Ever since 9/11 occurred and I found myself in a teaching job where I was not happy, I have been a huge proponent of going out and living your dreams as all you have for certain is today. There is no guarantee about tomorrow. That is not to say you shouldn’t plan or save for the future, but you need to have a happy balance as some of us die never having at least TRIED to live our dreams. “Coulda, shoulda, woulda” is not the way I want to live.
When Bill lost his job in the early days of the Great Recession and we hit the road to work as fulltimers we realized one of our dreams. From October 2009 until July 2012 we did just that. We lived in a 36’ Winnebago Adventurer and traveled to 32 different states while working. Having decided to come home for a bit and save some money in order to hit the road again turned out to be a blessing in disguise. On October 30 of this year, Bill was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. Suddenly we were faced with asking ourselves if there was a reason that we had done what many people are too afraid to do – strike out without any guaranteed job and see as much of this great country as we could. Would we be able to do so again? And, more importantly, would Bill survive and thrive after this?
After two months of treatment Bill is doing wonderfully. His tumors have decreased by over 50% with radiation and chemotherapy and he is feeling strong. We expect a full remission by spring and are confident that we will be able to hit the road once again in the fall of 2013. What have we learned from this experience? We have learned that modern medicine is indeed a miracle. We have learned that prayer and a belief in God really DOES work. We have learned that family and friends are there when you need them. We have learned that petty arguments need to be worked out while there is a chance to make more memories. And most of all we have learned that living your dreams is indeed so important.
It is reported all the time that the pursuit of possessions by working yourself to the bone for the man is passé and the “American Dream” of bigger and better just doesn’t apply anymore. And no doubt most of us agree with this. Unfortunately, it is very hard to break away from what we saw our parents and grandparents do. Go to work every day whether you hated it or not. Buy a starter home and progressively move on to bigger houses. New cars every few years. Motorcycles. ATVs. Snowmobiles. Boats. If these things really ARE your dreams then you are definitely doing what you need to do. But if you dream of freedom, of travel, of an RV that is not a toy that is used two weeks a year but is your only home, then you are speaking our language. What began as random thoughts a few years ago with a job loss has now solidified in our minds with the threat of a life-ending illness. We WILL be back on the road with you fellow RVers and we will be doing it with a renewed purpose and renewed appreciation for everything this country has to offer. But this time we will be doing it with a lighter heart and definitely less “things”!