Friday, April 22, 2016

A Writer On The Road

For about a year, I've been thinking about what I want to do when I retire. Well, not exactly do. I know that once I retire from my career as a paralegal I want to focus full time on my writing. The real question is where?

Staying in California wasn't looking good as an option because it is simply too damn expensive to live here. My retirement budget will not allow it if I want to eat and not live under an overpass. Unless, of course, I want to move to some really out of the way place in Cali, but what fun is that? I just don't want to move somewhere and wait for the Grim Reaper. Wherever I land, it has to enhance my life.

On my list of places under consideration are: Massachusetts, where I'm from and where my family lives, Oregon, where many friends live and love living there, and Nevada because of the low cost of living and close proximity to California and other friends. Arizona? Meh, been there, done that, didn't like it. 

A while back I wrote about having an attack of wanderlust.  I know I want to travel when I retire and visit friends and family scattered all over this great country. Then the thought hit me. Why not live full-time on the road?

Yeah! I could do that! I know I could. After all, I can write anywhere.

The more I thought about this option, the more it felt right, like something I'd not only enjoy but would enjoy a lot. First, I thought about simply climbing into my car and hitting the road, visiting all the people and places I want to see, living carefree out of a suitcase, my next stop wherever I fancy going. 

Then I thought, why not an RV? Why not join the hoards of retirees who live on the open road, taking their home with them, state to state, experiencing nature, avoiding bad weather by snowbirding in the winter. It seems so cliche, but why not? So I did what any good paralegal or crime writer would do: I started researching the possibility, looking into financial needs, vehicles, safety issues, and the logistics of living mostly off the grid full-time. I've watched dozens of videos, and read blogs of full-time RV'ers (BTW, there are tons of them, including many women who are on the road solo), which contain incredibly helpful information on all aspects of the lifestyle.

BINGO! I have found my retirement plan! 

Susan, one of my BFFs who is retired, has always said that when I find the retirement place for me, I'd know it in my gut. Susan, my dear, you were right. As soon as I saw this possibility, it clicked in my very soul.

I'm not worried about being lonely. I'll be visiting friends and family, and I'll make new friends along the way. I'll even be able to visit many readers for the first time. I've discovered that there are all kinds of full-timer clubs and communities online. And I'll have the internet to stay in touch.  I'm also not adverse to being alone. Alone is not the same thing as being lonely.  I've been painfully lonely in a crowd of people and even while in relationships. And although I'm very outgoing, I'm basically a loner, always have been, even as a kid. I've already logged quite a few solo travel miles and prefer to travel that way most of the time. Maybe I'll even get myself a small dog, since B will most likely be gone by then.
I could live here!

I'm also not concerned about living in such tight quarters. I once lived in a tiny studio apartment for 4 years and it never bothered me. I know how to live small and compact if I have to, and today's RVs are super convenient and well planned, even the small van-style ones, which I'm considering. In fact, have you seen these things lately? They are incredible! I think this lifestyle will fit me like a glove.

I'd hit the road NOW, if I could, but alas, I'm not quite there. So for the next few years, I'll be purging my stuff, saving money, and making plans, with hitting the road as my goal after I say goodbye to the day job. It's my brass ring. The golden ticket for my golden years. 

And, as I've said before, time has a way of going by in the blink of an eye.

When I told another friend about this plan, she was very excited and asked how long I planned on doing it - 6 months, a year, a couple of years? My response was:

Until it stops being fun!


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Sounds like fun! My adult kids have done a lot of traveling in different sized RVs and now have a travel trailer but are talking about next going to a fifth wheel. A smaller RV would probably be a good choice, just because it is easier to drive and park. We thought about it a long time ago, but didn't do it when we should have. Don't wait too long.

Mark Baker said...

Jealous! So jealous. I'd love to hit the road like that, too. I grew up camping, and I've always been jealous of those I saw in the campground who lived there full time or obviously traveled full time.

Linda Atwater said...

So over the moon happy for you. We love living and traveling in our motorhome. Great people out there.

Patricia Gligor said...

What an incredibly fantastic plan! As I read your post, so much of what you wrote reminded me of, well, me. I don't have a problem living in a small space nor do I mind being alone. And, like you, I've taken trips by myself and I truly had a great time every time. Best of luck with your plan!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful idea,Sue Ann.
IMagine the different lifestyles and people you will come across,
that could inpire storylines.
..and selfishly, I might get a chance to meet you.
Wishing you everything you dream of...

Julia Buckley said...

Before you do it, I HIGHLY recommend John Steinbeck's TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY. In it, he travels the country in an RV with his dog. Delightful and thought-provoking book.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Thank you, everyone, for your encouraging comments! Julia, another friend suggested the same thing. And, you know, I need to stop by your place and meet Dudley... and see you!

Marla Cooper said...

Very cool! Clarity is such a rare treat.

Jeri Westerson said...

I keep thinking about it, too. We camp already in an RV, but if we went full time--at least until we couldn't stand it anymore--we'd need a bigger one, one with pop outs. It gives you an amazing amount of space. We like the trailer because you don't pay for car insurance on it. But you do, of course, for the car that tows it. And it is nice to have a smaller vehicle to drive around. Lots of folks tow a car with their RV if you go the motorhome route.

Christopher Hudson said...


Alisa said...

I actually thought this was your idea when you wrote the wanderlust blog. LOL I think it's a great plan, a nice RV, a small dog or another kitty and hit the road. You can write anywhere and just think of all the inspiration you'll get for stories.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy! And give AZ another shot at least in winter months while passing through! ��