Our Holiday Visitors

First, Sharon and I want to thank all of our readers who have been following us, and wish them a very Merry Christmas and a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year. We haven’t been anywhere this year that warrants updates on any travels, but we have had several visitors.

Over Thanksgiving, we had another visit from Sharon’s sister, Bonnie, from northern Indiana. And we also invited a local friend, who moved here from Mesa, as he would have been alone over the holiday. His wife is still working in Phoenix for another year, so they only get to see each other a couple of times a year, until she can retire, also.

As always, on the holidays, we prepare special meals, featuring way more food than the two of us normally have, and always eat more than we should.

Thanksgiving dinner.

Roast turkey and all the extras for Thanksgiving.

On December 10th, we had a visit from one of my blog readers, the “semi-famous” Ed Helvey…Air Force veteran, radio station founder, audio engineer, author, book publisher, and lifelong serial entrepreneur…as well as full-time traveler.

Ed Helvey's Christmas Card.

Ed Helvey’s Christmas Card.

Many in the full-time travel blogs already know Ed, from his blogs at http://livingandworkingfree.com blog, as well as his other blog at http://anomadicodyssey.blogspot.com. He was on his way from the east coast to the west to spend the holidays with family, and made time to stop in for a visit.

Before he arrived, he told me that he had been in contact with Michael Tubbs, the documentary film-maker who recently released the YouTube documentary “Without Bound – Perspectives on Mobile Living”.

Michael drove up here from Austin, Texas to meet with Ed, and Ed suggested that he might as well interview us while he was here and make double the use of his trip. Although we aren’t quite “out there” yet, we soon will be. Seven months exactly from today is when Sharon plans to leave Walmart, and four days later, on the 28th of July, we plan to leave here for good, starting our own venture into full-time living.

(Update: that actual departure date got postponed until November 19th.)

We had yet another feast featuring a 10# pork roast when Ed arrived on the 10th, and then had another one when Michael arrived on Monday, the 15th. On Tuesday, he took care of the outdoor filming of our trailer preparations and Ed’s van early in the day, and then during the afternoon and evening, we set up a temporary “studio” in our dining room and he presented his questions. Altogether, the indoor shoots lasted better than four hours, into evening hours.

He says he plans to have it ready by March, so we will be anxiously awaiting the finished product. If it turns out as good as the first one, we will be happy. Michael left for Texas again the next morning. He does have some interesting commentary regarding the first documentary on his web site, so after watching the video, be sure to check out his own site to see how it was done.

We had so many things going on that I totally forgot about my own photo opportunities, and was barely able to remember a final shot of Ed and us before he left on the morning of the 18th. His intent was to arrive at his son’s house in Fresno on the 23rd or 24th.

John Abert and Ed Helvey

John Abert and Ed Helvey

For the rest of the holidays, Sharon and I will be by ourselves, and we are fine with that. I am recovering from a cold and we have plenty of things to do, as well as to eat. We have so many household things to dispose of yet that anything new we get is in preparation for getting out of here…mostly for our traveling vehicles. You can follow that progress at our other blog, at http://incargonito.blogspot.com.

For our holidays, when we spend them alone, we typically work on current projects, with enough time in between for some good eating, watching some movies, web work and snacking. I know, the latter part I really don’t need, but this will be the last winter of putting on this extra weight. By next winter, I plan to be about 40 pounds lighter, thanks to the increased exercise and healthier living we will be doing in our full-time travels.

After all, just owning an over-sized vehicle makes you park farther from the stores and do more walking…but nearly everywhere we will go, will be biking and walking trails, and have plenty of places to do the things that we haven’t been able to do here. Our hills are too steep to ride our bikes, and we can’t walk around the block without worrying about dangerous dogs. We have to depend on a treadmill, exercise bike and stepper machine for exercise, and that’s just not often enough, nor is it the same as being out in fresh air and sunshine. The latter seems to be in short supply around here lately, and even worse farther north. We are looking forward to much brighter weather during winters in the Southwest.

For now, we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and thank you for following our exploits, such as they presently are. Who knows…after we get out west where there are more RV dealers, we could end up with something larger than what we have, and resort to going back to a minivan or SUV as a toad, in which case all that stuff I have been writing about for converting a minivan to a camper will still work, and we can continue adding new ideas. For now, that project is on hold until we can get out of here and have more time to work on it. Thanks for being patient.

Now…go enjoy the holidays! We’ll talk again “next year”!