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!

Arrival in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Today we left Tucumcari, New Mexico and planned a short drive to Carrizozo. Once we arrived there however, we changed our minds and simply continued South to Las Cruces.

New Mexico

We knew we were cutting it short, planning to arrive in Las Cruces just as the sun was setting (never really ideal), but it worked out perfectly.

Today’s drive was better than any movie. Between the mountains and the clouds, it was simply breathtaking. I took a few photos knowing that nothing could replicate what I was seeing, and this is the best photo from the day.

Beautiful Day in New Mexico

I look forward to learning about the area, it’s history, and exploring the landscape!

Resting in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Oh how I’ve missed this.

Dave Practicing Keyboard

Yes, we have downsized to living in a 30-foot travel trailer and a truck. But we haven’t given up everything.

With selling our house, moving into the RV, and racing to South Dakota to establish our domicile, then racing southward as fast as possible to escape freezing temperatures – this is the first time in close to three months Dave has had a chance to practice. He’s missed it. I’ve missed it.

We’re in Tucumcari, New Mexico where it is 82 Degrees and Sunny, with 15% humidity. Tomorrow we travel again (and face a cold font brining in colder temperatures). It was time to break out the keyboard and play a little. Life is good!

Tucumcari, New Mexico on Route 66: The Land Time Forgot (and a Truck/RV Wash)

We started the day in Amarillo, Texas.

Our truck and RV were desperately in need of being washed, so we planned only a short drive today because we didn’t know how long that would take. Blue Beacon Truck wash is handy for RV’ers because you can keep your vehicles hitched together and run them through as though it was an automatic car wash, but there are people managing the sprayers. That’s very useful because you can also let them know to avoid spraying directly near the window seals, or any area of your rig that is particularly sensitive.

The wait time took about an hour, during which you stay in your vehicle and you’re sandwiched between semi-trucks, so the decision for the wash is a committed one! While we waited we watched the ducks swimming in some nearby water (they are hard to see in this photo, but they’re there).

While the truck was being washed it got quite loud, and Frodo was a little concerned. He was basically okay, but I’d recommend if you are traveling with a dog who does not handle loud noises well, or is scared of thunder, you may want to walk your dog during the actual washing of your vehicle to keep your pup happy.

As far as our experience with Blue Beacon, it was definitely a good one. They did a great job and now our rig is shiny and pretty again (and no longer smelly)! The running boards and wheel wells were caked with muck and both are completely clean now. I’m happy!

By the time we had both vehicles clean, it was time for lunch and we hadn’t even traveled more than a few miles. It was a great day to plan a short migration path!

It wasn’t long before we passed through the “Welcome to New Mexico” sign and discovered Tucumcari, New Mexico on Route 66.
Palomino Motel

Most business here look like they have slept through the last few decades. It’s a little on the eerie side, but also quite cool.

Texaco

Check out that car in the front of the Blue Swallow Motel!

Blue Swallow Motel

And there was this…

Tucumcari Inn

And this… (this appeared to be free-standing art work, not related to the nearby businesses).

RV Park

Tucumcari, New Mexico: Route 66 – I was here.

Route 66 - I Was Here