I turned 50 earlier this year and as the date approached I would jokingly refer to 2017 as “The Year of Ron”. My birthday celebration would span the entire year and would involve a variety of neat things along the lines of extreme hiking, sky diving, etc. I cannot claim originality for the idea, Marty, a dad on my son’s soccer team, had done something similar for his milestone birthday. In early December Sheri said, “I’ve been thinking about this “Year of Ron” thing. Why don’t you do the Steinbeck trip you’ve’ always talked about.” And the seed had been planted, no other birthday celebration idea would compare.
My job was comfortable, I worked for and with some wonderful people. But I wasn’t growing personally or professionally like I thought I should and that was worrisome. It dawned on me that I had turned 40 doing the same job as 50 that was similar to what I was doing at 32. And 60 could see me doing much the same. So, I jumped at my wife’s offer and started planning a trip that will take me through 30+ states and over 10k miles.
Sheri & I had been married while in college and my first real job was in San Antonio. I don’t think there could have been a job more wrong for me. We would drive to Austin on weekends to spend time with family or see friends and the idea of traveling the country was talked about often. It was fun to think of the places we would see while travelling the country, an escape from our everyday lives. But alas we were young and the responsibilities of adulthood were just around the corner.
Fast forward 25 years or so and I am now circumnavigating the country with Mabel our dog, while pulling a tear drop camper. The trip will follow John Steinbeck’s 1960 route upon which he based Travels With Charley. There will be adjustments as I deviate to see friends, family, and places of interest. Through it all I hope to see “Everyday America” the people who make this country great but get little of the credit. At the end of this journey, a book about the adventure will be my contribution to the conversation.
There is no way I would have considered this life change without the support of my loving wife Sheri. She is the strength that gets me through the day and the rock that keeps our family together. I am thankful for every day that she is in my life.