A Year of Highs and Lows

Hot Air BalloonsIt’s a new year…..time for resolutions and reflection….

The last week of 2013 had us rolling down the highway.  Yep, after three months in Arizona, it was time to hit the road and move on to newer pastures. For this two month excursion, we left my little red truck parked in our son’s garage in Phoenix, thus allowing Al and me to sit side by side for our 1,200 mile journey.

The more than eighteen hours of driving time to our destination was spread out over a 6 day period.  All this time sitting side by side in a vehicle gave Al and me plenty of time to talk.  It also gave me plenty of opportunity to change my mind on where to stop. I’ll leave a woman’s prerogative for my next post. For now I’d like to share some of our 2013 reflections.

As Al and I discuss the events of the past year, we’re reminded 2013 was a year of highs and lows.  It was an emotional year.  It was a rollercoaster of a ride; some good, some not, but never dull or boring……

January started out with us snowbirding in the desert southwest. We were indoctrinated to boondocking in the desert and the big RV event in Quartzsite, Arizona. The majority of folks we met along the way were living full-time in their RV’s. We found ourselves ever more intrigued by this lifestyle and started talking more seriously about selling the house. We had felt lost and emotionally drained and felt perhaps a change was in order.  The past two years had been challenging.

Quartzsite Arizona

Boondocking in Quartzsite, AZ

Allow me to back pedal a little so you might better understand our mindset in early 2013. Starting in 2011, we began to lose loved ones. We lost three out of our four parents within a two-year time period which had us traveling from Colorado to Illinois numerous times.  A very sad two years and the mourning carried into 2013.

Within a three year period we helped our son move from Boulder, Colorado to Phoenix, Arizona.  We helped our daughter in Colorado move twice.

Within the past three years, we personally moved three times…from a large custom home into a rental house while building a smaller home.  We moved into the newly constructed house, then 2 years later we moved into the RV. After deciding to go full-time, we closed our business. And in the middle of moving into the RV, we lost our dog of fourteen years. It was a physically and emotionally difficult time.  I’m exhausted just recalling all of this!

Tucson AZ

Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson, AZ February 2013

So back to RVing at the beginning of 2013……After a fun and enlightening January, February found us meandering around the state of Arizona and talks of change were in the air. One day we were selling the house and moving into the RV full-time and the next day we were keeping the house and RVing part-time. The emotional rollercoaster continued with so many unanswered questions. We still needed to produce an income, but how? How long would it take to sell the house? Our RV was never purchased with the intent of living in it full-time, thus would it be workable? What to sell? What to keep? What to take? Yes, the emotions were running rampant. Somehow with all the emotional drama, we still managed to enjoy some sights as we explored parts of Arizona and New Mexico.

Tucson AZ

A rare snowstorm in Tucson, AZ February 2013

Elephant Butte

Watching the sunset – Elephant Butte Campground, New Mexico   Feb 2013

Loretto Chapel

Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, New Mexico

With a questionable future looming, we ended our four-month trip and arrived back at our house in Colorado on March 1st. It was a beautiful house, not quite 2 years old with all my favorite finishes picked out by me. Off the rear of the deck was an unobstructed view of a snow-capped Pikes Peak. To the south, one could see the Spanish Peaks. The house was situated on an acre of land located one block away from the State Park entrance.

Pikes PeakUpon our return from our winter excursion, we pulled the RV in the driveway along the side of the house. Al and I sat in silence before opening the garage door. We weren’t ready for our RV trip to end. When I finally stepped into the house, my first thoughts were, “Yes, it’s a lovely place…. shows well”. Wait – shouldn’t I have said, “Feels good to be home”? As I stood in the entryway, Al joined me and asked, “Are you thinking, what I’m thinking?” “Yep, this isn’t home. Our home is in the driveway”. Decision made! Up until that point, we were still undecided about whether or not to sell the house.

March and April had us preparing for life in a RV. Trips to Chicago, Denver, and Phoenix ensued as we rearranged our furniture and belongings. I won’t lie…..this wasn’t easy and self-doubt was ever-present.  Yard sales ensued.  Letting go of ‘stuff’ I liked for pennies on the dollar caused a tear or two.  The house went on the market mid May and within 48 hours it was under contract. Our beloved Bear passed away two weeks before closing and by the end of June 2013 we were officially “full-timers”.

Mt. Evans

Spending time with our daughter in Colorado

Our first few weeks of living in the RV had us visiting our daughter in Denver. Then we headed west and the rest of the summer was spent exploring Colorado’s western slope. My favorite part of the summer was reconnecting with my brother and his wife. Life and responsibilities have a way of monopolizing one’s time putting relationships on the back burner. The mutual love of the outdoors and RVing had us reconnecting in a very special way…..laughing, living, and creating new memories!.

Grand Junction

hanging with my brother – special family moments

Western slope

Exploring the back roads in western Colorado

Interstate 70

Heading west on Interstate 70 – Colorado

September rolled around and it was once again time for our winter migration south. A stop in Utah had me going through film…..Ok, this is an inside joke between Al and me. He always asks me, “Do you have enough film?” and “How much is that film developing going to cost me?”…. I just love digital photography – so yes hon, I have plenty of film.

Utah was so much fun that we plan a repeat in April.Moab Utah

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch – Arches National Park, Utah

October, November, and December had us parked in a RV Resort in eastern Phoenix. With the exception of a little 5 day jaunt over to Lake Havasu, our travels and explorations kept us in the Phoenix Metro area. We felt a little down time and R & R was badly needed. And, indeed it was…..we needed a low-key break to decompress.

Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu City, Arizona

One of the most enjoyable aspects of remaining parked in one location was the ability to connect with other people; to socialize and forge new friendships, to meet up with fellow bloggers and Escapee members. It was fun receiving emails from folks wanting to meet for lunch. These luncheons had the conversation going strong for hours. We had the pleasure of meeting an array of people from all walks of life and backgrounds.

socializing

Socializing with like minded folks is always fun!

As the calendar flipped to December, we found ourselves feeling refreshed, relaxed, and energized.  The beginning of December had Al and me starting to feel that itch. That itch to move on. Although we were paid up until the end of December at the RV Resort, we were ready to move on. We spent Christmas day with our son and said our goodbyes hitting the road the day after Christmas. Goodbyes are always bitter-sweet. So our year ended as it began – travelingour sonTo all the folks whom we’ve had the privilege of meeting this past year – thank you, it has been a pleasure.  We cherish these new-found friendships and hope our paths cross again soon.  Wishing you health to spare, love to share, and friends who care.

Here’s to a new year filled with fun, adventure, and love….. cheers!laughing

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83 thoughts on “A Year of Highs and Lows

  1. What a year, what a year! Sounds exhausting and stressful but fun and rewarding. This just proves that behind all excitements and plans are some struggles and tribulations along the way. IT’s all life adventures either way. And at the end of the er .. year, it matters that we all get through it and went pretty okay. I hope our life decisions end us to a well-balanced year. 😉

  2. Well done. It really resonated here, I’m sure there is a common thread or three among us FTers. The reasons, the process of purging, the emotions then the overwhelming feeling of being ‘free’. Sure is hard to get my head around the fact we have already been out here almost 1 1/2 years and it keeps getting better. Looking forward to a campfire somewhere. Safe travels and Happy New Year.

    • I’m sure our paths will cross eventually. It’s amazing how many folks we’ve already bumped into. Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing where your travels take you this year 🙂

  3. It certainly was a year of ups and downs for the two of you, which I relate to very well. Who knows how long any of us will be on the road? I think one day we will stop somewhere and say “this is it!” and we will find our new home. Do you ever feel that way or do you know where home will be when you decide it is time? Either way, enjoy the adventures along the way, and I am with Bulldog, keep that camera close. Your photography is beautiful! 🙂

    • My heart remains in Colorado but unfortunately the land I’ve found doesn’t match my funds but I’ll keep looking. For now I like the freedom of no ties, but I see that changing. I just started writing a blog for my brother to complement his website. As I was reviewing some of my housing photos, I had pings of longing.
      Thank you for the photo compliment. I can tell you bird photography is not my thing. More on that to come 🙂

      • I thought your heart was probably in Colorado and certainly not a bad place to be. We need to explore that state more. We lived there for such a short time but loved every minute of it. I would love to own a loft in downtown Denver.

  4. What a lovely post Ingrid. And beautifully illustrated with “film” from your archive. Here’s hoping 2014 is as exciting for your and Al without the rollercoaster.

  5. That was an incredible post and I was smiling when I got to the “home is in the driveway” part of it. It’s been a rollercoaster, that’s for sure….but the best riding is yet to come!

    • I sure hope you’re right. That last photo was taken by Tom when the six of us went to the Desert Bar. That was a fun day….here’s to many more fun days 🙂

  6. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to sell everything and become a full timer. Look forward to riding along on your 2014 journeys.

  7. This posting brings back very similar memories for us…it is almost s mirror image of our trials and tribulations that led us to living on the road fulltime. We are hosting Q this year and looking forward to meeting old and new friends. SKP Hugs to you and the big guy….Diana and George Ruelens

    • Wow, if we’d a known you were hosting the Q this year, we might have made it a priority 😉 We should be back in Phx for March – lunch? Can’t wait to hear all about the rang!

  8. You’ve captured the year filled with such a range of emotions beautifully. It seems plain to see, especially from the last picture of you and Al, that you have weathered the storm of loss and indecision in spectacular fashion. Such as smiling and happy couple! I love it 🙂

    Best wishes to you both for a year filled with more ups and than downs and of course healthy and safe travels!

    • Yes, I definitely hoping for more ups than downs. I’m also looking forward to following your journey this year. How’s the book coming along?

      • I’ve been a slacker as of late as far as the book goes. Probably other things as well… lol. Joe goes back to the ole grind Monday for a new project so I’ll be pulling the very rough manuscript out for the first edit this week. I’m looking forward to getting back into a regular writing routine again. Thank you for asking! 🙂

    • Thank you, Jean. I’m looking forward to a year with a few less ups and downs. Hopefully we’ll visit some fun and exciting places this year!

  9. Ingrid, what a lovely post. If life is not lived to its fullest, then we don’t have up and downs to experience. Some times are hard, some are joyful and most we come through for the better. The better is your joy of travel and adventure – enjoy every minute!

    • I guess life would be pretty boring without some challenges. I don’t think bird photography is my thing. I’m intrigued by all the unique birds around the Rockport area but can’t seem to do a very good job of capturing them. I’ll keep trying though. Hope you’re enjoying FL.

  10. You two certainly can say “That which does not kill you makes you strong”..You have had a rough couple years..We can identify…Here’s to a New Year, a fresh start and more adventures to make into memories…Great photo of you two, by the way!!

    • I know you can relate as the two of you have had to deal with issues with the elders. Challenges. Hope you found some warm, balmy weather at Falcon Lake. Thus far the warm weather is eluding us in Rockport 😦 I look forward to your other Texas stops. I’m taking notes 🙂

  11. Well, you and Al can certainly say “Never a dull moment” with regard to your lives over the past while. It’s great that you’re so happy with your decision and so enjoy the RV lifestyle. Your pics are amazing, Ingrid. Happy New Year to you both, and joyous trails in your moveable home. 🙂

    • Yes, never a dull moment seems to sum it up nicely. We’ll try and keep the adventures going in 2014. This mobile lifestyle is more liberating than I could ever have imagined. Such a sense of freedom!

  12. Thanks for sharing your story, there’s always more to making these decisions than meets the eye. Wonderful photos, and I love the one of you and Al with your son and all the red, and the last one of you and Al is joyous. Here’s to more joyous adventures in 2014.
    Brenda

    • Thanks Brenda. I think I’ll leave the bird photography to Hector. I find it challenging beyond my capabilities….very difficult. The darn things keep moving LOL. Here’s to a fun 2014 for all of us. I’m sure we’ll meet again in Colorado 🙂

      • Wow! My goal would be to get photos half as good as your ones right now. You will be on calendars and photo books if you get any better! Your photos are one of the things I love best about your blog. You make anywhere look stunning.

        • Thank you so much. I really appreciate the kind comment. Now if only I could get these darn ocean birds to hold still, I’d be a much happier camper!

  13. Quite a roller coaster but a great read and some real facts that need to be reviewed and thought over before heading out on the adventure
    Most of all congratulations on getting to Freedom and Happiness
    Regards from a nearly to be traveler
    Peter/Maria

    • It is an emotional process but I notice a major difference this winter compared to last winter – this winter I don’t have a house to worry about especially with the cold and snow to the north. It is very liberating.

    • Thanks. I appreciate your photos of birds so much more today as I spent over 3 hours at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Rockport TX. Almost 300 shots of birds taken and maybe I have two or three worthy of posting. I think I’ll leave the bird photography to you 😉

  14. Love this post… and love the travels with you and Al… and please make sure you have enough film as I just love your photography… keep on RV ing…

    • I was going to say, “Al bought stock in Kodak” but that would not have been a smart move….lol. Ok, “Al bought stock in Sandisk” most likely a better move. We’re in Texas and I’m trying to capture birds. Darn things won’t hold still 😉

  15. Wow, Ingrid, what a journey you’ve been on. Having only met you a few months ago, I’m grateful for the backstory. I just love how you describe the moment you knew you should sell the house. It didn’t feel like home. So beautifully put.
    Wishing you a wonderfully fulfilling 2014. xoxo

    • I try to keep the tone of my blog light hearted and positive but every now and then I think it’s important to let my readers know it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. With this post behind me, it’ll be fair sailing the rest of the year no matter how much crap I may step in…..I’ve been around a lot of birds today….lol.

  16. oh how I enjoyed this post…in fact, I’m bookmarking it! I’m so encouraged to know long-term love/commitment really DOES exist: you guys are truly an inspiration!
    Happy new year to you and yours! i look forward to more great posts and travels as 2014 progresses! 🙂

    • Wow….bookmarked? Al and I have been together since 1980 and have had our fair share of highs and lows….not always easy, but worth it. Hope 2014 is a wonderful year for you!

  17. Thanks for sharing your year in review – yes to highs and lows in 2013 – the West has so BEAUTIFUL Country to Explore – love your captures:) Happy New Year – Happy Adventuring!!!

    • Thanks Renee. I’m sure you can relate to highs and lows – whether it’s work or health or any combination. Keep sharing those inspirational posts 🙂

    • Sometimes I can’t believe how fast the year went. It was a year ago we met and sat in our RV sharing adventures. Wishing you and Tracy more RV fun in 2014 🙂

    • Thank you Linda. Have you hit the road yet? Perhaps we’ll run into you in Colorado. You know we will eventually as Colorado calls to you…lol 🙂

      • We are here with the kids for another 2 weeks, then on to AZ to begin our new year of touring. Might not get back to CO this year, as we want to spend time in Utah on our way up to WA and OR. Still hope to see you out there on the road!

  18. Just love the last photo….look at those smiles. So glad you found your happy spot again in your souls! We always seem to find our way back to happiness…and learn a lot along the way. I’m glad to have found you, following along to all those fantastic spots you stop at, drooling over your photos, and am sure hopeful 2014 is going to be your best yet! C

  19. Beautiful post of a roller coaster ride of decision making and a round up of where the road took you last year. The best part, I am in the picture too 🙂
    I love that happy pic of you and Al. Cheers to both of you from the Lowes in sunny Florida.

    • Can you believe it was a year ago we were hanging together in the desert southwest? Hope you have warmer weather in FL than we have in TX. I am enjoying all the unique birds around here but the darn things won’t hold still long enough for me to capture some blog worthy shots….lol.

  20. Moving forward and making an adventurous life is never as easy as it sounds, because some doors have to be closed. I liked how you relayed the ups and downs here, and the big-smiling photos tell it all. Have a terrific 2014!

    • Thank you. No, its never as easy as it sounds but I’m glad we kept moving forward and didn’t allow fear to paralyze us. Hope 2014 is a good one!

  21. Excellent job! What a nice recap of your year. You two did have your trials but came through them with a positive attitude. Wishing you the best in 2014. Enjoy your adventure and new freedom.

    Elephant Butte is one of our favorite places. The photo is gorgeous!

  22. Wow, when you condense it like that the past couple years have been very draining. Glad you’re well rested:)

    Wonderful final photo!! Shows the joy of this lifestyle:)

    Happy 2014!!

    • Yep, glad we’re finally recovered and can move on with life. Looking forward to seeing where your 2014 travels take you. More adventures in the west?

      • Yes, Ingrid, we will head west in May…wahoo! We probably won’t be returning east again for a long time. We are meant for the west. We are not sure where yet. We are hoping to visit Banff, Jasper, and Lake Louis in September. But who knows about the summer!!!

  23. Whew! Made me tired just reading this post! Congratulations and good luck on your full timing life. Looking forward to seeing where the road takes you this year. Wishing you safe and happy travels in 2014.

  24. Reading your story of the roller coaster of making the decision and then the actuality of making it happen was like deja vu for me. So glad you two are enjoying your new lifestyle! Here’s to a most excellent 2014! Perhaps our paths will cross this year!

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