The Beginning of The Dream
About 15 years ago, I was camping in Stillwater Campground in Groton National Forest. Our family camped here every summer along Groton Lake. One of my favorite things to do was to wake up early, make a thermos of coffee and walk down to the small beach to watch the sunrise. I treasured these quiet moments when the lake was calm and the morning mist was slowly rising from the surface of the water. I was almost always alone and loved that time to myself. One morning, I heard some movement behind me and turned around to see an older couple walking the beach picking up trash. In talking with them, I learned they were camp hosts working for the state park and had been doing this work for ten years. They said they traveled all over the country, and had been to some amazing places. They clearly loved each other and loved what they were doing in their *golden years. *
I was hooked. The feeling I had was similar to starting a new novel, and coming to the point where you just cannot put the book down. My first thoughts as they continued on down the beach were “that’s what I’m going to do when I retire – or maybe even sooner”. I could not stop thinking about the possibilities and how I could make it happen –The Dream was born.
But of course, life goes on and I was not at the point in my life where this was going to happen any time soon. I pushed the dream a bit further back into the recesses of my brain – not too far back as to forget – but in a holding pattern to be brought forth at a later date. Meanwhile, raising a family and working took priority. I am proud to say my husband and I raised two very successful, capable, and happy sons! We were not perfect parents and we made mistakes but I like to think our errors were balanced with many successes! I hope my sons would agree. We spent those child-rearing years adjusting our work and schedules to focus on family – gardening, sugaring, hiking, camping, working on endless projects (both sons are now engineers so you can imagine the projects!), working on the house and shop, watching school sports events, attending music concerts and lessons – life was busy and fulfilling.
Somewhere in all that time, I went back to school and completed a master’s degree in library science. Did I mention I am a life-long learner? Starting a master’s program in your late 40’s is definitely an experience and it paid off. With this degree, I transitioned from being a self-employed landscape designer to a school librarian and then, an academic public services librarian. I spent somewhere around 14 years in this profession. After 8 years commuting 2 hours’ round-trip to work every day, I started to reevaluate my situation.
The Dream emerges once again…
A couple of years ago, with my younger son’s college graduation on the horizon, The Dream started to make its way out of the recesses of my brain and back onto the surface. I started researching RV’s. I looked into organizations that were focused on work camping. I became obsessed with The Dream. I began trying to convince my significant other that this would be a great way to spend our retirement. It was not an easy sell, but I eventually wore him down.
We both got attached to Airstreams as our potential RV of choice. They were well constructed, held their value, time-tested, and we could choose a model that was not too big, yet not too small. We wanted to be able to get back off the beaten path. And last, but not least – Airstreams are just plain COOL. Of course, the only problem was Airstreams are expensive and out of our price range. For a new one, that is. My research showed me that there is an enormous market out there for used Airstreams and after a nine-month search I found the year and model that we wanted and could afford – in Oregon. Long way from Vermont, but I was determined. I took some vacation and we headed out across country to pick her up. What an adventure! More to come on that trip so stay tuned…..
Launching The Dream….
The first part of The Dream was complete. We got the rig. Now, it was a matter of deciding when to make the move and actually leave our jobs to work, travel and camp. After two years, and a couple of false starts, we finally headed out in June 2016,right after our son Leif’s wonderful wedding to Jeannie! It was a bumpy road during the preparation phase, and I will admit fraught with doubt as much as excitement. We took a hiatus from our current jobs – mine as a librarian, and my husband as a self-employed landscaper – set an exit date, and never looked back.
When I announced my resignation from Dartmouth College Library, I told my co-workers this was my “gap year in reverse”. I had never taken that pre-college or post-college multi-month trip before settling into a job. I was taking it now! And so, the inspiration for my blog name was born!
My hopes for this blog are simple – sharpen my underused writing skills, record our travels, share some of my passions in prose and photographs, and have fun doing it! I hope you enjoy the ride with me.
Lynn Thomas Amber