Our Strangeland Story: The Beginning
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
"I don't much care where –"
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go.”
- Alice in Wonderland
This past April I was sitting in my office, looking out the lovely, large window in front of me, and became incredibly sad. My thought was, “I am going to die here.”
This is, of course, very dramatic and entirely untrue. However, what I meant was that I couldn’t see a way out. I couldn’t see how there was another option besides walking into work every single day at 9am, taking my lunch break, and walking out around 6pm. It felt like an endless cycle and that, 20 years later, I would, metaphorically, still be walking in the same door and looking out the same window.
I had worked very hard to get into that office. I moved around the country, always took the next step up, chose to get a second Master’s degree in that specific field, etc, etc. I was making 50% more than at my previous job, and I had never been more miserable. Four months after I first took the job I was crying in my office. It became pretty regular a few months later. By the next spring, almost a year later, I was throwing up before work and having heart palpitations at my desk several times a week. I had to take a serious step back.
My husband and I had always wanted to travel. If we played the “what could you do if you could do anything” game, get paid to travel was always at the top of the list. Recently he had encouraged me to listen to a Bon Appetit podcast about two writers who backpacked through Asia for several months, eating and writing, and who were now doing the same thing in the US, but with their dogs and AirBnBs. I thought about that podcast. I couldn’t do Asia – my sense of adventure has limits – but what if we could travel the United States? Maybe in an RV? Do people who aren’t 75 do those sorts of things?
I left work that day feeling very nervous but, for the first time in a very long time, hopeful.
I popped the question to Andrew that very night. “What do you think about buying an RV and traveling around the country?” He is more adventurous that I am, but had a lot of questions. I only had a few answers at this point.
Luckily, the RV community is very vocal and willing to share. This was a delightful discovery the next day. Every question I had, from working remotely to establishing residency to cost estimates to internet on the road (which, if I recall correctly, might have been Andrew’s first question), had at least one answer, and many times much more. I was a RV lifestyle sponge, reading everything I could find. Creating budgets and spreadsheets. Joining FB groups, following full timers on IG. It started to feel like it was possible.
It made the most sense for us to leave Philly when our lease was up on August 1. We could not afford to break the lease and it gave us time to start sharply saving for the move and the RV. On August 2, we loaded up our rental truck and headed south, excited, nervous but also, my very favorite emotion – hopeful.