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By sailrmac
August 14, 2006

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Hi all,

I haven't posted in a long time. As previously posted (months ago) I was being laid off (I knew this almost 6 months in advance), my wife was graduating, my daughter moved into the sorority, my dog died and I've got the money, so it seemed like the perfect time to go on a little midlife crisis bender. We sold the house bought an RV and have been cruising around enjoying the western US for the last few months. You can see where we've visited so far at http://sailrmac.blogspot.com/ if you are interested.

So anyway, adjusting to the RV life has been more difficult than I expected in some ways and easier in others. We figured we would just take care of everything online but the out of the way places we enjoy tend to not have much Internet access. Many commercial RV parks do but none of the federal, state or county one's and we enjoy the more out of the way, beautiful areas. I actually went into a coffee shop on the Oregon coast one time asking if they had WiFi and got the response, "WiFi, what's that?" Libraries have been good sources for WiFi but the nearest library is frequently a half hour away so I'm thinking of going ahead and coughing up the $60 per month and getting an aircard from Cingular. We also don't get cellular in many places but at least it is an improvement. Apparently, I'm pretty dependent on the Internet. Also since we don't plan that much into the future, we only know where to tell them to send my mail once a month. This created a time lag with some of the bills (switching to online billing doesn't take effect immediately) and filling out the unemployment forms. Last, driving this behemoth is only now getting comfortable.

So those are the major negatives we have experienced so far in case anyone is considering something similar. The only thing different I would recommend to anyone who is thinking of doing something similar is to transfer all bills to online, and change the address and phone numbers on your billing at least a month prior to leaving to give it a chance to all get finalized before you leave. Encouraging my wife to attend a driving school with me was a very good idea. She is willing to drive major highway and freeways so she ends up driving about every third time. That really helps me a lot as I'm not one who enjoys driving a little sports car much less an RV.

The positives have very much outweighed the negatives. Traveling around seeing the western US has been great! We have been spending a lot of time with friends and family whom we didn't get to see much or at least not as much I we would wish. We also enjoy meeting new people who are also on vacation (mostly old farts but we both like them better than the young brats anyway). We've been seeing lots of remote and beautiful areas. Kayaking, biking, hiking, white water rafting and sightseeing to our hearts content. But we've also done some civilized stuff like spending a long weekend in Ashland OR seeing plays and dining in fine restaurants. Heck, after one 5 week long particularly remote stretch, I was even quite happy to sit down in front of the boob tube and watch some mind numbing game shows (saw two and was ready for another 5+ weeks without). Glad I didn't get the automatic satellite TV. Haven't missed it a bit. It improves life not having TV access all the time.

I expected living in a more confined space was going to be a problem, particularly for my packrat wife, but it hasn't been. She really doesn't miss all that stuff. She has even commented that now she can't believe she felt she needed to keep the five 8'*8'*12' storage containers worth of stuff we stored. All that stuff stored and we don't miss any of it. Not a single item. In fact we brought a few things we would like to get rid of. I'm thinking when we do settle down I might opt for renting and apartment or townhouse near work instead of buying in a suburb. It's kind of nice to not be tied down. I would enjoy walking or riding a bike to work, restaurants and various forms of entertainment.

With our no time restrictions life style, we haven't gotten anywhere near as far around the western US as I expected. We will have been on vacation a full three months before we see anywhere that isn't in Oregon of Washington State. If my wife lets me, we may have to extend this beyond the 6 month pass she originally gave.

On the other hand, every once in a while I apply for a position that sounds particularly interesting. If the right thing comes up, maybe we'll end up being out shorter than planned. Vacation is good but so is interesting work (particularly if it comes with a promotion and big pay package :) . Who knows, it's all good. (In case the unemployment department is reading, see, yes I really am applying for and considering work). Please keep sending that check. It almost pays for my gas.

Got to go, bye
Darren


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