It's all because of Margie
I came across Margie's Blog and began reading through the list of Blogs she follows.
Sometime in the '90s we did 6 week road trip in the South Island of New Zealand. We stayed in cabins or Tourist Flats in Campgrounds and met many people travelling in their own Motor Homes. TWJ became enthused and we decided this was what we wanted to do when we retired. We had been through various difficult and some traumatic experiences and I was more than happy to leave behind responsibilities that go with owning a house and garden. We have always enjoyed road trips and were happy to see all of New Zealand. Going overseas was not on our radar. We knew we could never afford to travel beyond New Zealand except for maybe one or two forays into Australia.
A couple of years before TWJ was due to retire we found our Bus Home. This had been used, by the couple who were selling it, for long term living. It had everything we needed and some things we didn't think were important. Since then we have done a little work inside, changed the decor, got a new mattress and spent a lot on some mechanical features. It is old having been built in 1968 by the grandfather of a man who now builds sports cars from the same address in Oamaru. It is built on an Austin/Morris Chassis with a Nissan deisel motor. We have some issues with meeting current brake regulations but so far have passed each Certificate of Fitness. In NZ we have to go through a rigorous test every 6 months. Currently our old faithful is parked up, registration and COF on hold, while we decide if we'll ever get to use it as intended.
We've had a lot of fun travelling around like a couple of ancient Hippies, without the ponytails and tie dye clothes, in our old purple bus. But in the 10 or more years we've owned it we've spent barely 18 months, including odd weekends, in the bus.
The first interruption to our plans was when we chose to support our daughter in her 'dream business.' From 1998 to 2004 we assisted her in managing a BackPacker Hostel. When we got out of that we had out first overseas trip to, where else but USA. We rented a car in Miami and spent the next 7 weeks driving back to Los Angelos via Key West, Cape Canaveral, Mobile AL, Indianapolis, Route 66, Grand Canyon, Lake Havasu where one of the London Bridges makes a stand, and Twentynine Palms, CA. We fell in love with travelling in USA and have been back twice more. It is less than 12 months since our cruise and road trip from San Francisco to Vancouver, Alaskan Cruise and drive back down the coast to SF.
Since 2004 my mother's health deteriorated with extremely high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. I had always told myself I would do all in my power to keep her in her own home. My reasoning was and is, Mum gave many years of her life to caring for her children and the least I could do was see that her declining years were as comfortable as possible. For Mum that means living in her own home unless she needs hospital care. While not wanting to wish Mum's life would come to it's natural end, we have been caught in a trap I never expected.
Earlier this month Mum had her 95th birthday and seems to have greatly improved health. I am having to consider what will happen to us if she continues to live into her 100th year. What seemed an impossibility a year ago, is now it looking more than possible.
TWJ is heading for his 75th, I will be 71 in a few short weeks. We are only too aware that if we continue to delay we may not be fit enough to follow our dream. I have been doing some thinking and maybe there is a way. Maybe we can negotiate with our family and release some of our capital now rather than later, Maybe we can fulfill our dream of living in USA for 6 months followed by two or three back home before returning for another 6 months. How I want to do this. My dream depends on the good will and the financial ability of a couple of family members to buy us out.
There are some clear steps towards achieving our dream.
1.Find out from our lawyer what it will cost to buy us out of the particular agreement I am looking at.
2.Suggest to the family members who have interests in this property that they find a way to buy us out.
3.Check out all the details regarding buying a 5th Wheeler and tow truck in USA so we can follow the dream
4.Check out all the insurance, registration driving license and visa requirements
5.Make sure we have a budget that works and some contingency funds tucked away.
6.Check out the opportunities for 'foreigners' to do voluntary work in exchange for campground parking and electricity.
This will keep me occupied for a while. Researching, planning and dreaming are a fun part of the process. It's time to begin and not wait until my mother is buried. This may sound harsh but we have a life to live and it's no life hanging around waiting to see if someone you love is going to live or die. The day will come soon enough and we will be sad. I will miss her but I don't want to end my days wishing I'd done something or trying not to resent missing out on living our own life.
We have extremely modest means so careful planning is required along with a willingness to look outside the box. We also need to be willing to accept the possibility of this not working out as we hope. I'll not worry about that because in the past I have found that a strong desire like this has a way of either being right and coming to fruition or falling apart in such a way that there is no doubt or regret in our minds and hearts.