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How Long Will We Travel With Pets?

Last week we came out of our winter hibernation and got the Winnebago rolling for the 2012 travel season. There were definitely some mixed feelings as we packed up – being stationary has it’s advantages, after all. When you’re not dedicating 4 to 6 hours of your day to driving, you have time to take walks that last all afternoon. You can make headway on the big projects on your to-do list. And going to the dog park every day isn’t an imposition.

Buster at Auditorium Shores

So, why not settle down … buy a condo in Austin, if we love it so much … and take vacations like other people, rather than traveling full time?

The simple answer is, traveling has become addictive. No matter how much we enjoy a place, there’s a constant pull to see what’s around the next corner. Freedom had become a drug and opening the map to contemplate the options is my high. Even with the insecurity that springs from turning everything up-side-down – to give up this lifestyle has become incomprehensible.

People ask us all the time, but when we started out, even we didn’t know how long we’d travel. Our original idea was that one year would give us the experience to make an informed decision about what we wanted next. Though we were still wrestling with the shifts in our reality, it only took three months to realize that our decision would be to keep traveling.

With more than a year under our belts now, we’re finally getting the hang of things. This season will be easier / more fun / less stressful than last season, because we’ve gained some confidence and learned some of the tricks that make life (and work) on the road go more smoothly. We’re getting comfortable in our skin and it’s become clear that some of the engrained ideals we held … like “home = security” and “more = better” … aren’t necessarily true for us. Facing those unconscious mindsets has changed us in ways that can never be un-done.

And so, going back to a more “conventional” lifestyle sounds painful … the way shoving your feet into a tight pair of stilettos and running a marathon would be painful. We’ve laid in the grass on the other side of the fence, and it actually is greener. A house has become a box I can’t imagine squeezing myself back into.

This summer we’re touring New England – and hopefully Nova Scotia – before heading back to Wisconsin for my sister’s wedding at the beginning of September. The winter may well be spent in Austin again, and the idea for 2013 is to go west – back to Montana, to see Glacier National Park, Banff, and spend some time exploring Idaho. Beyond that is too far to imagine … but in my mind, we’re still on the road.

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