Sunday, July 8, 2018

Mountains in the Mirror- A New Chapter Unfolds

I looked in my rearview mirror and there they were--the blue ridge mountains. The very same mountains that were in our rear view mirror to the exact date four years ago as we left North Carolina to explore our country through the eyes of nomads. 
A very familiar sight once again, but this time everything is different.

This time, we are headed for the first time since we left to an actual destination. One where we leave the open road and our wandering comes to an end.

Wow. So many emotions hit just typing those very words. Flashes of our adventure come to mind and all the memories made each year--potlucks with friends, laughter around campfires, exploring each beautiful state. I still can't believe it has been four years of RV travel. The time has flown.

Those bittersweet feelings of moving on to a new adventure overtook me as the open road lay before me and I saw the last of the foothills disappear in my mirror. I found my car once again heading in the (all too familiar) southward direction. This stay. I felt a lump in my throat.

Travel has been beautiful, chaotic, eye-opening, difficult, inspiring and truly indescribable. It was an experience that took hold of each one of us at different stages of the journey. It took us all out of our comfort zones and immersed us into a life so few get to experience. Not only did we see so much of our beautiful country, but we entered the world of roadschooling and learned what tiny living is all about. It challenged us. It made us all reflect on life a bit differently than before. And I know there's so much we will miss. I found I had to remind myself what I always tell the kids, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

Seasons come and seasons go and for this next season we will be entering a new kind of adventure--a new place to call home and one that we've never even seen before now. And not one we would have chosen on our own, but one that chose us. We open our arms and, as a family, say "yes" to this new chapter. We say yes to change and, while it is scary, we are all ready to some degree to say good-bye to the open road. (Maybe some of us more than others.)

Travel, after many years of constant change and figuring out life week in and week out, can also make one weary at times. Settling down gives us new opportunities and new experiences that the road does not.

So, where does our new chapter begin?

The unlikeliest of places--Naples, Florida.

A place where Tom is taking his career to a new place and we as a family can move on with some much needed stability for a while.

Tyler has already landed a paid internship at an insurance company and has hopes to pursue and realize his own goals and dreams which are right around the corner. His first goal of course is getting his wheels of independence--a car.

Haley, well, she's excited about making new friends and moving into a home, which really means having her own room. The RV sure has taught us appreciation for personal space.

Little Jonathan is up for any adventure these days as he loves life and pretty much everything.

And, for me, well I'm not sure just yet. I'll miss our crazy life of travel, there's no doubt about that. Maybe I can pursue several of the many hobbies I have and couldn't easily pursue on the road. And, as some of you know, I used to play alot of golf. I hear they might have a few nice golf courses down in Naples. ;-) It's a time to breathe, reflect and maybe finally finish the book about our crazy travels.

So for our four year nomadiversary, we will say good-bye to our RV, the open road and spend the weekend moving into a home. A real home. One that doesn't move.

We won't forget the memories we made these years on the road, the family and friends we spent time with along the way and the adventures that made us feel so alive.

But, FOR NOW, with open hearts and minds we say farewell to the road and begin writing our new chapter.