We reached a turning point. The realization that this life we are leading is not the one we want for ourselves or our baby. I suppose it’s been happening slowly, at least for me. Matt would have probably done this years ago without me, but we are journeying together and I had to catch up a bit. He had plenty to catch up on in his own right!
Something big definitely had to happen. We had to make something big happen.
So, we are giving it all up.
We are buying an RV, selling all of our crap (and really, it is mostly crap), touring the country with the intention of possibly remaining on the West coast, and completely reinventing our lives.
I’m Michele G. Rogers, a personal trainer by trade, but a full-time mom to Marcella at this juncture. I never imagined I could have so much fun with a baby. She is awesome.
My husband Matthew, is an ex-Marine, Iraq War vet, and has been an air traffic controller for 11 years, including his time in the USMC. He’s had enough monotony in his career and has wanted to do something more creative, more fulfilling, for years now.
We will be springing our plans on our loved ones a bit later than the date on this blog. In fact, I won’t publish it until everyone in our circle has been informed. You can read our whole back story here, or the short version here.
Everything we thought we have acquired, achieved, accumulated, as society at large would see it, will be sold, donated, or given away. As it turns out, these things were only shackles we wore, and they got heavier with each passing year, robbing us of freedoms we thought we were securing, until we marched right into the mainstream and…. sunk to the bottom.
OK, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic here.
But it’s really not far off.
We all know life is short, we hear it all the time. And most of us have lost at least one person too young to leave us and felt just how short life really is. (We’ve lost far too many, which has probably been a real impetus for a massive change). But, we still think we have all the time in the world to check off the bucket list, or else feel like we’ve “made it” if we’ve bought a house and successfully saved for retirement, all the while still trying to fill the void within our souls with more stuff.
I call bullshit. Vacuuming dog hair and planning my day around a toddler sleep schedule is just not living to me.
Life is SHORT. Short, short, short, people! And you only get one chance (in this body at least), to do everything you have the potential to do.
The millennial generation credo is to fill life with more experience and less stuff. (For the record, I am a generation Xer, but my husband is on the cusp of two and I think we can all guess with which one he’d rather identify.)
We may have been spinning our wheels a bit for awhile, trying to figure out what was missing, with a knowing that we were capable of much more.
It’s a terrifying notion, I know. To realize one’s full potential, that is. Really though–what is the alternative? To live either with suffering which you believe you are powerless to change OR perhaps to live very comfortably within the safe box you have drawn for yourself, without challenge, growth or conviction.
Sound harsh? I’m sorry. I intend no offense. I’m really addressing myself here and grasping my own personal truths. Not everyone’s full potential looks the same, certainly.
For you, it may not mean travelling the country for an extended period, it may be committing to one great vacation a year. It may mean public service and volunteer work for someone else, or leaving a toxic relationship for another. Further still, all these things might just be springboards to the path of truly living life to its fullest. More than likely, if you haven’t tapped into the wellspring of your soul, haven’t really dug deep to see what you’re really made of, well, you know it and don’t need me to tell you. But you might need a nudge. A little inspiration to demonstrate that embracing your true nature and chasing your dreams while scary, is very possible for each of us with a little self confidence and a lot of courage. You read this far, so something has piqued your interest, even if it’s just a seed sown.
I’ve watched Matt’s spirit harden slowly while plodding away at his trade. He’s too young for that. He has tried to make it right, always searching for something to make his heart sing, and moving to a new setting. And searching and moving. And moving again.
We’ve moved six times in eight years. Our friends and family think we’re either crazy or impossible to please. We are a running joke. Like the Runaway Bride of real estate.
What we finally realized is that we’ve been resisting this apparent need to relocate, despite the fact that we have indeed relocated several times, or recognizing the real motivation behind it all. (I huffed and puffed every time saying, “THIS is the last time! We stay HERE!”
Nope. That hasn’t worked out. Not once.
Call it wanderlust if you want, or maybe we were programmed this way. We both moved a great deal before meeting each other.
All the push/pull and exhausting moves has been wearing us down. The last one was pretty ridiculous: Our daughter was three months old and we moved an entire mile away.
For parking. And a private courtyard in the city. It was sort of worth it.
Still, it wasn’t right and we were unsettled. What is our deal??
The answer hit us in the face like the wind on the back of a Harley:
Let’s stop moving, but stay in motion.
Yes! Why the hell not? Because most people think that’s crazy? For us, that’s an excellent reason to follow through. Eff the naysayers!
The whole thing really just started out as an idea to travel a lot with a baby, since neither one of us loved the idea of taking our daughter on a plane, although for different reasons. Then as we started exploring our options, the idea of heading West and seeing how we jived with it as a family evolved into the more purposeful departure from life as we know it.
The feeling of missing something that we couldnt put a finger on kept nagging at us. And persisted even after having this beautiful little girl, an experience I have treasured and fully immersed myself in. Alas, my soul felt there was still more to do.
Don’t get me wrong. We have so much to be grateful for. There are people on this Earth that will never know the blessings that have been bestowed upon us even exist. We have always had everything we needed and the ability to enjoy our lives.
I have loved being a personal trainer and helping so many people over the years, especially my chronic pain clients. I hope to continue to do so in some capacity. But there are many things I love to do and am skilled at (“at which I am skilled”–says the grammar nazi within). I’m ready to try my hand at a few other gigs. My mom always thought I should be a writer, so I’m starting with that!
Those who know me well also know I have a penchant for DIY projects and skills. I’ve clearly been preparing for liberation from material possessions and frivolous services (who really needs a professional hair stylist anyway?) For many years now I have slowly become more “no frills” and minimalist. I can’t wait to learn even more and teach my incredibly perceptive baby daughter all the creative ways to live a simple life.
As for Matthew, he is quitting his well-paying job, utilizing his GI Bill benefits and getting a master’s degree (hopefully) in Sustainable Business Practices. We’ll see what doors open up along the way! We always wanted to start a business, maybe a different location and a fresh perspective will make that possible.
He’s found the courage to do it, to veer off of the familiar, yet unfulfilling, road to embrace the unknown and I couldn’t be more supportive and proud of him for doing so.
I have every confidence the Universe will always provide us with what we need. I also believe that some risk has to be taken to truly appreciate life and its precious bounty. Living the comfortable, conventional life of most of our friends and neighbors just ain’t cuttin it for us.
We will be fine. Way BETTER than fine. We are going to be fantabulous. Provided we don’t kill each other on the way. We can both be, how should I say this? Fiery?
This plan is not without its risks (maintaining health insurance, and travelling with a toddler and a senior dog are obvious ones that come to mind) and it’s scary and exhilarating, but that’s what living really is, in my humble opinion.
I realize not everyone is built to do this and we all have a different path before us. It’s also not super unique: there are thousands of people living in RVs full-time (Many of whom simply have no other choice), and we’re only planning on six months or so and then…well, we’ll see! But my hope is that someone out there who feels the same way that may feel inspired and go for it, too. If not in the more grandiose manner of choosing a nomadic life, then in some way creating a space to invite inspiration in and live a more joyous life with less.
In this blog and vlog, at times, we will recount our best and probably worst moments as we see all the corners of the home land. Our hope is to not only embrace, but exemplify minimalist living. We expect we will have made space in our lives after purging our belongings to invite joy in stick around awhile. And if that isn’t motivation enough to follow along with us, Marcella’s joyful and incessant toddler dancing will surely captivate you.
With no real timeline or destination, the land can open up to us and direct us to our full potential while we soak in all its glory. Making memories. Molding a young woman to fully embrace life. Forging a brand new path we could never envision. Maybe along the way we’ll convince you, too, that less really is more.
I hope you stick around for this journey. I guarantee it will be an entertaining, if not inspirational, ride!