300+ Days

So we’ve been back in Asheville, North Carolina, for about 6 weeks and we’re settled with the same great VRBO landlords we had rented with last fall. In early spring, we booked for 3 months, now extended to 4 ½ because we’ve bought a piece of land and are planning to build our dream retirement home just south of Asheville.

We’ve bought a lovely piece of property with the southern exposures we both wanted and a gorgeous view over a valley of apple orchards to the ranges of mountains in the distance. Walt and I have been spending many hours looking at house plans, kitchen designs, tiles, fixtures, all the millions of things you look at when you’re building a house from scratch. We’re visiting showrooms, collecting catalogs, bookmarking websites, and saving photos.

As excited as we are to build a house filled with objects and furniture we love – we’ve been “home free” for 11 months now – I’ve also realized my perception of home has changed. I’ve always thought of “home” as a physical structure that provides protection from the elements, a sanctuary against the trials of daily life, a quiet place to re-charge with my kitties, my books and my favorite artworks.

Now I realize that’s my definition of a “house.”

My definition of “home” is wherever Walt and I are located.

In 11 months of traveling, we have slept about 2 dozen nights in a tent, 4 VRBO houses for up to 3 months; 3 lovely bed-and-breakfasts, at Walt’s sister and brother-in-law for several weeks (not in a row); at hotels ranging from the Seawall Motel in Southwest Harbor, Maine, to the Red Rock Canyon Resort in Las Vegas and everywhere in between.

It didn’t matter where we were or how long we were staying. When I crawled into bed at night with Walt, I was home. So, it’s been said by so many, so many times but it is my truth: home is a state of mind. It is the peace and joy of knowing that whatever comes our way, we face it together.

So as we look forward to our house-building adventure (do you have any idea how many faucet manufacturers there are?) and “being settled” we are also content knowing that the process is going to take us at least a year, probably more like 18 months, before we can close the front door and sleep in “our own home.”

We are content, because like the snail traveling with its home on its back, we travel with our home in our hearts and we are not done traveling yet. We don’t anticipate needing to be here for every phase of the home-building process. And we have so much left to see…

Days 290-292 – Eastward!

We’ve toyed with the idea of staying around in the western part of the country, there’s plenty more to see and do but we’ve decided to head East now that it’s Spring.

We’ve decided we would like to settle in Asheville, North Carolina, and since we’d like to build, not buy, a house, we’d better get started.

Our 2 ½-day route takes us from Denver all the way across Kansas and Missouri before dropping down into Kentucky near Paducah and into Tennessee just above Nashville, then across the state into North Carolina.

The weather favors us with warm, dry, sunny weather for the entire 1,500 miles.

We’re looking forward to settling in Asheville, building the retirement home of our dreams.

We’ve chosen Asheville for a bunch of reasons including its great hiking, vibrant food/arts scene, four mild seasons, and proximity to most of our family.

Our wandering won’t stop in Asheville but other than hiking locally we won’t be taking too many trips for at least the next three months. After that, what we do travel-wise will depend on where we are house-wise.