January 27 – The Fork in the Road

by Pat Bean

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”–Neale Donald Walsch

It was a sunny day in 2004, just three weeks before I would retire from a 37-year career as a journalist, when I drove a brand new RV off an Ogden, Utah, sales lot. It felt like the butterflies in my stomach had developed thorns on their fragile wings.

Everything that had been a part of my past life was about to change. I had just blocked off all chances of remaining rooted in my small, but cozy home that sat in the shadows of the Wasatch Mountains I loved. There simply was not enough money in my future to both fulfill my lifelong dream of living and traveling on the road while maintaining fixed roots within a circle of friends that had taken over 20 years to acquire.

This day I had not only chosen the unknown road that lay ahead, but had wrapped my choice in cement. I had even traded in my Honda Odyssey as part payment for the undersized, 22-foot RV that was now my only form of transportation, and soon would be my only home.

By the time all the paper work giving me title to the 2004 Volkswagen Vista/Winnebago had been scrutinized, signed and finalized, it was early evening. I was too unsettled to take my purchase for a check-out spin. So, feeling tall and strange sitting behind the wheel with my new living, dining, sleeping, cooking and bathroom facilities behind me, I drove home. Emotional turmoil, good or bad, always sapped my energy.

On carefully pulling into my driveway, testing the wideness needed to turn my new RV, I heard frenzied barking from inside the house. It was how my dog, Maggie, reacted to the sound of strange vehicles invading her territory. She never barked when I returned home, nor did she at any of my frequent visitors. But she did not recognize this new vehicle.

When I opened the door, Maggie gave me a quizzical look of surprise. Then, realizing in a split second that something new was parked in the driveway, she dashed between my legs and ran out to explore.

I opened the RV’s side door and she eagerly hopped in. She slowly sniffed every surface she could get at, then finally hopped up onto the couch and gave me a look that I easily interpreted as: So where are we going? To explore America, the beautiful, I reply. I always answer my dog’s inquiring looks. .

And that’s how my my travels with Maggie began. It’s been a journey that’s now heading into its eighth year. And I still have nary a regret.

Pat Bean is a wandering/wondering old broad who is beginning her eighth year of full-time RV-ing with her canine traveling companion, Maggie. She is passionate about writing, nature, books and birds and writes a daily blog.


9 responses to “January 27 – The Fork in the Road

  1. Pat, this is a wonderful post! I’m happy to learn this about you. I’ve harbored the dream, too, but then some other dreams came true and I’ve put the RV idea aside for now. But I know the feelings of wanting change, fearing the unknown, and taking the leap, and the joy of dreams fulfilled. I’ve also learned about the wisdom, support, and love a dog can bring . . . and I’m glad you have Maggie. She sounds like a bright, brave, curious and loving animal. My Lacey is my great, good friend, too. You inspire me to get writing again and posting to my blog, which is currently sitting there, doing nothing . . . . yet . . .

  2. (Now I need to undo a mess I made with my WordPress profile – please forgive this non-comment. Thanks.

  3. I’m keeping a copy of this post to read whenever I have doubts about whether I can do something, it’s so inspiring! And I love following your travels on your blog. You and Maggie make a great team!

  4. Pat that is amazing. I give your credit for being so brave and adventurous. Sounds like a memoir there called “Maggie and Me.” Your story shows me we must leave things behind in order to move forward and how difficult that mgiht be.

  5. Pat you are a constant source of inspiration to me. You took a huge leap of faith and the net appeared. I hope I can be as brave in my decision making as I decide what comes next for me. Hugs to you and Maggie! Onward!

  6. Thanks Carol, Samantha, Cathy, Renee and Jude. Your kind words mean a lot to me. The book’s stuck in a rewrite stage. I hope each of you will follow your dreams, whatever they may be.

  7. Beautiful! I love it! I have dreams of traveling in an RV with my dogs, but finances won’t allow it as I need to maintain roots here as well and just can’t swing both. However, I travel vicariously with you and Maggie.

  8. I have harbored the dream of traveling in an RV. My grandparents were some of the original snowbirds going back and forth between Michigan and Arizona many years ago. I will be one too some day – but first must get my 2 kids through college. My dream grows ever nearer and your blog posting is encouraging. I’ll have to go check out your regular blog and hopefully travel vicariously!

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