These essays began as a form of reporting. People wanted to know what we were up to. I had recently resigned a pastorate and had received a generous severance package of six months salary; I was technically unemployed but was still drawing a salary. Early on I whimsically suggested that I’d like to spend the time traveling, first with a six week trip east, then a six week trip west. We’d recently purchased a new, larger camper and a 12 passenger van, so it seemed we were providentially prepared for such an undertaking. We were trying to sell the house at the time and reasoned that it would be easier to sell if we weren’t there. Between the two trips there was some down time when we traveled in Texas, to see family members. All told we spent about fourteen weeks in our camper.
When we told people what we were doing they all said, “Let us know what you’re doing.” Rather than write a bunch of e-mails to different people I just told them I’d write a blog they could look at any time. It seemed to work well and I got some positive feedback, so I kept writing.
We took off east with only a vague sense of where we were going. I had plans to interview several pastors and scholars, Lisa was trying to finish out the home school year, I was trying to tie up some other commitment back home. We were really stressed out and the kids had it in mind that it was just one big vacation, so our intentions sometimes clashed. It was hard to get used to the idea of all this time on our hands and Lisa and were trying to do to legitimize the whole thing in our minds.
On our trip west we gave up all such pretense and decided to just enjoy ourselves, which we did, in spite of the heavy demands of constant travel.
The difference between the two parts of the country was interesting. In the east there were more people, more cities, more historic sights to see. Internet access was quick and reliable. In the west the population density is far lower and you spend more time driving between pockets of civilization. Internet was spotty and we frequently had to upload several essays at once, rather than feed them in day by day. We learned to appreciate the conveniences of the city, even as we were enthralled by the outdoors.
Throughout the trip I was trying to find a job and pursued a number of different avenues that all led nowhere. From time to time the looming prospect of unemployment clouded our otherwise happy days. But, as it is with many things, the anticipation is often worse than the actual event. I am officially unemployed and unpaid now and the sky has not fallen in. We’ve decided to stay put for the foreseeable future to see where God is leading us next, and no we have not yet given in to the temptation to buy a big RV and head out full time.
The essays that follow chronicle our journey and some of the thoughts and reflections I had about our experiences. Some of them are whimsical, others are more thoughtful, some relate the stuff we were learning, some just talk about finding Christ in the midst of the madness. As I said, I got some positive feedback from the family, many of whom looked forward to reading the blog every day. Many of them told me it was “fascinating” and encouraged me to pursue more writing. There’s nothing like having some interested readers to inspire you to keep at it, so I want to thank everyone for their praise and for passing the link on to their friends. I hope you enjoy reading the finished product.