To help myself narrow down the options, I thought it would be a good idea to list the things I love, and perhaps that will help me to see what is next for me:
I love naturally beautiful places – I always have. To sit on the rim of the Grand Canyon at sunset, with a bottle of wine, was always my idea of nirvana. I like to camp and backpack, although I haven’t done enough of it in the last 30 years. I love hiking in the high country above Yosemite Valley in California. I love Glacier National Park in Montana. I am really drawn to beautiful smells of a forest, and the sound of the waves on a beach. I love being outdoors. To quote an old Native American saying – when I feel one with nature, my heart soars like an eagle. This is where I find my peace. This is what makes me feel whole.
I love my Mazda Miata. When I drive it with the top down, I feel like I’m on vacation.
I love researching my family history. My father loved it, and my youngest brother loved it as well. I feel like it’s something in my blood that I’m driven to do. I am the family archivist so I have a lot of the family’s “stuff”. I have always loved history, and this puts a personal spin on history. I love to solve the puzzles involved in working out the family relationships.
A good friend posed this very thought provoking question to me: What is it that you have missed the most during your work life? What have you felt deprived of because you were working?
My immediate answer is: I want to be free. Free to be outside on beautiful days (I am currently stuck in a windowless office all day). Free to experience different places I’ve always wanted to see, in the US and elsewhere, whenever I want and for as long as I want. Free to do my genealogy research to my heart’s content. Free of mortgages, home maintenance, and family responsibilities. Free of schedules, free of routines, free of the commute, free of every day being the same, free of feeling like a drone.
I want to go to all the places where my ancestors lived, and research their lives. I want to visit the cemeteries and the courthouses and find out as much as I can about them. I want to attend as many institutes and conferences as my heart desires, all over the country. I want to build my genealogy business.
So a theme starts to emerge. Freedom, travel, genealogy, nature. How can I create a life where I am surrounded by the things I love, and doing the things I love to do?
I considered buying a house in a desirable location so others would want to rent it by the week or month, enabling me to travel. I considered house-swapping and house-sitting. I considered living in short and/or long term furnished rentals in the places I wanted to go. And I also considered buying an RV, an inexpensive one, to live in for a while until I figured out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to live.
And the RV option is what I ultimately decided to do. Traveling around in an RV satisfies the desire to be free, to travel, to enjoy the outdoors, and to do my genealogy research wherever it takes me. I don’t know if I will do this for six months, or six years, but I’m just going to go until I don’t want to do it anymore.