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Riding Moab With Locals

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The local meet-up language described the mountain bike ride as “advanced”.

Departing the parking lot, I asked for details about the trail, upon which I was told that a few “flowy” single black diamond downhills would be mixed in.

It’ll be fun I was told.

I’m not going to lie – I strongly considered turning around then, trusting my instincts that when locals specifically call out a ride as being advanced, they mean it.

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Four hours and only 20 miles later, this was without a doubt the most sustained technical ride I’ve ever completed. A day of double diamond trails has a way of tempering speed.

I held my own on the flats and uphills, but had my ass thoroughly handed to me on all the downhills.

More humbling … I had a hard time walking certain sections these guys were bombing down with grace and style British royals would appreciate.

I only crashed once.

Nevertheless, I had a great day on the trails.  And, while the accompanying 3,000 feet of climbing may have me limping for days, there certainly were no shortage amazing views.

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The Next Chapter

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Perhaps wisely, perhaps recklessly, Kelly and I both quit our jobs Friday.

For years we’ve aggressively saved our pennies in hopes of taking an extended break, but could not agree on the right timing.

Last fall – as we continually found ourselves too often working late into evenings and too often flying on business trips to and from, it was clear something had to give.  We decided then – that very evening the timing was right and shortly thereafter we both communicated to our employers our intent to resign, effective March 30.

The next day, Kelly affixed this picture to our refrigerator and since, it has served as a constant reminder that together, Kelly and I embark on this next chapter in our lives together.

With a myriad of emotions, and nearly six months after deciding to walk away from Corporate America, we will awake tomorrow not sure what the next few years will bring us, but I know that we will be slowing down the pace of our lives and traveling to places both familiar and new, domestic and abroad.

As in this picture, we will not know for certain where we will land. Hand in hand, Kelly and I take this scary, but also exhilarating leap together.

Let the journey begin.

2nd Nomadiversary

 

IMG_0006 (1).jpgEarlier this week Kelly and I hit a milestone of sorts – 2 years living as full-time nomads with no permanent bricks & sticks home.  Amazingly, we have been wandering for more than 730 days and along the way, have met so many wonderful people.

Thank you to everyone who has made this journey of ours so special.

The Eternity Of Five Minutes

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Corpse Pose.  It goes something like this …

“Invite peace and silence into your mind, body, and soul.  Stay in Savasana for five minutes.  To exit the pose, first begin to deepen your breath.  Bring gentle movement and awareness back to your body, wiggling your fingers and toes”.

Yesterday, upon concluding my best efforts to balance, bend, and twist through the practice, my smartphone yoga app again offered me this thoughtful guidance.  And just like always, I struggled with Corpse Pose.

I failed to lie on ground and let my mind completely relax.  I didn’t close my eyes.  I didn’t invite peace or silence into my mind.

Instead, I continued to look high into the sky.

When I should have been taking measures to gradually enter a truly relaxed state, I reached for my iPhone and took the picture above.

The Flyover States

Work brought me to Washington DC this week and as I fly home today, I do so passing high above the flyover states.  Throughout, I manage to stay productive – emailing and instant chatting with my coworkers courtesy of technical wizardry that is in-flight WiFi.

By most accounts just another workday, albeit this one high above the clouds.

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Year One

Amazingly, today marks the one-year anniversary of our full-time nomadic lifestyle.  In what seems like the blink of an eye, 365 days have passed.  What a year it’s been.

Initially, Kelly and I planned to quit our jobs and travel like bums for a year, the idea being that a break from hustle and bustle of work would do us well.  Then, at the conclusion of our travels, we would find a new place to live in the Pacific Northwest and go back to work.  In effect, this experience would be the post collegiate ‘gap year’ neither of us had.  Better late than never we told ourselves.

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Awaking to snow in Flagstaff, AZ

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Horseshoe Canyon (Paige, AZ)

Before going public with our intentions, we previewed our thinking with Brian and Leigh, who immediately went to work talking us out of that planning; their logic anchored in a theme of likely regret.

What Kelly and I could not fully appreciate at the time, but which Brian and Leigh knew for certain, was that one year on the road seems like a long time, but it is not.  They warned that we would hate ending our travels and implored to us the importance of finding an ability to work from the road.  That, they emphasized, should be our (long view) goal.

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Lilly in playing in a river on a very hot day (Salt Lake City, UT)

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Our campsite at Great Salt Lake marina (Salt Lake City, UT)

Kelly’s employer was immediately supportive of her working remotely, but mine was not.  This dynamic was initially quite stressful as we struggled to solidify how I could – and would – earn income from the road.  But then one day, seemingly out of the blue, we were thrown a curveball – the company I worked for was sold.

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Driving the Needles Highway (Custer State Park, SD)

Upon reflection, this year has been amazing, but not without challenges.  Regardless of where and how we live, realities of life continue.  Piles of dirty clothes assemble and groceries must be purchased – finding suitable locations for these and other daily routine matters is not always as simple as one would imagine.  Constantly planning places to stay and predicting where to have mail delivered can also be a grind, particularly for Kelly as she has assumed the lead on these efforts.

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Stuck in an Minnesota RV park

And of course there is work.  Like everyone else in corporate America, Kelly and I work way too many hours.  Doing so while jostling for coveted, limited kitchen table real-estate for dueling laptop in the confines of our tiny home does occasionally lead to stress.  Also, I don’t always enjoy taking early morning or late-night conference or video calls from the truck, so as not to compete with Kelly doing the same from within the trailer.  (I am nothing if not a gentleman)

So while we often travel to amazing places, we regularly do not see or explore these places to the extent I would prefer.  More, the downside of our remote jobs (mine in particular) is the need to embark on regular business travel, often originating from inconvenient regional airports, turning what would otherwise be quick flights into multi-stop, day-long journeys.

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Dry Camping (Durango, CO)

Finally, nothing is more frustrating than traveling to a location – and despite best efforts to confirm beforehand, arriving to discover the areas has insufficient mobile broadband to support our work needs.

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8,193 miles traveled – starting from Northern California to Phoenix/Tucson, north in to Utah and into Wyoming, eventually passing through South Dakota, and into Minnesota. From Minnesota, back in to South Dakota, Wyoming, & Colorado. Christmas and New Years in the southern California desert, before pushing north to Oregon

The bottom line is this: life on the road has been pretty damn good to us.  We are fortunate to be experiencing life this way, a truth which is not lost on either of us.

Since departing Half Moon Bay one year ago, we’ve towed our home 8,193 miles and in the process, have visited a variety of places – some good, some not so much. We’ve been able to visit a lot of family and have met a ton of people, many of whom we’ve developed deep friendship.

We’ve also learned that good planning can often be a waste of time – loose travel frameworks are a better idea.  To that end, we do have a rough travel route for the remainder of 2016 and beyond, but likely there will be changes.

Whatever happens, we are simply looking forward to another year of life on the road and the diversity of experiences that accompany it.

Thanks to everyone who helped us plan for and enable this lifestyle to become a reality.

Pleasantly Surprised

eef10-12725024_1666000243624837_1756870927_n Self promoted as “The Last Great Resort”, Sportsmans RV park is quaint and super chill.

Situated steps from the harbor, this has been a great place to watch commercial fishermen, Coast Guard boats, and whale watching tour boats (hoping to catch glimpse of whale migrations) come and go throughout the day.

Yes, it’s still an RV park, but unlike so many other private parks, this place is about as laid back as one will find and the staff here could not be nicer; a refreshing change of pace for sure.  And while we are still incredibly bummed that state parks in the area remain closed due to flooding, this park has been a pleasant surprise.

Oh, and there is no shortage of fresh seafood … literally off the boat.