How do full-timers take a vacation? We were about to find out. A vacation by definition is a change from your normal activities. And after what had become our normal activities as full-timers over the previous six weeks we definitely needed a break. So while going to Baja added to the chaos, it was also necessary for us to step away for a short time and regroup.
We normally travel to Baja by motorcycle. This trip would be quite different—only a handful of days, with dear friends we would pick up in San Diego, and in our new-to-us truck. It felt bizarre not to be towing our house behind us and we reveled in the ease of it and let the stress in our lives of late fall away with each mile.
Just before entering California, we took an extra long break in a highway rest area to give ourselves some mental space to decompress. We had plenty of time, a feeling we hadn’t experienced in months, so we embraced it. I grabbed a geocache smiley and we mostly just allowed the mental dust to settle. That unusually lengthy road trip break led to one of the strangest small-world encounters I’ve experienced—bumping into the original owners of our truck, who we’d never met before.
Bewildered by the insanely slim odds of that occurrence, we laughed our way to San Diego where we would spend our first evening away from “home” catching up with good friends who live in the area. Boy did we blow off some steam! That set the tone for connecting with our travel companions the next evening. It was Leslie’s birthday and we had some celebrating to do before heading over the border at Tecate and introducing them to Baja.
Our trip would be short—only a four day toe-dip into the wine region of Baja. Once across the border at Tecate, the first stop had to be tacos, of course. We were high on relief and they felt like the most delicious tacos we’d had in our lives. And with that, we got serious about not being serious for a few days.
Leslie scored us a great AirBnB nestled amongst the vineyards in the Valle de Guadalupe. It felt good to step into a different world from what we’d been living in. The laid back pace of Baja is the reset we needed. We took our friends to our favorite restaurant, made a day trip to Ensenada, and explored new places together. The where and what details aren’t really all that important—it was the time together. We stayed up late, ate too much, drank too much, watched silly movies, danced like idiots—the list goes on. We hadn’t seen them in person since our Cuba adventure a year earlier and we had a tremendous amount of friend therapy to accomplish in a very short time. And damn if we didn’t make every moment count.
Smoke on the horizon
In the midst of our silliness, we couldn’t ignore the unsettling story brewing on the other side of the world. Leslie checked the news feed frequently, trying to make sense of the growing health crisis. We kept thinking, “this isn’t good but hopefully it’s too soon to worry.” It wasn’t, as we all know now.
After our short frolick in Baja, we sent Jim and Leslie back to Atlanta and made our way back to Phoenix to see if we could get our full-time RV-ers act together. Hopefully our rolling home was still intact after being left unattended for a week. It was.
Our plan was to head back to northern Nevada, handle some personal tasks, then set back out as footloose-and-fancy-free full-timers, open to where the road would take us with some of our challenges now in the rearview mirror. Basically, finally dive into our adventure after some false starts. Novel idea, right?
But first we had to sell the Power Wagon. With the title in hand after my blitz back to Carson City to retrieve it from our safety deposit box, J listed the truck. He was brutally honest about its shortcomings and priced it to sell quickly as a project truck. We simply didn’t have the time or bandwidth to try to squeeze every penny out of it, deal with multiple meetings with potential buyers, and play the irritating negotiation game.
We ended up selling it to the first guy who came to look at it after fielding a mind-boggling number of inquiries in just minutes after the listing was live. J has quite a knack for writing listings like that and his prowess did the trick. We were able to put the Power Wagon saga behind us.
A vision for the future
Feeling like we were starting over on our full-time adventure, we revisited our path forward. It was prudent given how horribly our first month and a half went. So what were we hoping to accomplish with nomadic life?
With our accelerated timeline exiting the house, we figured we’d just try nomad life on and see if we liked it—a proof of concept. Combined with the distinct lack of progress on building out the property, we wanted to make sure we didn’t have on blinders about where we wanted to be long-term.
So, we set out to enjoy the freedom of full-time travel for a bit and take a break from the building frustration. Maybe we’d discover something that would change our course. Maybe full-time life would finally work for us and we’d keep at it. Or maybe we’d be able to return to the building project with renewed spirit. We were open to the possibilities.
Cue the Covid-19 pandemic.