Our (No) Plan for The Next Year

Everyone believes that the main aim in life is to follow a plan. They never ask if that plan is theirs or if it was created by another person. They accumulate experiences, memories, things, other people’s ideas, and it is more than they can possibly cope with. And that is why they forget their dreams.

― Paulo Coelho, The Zahir
While I understand the importance of having a roadmap to get to a destination, I hate fixed plans; they stifle dreaming, the first step in the evolutionary process of self-discovery. What fills my imagination today isn’t what titillated me when I was five or fifteen or even twenty-five years old. And though I have a good idea of what lights me up today, I haven’t a clue what I’ll burn bright about in ten years. I’m still learning who I am–and I hope I always am. 
It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows. – Epictetus
So how could I possibly make plans for a person in flux? The future me doesn’t even exist yet. 
Perhaps more than any other reason, this flexibility is why I love being a nomad. Tree and I make plans and break them all the time, depending on what feels right in the moment. Of course we’re limited by work obligations and finances like everyone else, but we’ve created a space for the unknown in our life, and that’s where we dream. Anything and everything feels possible when we set out on the open road. 
Sometimes people ask us how long we plan to travel, or where we think we’ll be in ten years. Those questions seem absurd to us. We barely know where we’re going (or staying) next month. We like to “keep it loose,” as Tree says. Admittedly, our in-the-moment lifestyle has its limitations. Just ask anyone who’s come visit us what a pain in the ass it is to make plans with people who don’t make solid plans. 
So what’s our plan today? Well, here’s the latest version: 
We left Las Vegas where we were doing a lot of gym climbing….
(Check out Soleil crushing it!)

…and arrived to Bishop, California, my favorite future ghost town, a couple days ago. We were here last year this time for the bouldering, but this time we’re sport climbing in the Owens River Gorge. The approach is steep and gnarly, but the views are spectacular and the routes are amazing. After a few weeks, we might go to Colorado or we might go to Utah, depending on our mood and the weather. This part of the plan is hazy. Once it warms up, however, we’d like to spend time in Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota before heading back to Oregon for the month of July. Again, hazy.
Then comes the big change. 
We have one way tickets to Europe on August 8th.
How’s that for a plan! Of course, even airline tickets can be changed, and we still talk about changing them, but despite not knowing where we’re going, we’re pretty sure we want to leave. 
And I realized that there’s a big difference between deciding to leave and knowing where to go.
― Robyn Schneider, The Beginning of Everything
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how experience shapes personhood, which begs the question, what kind of experiential content do I want to impress upon my being? What memories do I want to have in ten, twenty, fifty years? After all, the stories we live today become our autobiography. I think sometimes we forget we’re writing our own books every day.  
And, more importantly, what stories do I want Soleil to tell herself as she rapidly expands into self-awareness? Every experience she has in her young life right now will influence who she thinks she is and where she fits in this world.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy aspects of being home in the States, but I prefer living in alterity. I prefer raising my daughter on the margins of culture. I like that we’re outsiders. Ironically, it feels like a far more inclusive and interconnected way to be in the world. 
Our idea is to head to Eastern Europe (Bulgaria and Croatia? Suggestions?), then drop down into the Mediterranean (Sicily, Greece, Corsica, Sardinia?), and then end in Spain–three months each region, more or less–before coming home for 3 months. Right now this plan sounds amazing, but who knows where the road will take us. 

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  1. Nice! I have been to most European countries and would recommend using trains to get around.

  2. Beware the Schengen Zone!

  3. I love Prague! What an incredible city.

  4. Some of the countries you listed are outside the Schengen zone, so those will not count towards the 90 days (the visa is a much better idea though.) We have traveled a lot around there and you will have a great time! Last summer we spent time in Albania and I would recommended that: http://www.tenayatravels.com/Latest%20Update%202015%208%20August%201.html

  5. Hahaha, we took a year for this “route” as well. Note to self: next time take five years! Drove through Balkans and spent five months in Turkey to balance out Schengen.

  6. Sounds lovely

  7. You have to come in France! Especially in Grenoble.we wainting for You!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have been following your post for 3 years now and enjoy it tremendously! Funny how, now that I am leaving Europe in mid August, you are coming over here!
    Croatia is a marvelous place! We really enjoyed our trip! We only drove thru Slovenia but thought it most beautiful!
    Our son is 7 and has visited 9 countries. He loves traveling. What a blessing to children! Especially when listening to my 88 year old grandmas story of never having left her small village at that age, except to dig trenches during WWII.
    Enjoy all your new experiences, friends, food and vino! (Don’t forget Getman wine) if you ever come to Esslingen, Germany around Mother’s Day be sure to take part in the Wein Wandertag. Hiking around vine yards sampling Wein and local food together with aprox. 1000 of you new closest friends.

    I am (jealously) looking forward to reading all about your new adventures and am wishing you the best of times.

  9. Maybe we will see you there!

  10. This is Conwy in north wales well worth s visit

  11. Catherine says:

    Great news! I think you should come to the Emerald Isle, Ireland full of beauty, craic agus ceol (fun and music)! I’ve been to many countries and after last year exploring my own I realise how truly like paradise it is. Cant wait to hear your plans. Best wishes.

  12. We have done all the continental stuff, but my plan that failed to be realized with the Volkswagen Caddy was to drive the whole Mediterranean coast from Portugal to Turkey with various perpendicular excursions inland. Very long route.

  13. It really is not that hard to leave Schengen for some number of days to get back to zero. swerve around, exit for 90, come back for 60, leave for 30, visit home…

  14. Portugal is an amazing, overlooked gem.

  15. ORLANDO!! ( yeah, I’m selfish)

  16. A couple of years before I became a full time RVer, I heard myself saying over and over again, “Those were the good old days!” when talking with friends about past experiences. It suddenly hit me that I needed to be doing something RIGHT NOW that would cause me 10 years from now to say “aaahh, those were the good old days.” It altered the course of my life for the better. Sounds like you have made the same self-discovery.

    If you end up in Croatia, don’t miss the Plitvice Lakes National Park…I look forward to following.

  17. I highly recommend Ireland. I got married there, the people are just lovely, the country is amazing, and it’s just an overall awesome place. In 2 trips, I’ve spent a month there.

  18. We love everything about Italy! Family friendly, amazing food & wine–not to mention the history & countryside. Hope you get to check it out!

  19. Do you know Crystal Rose Thomas? Or Peter Hansen? They’ve been there. Are there.

  20. Marty Galindo-Schmith says:


  21. Sounds fantastic!

  22. Poland 🙂

  23. Andy HQ is at the exact centre of that map – come by!

  24. Anonymous says:

    While I haven’t been to eastern europe, I can highly recommend Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium (despite recent events), Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The Alps are gorgeous and I’m sure you could find lots of amazing climbing, Portugal has some world-class surf and each country has totally divergent cultures.

  25. Great! 🙂 I just wrote you a message. Hope to see you soon!

  26. Be in the east of the Netherlands somewhere in May: best time of the year in terms of weather and flowers. Oh, and, not unimportantly, to attend the Overlanders Reunion that we host every year 🙂 Hope to see you there next year!

    • We’d LOVE to see you both again. By the way, I finally figured out how to get your book from my computer to my Kindle! Hooray! I’ll start it tonight. Unfortunately, after Sol goes to bed is the only time I get to read. I’m excited!

  27. on this map… in the past 2 years i’ve traveled in
    – georgia
    – armenia
    – azerbaijan
    – turkey
    – greece (patmos)

    hit me up if you ever have questions about those countries…

    loved reading this whole article! go y’all go.

  28. Yes, this looks like a great place to visit (ha. i am not help. DO THEM ALL!!!!!)

    In reality, make sure to hit up some small countries that are less on the radar. Andorra, Lichtenstein – places you have to put effort into visiting but will have outstanding views and im sure, stories. 🙂

  29. España también es muy interesante! Desde Madrid, Barcelona, os va a encantar Pais Vasco, Andalucía, Galicia, Asturias… No pararía de decirte lugares!

  30. Don’t forget VIENNA!

  31. South in the winter and north in the summer 🙂

  32. Sicily. Croatia.

  33. Well be hiking hut to hut in the Julian alps in late August, come check out Slovenia!

  34. How are you going to handle the 90 visa ‘issue’ for all of the EU?

  35. Frankenjura/fränkische schweiz. I am sure this will make a climbing familiy happy 🙂 (and there’s good beer)

  36. The best plan is to have no plan!! At least that’s what I always say (I knew we were kindred spirits.) I send you this message while sitting here at the airport in Rome in hopes of finding an open seat to Madrid (very last minute) to connect with some friends before heading back to California. If that doesnt work out I will likely spend the night here in the aeroporto and sort out another route home in the morning. I found a nice comfy loung chair( a rare commodity as you know, so why not!) Certainly include a stop in Umbria in this open itinerary…after all we have got of lots of wine bottles to share and so much to catch up on! Oh…and I think I found a place for you to park your rig. I am so looking forward to crossing paths. You people always inspire me! 🙂 xo

  37. Portugal is very often overlooked… cheap beaches, nice towns.

  38. Nooooooo! We leave Europe August 8th…… 🙁 which means we’ll have to have a mandatory meet-up somehow in May/June – will you be back in HR this spring? I was really hoping for a glass of vino in france with you guys!

    • I can’t believe we’re going to miss each other, and by a hair! We don’t get to HR until July 🙁 But perhaps you all would like to jump in the RV and meet up with us at Yellowstone in June-ish?

    • kids are in school forever.. Until June 19 or something and then we have family here… We will have to rely on email and Facebook! Hugs to my favorite nomad family!! ❤️

  39. Too bad we won’t get to meet up in South America! The plan does sound really awesome though! You guys rock!

  40. You know you have a casa in the UK!!!! : )

    • You know we’ll be there! How far away are you from London? We arrive the 8th of August, then we’re hoping to go to Hebden Bridge to see some friends. Are you nearby either place?

  41. Que parte? Por cuanto tiempo?

  42. Ibiza

  43. Billy Harris says:

    I have a family, spent 15 years traveling as an athlete. I miss it desperately. Starting a business I have no love for. How do you pay for this and how do you recon the future. Like what happens when your old? Thanks. I’d love to follow. Or go back to kayaking

  44. Only one year? You can spend that much time on just the sandstone, let alone lime!

  45. Laura Smith says:

    I’m so excited to have just discovered your blog on the literal eve of my own departure from the “AmericanDream.” About to do a multi-leg adventure that I hope will translate yo longer than the current 2 year plan-ish.

    First we’re road tripping in the U.S. for 5-8 months in our truck. Then we’re headed to Europe for 3-6 months (or more depending on how things go. We’ll hike the El Camino and wander with our packs. Then it’s onward to South America for hopefully at least a year.

    So excited, anxious, nervous and uncertain all at once, but looking forward to detaching from the “regular ” life to find a better way.

    Thank you! Who knows, maybe our paths will cross one of these days!

  46. Katarzyna says:

    Poland is a must ! 🙂 Beautiful country, great food and people. And it’s quite affordable to stay and move around.

  47. You and the family look Awesome. So stoked for your adventures. Your providing such a once in a lifetime experience for the fam. Epic adventure!!!

  48. Iceland is amazing. A must do. I will be in Europe starting in June. When do you start this adventure? I would love to meet up.

  49. I know my plans changed in an instant and are still changing.lol

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