Just before we left for our first snowbird season in the American southwest I was interviewed on a radio show called “Breaking Free” which is all about people who have broken free from the traditional world, from society’s expectations, and have sought out a new life on their own terms.
When I listened to some previous recordings of the show I was struck by how everyone’s story was different yet the goal was the same: to create change in order to live a better life.
My goal involved a quest to become a happier person and finding that happiness by changing my career and lifestyle. A quick recap for my new readers: I closed my software consulting business, sold my house where I lived for 15 years, sold almost all of my stuff, bought an RV and set out to live the life I always dreamed of – travel photographer.
No one paid me to be a travel photographer. I just bought an RV and spent some of my savings so that I could go and experience the life I wanted by driving all around North America for a year photographing beautiful places. Luckily for me my husband, Ray, also wanted to travel North America, but we both thought it was something we would do when we retired. You can read the whole story about how I changed my life here if you’re interested.
If I learned one thing through our journey it is this: don’t live for someday.
I can’t tell you how very much it means to me to think that my story can inspire others. Not only was I contacted by the radio show, but I receive emails every week from readers who use the word inspiring. One reader even wrote to tell me that my journey inspired him and his disabled wife to change their lifestyle so they could lead more fulfilling lives. She is housebound, but now their house goes with them. He said that now they had a reason to live. Seriously, he actually said “reason to live.”
I almost cried when I read those words.
It’s astonishing to me that it wasn’t all that long ago that I was searching for my own reason to live. I truly had no idea that it was in me to inspire someone else’s reason to live.
After the first few months of our initial year-long journey, Ray and I knew that we loved being nomads and didn’t want to go back to our old lives. We decided to become snowbirds. We were only home in BC for four months before our first snowbird season would begin. (Actually, because we are from Vancouver Island, we like to call ourselves rain birds!)
The first year we traveled our focus was on experiencing the life, making beautiful images, and sharing them with the world. For our first snowbird season, the goal had to change because now we needed to make our lifestyle sustainable. We needed to start some “location independent” businesses if we wanted to continue being nomads.
Things were a bit different this time as we both spent many hours writing and less time traveling. We stayed in places for longer periods of time and didn’t go nearly as far. Here’s how our travel map looks for our first snowbird season.
We focused on the part of North America that we missed on our first trip, southern California, Arizona and Nevada. Please click the images to view larger versions.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Saguaro National Park, Arizona
The Valley of Fire, Nevada
And, oh yeah, we went to Mexico and got all our teeth fixed!! I know, it sounds like a risky thing to do but we met so many people in the RV parks along the way who had done just that and told us that their dental work was excellent, it was clean, and cheap. I had 8 crowns for $1280! The dentist was the best dentist I have ever been to. All the work was done in about 6 days. It could have been quicker, but Ray had some complications with his dental work and had to have oral surgery, which went smoothly and quickly.
All in all we couldn’t be happier with our new lives. My eBooks have been very successful and now I’m just about to start my first eCourse. Ray started a new website called “Love Your RV” all about RVing (it’s at http://loveyourrv.com if you’re interested in checking it out) and he’ll have some eBooks soon too. We are just getting to the point where our businesses are paying the bills.
But the most important part is that we discovered the freedom of the snowbird. We spend our time doing things that we love and anytime we are ready we have the freedom to fly.