Joel and Sharon are Gen-Xers that decided to leave the everyday work-home-work life behind in search of new adventures as full-time Airstream travelers.
This decision was not an expected development in our lives. Joel and I bought a house in beautiful Orange County, CA four years earlier and thought we had settled into our forever home. As it often happens, life decided to throw us a curve ball. In February 2016 I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. To say I was shocked is an understatement. I had no family history, was outside the typical age range for the specific type of cancer I had, and felt 100% normal and healthy – no symptoms whatsoever.
The following months were a whirlwind of doctor appointments, tests, scans, surgery, and coming to the realization that I was not really living the life I had planned. Joel and I both settled down early (starting out with different partners), had kids, bought homes, worked every day – the typical middle class story. I was especially focused on my career, putting myself through school nights and weekends, and generally working my butt off to rise through the ranks in the legal field (from file clerk to senior clinical research paralegal in an international pharmaceutical company). However, once I was faced with news of the big “C” – I had to ask myself, “was this all I imagined my life would be?”
Getting injected with radioactive material for PET Scan
Come to Jesus Moment
When I heard the news that I had cancer, my first emotion was that of regret – regret for all the things I had planned to do, but never actually got around to doing because I was so busy working, raising my two sons and keeping my head above water. I know you can relate. Luckily for me, my cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes, so following surgery, I had an excellent prognosis for long term recovery. I went back to work and tried to cram, squish and smash myself back into the little box that my life had been before – – but it wasn’t working anymore.
Good Bye to Everything We Own or rather Owned Us
Joel could see that I was having a tough time. He came home one Friday and said let’s sell the house and everything we own and travel in an Airstream full time. What?!?! We don’t even own an Airstream. Was this the Joel I knew? Yup, he was feeling the same way and that is how the idea began. We put the house on the market the following weekend, it sold within a few weeks and we began the process of ridding ourselves of all our accumulations. If felt so great to get rid of all that stuff – stuff that tied us down and wouldn’t let us breathe. We found that when you have a lot of stuff like a big house, big yard, multiple cars, and all the other crap you cram into it – it’s a lot of work keeping up with it all!
The Adventure Begins
Funny how sometimes when you put a plan into action, things just start falling into place. A good friend of mine had a neighbor that worked at an Airstream dealer, Airstream of Los Angeles. A bit of a drive from the OC, but worth it! We found exactly what we were looking for – a 22′ Airstream Sport. Our goal was to keep it light and small so that we could get in and out of national parks. At first, we were thinking we would tow with our Toyota Tacoma, however, this plan changed and we bought a truck more specialized in towing. Joel wanted to be sure we could reliably get up and down any mountain that we crossed paths with and one of the first would be the Grapevine as we make our way out of southern California.
We have a rough idea of starting out traveling up the California coast stopping in Morro Bay, San Francisco, Yosemite and then heading to South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore. I am sure things will change and develop once we are on the road, but for now, let the adventures begin!