A Trail of Tears

Well, it’s official. We are ON THE ROAD! But, not without a lot of tears being shed! The last couple of weeks have been hard. Incredibly hard. Far harder than we had ever imagined. Even though we have left our lives before for long term travel, we had no concept how incredibly difficult it is to truly divest yourself of everything!  Two weeks of nonstop donations and Craiglist nonesense, coupled with the goodbyes to beloved friends and family had us driving away in a trail of tears.


I know it seems like it should be easy to just get rid of stuff. Well, let me tell you, it isn’t. I am not materialistic or particularly sentimental about “stuff”.  And yet this was hard. So very hard. Not for the emotional letting go, but the literal and physical act of making all that shit just go away already!

After I ended employment, I had 9 days home with Jim still at work. I figured I’d get everything taken  care of. Not so. Yes, I did, in fact, get a huge amount accomplished, not least of which simply finding the RIGHT charities to donate so many items to! I worked my ass off on craigslist, I took endless boxes to Community Warehouse and Goodwill and ReStore. I cleaned, I went to the dump, I got rid of so much stuff! And yet every time I turned around it seemed there was more there, as though the stuff remaining had reproduced overnight.


On top of the removal of goods, there were the times with friends, the FINAL time with friends for at least a few months. Dinners out with Ken and Wendy. A final Game of Thrones marathon with Dave and Anne. A final birthday dinner with Ron and Dario. Beers with Dana. All wonderful and heartbreaking in their own ways. We will miss these people, whom we spend so much of our free time with, and a lot of tears were the result. But also plans to meet up soon. Whether it be Baja in March with Ken and Wendy, Arizona in April with Dave and Anne, or a reunion tour of Puerto Vallarta next summer with Ron and Dario. These people will never be gone from our lives.

We feel good about where most of our unsold items went. Many, our most cherished things, are with the friends, for we know they will be loved and used and enjoyed by the people we care the most about. For the others, although I’ll specify more in a future post, we feel good knowing our things are going to help those in need.


The final two days at the rental were fraught with stress and tears and a couple of meltdowns by all parties. The dogs, very cognizant of our emotions and unsure why there was nothing left in the house, were more velcro than normal and feeling the stress. By Monday afternoon I was completely overdone, unsure how after so much work, there could still be two more loads to go to their respective stops. Jim, having a tougher emotional time leaving family, was on edge.

It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon when we finally pulled away, devoid of everything except what fit in the truck and camper, and with far too much of that. Much more downsizing is soon to come but at one point we just had to say “enough” throw the shit in for now and we’ll sort it out down the road.

Christmas week was a mixed bag. With Jim’s dad sick (a cold I sadly caught myself), rainy weather and high emotions, we soldiered on, enjoying making dinners,  seeing a movie, spending time with family, and watching our niece and nephew open presents. We were lucky enough to spend some extra time with my brother and his wife before heading away from them for the final time, at least in the near future.


Now, three days into our road trip, we have already found our road legs. The dogs have relaxed, relishing a life that involves near constant contact with us, along with the most super plush back seat set-up, complete with orthopedic pad, fluffy blanket and body pillow! We have already reached the point of that curious phenomenon portrayed in “A Map for Saturday“, where each day feels like a Saturday on the road because you didn’t go to work today, and you don’t have to tomorrow either.


This will end, of course, as we get our initial vacation  over with and start searching for work to sustain this life we love. But for now, we are sleeping better. Eating less. Walking more. Basically, finding US amongst all the noise of modern life. In three short days, our life has changed more than it has in the past several years. We, once again, are rediscovering that which lights our fire. World ~ here we come!

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14 thoughts on “A Trail of Tears

  1. Well written, Rhonda and I can feel your emotions. I am so glad you are on the road ready to hit your stride. I was wondering how the dogs were taking the upheaval, as I am sure they knew something was going on. I am happy that they, too, are more at ease now.

    • Thanks Barb… yes, it was a bit tumultuous for all of us but everyone is feeling good now. Wishing you and Steve the very happiest of new years!

  2. Woohooo!!! Oh, I feel the stress (and subsequent release from it) from here. Amazing how difficult and burdensome it is to get rid of stuff. I still think I have too much!!! Wishing you an awesome journey. May you never lose sight of your dreams and NEVER, ever, give up. HAPPY new year guys!! xxx

    • I know you totally understand! We are now feeling SUCH relief that we have so little, and yet so very much! Thank you, as always, for all of your support. Never, ever give up. Now THAT is a great new years resolution!

  3. Congrats on hitting the road! When you look back on the downsizing it feels liberating (if it doesn’t already).

    Those leaving weeks, and the first few on the road, were hard for us as well. Good luck getting used to your road legs!!

    • Thanks Brian. TOTALLY liberating! So glad that part is over and we are heading south, perhaps to see you soon 🙂

  4. Congrats on hitting the road! When you look back on the downsizing it feels liberating (if it doesn’t already).

    Those leaving weeks, and the first few on the road, were hard for us as well. Good luck getting used to your road legs!!

    • Thanks Lara and congrats on your mortgage license! Wishing you a fantastic and life changing 2016 🙂

  5. Best last paragraph EVER! And yes, that last day seems to always be the hardest – we ended up leaving a ginormous “free” box outside our apartment as we drove away with all our crap shoved randomly in the back. Took me days to find certain things!

    Congrats on hitting the road, colds and El Nino and Plan C’s and all!

    • THANK YOU!!!!! A free box is a great idea:) Now, 8 days on the road, we fear we have misplaced, FOREVER, the dog chews and a hook we were going to hang to make a clothesline in the camper…c’est la vie… we’ll buy more dog chews and another hook and already are earmarking other things to be gone soon. So incredibly freeing….

  6. What an awesome way to start a new year! Ushuaia is not that far away. Just a few thousand miles of road and the occasional boat trip. I am jealous. So many beautiful places between here and there.

    Drop in for a coffee. Camp overnight here if you like. We are near Santa Cruz.

    Peter and Jane

    • So sorry we got this after we’d left your area! We would have loved to meet you and shared travel tails over a cup of brew. We are now in San Diego, hitting the border tomorrow and ready for grand adventures. Happy new year!

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