Wherever the Road Leads

I’d Have Loved You Anyway

Engrenages

When I was a ‘road warrior’ – on the road for ten days, home for four – in my mid-forties, one of the women on the team I traveled with was a widow in her mid-to-late fifties. When she was younger, she had married a man considerably older than she was. They had a very successful life, had children, lived comfortably and traveled extensively, including a posting in Dubai. Her considerably older husband had passed.

I didn’t know her back in the earlier years of her life. I knew her only as a woman who had married an older man, and she was now alone. Which part of her life ‘defines’ her? Younger, raising children in Dubai, or older and reading books in the evening and on weekends in a motel room?

I’m at a bit of a crossroads in life and the gears (in French: engrenages) have been turning. My tenants did a ‘runner’. After asking for a three-month extension on their two-year lease, the tenants sent an email to the Property Management company saying that they had packed up and left, three months prior to the end of the original lease.

While that is a bit of a nuisance, it’s not the end of the earth. I had planned on putting the house up for sale at the end of their lease. After going through last winter in my thin-walled, twenty-six foot box, I had decided that this area – coastal Georgia – was far too cold to winter in. Inland, in the Atlanta area, would have been even colder. The idea was to keep a house in order to have a place to return to if I got too old or infirm to return to this lifestyle of RV living. Additionally, the house is two-stories – as in, stairs. If I can’t manage the three steps to an RV, I’m not going to want to drag my freezing cold  butt up and down stairs all day.

My plan was to sell the Atlanta-area house and buy a ranch-style (bungalow) home in north Florida. Again, I would rent it out until I became too feeble. However, I’m having second, third and fourth thoughts on what to do after the house is sold. Is it logical to no longer be able to RV and travel, to return to a house that needs the grass cut and ongoing maintenance?

What about a townhouse-style condominium residence? No external upkeep to return to but how easy would it be to rent and what quality of renters would it attract?  A nicer condo development will include substantial Homeowners Association fees for upkeep on swimming pools and tennis courts that old and infirm returning, now non-RV, owners would never use.

Someone suggested in a recent conversation that you should not consider returning to a home once it has been a rental property. After spending $3,000 in repairs to bring the Atlanta house up to marketable condition, I can see the wisdom in that. Or…..

We get all kinds of folks with all kinds of stories here at Lake Harmony. I recently had the opportunity to talk with a couple, retired, each near seventy, who had sold their property in a northern state, bought a truck and fifth-wheel trailer and are now ‘full-timers’ – living permanently in their RV and traveling the US. They shared their thought process.

I am guessing that they had a comfortable, somewhat rural property in a New England state. They had worked to make it a place that their visiting children and grand-children would enjoy, with a swimming pond, a barn, toys and lots of room for family get-togethers in summer and winter.

It was well-used for years, then life started to get in the way. The grand-children got involved in activities that kept them away weekends, or got lives of their own, and the family visits became less and less. But the exorbitant taxes still had to be paid, it took four hours to cut the grass each week in the summer, and an hour to blow the snow each time in the winter. They were starting to resent their children for having grown up.

Their nomadic idea started when a friend of theirs, 59, retired early and bought a motor home. Then dropped dead. He didn’t get one weekend trip in the motor home, let alone the dreams he had of traveling. They came home from his funeral and put their house up for sale.

I wanted to understand their reasoning of selling real property, which should always maintain its value, and buying ‘Rolling Stock’, which depreciates daily. I’m sure the premature passing of their friend was a considerable influence, however they explained that theirs is an investment in a lifestyle. Once the weather warms up, they have plans to travel to Alaska, the slow way. They have no grass, no snow, no taxes, no worries, no ties, no resentment, no same routine and constantly meeting new people, in new parts of the country.

Coachman Chapparal, 37′ LOA, 12,200# GVWR

Living on wheels and sacrificing nothing.

In ten years their truck and trailer will be worth a percentage of what they paid. But that’s ten years from now.

The ‘ten years’ issue was somewhat resolved in a conversation with a different couple. These folks are much younger, mid-thirties, I’d guess. The husband is a contractor and travels with his fifth-wheel. His wife is now with him and she home-schools their two young’uns. They have a home in north Florida which was rented out for a while. ‘Never again’, said the husband.

He had a point of view that made some sense. He said, “No offense to your age, but let’s say you’ve got thirty years left. A house in my area of north Florida would run about $250,000. If you kept each rig – truck and trailer –  for ten years, you could buy three different rigs – thirty years’ worth – for your $250,000.”

Hmmmm… do you live and plan for the ‘what-if’? Or do you live for the here and now? I’ve recently had this philosophical epiphany that there is no such thing as yesterday or tomorrow. There is only right this moment, right here, right now.

I don’t think the widow reading books in the motel room regretted one moment of her life. I know the man pushing up daisies with an unused motor home for sale sure does.

 

 

Trisha Yearwood: “I’d Have Loved You Anyway”

 

If I’da known the way that this would end
If I’da read the last page first
If I’da had the strength to walk away
If I’da known how this would hurt

I would’ve loved you anyway
I’d do it all the same
Not a second I would change
Not a touch that I would trade
Had I known my heart would break
I’da loved you anyway

It’s bitter sweet to look back now
The memories withered on the vine
Just to hold you close to me
For a moment in time

I would’ve loved you anyway
I’d do it all the same
Not a second I would change
Not a touch that I would trade
Had I known my heart would break
I’da loved you anyway

Even if I’d seen it coming
I’d still’d see me running
Straight into your arms

I would’ve loved you anyway
I’d do it all the same
Not a second I would change
Not a touch that I would trade
Had I known my heart would break
I’da loved you anyway

I would’ve loved you anyway

 

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Comments

  1. Alistair Mair  January 2, 2017

    Keeping thinking. I think you are getting close to a plan.

    reply

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