As alluded to in Changes are Coming :: The First Step, an extended road trip is on the horizon! Terry Snyder asked in a comment to that post if it had anything to do with my "if I had a million dollars" post. In a way, it does. But no, I haven't won the lottery or inherited any money from a rich old uncle. And no, I don't have unlimited financial wealth. I don't have all the tech-toys that would be helpful in this venture, and I don't have the big beautiful RV I'd like to have, but I do have my little van. And I think it will do quite well, thank you very much.
For quite some time, long before I retired two years ago, I have wanted to do this. But my Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about the time I retired and we've been dealing with doctor visits, etc. ever since. She was recently given a clean bill of health, at least as far as the cancer is concerned. Considering the fact that she is 81 years old, she is in pretty good physical health though her mental faculties are a bit shaky now and then.
Her improved health, along with my illness in February, was the catalyst that put things in motion. I finally just decided that if I was going to do this, I'd better be doing it soon. I'm not getting any younger ;-) and who knows what my physical condition will be within the next few years. Hopefully, no drastic changes in that regard, but you just never know. The third factor that really set this in motion was the fact that the lease is up on my apartment at the end of August - there would be another $30 per month increase as well as having to sign a two-year lease, both of which were unacceptable to me! So, it just looks like the time is right.
I've been selling off my household furniture though I still have a few things that need to be sold. My books, photographs, and research papers will be put in storage. However, I'll still have the photos and research papers with me since I've spent nearly the past year and a half scanning them! I just knew there was some reason I needed to get them digitized, other than the fact that it needed to be done. LOL. If I don't want to keep what doesn't get sold, it will be given away. The storage space that I rented today is only 5' x 10' which should hold the things that are being kept.
To say that the past few months have been stressful is putting it mildly. So many thoughts going through this old brain of mine - making lists of things that need to be done, putting things in order, finishing up projects, deciding what to keep and what doesn't need to be kept, selling things and seeing them go out the door, notifying friends and family, trying to explain what I'm going to do and hoping they understand. Actually, there has only been one person that has had anything negative to say about it and that was my Mother. Understandable, since she has come to depend upon me for so much, but I'm confident that my niece, my brother, and a cousin will be able to do the things that I have done for her. She's not happy about it, but has accepted that it is going to happen. Still a bit more stuff that needs to be done before I leave. Time is passing too quickly!
So, what is it that is going to happen?
An extended road trip. A bit of research and a whole lot of traveling. Places to go and people to see. Back in March, I wrote about a proposed Joslin Family Heritage Tour being planned for September. Due to the fact that one of the major players involved (Lorene) had surgery in June and then had a stroke (which the surgery was supposed to prevent, sigh) that tour has been postponed until next spring. Lorene is home but is still in therapy. She can't speak and can't swallow so she is on a feeding tube. Other than that, she is getting along okay. Having the stroke was disheartening but George and Lorene are optimistic folk and they have had a lot of people praying for them. The outlook is hopeful.
My first destination, the first week of September, will be to Springfield, Missouri to visit Lorene and George for a few days. Then I'll be coming back to Indiana for several days to take care of some "loose ends" and then it will be off to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, etc., etc. for some research. I'll pretty much be "playing it by ear" as far as where I go and when, though I do have a list of specific places that I want to visit and documents that I want to find. I've been told that fall in New England is beautiful and I am hoping to become an official leaf peeper this year! I've got a first cousin that lives in Maine that I haven't seen in more than 15 years, an aunt and a cousin live in Maryland, and there are other relatives that I'd like to spend some time with too. As I said, places to go and people to see…
There is a lot to do before I leave. I'm still trying to figure out how to set up the van with storage for the stuff that is coming along with me, as well as a place to sleep. Campgrounds will become my friend. When the weather turns cold, I'll be heading south, eventually making my way westward. There are friends and family to visit in Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, California, Washington, Montana and elsewhere. Whew! Hopefully I'll get back to Springfield to see George and Lorene again sometime this winter. I'd like to spend some time in Salt Lake City too.
The plan is to maintain the blog, though I don't know how frequently I'll be posting. You are welcome to join me on the journey via this blog. I'll also be setting up an account on Flickr.
I believe in serendipity. Not just in family research, but in travel also. As one door closes, another opens… one phase ends, another begins. I'm a little nervous and a lot excited about the prospects of this journey but I feel it is the right thing for me to be doing at this particular time. The stars have aligned. It's time to go.