Our American Journey
Our AMERICAN journey? I know what you are thinking… and no, we haven’t given up on Italy. This pandemic has been difficult for all of us. Fortunately, Gary and I don’t personally know a lot of people that have been affected. Even so, that doesn’t stop my (shameful, I know) feeling a bit sorry for myself that like many travelers, we were supposed to be in Arezzo, Tuscany right now. Enjoying 6-months of Italian culture.
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Recalling the Past
I remind myself that Gary and I are not your usual couple. Although we think we are – friends and family have indicated to us as far back as 2016 when we sold our home and 99.9% of our possessions – we are not. It was a liberating time in our lives and perhaps I went a bit overboard selling and giving away stuff. Our post, Living With Less can enlighten you more.
We know many people that said, “I wish we could do what you did. To sell everything and begin a new life.” Or ask us, “How could you make such a drastic change?” I have to say it was personal for me back then. It was about my father.
Meet my Father, Fred
I recall while growing up on Long Island hearing about things my father always wanted to do – should have done. He
was a dam good baseball player in his early marriage days never pursued it as it wasn’t the “family” job to have -traveling and all. He could have been a professional player as his stats were better than Harold Peter Henry “Pee Wee” Rees and Phil Rizzuto!
My dad also had an amazing opportunity to work for a man I lovingly used to call Uncle Charlie. He was my Godfather and a very special close friend of our family. But my father didn’t take the chance of starting up a new business with a friend and in the process – could have made a great deal of money. A great deal. Still, my father I believe was a happy man but always wondered, what if?
So knowing this about my father, I have always tried to not have regrets. Of course, I have a few… don’t we all? But when we were in the process of obtaining our dual citizenship, we knew we would want to travel and not be tied down to a home. It was a gamble because we were not guaranteed citizenship. And most of you know the story that it took us nine days short of three years to obtain. A previous post on the subject, Dual Citizenship Received
So while this year’s adventure is on hold, we began looking for a new home. We are very fortunate that all our children and grandchildren live in Phoenix and within about 30-miles of each other. We started the process in January and with our limited income, we just couldn’t find a condo that suited our needs – or one we could afford and still travel comfortably. High HOA fees and taxes were the problems. We could afford the home but could we give up traveling when we wanted to and so soon after getting our Italian citizenship and everything this maroon colored passport provides us?
So with Italy’s borders closed and the desire of a small place of our own, we came up with Plan B. Or are we up to C or D? What could our American Journey look like?
Our American Journey
Living in Arizona for over 30-years, Gary and I started talking about all the places we have always wanted to see. Remember regrets? We have several close friends that travel all over the USA to see all the National Parks. One night over a glass of wine, I admitted to Gary that I have always wanted to visit Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Arches National Parks and Mount Rushmore. The conversation was concluded when the bottle was empty and we decided to purchase a motor home!
The only thing that made this possible was that our oldest daughter, Jacklyn and her husband purchased a home last year while we were in Italy. And guess what? It has a slab and all hookups on the side of the house for an RV. I guess it was meant to be.
Our First Guests
Our first “sleepover” were our three grandchildren from Jacklyn – easy peasy since we are right on the premises! Down came the bunk bed over the front seats and after a movie and popcorn, it was bedtime. This sleepover included breakfast the next day with mom and dad too. It was a great first event.
Our first trip driving was with our previous landlord (smiling) – Gary’s daughter Melanie and her two children. We headed out of the heat of the valley and up to Cornville, Arizona which is close to Sedona which many people know where that is located. Other than a refrigerator scare when we arrived and then fixed – the weekend was wonderful and a good time was had by all.
We are currently planning another trip for Memorial Day weekend with Jacklyn’s family – again up north. It’s already hit in the 100’s here in Phoenix and we are anxious to wear a sweater in the evening! We are looking forward to watching the kids play in the Verde River up around the same area as we were our previous trip. This time we are headed to Cottonwood, Arizona.
Ilene’s Words of Advice
Why does it seem to fly by so fast when you are older? Life has a funny way of passing us by. If you don’t mind my advice,
Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from change. You never know what is possible if you don’t try. Take the time to persue things that could enhance your life. It is worth the effort.
So looking back, it was difficult living like gypsies for several years and thank goodness we had a family (Gary’s daughter and family) and a friend with an occasional empty condo to help us put our head down at night. We will always be grateful to them for their kindness.
We still have an amazing announcement coming later this summer!
Now we can travel and also see America from the comfort of our home. We are calling this part, Our American Journey and we hope you continue to join us for all the adventures that still await us. And of course, our journey when we return to Italy.