through some pretty areas I look forward to re-visiting. Columbia, Missouri was gorgeous! 

Stephens Lake Park_The Lake

Rock Port, MO had a lot of character. I wouldn’t mind going back for a few days, especially during warmer months.

We were only in Amarillo, Texas for a short time, but long enough to see some interesting things. Like a donkey. And an emu.

And then, we got crazy with it. It was at this point we further downsized and sold our truck and travel trailer, and switched to a van. Once comfortably settled in our new van, the race was on to get somewhere warm. We headed to Arizona, yet at the same time, experienced a month without hot water. Go figure.

Now we are wrapping up 2015, living in a van, living a vegan life-style, and currently chilling out in Lake Havasu City, Arizona – while we recover from the whirlwind that this year has been. And it’s been a doozy. With only traveling the last portion of the year, we still managed to cover 3,872 miles. The speed was purely insane and I hope to never need to travel that far at that pace ever again! But, we managed to get our domicile squared away, improve our travel setup, get our van repaired, and… rest in the quiet of the southwest. I’d say the travel part of this year was smashing, though speedy. But, it was worth it. Every crazy minute of it.

2015 - 3872 Miles Traveled

There’s still one aspect from 2015 I haven’t had a chance to address yet, and that’s my reading life. I set out to read 52 books, and did it (read 53 books actually), and though some were good, and some were great, many were fantastic. I figured I would highlight my favorites from this year and tried to narrow down my selection to a Top 5. I couldn’t.

Out of the 53 books I read this year, here are my Top 8 Favorites:

2015 was a great year, and 2016 will be even better. I wish everyone a happy, healthy new year!

We Are The Crazy People

It’s been over a week since my last update, and it isn’t because I haven’t had anything to say – but rather because I have no idea how to say it.

Sharon and Dave

We did something crazy. Seriously, out and out crazy – even for us! This blog (Drink More Decaf) is for me, and for us – so we can look back and see the things we’ve done and places we’ve been. However, friends and family read DMD as well, so I have been hesitant to write about our most recent change.

On one hand, I know people look at us and think we’re nuts from time to time (sometimes more often than not), as I’ve had people flat out tell me that! On the other hand, I also know better than to worry about what other people think.

Over the years the best things in my life have come about from doing the things that scared me, the moments that forced me to really step outside my comfort zone and go for the gold. And in the end, I’ve won big every-single-time. I can’t think of any major decision I’ve made in my life that has turned out to be a mistake. Sure, I’ve had some growing pains, learned some lessons, and grew as a person, but nothing has made me say – wow, that was awful.

So with all that in mind, knowing almost everyone who reads this will think that we are completely out of our minds… I’ll let you in on our latest update. Soon.

The Toothpaste Experiment

Spider-Man ExperimentThe subject of “eating” toothpaste came up in our house this morning. The reason why isn’t important, but what happened afterward, is…

Dave said to me, “I remember eating toothpaste as a child once. There was a series of events that led up to this.” At this point, he had to wait for me to stop laughing hysterically before he could continue.

Here were the “series of events” that led up to my husband eating toothpaste at some point in his childhood:

1. Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and then became Spider-Man
Yes, okay, I’m up to date on my Spider-Man knowledge. Keep going…

2. Fluoride is slightly radioactive
Wait. He was old enough to know this (who knows things like this?), but not old enough to know that eating toothpaste wouldn’t turn him into Spider-Man? I question this logic.

3. Toothpaste has Fluoride
I see where we’re going here…

4. Therefore, Dave chose to eat toothpaste
My husband is, and always been… very logical.

Aging is a Bad Habit (The Power of Inertia)

Aging DefinedYear after year, we enable our body to age. We are in fact, enablers.

We are creatures of habit, and many of us tend to seek the path of least-resistance. It’s simply human nature. So each day, we go about our pattern of preparing to face the day, earn an income, and shield ourselves from the battery of the world. And each day, we push ourselves a little less – because it’s easier. We’re tired. Life is tiring. And our minds, they play tricks on us. Our brain wants us to conserve energy, you know, in case of emergency.

When you push yourself, you may notice the inertia of the challenge – physical or mental – gives you more energy. It takes energy to create energy, but it’s interesting to note – you can fake this part. You can pretend you have energy, and just make yourself DO something a little extra. Remember, your lack of energy is just your brain playing a game – and winning.

When was the last time you stretched? I mean, REALLY stretched? Can you touch your toes? When was the last time you tried? The more you do now, the more you will be able to do later (physically and mentally). You know, a few years from now when you’re a few years….older.

Here’s the thing. If you just go about your day, doing what the same thing you did today that you did yesterday – you will be able to do less later on. Yes, aging is biological, but it’s also mental, and partially habitual.

What kind of aging habits have you created?

Don’t forget! Life is a game – that means plenty of opportunities to level up. 🙂

Your Minutiae is Not Mundane

Electronic KeyboardHave you read any novels recently that made you struggle to understand the context? When reading any book that isn’t considered “modern,” it can be helpful to be guided through the meaning by a teacher, or annotated version, or of course, your own internet-driven research.

Consider books published more than thirty years ago, when characters had to communicate by way of phone calls (long distance was expensive and costs accrued in per minute increments), or mail – which was slow. Well, mail is still slow, but letter writing is no longer a necessary form of communication.

Now consider a child born this year: 2015, who later reads a book published in 1985, when they are 15 years old. Will they struggle with understanding the culture? Will they understand how characters communicate, and the methods that they use, and realize what is missing and why? Will the mention of an Answering Machine confuse them? What about photographs not being instantaneous, movies at the theatre or occasionally at home on cable, but renting movies? Blockbuster wasn’t around until 1985 so not many people knew about it yet.

My point is this, your daily minutiae is NOT mundane. The details of your day create a small part of the collective makeup of our society and culture, and culture is sometimes lost in lack of understanding.

We now have more variety than ever before, and this carries over to our daily routines.

How old are you? Are you a teenager? How do you spend your free time? How do you get to school? Are you homeschooled (what is that like and how does it work)? Do you watch TV? Movies? Do you watch TV shows on a computer – or an actual TV?

Are you in your twenties? Did you go to college? Did you live in a dorm? Did you have roommates? What do you do for income? How do you get money you need, do you handle cash, or use credit cards almost exclusively?

What about those of you in your thirties or forties? Do you have children? Do you want children? Are you married or single? What is single life like for you? Married life? How you do meet new people?

What happens when you run out of something you need but you don’t need it the same day? Do you add it to a grocery list and drive to a story in a few days, or do you order it online to be delivered directly to your door?

How do you communicate with those you are close to, do you use the phone (what is your phone like, and is it actually a phone), do you use a computer, do you send an email, text, or chat? What is a chat message?

Your life is not mundane. Your life is context. Life is changing around us constantly and your life is interesting!