It has been quite a year since I last posted here. My life has turned upside down, only to land right side up with both feet planted firmly on the ground.
A not so brief review: April 28, 2021 I left my home in southwest Michigan, with my dog Abby of course, heading I wasn’t certain exactly where. My Ram 2500 Promaster high top van became my well-outfitted home. There were tough times, joy-filled moments and everything in between. “Where to from here” became the question of the day.
After a short stint at a federal (free) campground near Baldwin, I wound up in Sault Ste. Marie, in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. I spent my days chasing freighters with the help of the Marine Traffic app, and my nights holed up in a Rideshare parking lot close-by. Life was good and I enjoyed it immensely. I was becoming a Nomad, one of many thousands of others that chose and enjoy this lifestyle.
Soon, it became quite evident that my married life was finished. I filed the necessary divorce proceedings and waited for the legal goings on to weave their frustratingly slow way through the system. Now final and official, I thought it would never end, however.
Four months after arriving in “The Soo” as it is called, I found I had been mistaken…I didn’t have to be present for the divorce proceedings! In just a few days, I headed west, way west. You see, the previous winter I had become good friends with a fellow Nomad while camping in the desert (free) near Quartzsite, Arizona. Hearing of my situation, she invited me to travel with her to wherever the road would lead us; I jumped at the opportunity!
Five days later Abby and I arrived in Reno, Nevada. We enjoyed beautiful parks, showers at a local casino, and occasionally helping our friend filming her YouTube videos. Our dear friend is Minivan Lee, a very popular video producer of all things Nomad-related. Here’s a sample of some of her work.
After a few weeks in Reno, we decided to head for the coast. We wound up in Santa Cruz, California, a beautiful little town on the Pacific Ocean. Santa Cruz offers huge sandy beaches, of course, great Mexican food and a laid back, sleepy coastal town atmosphere.
Since we were only a couple hours south of San Francisco, we decided to run up and visit for a few days. I had not been there in nearly 30 years, so it was a joy visiting that amazing city on the bay! Here’s one of Lee’s videos detailing part of our visit. (Do hit that subscribe button while you’re there!)
By the way, at some point in our journey together, Lee asked me to join her in producing a podcast, This Nomad Life with Lee and Paul. We had a great experience as a team, laughs included at no extra charge! All our episodes are available on your favorite podcast app, like Spotify, Downcast, Apple Podcasts, Anchor and more, free of charge! Give us a listen!
Since weather on the coast was cooling down, we headed far inland to, where else, but Quartzsite, Arizona! The Life of a Nomad, always in search of the best temperature. We didn’t stay in the desert for long, since the temp was in the upper 80s and the flies, anxious to investigate our camp, were driving us batty! Lee’s former home in Tucson was calling.
A detour on the way took us to, where else but that magnificent canyon they call Grand. We weren’t disappointed!
Our stay in Tucson found us enjoying lovely parks, exercising, and the amenities of a Planet Fitness membership, including spots to park overnight. We easily fell into a casual routine of enjoying all the city had to offer…good times for nearly two months!
Christmas decorations in the desert southwest differed from what I was accustomed to in Michigan. Sure the malls were packed and many homes were decorated, but without snow it wasn’t the same. Not to worry though, those southern Arizonans had their own unique ways of decorating for the season.
We ushered in the new year by traveling back to Quartzsite. Lee had organized a “meet-up” for members of her Facebook group and we had barely three weeks to find and secure enough space to accommodate those Nomads and Nomad wanna-be folks that we expected. We wound up welcoming 52 people who had traveled from every corner of the country; what a great time was had by all! We named our spot Camp Fuego (“fire” —- get it?).
We stayed in the desert almost two months after the meet-up. During that time it became painfully obvious that Lee and I needed to follow different paths: I’m filled with wanderlust, while Lee has videos to film, edit and produce. In addition, she is considering a full-time job for the summer/fall. It was impossible to imagine those paths crossing. I’m thinking travel into Utah and Colorado, while Lee is headed to Tucson to create her YouTube videos and to write her next book. Such is the life of a couple of Nomads.
It’s been quite an exciting and wonder-filled year. Along the way I’ve met so many new friends, kept the love for old friends burning, and regrettably lost a couple friends. I’ll never be able to adequately thank or repay Lee for becoming my dearest friend and mentor. Her own five years on the Nomad road gave her knowledge that she shared with me expecting nothing in return. Thank you Lee; I’m prepared to experience Nomad life and thrive while on the road alone, because of you.
And now the road, this beautiful country and, yes, even the mountains are calling…and I must go.