August 11, 2005

El Fin

“It’s true; life really is generous to those who pursue their Personal Legend, the boy thought. Then he remembered that he had to get to Tarifa so he could give one-tenth of his treasure to the Gypsy woman as he had promised. “Those Gypsies are really smart”, he thought. Maybe it was because they moved around so much.”
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

If you asked what was the biggest err we made during this trip I would have to say it was our lack of an exit plan. We honestly believed that somewhere along the way we would have a great epiphany. “Aha!…this is the place, and what? You want to give us high paying fulfilling and infrequent employment. Well alrighty then.”

Except that isn’t what happened. Instead we spent the last month foundering. Even without the unfortunate events that we have been bombarded with, we would have been lost during this time. Most people seem to assume this is because we never want the trip to end, but really that isn’t it. You see Dan and I are task/goal oriented people; we set out to travel for a year and we did it! Now it is time to move on to the next adventure and we are both eager to get that started. The problem really stems from our lack of decisiveness. Somehow over the last year we have developed a serious case of co-dependency, so much so that if we cannot both reach the same conclusion at the same point, then we are rendered powerless to make any decisions.

However, I am happy to report that even with this disorder and the drama that has distracted us oh these past few weeks, we have made our decisions and we are ending our trip on a high note. Next week we are moving to Ahhhspen. Now I realize that since virtually no one voted for Ahhhspen in our on-line poll, this may come as a small surprise. But, here’s what we learned this past year and what led us to the Roaring Fork Valley.

We needed to find a town that allowed us to balance career and recreation. Aspen is surrounded by world class skiing, mountain biking, fly fishing, hiking, rafting, kayaking etc… And unlike some smaller towns Aspen has a booming economy and a veritable plethora of career options. Dan walked right into a job on the ambulance (he is, after all, the golden child, they hadn’t hired a paramedic in over five years and the very day someone quits he knocks on the ambulance bay door), and I got hired in the marketing department at The Ritz Carlton. We have secured housing and, save for my need to procure a car in the next week, we are right back into a “normal lifestyle”.

Among the harsh realities of re-entry is learning to embrace debt once again. Remember how I told you all early on that we are not independently wealthy? Well that is really crimping our style right now. We did plan enough to have not touched our savings account during this year, and we budgeted for a month or two extra in order to get re-established. But no matter, we are going to have to buy a car and soon a home.

What amuses me about this is that we lived a hedonistic, adventurous, dream lifestyle for an entire year, total cost approximately $20,000. In order to live in Aspen, drive a car and buy a one-bedroom condo the cost is approximately $30,000 a year, and that is just for the car and condo, add food, clothing, commuting etc. and we could travel for at least another two years!!! The American Dream is EXPENSIVE!

But I digress and we aren’t done RV-ing just yet. Our house in Aspen won’t be available until September 1, so for the next two weeks we will be living in our RV. Don’t you just love the visual of me exiting the camper in my business suit to go to my job at the Ritz? You can take the girl out of the trailer park but you can’t take the trailer park out of the girl.

Time to reflect:
What a gift this blog has been, I can read back through this site for years to come and be reminded of how truly fortunate I am. I just got to spend an entire year with my best friend, experiencing some of the world’s most beautiful places. I pushed personal boundaries almost daily, allowing me to grow more confident and I hope more interesting. I learned first hand about geography, history, biology and culture. My belief that people are inherently good and generous was re-affirmed day after day. I had the opportunity to renew friendships and to spend quality time with my most cherished friends. Because of our trip, friends of ours and my parents got to see parts of Mexico that they had never been exposed to before, and I got to speak another language every day for three months.

And maybe, just maybe we have inspired someone we don’t even know to do what we did. I swear it is easy once you set your mind to it, I am hard pressed to think of anything that wcould ever be so rewarding and educational. Quit your jobs, rent out your houses and buy an RV, do it NOW, not when you are old enough to wish you’d done it before. Spend a year getting to know your mate and yourself. Leave the TV at home and read every book you always said you would. Ride your bike, hike or just stop the car and appreciate everything from the engineering feats that create roads like Beartooth and Red Mountain passes, to the smallest creature along the your path. Emerge from your trip embracing the kinder, gentler and more gracious person you’ve become. Know that whenever normal life gets you down you have something extraordinary to reflect upon and to make you smile. Take the time to make yourself better by allowing yourself to be different. You too can be an Under Aged RVer, even at 75, it is a state of mind, more than an age range. And when you do hit the road, create a blog and tell us all about it, you’ll be amazed how rewarding it will be.

Que les vaya bien.
Dan and Rachel Goddard

p.s. For Sale: 2000 Lance 810 Light Camper, slightly used ;)
p.p.s. We were interviewed by the New York Times the other day, when I know a publication date I will post it on here.

August 04, 2005

A Hitch in the Giddy Up

This is not quite the end...

Just when we thought things were going to settle down, life throws us another curve ball. Dan returned last week from his whirlwind tour of Thailand. His sister is doing really well and we are very relieved that she is safe and healing. Dan on the other hand seems to have brought home a nasty virus, most likely Dengue Fever. Dengue is also known as Broken Bone Fever, since the accompanying joint and bone pain is excruciating. After eight hours in the ER and a follow up visit with an Infectious Disease Specialist, we now know that whatever it is, it will just have to run its course and all we can do is keep him doped up and comfortable. I really wanted to post a picture of him administering his own IV of saline, but he refused to let me photograph him.

In the midst of all of this chaos we have made a few decisions. We have both found employment in Aspen and will be moving there over the next couple of weeks. That is assuming Dan can stand up by then.

Our trip has come to an end in a rough and abrupt manner. While I have not had the time to reflect that I had wanted I can’t just simply say goodbye to you all or to this site. So instead I will simply say Que les vaya bien. And I will do my best to finish this blog with a follow-up in a few weeks, letting you all know where exactly we have landed and more about what we have learned.

Que les vaya bien = [may you] travel well.