Retire Early, Retire Often
Well, here we go again. A decade ago, we were prepping for trip #1 — stepping off our career paths and roaming around the US in a minivan. Now we’re on the cusp of trip #2 — we’ve quit our jobs, bought a new vehicle, and are waiting for our lease to end. No boat selling this time. No condo to unload. Just that pandemic thing.
Three years ago, we moved to Colorado, a place both of us have wanted to live for a while. Fort Collins was a great home base for adventures. We were within an easy drive of numerous trailheads and bike paths and camping spots, and we could stretch out to Utah and Wyoming easily. We made a lot of trips to Utah. And we’ve really enjoyed Fort Collins — meeting new friends, exploring breweries, enjoying its music scene, sampling its numerous restaurants.
Looking back, it’s been quite the decade. Our #vanlife was wonderful. And now it’s a hashtag, which are now things. We lived in Upstate New York; La Crosse, Wisconsin; and a couple new neighborhoods in Chicago. Lisa has had three jobs. I’ve had two. Now we have none. When we moved back to Chicago, we had a Honda Fit and two bikes total. Now we have two trucks and more than two bikes per.
Last time, we knew it wouldn’t last — we’d saved up enough for about a year. This time, our future is a bit more uncertain. We think we can go longer. And we’re going offroad.
Last week, we picked up an All Terrain Camper for our Chevrolet Colorado. We camped five nights in it on the way home — mostly at remote, free spots. The camper handled the wind and the terrain. The truck handled the dirt roads. We got great sleep and had the deep dreams only silent wilderness seems to provoke. Now we need to wind down things in Fort Collins, get our second vaccine, and jam everything we want to keep into storage. We go full vagabond in late June.
So far, everything’s just been so much easier than last time around. ObamaCare is a game-changer. Mail scanning services are slicker than ever. Buying a vehicle is way easier outside of a city. Staging and storage is way easier with a garage and a basement and a ground-floor entrance. Our cell phone plan is cheaper and works in nearly every country. Digital maps are more accessible and better. So much has changed. So much is still the same.
We cannot wait to explore more of the world and hike and bike and watch the sun set and stars appear and listen to the natural sounds of earth and the silence of the remote corners. There’s a lot left to see. We’re not going to get to all of it.
Some housekeeping things: if you’re seeing this in your email inbox, we’ll be switching providers at some point soon and you may need to resubscribe. If you’re reading this on our website, let us know what you think of the new look — we’ve removed things like ads and Google Analytics tracking because … ugh. The new site is also responsive so it looks nice on phones. We have a few things in the works — longer form writing and a podcast — so keep an eye out for that. Updates will be more sparse this time around, but we do plan to publish stories and tales from the road. More to come. Hope to see you out there.