Navigating through the twists and turns of life can feel like an interesting (or maybe not so interesting) mystery novel. Each chapter is filled with unexpected scenarios with some chapters more thrilling than others including an abundance of suspense, usually. I can honestly say, the past couple of years were filled with more suspense (more like stress) than I’d care to acknowledge. Thus, it was time to change the plot.
Time for a new chapter
Even before the pandemic struck, Al and I were feeling unsettled. We’d lost the passion for travel and exploring. Perhaps the law of diminishing return had set in. There were things we loved about the RV lifestyle and there were things we disliked. Our teeter-totter was no longer balancing between love and hate. The negative aspects of RVing had started weighing on us, dragging us down. So, we bought a house, a real house, one without wheels in hopes of regaining some balance in life.
After spending the summer in northern Wisconsin, we returned to Arizona in mid-September. And here we are at the start of a new year settling into life in a real house. The first two months passed in a blur after box upon box was unloaded with intermittent painting projects thrown in in-between. I’m still perplexed as to how much stuff we hauled around in our RV, not to mention all the stuff we had in storage. Some days I’d ask myself, “Whatever were you thinking holding onto to this?” On the other hand, opening some boxes brought a huge smile to my face … “I’m so glad I kept this.” There were times it felt like Christmas morning unpackaging treasures large and small.
When we returned to Phoenix, the focus on our new to us house was liveability and preparing for a festive holiday season. Al and I promised each other that any major remodeling would be pushed down the road. We wanted to relax and enjoy the process and the holidays. Mission accomplished!
Friends, Family, and Fun
Family and friends are the main reason we chose the Phoenix area for our home base and that decision has not disappointed. November and December were filled with social engagements along with continued house projects. One of Al’s sisters lives less than two miles away, making for easy last-minute get-togethers. Our son and daughter live a mere 20-30 minutes away, which we’re loving. We hosted a Christmas morning brunch with family and friends and had a wonderful day shared with loved ones.
And then there’s the RV community; a community that has been part of our lives for the past ten years. There’s a bunch of former full-time RVers who have now settled in Arizona. With Phoenix being RV friendly and a host to numerous county parks, state parks, and private RV parks, there’s always an RV friend or two passing through this part of Arizona…. not to mention blog friends. Phoenix is a popular travel destination offering a variety of accommodations making it a great place for meeting fellow bloggers in person.
Friend-iversary! It’s hard to imagine that later this month, it’ll be ten years since I started this blog. I’ve made so many amazing friends via this platform as well as RVing. When both worlds meet, there’s a common interest that makes for a long and (hopefully) lasting friendship. MonaLiza and I met via our blogs back in early 2012 as she and her husband were starting their full-time RV journey. Comments flowed back and forth regularly on each other’s blogs and when an opportunity to meet in person presented itself …. well, let’s just say, we haven’t stopped talking or getting together since.
Over the years, we’ve met up in various states and even shared holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas together. MonaLiza and Steve came off the road about a year before we did and now have a home base a mere one-hour drive away from our home base. As soon as Al and I were no longer tripping over boxes, we invited the couple over to our place and as usual, had a wonderful time catching up. MonaLiza reminded us that we met for the first time exactly nine years ago right here in the Phoenix valley. Wow! Where did the time go?
MonaLiza and Steve had a goal of visiting all 50 states which they accomplished during their full-time RV journey. On the other hand, Al and I had no such goal. Quite frankly, we never had a travel goal and traveled hither and yon based on whims. That just goes to prove that there’s no right or wrong way to RV. It’s all about freedom … and what a ride it has been.
Ah, the memories!
Not only have we had amazing adventures and experienced incredible scenery via our RVing journey, but the folks we met along the way also added a richness to the overall experience. MonaLiza and Steve just happened to be the first of many friendships to have been made via blogging and RVing. I’m fortunate to have met so many more wonderful people over the years (too many to list) and made long-lasting friendships for which I’m grateful.
As I continue to sort through our stuff and fine-tune our decor, I’m reminded of our journey over the past ten years. It wasn’t always rainbows and unicorns but it was most definitely memorable. An adventure I don’t regret, but as with all things in life, there’s a beginning and an end. Al and I reached that point where we were ready for that change.
Although it has only been four months of living stationery in a real house, we have absolutely no regrets about our decision. When we first purchased this house, we weren’t excited. It didn’t check all our boxes (it quite frankly, checked very few). It wasn’t anything that we thought we wanted other than we knew it was time to end our nomadic lifestyle and this house would work for now.
Much to our surprise, we’re liking our house more and more. Granted, the house isn’t new and we don’t have those picturesque vista views that spoiled us during our RVing years, but we do have a nice yard and a location that’s convenient. We’re back to city living and as much as we thought we didn’t want to return to this kind of lifestyle, it’s working perfectly.
So what’s next?
Our plans are a little blurry at this point but we do know we don’t have any major plans to travel anywhere in 2022. We may take the occasional 1-2 hour drive in any given direction for a change of scenery from time to time, but that’s it. This means we do plan on staying in Phoenix all summer. Considering we lived in Las Vegas, Nevada in the 90s, we know exactly what a summer in the desert feels like …. HOT!
We have house projects that we look forward to working on slowly and then there’s the wedding. Our daughter will be getting married later this year and wedding planning is in full swing. I love the fact that I have a great relationship with my daughter and she wants to include me in all aspects of the big event. We’ve already been dress shopping and attended a wedding event at the Phoenix convention center, but lots more to come.
As to my plans for this blog? Hmm, I’m still not sure. Since we won’t be RVing this year, I’m not sure what to write about or what photographs to share. I’m not sure what YOU, my readers, would be interested in. Should I join more photo challenges and share images from our past travels? Are stories from previous travels of interest to you? Does blogging still bring me joy? Does reading blogs still bring you joy? Has the blogosphere changed? These are all questions I need to ponder, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject in the comments below.
So, now you know! We’re enjoying life in a sticks and bricks house … no regrets, no mistakes, and embracing this new chapter in life with hope and enthusiasm.
“It’s not an ending, it’s just the point in the story where you turn the page.”
Cheers to a Happy New Year!