Updated: Aug 23, 2022
Hopefully, it is an upgrade to the standard mid-life crisis. A mid-life crisis is typically a response to feeling trapped between the passing of youth and the encroachment of old age, questioning the trajectory of one's life, both past and future. It can be dangerous and even destructive if not handled well. So, are the Chids experiencing a mid-life crisis? Perhaps.
For our entire adult lives, we have scrambled and scrimped and hustled. We have made the best of difficult situations. We have made it up as we go and figured it out as it happens. Metaphorically, we have been flying the plane, as pilot and co-pilot, while it is still being assembled.
Many of you have followed along. You have watched as we change locations, change careers, change the size and shape of our house, and then start over and change it all again. The only constant in our lifestyle, in fact, has been change.
When our kids left home a few years ago, we realized that we were exhausted. The stress of the two preceding decades had left us utterly spent, as individuals and as a couple. We longed for the day that we could retire from our jobs and finally rest. Maybe we could even retire a few years earlier than planned.
When the global pandemic brought things to a screeching halt, we really began to reconsider our priorities. We finally had the time to stop scrambling, stop hustling, and examine our options. Our plane, so to speak, was grounded and we were finally forced to sit on the tarmac long enough to fully examine our flight plan.
We realized we actually didn't like our current plan. We needed to decide on a destination and figure out what it would take to actually get there.
We brainstormed WHAT we actually want out of life at this point:
We want to explore the world...very slowly, feeling free to stay in one place for a day, a week, a month, or a year or more.
We want to have very few earthly belongings.
We want to live a very simple, frugal lifestyle, punctuated with occasional splurges on incredible experiences, as opportunities arise.
We want to meet people from all walks of life, hear their stories, and learn from them.
We want to see what the Christian Church, the body of Christ, looks like outside the United States.
We want to be a blessing to the people we encounter.
We want to immerse ourselves in the beauty of nature with large blocks of time spent outside.
We want to become fairly fluent, or at least conversant, in Spanish.
We want to write stories and make photographs and videos extensively.
We want to explore indefinitely, as long as our health will allow, coming home only on occasion as needed.
We want to sample all the street food in all the places.
We brainstormed WHERE we want to do these things:
We brainstormed HOW we want to see the world:
Primarily via ground transportation (our own vehicle, local buses, bicycles, on foot)
We brainstormed WHEN we want to hit the road:
Finally, we brainstormed WHY we needed to continue our teaching jobs for ten more years, or five more years, or two more years, or even one more year.
Try as we might, we couldn't come up with any valid reasons to put it off any longer. We just need to finish assembling the plane and then, assuming the pandemic has subsided, The Lord is willing, and the creek don't rise, we can take off.
So here we are. We have quit our beloved teaching jobs in Oregon, moved our fifth wheel trailer back to our place in Montana, and focused our attention on fixing up our property here so we can fully monetize it. Andy is spending his days finishing projects, getting the house ready to rent out while we decide what we want to do with the property long-term. One way or another, it will need to support us when we set out on the road. I, Sherry, have meanwhile taken a simple job in town. I sell appliances. With the housing market the way it is, there is a huge need for appliances. The work is easy enough and the pay is quite good -- better than teaching, in fact -- which feels somewhat insulting to my former colleagues in the education world.
A little while back, we took another big step along this path to full-time travel. We bought the truck that will be converted into our overland travel rig. The conversion process will be a huge job, and Andy is so excited to finish the house and property projects so he can work on it full-time. There will be many posts to come about the process of turning our medium-duty four-wheel drive 2010 Mitsubishi Fuso named Walter into a travel rig. Then, there will be many posts about the adventures we have together as we travel the world. Until then, however, I just wanted to give a basic introduction to us and to our current hopes and dreams.
A mid-life crisis is generally angst-filled and can lead a person to make unwise and unhealthful choices. We are setting out to handle middle-age differently, though. Our Chidlife crisis will hopefully be a thing of beauty and adventure, learning and exploration, in diverse settings all over the world. Time will tell.
Cheers and Happy Trails.