How do we top 6.5 years of travel in the U.S. and around the world (twice!)? We probably can’t.
Our years of travel will always be one of the best periods in our life, but we always like to look forward and not back. How could we ever follow those exhilarating years of travel?
Before our very long non-stop trip even began, we spent many happy years planning the details.
So, why put a stop to a good thing? In the midst of our non-stop trip, we knew the day would come when the travel would end so we started planning all the details of our life-after-travel.
Many decades ago, we discovered the place where we wanted to go when we had aged well and good. It seemed to us that, as we could see the day coming when our travels would end, we should shape our plans to move into a small cottage of our own. The cottage would be nestled in a community of remarkable people and a wide array of activities that would keep us interested. When and if we needed it, there would be assistance provided as we aged and even fulltime care if either of us required it.
For us, we couldn’t imagine a better way to live as we aged. It was our ideal final destination.
We knew where we wanted to go, but we didn’t know “when”. We sought the advice of friends. The consensus was to move in “early” enough to enjoy the many benefits, make friends, and to be accepted (which required that we each were able to live independently when we moved in). We decided that time for us would be our mid-70’s.
The road trip continued across the Great Plains, up over the Great Lakes in Canada and driving east into Maine, then we turned south.
We slotted in a stopover in Pennsylvania along the way at Kendal at Longwood, a beautiful community (a certified arboretum!) very close to Longwood Gardens, one of the best horticultural display gardens in the U.S. Kendal is the community where we wanted to live. We’d already visited many times before, but on this visit, we hoped to find the perfect cottage to call our new home.
Sometimes everything falls together just right, and this was it. We were shown a one-bedroom unit with porch and a garden. The ideal place for us!
While the cottage was readied for our move-in, we resumed our road trip, heading south.
A few months later with Spring approaching, we finally arrived at Kendal – our (almost) last destination. When we opened our suitcases to unpack, there was a hesitation. Our suitcases have been packed for six years, and we literally lived out of them all that time. The reality of ending our life on the road was before us. We had loved every single minute of travel, but now it was time to change our direction. This truly was leaving one wonderful life for another very satisfying one. How lucky are we, we thought, as we unpacked our suitcases?
Welcome home! Anita
What a wonderful journey you’ve been on and will continue with your new destination.
Thanks, Marie, for your comment. The journey does continue and we’ll have more to say about that!
I am impressed by your wisdom in looking forward not back, so that settling again may seem as great an adventure as did taking to the road. I am impressed also by your criteria for choosing whee/how to settle, a challenge that resonates for me as well. How lucky we are, to have the resources that allow us to choose among options! I shall be as interested in your settling-down observations as I have been in your ones of travel.
Thanks so much! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to just take a long walk and compare notes about our past and upcoming journies? It seems that life offers us endless choices and that resources are certainly important – but more so, don’t you think that being open to possibilities before us as well as adaptable to what it takes to make it work is just as important?
Beth and Joe – What a lovely intro to your next chapter of living. A ‘little cottage to return to’ is so poetic and encouraging. I imagine that your travels will take on a new feeling of gladness, having a special spot to go home. Happiest of travels to you both – Susan
Susan – – Your own little cottage inspired us – and one of our own was a goal we knew we’d get when we moved in to Kendal. It’s been a joy!
Dear Joe & Beth, I cried when I read your well-crafted (as always) words… and the last two photos captured it’s essence beautifully (as always)! Love to you both! B&J
We’re ready for a visit!
It sounds like everything has fallen into place just as you hoped, but I get the feeling your adventures are not completely over.
True! You are perceptive. We have several trips planned and the adventures have not ended.
Excellent news! I’m sure there is plenty of exploration to be done closer to your new home.
Beautifully written. I love that you’ve accepted and look forward to a new chapter in your life, but it still made me cry. So much of what happens in life is outside our control except for our own attitude. Enjoy this new adventure!
Oh, thank you, Merrill! It is, indeed, a continuing adventure. Yes, so many things can be out of control. But we HAVE been able to take full control of our years of travel and now our life at Kendal. For that, we have been so lucky and are truly grateful!
Annie and I are very happy for you. I just read about the community and it sounds beautiful. And your location is so close to so many fantastic, historical sites.
Thank you both. We do look forward to lots of exploration close by – and a few more distant trips.
What a thoughtful post. I have so enjoyed following you two for the past couple of years (when we discovered your blog), and will miss your adventures. We are on a similar path – unhoused and travelling and are contemplating when and where we might land.
It sounds as though you’ve made the right decision, but I wouldn’t pack those suitcases away quite yet. I’m sure you have a trip (or several) in the wings. In the meantime, I wish you all the very best – an exciting new chapter in your lives.
Yes, we’ll continue with some traveling but no trip will be that long and we’ll always have a little cottage to come back to.
Looks like you’ve made the right choice at the right time for you – hard to do, even as well prepared as you are! Enjoy your next set of adventures.
Living life well has a lot to do with timing. An important lesson to sustained life on the road is being flexible and welcoming change. It’s a lesson that can keep us all young-at-heart and happier. Thanks, P.C., we’ll most certainly enjoy our coming adventures (and a few more trips!).