Decisions Decisions…

Even though we are entering the dog days of summer, our thoughts are turned to our winter trip.  Our first year  as “snow birds”.  Personally, I don’t want anything to do with snow.. so I’ll just call it our first winter as “sun birds”!

It is amazing how much work traveling to Florida for the winter is.   The actual work effort to find spots for 4 months as we make our way around the Florida coastline is a story I’ll share another time.  Today I am writing about our current conundrum – do we leave before or after Christmas?  Our original plan had us either taking Stella to Nashville and storing her there in November and picking her up after Christmas or storing here here in Michigan and leaving the week after Christmas.

I love Christmas.   I love Christmas at home.  Christmas Eve with the Massa/Koscielny family has become a wonderful annual tradition.  Christmas morning with a fire roaring in the fireplace, not getting out of pajamas until absolutely necessary, listening to Handel’s Messiah and enjoying mimosa’s.  I love spending time with Sam and, now, Jordan.


Taking a November trip to Nashville sounds like fun.  But it involves a lot of driving – and extra drive south and back. Leaving after Christmas with the truck and cats makes sense from a safety perspective.  But we are not sure we want to leave her so far away without knowing whether she is safe and secure.

The thought of towing Stella south from Michigan after Christmas has both Ralph and I on edge.  We know people who hit the road that week.  They say “no problem” but they are seasoned travelers.  We are newbies to towing Stella and the thought of passing through the “ice belt” is giving us pause.

We have a third option – leave earlier in December before Mother Nature begins her icy dance.

We have time to decide.  It is not difficult finding a place to stay for the night as we make the run as far south as we feel like traveling.  We have our first stop in Jackson Center Ohio at the Airstream Factory – belovedly referred to the “Mother Ship” by the airstream community.  After that anywhere within 300-400 miles can be our next spot. Our destination is the pan handle by New Years Eve.  Even if it is 40 there, it will be better than 20s in Michigan.  The idea of Christmas in Nashville or father south, maybe Galveston, sounds inviting.

This week, I will be doing 3 options for leaving prior to Christmas – different routes and different timelines.  That is my Father’s genes alive in me – plan, evaluate, replan, finalize..  We can mull it over for the next 3 months.

Christmas at home or Christmas away?



Third Time is a Charm

This is our first official “retirement” trip and our third time out with Stella.  Ten days will be the longest we’ve been out so far. And we are ready for more fun on the road as we head to East Jordan and then to Empire, Michigan.   In the middle, we join the Michigander cycle ride in Traverse City.  I’m still in semi-work mode, needing to do something pretty much every minute – I am truly trying to decompress from 36 years in business.  Being in leadership for so long at Blue Cross, it is not easy to find the way to “mindfulness” every day.  What have I learned so far?

1.  Life happens.  Stuff goes wrong.  Don’t sweat the small stuff. Just figure it out and document it for the next time.  Learn from our mistakes.

2.  Breathe.  No more $10 million dollar budgets, no more strategy papers, no more employee issues, no more corporate politics.  Take a deep breath and just be calm as often as I can.

3.  Listen.   The world speaks a beautiful language that everyone can understand.  Birds, trees, wind, rain..  Find peace in the quietude.

4.  Plan or don’t plan.  I still schedule all our campgrounds and plan our meals – but I’m getting better at being open to spontaneity.  Because there are so many things to experience that are not “on the plan”.

It’s a beautiful time to be free to explore..